Caring for an aging loved one can be difficult, but when they are living with a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia, this becomes even more challenging. Because of this, it can be difficult to decide whether a Knoxville, TN, memory care community is the better option or if you should choose at-home care instead.

For many people, cost is one of the most important factors in this decision since any kind of memory care can become quite expensive. Keep reading to find out what the cost comparison is between at-home care and memory care communities.

What is Memory Care?

A memory care community is a space designed specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Residents live on the campus and are surrounded by 24/7 care and assistance from qualified caregivers. Services, programming—basically every aspect of the community—are designed to enhance the lives of seniors living with dementia. All of their necessities are provided such as dining, hygienic services, activities, and transportation.

The main benefit of a memory care community is that you can feel confident that your loved one will be well taken care of, with support available 24/7. This helps to take the stress off your shoulders, allowing you to simply enjoy their company instead of having to play the role of a caregiver yourself.

What Is At-Home Care?

A very common option family members look into if they have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is at-home care. At-home care is when you hire one or more caregivers to take care of your loved one in the comfort of their own home. The caregivers may come on a daily or weekly basis or they may even live in the home 24/7.

This is a very tempting option since it is usually more affordable depending on how often the caregivers need to be around. It also allows your loved one to either live in their home or your home while they receive the care they need.

Cost Comparison

Choosing between a Knoxville, TN, memory care community or at-home care is a very complex topic. The reality is that there isn’t one price for every situation since there are many costs you may not have considered.

For most people with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, they will eventually require 24/7 care. As the disease progresses, they will become less and less able to care for themselves or safely be left alone.

Here are some examples of hidden costs that come with at-home care:

  • Home safety and accessibility modifications
  • Transportation to doctor's appointments
  • Meal preparation or meal delivery services
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Household repairs and maintenance

You also have to consider how much you will be paying the caregiver on an hourly basis. For most caregivers, the hourly rate can be anywhere from $15 to $30 an hour. These rates may also change as your loved one requires more care and medical attention.

In a memory care community, you will get the cost upfront—unlike how you would with at-home care. This allows you to better understand how much you will be spending and what you are paying for.

A memory care community monthly rate covers services and amenities such as:

  • Constant care and staff support 
  • Medication management
  • Meals and snacks
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Specialized programs
  • Community events and activities
  • Security
  • Safe living space

Overall, a memory care community is usually the better option for most people since everything is provided. It can save you from hidden fees that can start to stack up as your loved one requires more and more assistance.

How To Know Which Option To Choose

Deciding on the type of care your loved one will receive is a very big decision that can feel overwhelming. It is especially difficult to make when you look at the cost comparison and how each option comes with pros and cons.

Here are some examples of how you can decide which option is best for you and your loved one.


When you are comparing the cost of memory care communities to at-home care, you need to evaluate your budget. You should consider what is affordable for you right now as well as what will be affordable several years into the future.

Something to consider is that at-home care can lead to unexpected costs later on that can be very difficult to manage. For instance, you may have to take over some of the caregiving responsibilities, which can make it difficult to hold a job of your own. Or your loved one may experience a medical emergency that a family caregiver is not equipped to handle.

Care Needed

The most important factor when deciding on your loved ones' care is the extent of the care they require. A memory care community is equipped with all the resources and tools your loved one could need for their physical and mental well-being.

A memory care community can also care for seniors of any stage of memory loss. At-home care is more limited unless you can hire 24/7 caregiving services.

Security Needed

It is not uncommon for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia to require extensive security to keep them safe. They may have a tendency to wander or get into things that could harm them or someone else.

Residential homes are not equipped to protect seniors in this way and may not be customizable to the extent that you need, whereas memory care communities are equipped with safety and security measures to help prevent wandering and keep your loved one safe

Cost Calculator

As you can see, calculating the cost of a memory care community vs at-home care is quite complex. But for the most part, a memory care community is more affordable and provides a better standard of care for what you are paying for. It also provides care that can adapt to what your loved one needs as their cognitive and physical abilities change.

Still, wondering whether a memory care community or at-home care is more affordable for your situation? Try out our Senior Living Cost Calculator to get a better idea of what you can afford.

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