Communities vs. home care: The costs, pros and cons in the Seattle area


Elder care.

It’s something most of us will need at some point in our lives, but a topic that most of the time isn’t discussed until it’s absolutely necessary. 

In fact, 7 out of 10 people will require long term care in their lifetime according to the insurance company Genworth. 

Cost, the type of care and pros and cons are likely at the top of your mind when considering what type of care to go with, whether for you or a loved one. 

Here’s SeaCare breakdown of different types of care and the costs associated with each, plus the pros and cons of communities and home care. 


Cost of home care vs. communities in Seattle 


According to Genworth’s 2020 report, the cost of care continues to increase with labor shortages and employee retention challenges. 

The costs of home care and care in a community depend on a variety of factors. Some of these include: 

  • The state you live in
  • Your loved one’s mental and physical needs 
  • The mobility of your loved one 


Medicaid might pay for some costs, but only if all of your assets are “exhausted” first, which can mean selling your home and your possessions. 

Estimates by Genworth that a private room is almost 12,000 per month in the Seattle area while in-home care would cost around 7,000 per month in Seattle. Care at an assisted living facility is estimated to cost about the same as in-home care. 

The annual median cost for home care is 80,000 a year and about 145,000 for a private nursing home room. 


Keep in mind, paying a higher hourly rate for home care could mean better pay for caregivers which in turn often leads to better care for you or your loved one. 

Lower pay can lead to a higher turnover rate, which is one of the many difficulties of finding quality care.  You can read about how better pay benefits everyone involved HERE


The different types of elderly care 

It’s important to know what kind of care your parent, spouse or loved one will require.

Let’s break down a few main types of care so that you can better understand each. 


Assisted living: These facilities usually offer a range of care options based on level of need. This includes personal care assistance, help with medication, meal preparation, security and social activities.

If your loved one is fairly independent and wants to go to a care facility mostly for community and social interaction, then an assisted living facility is a good option. 


Communities: Also known as facilities, communities provide 24/7 care to their residents. This includes the personal care offerings of assisted living homes in addition to medical care and meal preparation.  The costs are typically high because staff are on-call 24/7, which requires a lot of staff. 



A senior who needs medical assistance for ongoing conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s and needs to be monitored for those reasons would likely need the 24-hour care of a community or a home health aide. 


Home care: This type of care allows people to stay in their homes, whether they’re disabled, aging in place or chronically ill. We’ll focus on the needs for seniors who want to age in place. 

Home care can involve these types of services: 

  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s care 
  • Help with errands
  • Walking and mobility assistance
  • Live-in care
  • End-of-life care


SeaCare has a page dedicated to the different types of home care services you can read through HERE


A senior who needs assistance with daily tasks such as toileting and dressing, commonly known as activities of daily living (ADL) could benefit from home care, as well as a senior who needs full-time care but wants to remain in their home. 

Home care also differs from home health care, which involves skilled medical care for those with medical concerns. 

Other factors to consider in choosing between a facility and home care are how the elder’s home is laid out, if it’s possible to make the home more accessible with grab bars railings. 

The community vs. home care debate


Only you and your loved one can know what choice is best when it comes to elder care. 

More and more people are choosing to age in place and stay in their homes. Others want consistent social interaction that a community can provide.

With some situations, it’s easier to make a decision. If your loved one needs 24-hour skilled medical care, then a community is likely the choice. If they need help mostly with dressing and toileting, then home care could be the answer.

Here are more benefits of a home care agency: 

  • Working with a small care team
  • Environmental stability
  • Comfort
  • Stay close to family 
  • More visitation possibility 
  • Independence 
  • Cost 


How your loved one will be cared for in their older years is an important topic that hopefully involves them and everyone who loves them. 


Don’t wait, start the discussion today. SeaCare can help you in your decision making process. We want what's best for you and your family! 


Megan Marolf writes about senior topics and outdoor recreation from her home base in Seattle. You can read more about her here






If you or a loved one you know are looking for additional support during this time and are interested in scheduling a free in-home assessment, please contact SeaCare In-Home Care Services today! A SeaCare family member is standing by. 425-559-4339.