The Important Differences Between Home Care and Assisted Living
When a senior loved one begins to require a little extra support to stay independent, adult children often struggle to navigate the maze of senior care options. One question that often arises is the difference between home care services and those provided in an assisted living community.
Quite often we speak with families who wonder if their aging family member will be happier at home with in-home care services or if they will be safer and more engaged with life in an assisted living community. While there are similarities between these two types of care, there are important distinctions to be aware of as you make this decision.
We thought it would be helpful to see a side-by-side comparison of the services and benefits offered by each of these two popular types of senior care.
Comparing Home Care Services with an Assisted Living Community
In-home Care: Older adult can remain at home longer. Home can sometimes be adapted or modified to improve safety.
Assisted Living: Each resident has their own senior-friendly apartment/suite in an environment designed to support safety.
In-home Care: A home care companion can be paid to take a senior on outings or to read, play cards, watch movies and more at home.
Assited Living: A wide variety of life enrichment activities are scheduled throughout the day and evening for residents to socialize and enjoy.
In-home Care: Agency caregiver comes to your loved one’s home at pre-arranged times to provide assistance.
Assisted Living: Caregivers are on-site and available to provide support as needed around the clock.
In-Home Care: Aide can provide assistance with grocery shopping and meal preparations.
Assisted Living: Residents enjoy socializing over three well-balanced meals served in the dining room each day.
Personal care needs
In-home Care: Caregiver can come to the home at a scheduled time to assist with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing.
Assisted Living: Residents can receive assistance with personal care needs throughout the day and night as necessary.
Housekeeping and laundry
In-home Care: Aides can come to the home to help with cleaning, laundry and light housekeeping services.
Assisted Living: All housekeeping, maintenance and laundry services are available on-site for residents.
In-home Care: Home care aides can provide reminder services to help a senior remember to take their medication.
Assisted Living: Medication management programs help ensure a senior stays on track with their medications and to spot potential problems.
In-home Care: Transportation can typically be arranged using the senior’s car or the caregiver’s private vehicle.
Assisted Living: Most assisted living communities include some transportation services in the monthly fee and can arrange for additional individual resident transportation as needed.
Emergency call system
In-home Care: Senior can purchase a pendant that allows them to alert 911 in the event of an emergency.
Assisted Living: Emergency call systems that alert staff to a problem are a standard feature of many assisted living communities.
In terms of costs, it’s important to note that there is a misperception that in-home care is always less expensive than an assisted living community. If the need for care is more than just a few hours a day, an assisted living community might actually cost the same or less than living at home, especially when taking all home costs into consideration such as insurance, maintenance, yard care, utilities and repairs.
The level of care needed should also be considered. In-home care is often delivered by a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). CNAs are not allowed to deliver the higher level of care that a Registered Nurse can provide. At Era Living, Registered Nurses are available on a regular basis.. This coupled with the availability of nutritious meals, stimulating social interaction and a variety of life enrichment activities are factors to consider when choosing between in-home care and an assisted living community.
To learn more about the various types of support available to seniors in the Seattle area, we invite you to follow Senior Living Options on the Era Living blog. We share resources ranging from tips to selling an older adult’s home to how to decide where to live as you grow older.