Cost of Remodeling vs. Senior Living


Stay or Go?

walk-in shower
A walk-in shower with removable doors is worth the cost. Take the doors off in the future for a barrier-free shower, perfect for wheelchair and walker access.
Saving money tends to stay at the forefront of most people’s minds. Finding deals at Costco or JC Penney, clipping coupons, or garage sale-ing, we’re always looking for the best deal. When it comes to a home, yet again, we want the best value for our dollar. Yet, when the aging starts to set in, is the best option really to pack up and move to a senior community? We looked at local senior communities—from Independent Living to Memory Care – to determine the cost per month for residency. We then examined regional cost averages for home remodeling to compare to the senior communities. The results are striking and may have you thinking differently about your future.

Cost of Remodeling

Remodeling Magazine did the leg work for us by listing out the average prices of remodeling. One thing to note about renovations: They have the potential to pay for themselves. If you ever look to sell your home, a remodeled bathroom is likely to give you 50+ percent cost recouped. A fully wheelchair accessible bathroom even gets 60.3 percent cost recouped, according to the listing. Outdated bathrooms, on the other hand, make the home more difficult to sell and don’t earn you any extra value. A midrange Universal Design, ADA Compliant bathroom will cost around $34,219 and you can expect to see about $20,626 bounce back into your pocket with costs recouped. This renovation includes updating a 5×7-foot bathroom to be totally wheelchair accessible:
  • Update thresholds to have no lip
  • Widen the doorway to be at least 36 inches
  • Replace toggle light switches with rocker and place them at sitting level
  • Replace a standard-height toilet with a comfort-height toilet and bidet
  • Install a walk-in shower with adjustable shower heads and fold-out seat
  • Add heated floors, angled mirror, wheelchair accessible storage, and grab bars
Universal Design Bathroom
This Universal Design bathroom features non-slip flooring, a tankless toilet, and a walk-in shower with removable doors.

Aging in Place Bathroom

The fully ADA Compliant bathroom may be a little excessive for what you plan to do. However, some of these changes are helpful in the long term. A walk-in shower with a foldable seat, wider doorways, rocker light switches, comfort-height toilet and grab bars are typical additions for aging-in-place bathrooms. Making these changes will still cost close to that $34,000 mark but it will be functional for life and accessible to anyone who wishes to visit no matter their age or abilities. Although the cost of bathroom remodeling may be daunting, the amount spent one time for a remodel reaps more benefits than spending tens of thousands, or more, over many years.

Cost of Senior Living

The cost of moving to a 55+ community or assisted living community quickly outprices remodeling. A studio apartment at Aria at River Trail will cost you around $22,350 in six months. That’s not including any other assistance services you may need. After 10 years, you’re looking at close to a half-million-dollar bill. Aging Community condos have their own price tag. You already bought your home, intending to live in it until you are unable to. A condo at Somerset Farm will cost you another $200,000 or so. Depending on your needs, no matter your age, it is likely you will spend less than this in converting your home to age in place with you. Remodeling your bathroom to have a walk-in shower with removable doors, non-slip flooring, a floating vanity, comfort-height toilet, and thicker walls to prepare for grab bars in the future will come at a fraction of the cost to move. At the highest end of bathroom renovations, homeowners have spent less than a quarter of what it costs to move into a retirement community.

Benefits of Aging in Place

Cost, though a large sticking point in the decision-making process, is not the only factor when looking at options for aging. There are health benefits to staying in your own home. Studies show that living in your own home encourages a healthy, active life. Being around familiar noises, doing small chores around the house, and having visitors keeps you moving and living independently and in a comfortable environment.
A beautiful Kohler bathroom–the epitome of Universal Design. Floating vanities are not only stylish but also allow wheelchairs to slide easily under the sink. Tankless toilets are also becoming part of luxury and accessible bathrooms. They save space and can be installed at custom heights.
When living at home becomes challenging due to aging, it is better to adapt the home to your needs. If you’ve already thought ahead and created a Universal Design home, the adaptation process becomes easier. The amount of changes needing to be made drastically decreases. From rebuilding an entire home to be accessible, you are now only adding grab bars where needed or removing shower doors.

Save Money, Age in Place

Weighing the cost of remodeling or moving out of your longtime home is important. While considering the costs of remodeling, also remember other health benefits to living in your own home. Planning ahead to age in place will pay off in the long term. If $30,000 still sounds too much for you, this is only the regional average. Here at Home for Life Advantage, we will always work within your budget to ensure you keep an independent, comfortable life.

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