senior care professional helping elderly man stand up

How Much Does Senior Care Cost?

When is it time for assisted living? This is a question that many families ask themselves when they realize their loved ones need more support than they can provide at home. Selecting an ideal assisted living community is a crucial step that not only aligns with your loved one’s needs and lifestyle, but also promotes their happiness and wellbeing.

Unraveling the Costs of Senior Care: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Navigating the world of senior care can be complex, with a labyrinth of options, each with its own set of costs. From in-home care to nursing homes, and even specialized care, the price tags can seem daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you.

senior care professional helping elderly man stand up

Understanding Senior Care

In essence, senior care refers to the specialized care and support provided to older adults, often tailored to their unique needs and conditions. It’s important to understand that this umbrella term encompasses different forms of care:

  • In-home care: 
    • Providing care in the senior’s own home.
  • Residential “board and care” homes:  
    • Private homes that have been licensed by the state with caregivers on staff 24 hours a day to provide personal care, meals, and medication management to 4 to 6 residents  in a home environment 
  • Assisted living communities: 
    • Communities offering a combination of housing in various apartment sizes, personal care services (such as bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, and medication management), meals, and social activities.
  • Memory Care: 
    • Secured communities designed for seniors with a variety of Dementia conditions, meeting personal care and social needs, tailored to the specific needs of those suffering from significant memory loss.  Meals and medication management are also included.
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (Nursing homes): 
    • Facilities offering the highest level of medical care outside a hospital.

In-Home Care Cost

With in-home care, seniors receive assistance right at home. This can involve help with daily activities, meal preparation, medication reminders, and companionship.

The cost of in-home care is influenced by several factors such as:

  • Level of care needed: More intensive care needs require more hours or more qualified caregivers, hence a higher cost.
  • Geographical location: Costs can vary greatly depending on your location. For example, the cost of in-home care in California may be higher than in other states due to a higher cost of living.

To illustrate, in-home care in California can range anywhere from $30 to $40 per hour. For full time 24 hour care, that can translate to as high as $20,000 to $30,000 per month for full-time 24 hour care.

Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities Cost

An assisted living community  or a memory care community is a senior living option that provides a range of services such as meals, medication management, assistance with personal care (bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, escort to/from meals and activities, etc.), and appropriate social activities – on and off site.  Some assisted living communities have a separate building or section of their community specifically designed for memory care residents, but there are also communities that cater specifically to only one or the other type of need.  These communities are ideal for those who will not only benefit from the care services provided, but also from activities provided for mental and social stimulation 

Costs here can vary depending on:

  • Size of apartment: Larger living spaces come with a higher price tag.
  • Types of services: Level of care required will affect the overall cost
  • Location: Just like in-home care, geographical location affects the cost of assisted living in California and elsewhere.

On average, the cost of assisted living and memory care communities in California can range from $3,500 to $10,000 per month. 

Residential Board and Care Homes Cost

A residential board and care home is a senior living option that provides the same care services as assisted living and memory care communities, but in a private home environment.  These homes have administrators and 24 hour staff as well, and must meet all licensing requirements to operate in California.  These homes are ideal for those seeking a smaller, more intimate environment, or for those residents who need constant visual supervision throughout the day.  

Costs here can vary depending on:

  • Room selection:  Shared, private, or private room with bath
  • Types of services: Level of care required will affect the overall cost
  • Location: Just like in-home care, geographical location affects the cost of assisted living in California and elsewhere.

On average, the cost of living in residential board and care homes in California can range from $3,000 to $7,000 per month. 

Nursing Homes Cost

Nursing homes offer comprehensive, 24-hour care for seniors who require constant supervision and actual medical care, not just personal care services. These facilities are designed to meet the ongoing medical needs of people who need regular nursing care on a daily basis.

Nursing home costs are influenced by:

  • Level of care: More specialized medical care requires more resources and thus costs more.
  • Private vs shared room: Private rooms are typically more expensive than shared ones.
  • Location: Yep, you guessed it. Location matters here too!

The average cost for a stay in a nursing home in California ranges.

Financing Senior Care Cost

Public financing options such as Medi-Cal, and Veteran’s benefits can help ease the burden of senior care costs. However, eligibility requirements can be stringent and all types of public financing options do not apply to every type of care option.  As a rule of thumb, Medi-Cal primarily is used in Nursing Homes. All other types of care are usually private pay, but there is a specific VA program for some veterans age 65+ that can provide significant funds to help offset costs at all other types of care settings mentioned, including homecare.

Private financing options include long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and savings. It’s important to carefully consider the implications of each option, as they could potentially impact your loved ones’ financial security and quality of care.

Planning and saving early for senior care costs can significantly reduce financial stress. Consider working with a financial planner specializing in elder care to help prepare for these costs.

Comparing Costs of Different Care Types

As a review, we’ve got our four main types of care, each with a unique price tag.

  • In-home care can range from $30-$40/hour or $10,000 – $20,000 per month for 24-hour care.
  • Assisted living and memory care communities may cost between $3,500 and $10,000 per month.
  • Residential board and care homes range on average anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per month.
  • Nursing homes typically range from $10,000 to $20,000 per month.

Each care type comes with its pros and cons regarding cost. For instance, while in-home care can be less expensive, it may not provide the level of medical care available in a nursing home.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average cost of senior care can vary greatly depending on the type of care and location. In California, costs can range from $3,000 to $20,000 per month.

The main factors include the type of care, level of care needed, and geographical location.

Financing options include public programs like Medi-Cal and Veteran’s benefits, as well as private options like long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and savings.


Understanding, planning, and managing senior care costs effectively can be challenging, but with the right information, it’s entirely feasible.

Remember, the cost of senior care greatly depends on the type of care, level of care needed, and location. However, various public and private financing options are available to help offset these costs. Plan early, consider your options, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help.  With our detailed network of over 1200 care settings, we are able to assist in helping you determine best option types and places to consider based on needs, budget, and location, and help you understand any best options for financing assistance.

Remember, choosing an assisted living community for a loved one is a process that deserves time and consideration. Take the time to fully understand their needs, explore different options, and make the most informed decision. One of the best ways to do this is to avail yourself of the services of a local referral expert who knows the ins and outs of the entire process and can help you navigate through it much more easily. Your loved one’s happiness and wellbeing areis worth it!

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