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Does it pay to keep our loved ones at home?


Ask the Contractor: Darren R. Williams

Do we place our loved ones in a care facility, or do we change our living situation to accommodate the challenges of keeping them at home? This is a question that most of us will encounter during our lifetime, and this decision may even be about ourselves.

Most of us want to care for and/or be cared for by the ones we love. The additional responsibility that it adds to a family can sometimes be overwhelming. What I would like to do is to share some dollars and cents issues with you. If you are up for the challenge, then read on.

Consider the difference between admitting your loved one into a care facility and constructing a new master bedroom and bathroom (herein known as “master”) and personally caring for them. I am going to use an average cost of $4,000 per month if you place them in a care facility. You can find facilities that cost less but in most cases are more expensive.

Another alternative is to add on a master addition. By keeping your loved ones at home, you can personally enjoy the later years of their lives, increase the value of your home and save money for years to come.

Let’s say you decide to put your loved one in a care facility at $4,000 per month for a total yearly cost of $48,000. If your monthly costs remain the same (which doesn’t seem to happen), in two years you would have spent $96,000 and in three years $144,000.

Now let’s look at the return on your investment if you were to construct a master suite. Assume you spend $65,000 to build the master suite (it could be less but also could be more). Factor in some free time for you — weekends off, vacations, etc. — so you hire a part-time caregiver at $20,000 per year. Your first year's expense is now $85,000 compared to a care facility at $48,000.

In year 2, you feel you need a little more free time and hire someone to help for more hours for a yearly cost of $25,000. By keeping your loved one home, you now would have a two-year accumulated cost of $110,000 vs. $96,000 for two years in a care facility.

Year 3 is where your investment really begins to pay off. Let’s say that you keep your $25,000-per-year helper; add three years of home care to the cost of the master suite, and you will have spent $135,000 vs. the $144,000 you would spend for three years at a care facility.

Granted, the care facility has provided food, care, specialty products and more, but we also have not had any increases added to the costs. What you have gained is the memorable moments with your loved ones, increased value and salability (a master on the main floor) of your home, and now you can begin to save money every month over a care facility.

The idea is sound but is not for everyone. It should be given serious consideration when weighing out your options. Small improvements also can help to keep our loved ones at home.

Should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us or check us out at www.AllGenerations.us and follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AllGenerations.us. Call 1-888-656-9960 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Darren R. Williams is owner of All Generations, a general contracting business based in Clackamas and serving the tri-county area. He is a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS).