In home care or Assisted Living? Which, When?

There is no right or wrong answer... but it can be a tough decision!


Assisted Living

Let's start with a basic premise... seniors want to remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible!  Few of us would disagree and research by AARP confirms that nearly 90% of seniors over 65 say so themselves!

Of course depending upon health, finances, and the cognitive status of a senior, this may or may not be possible.  What we see in our daily visits to seniors is that this decision is all part of a progression.

Staying at home with a little assistance may be possible for quite a while.  Eventually more care may be needed and this often creates the need to transition to assisted living or even to full nursing care.  And, let's not forget other options exist as well such as:

  • A short stay in rehab to regain strength and stamina after a fall, an illness, or surgery
  • Independent living in an apartment at a facility that also offers assisted living or nursing care
  • Moving in with a friend or family member
  • Taking in a roommate to help out

For today, we will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of in home care and assisted living.

In Home Care Advantages:

  • In home care can be very cost-effective.  For example, suppose your aging loved one can no longer drive but can otherwise manage in his/her home.  Home care providers like Seniors Helping Seniors can take them to doctor's appointments, shopping, and errands.  Trade this cost against the cost of owning, maintaining, and insuring a car and you can find significant savings.  Or suppose your loved one just needs some help getting a shower a few times a week.  Again this will cost far less than an assisted living.
  • In home care is very flexible.  Most home care agencies work with clients to accommodate variable schedules to meet needs.  We have some clients who call only every few weeks for transportation or in home assistance.  Others schedule a regular weekly visit.
  • In home care is very personal. Our clients generally come to know, and befriend, a small number of caregivers who help them out regularly.  It's more than help, it's companionship and friendship.

In Home Care Disadvantages:

  • Problems can happen when caregivers are not present.  While it is possible to use a home care agency for "round the clock" care, it may be impractical.  If mom or dad falls when no one is present, this could be a problem.  Fortunately, Personal Emergency Response Systems have become very cost-effective and can help solve this problem.  You can read more about these devices at our article by clicking here.

Assisted Living Advantages:

  • Basic needs are met consistently.  Meals are provided, apartments are cleaned, toilets are cleaned, and a nurse is somewhere nearby.  And this happens every day of every month of every year.
  • Many provide the ability to transition easily to higher levels of care.  Assisted Living facilities are often associated with skilled nursing facilities.  Many times they are co-located.  This makes higher levels of care, sometimes even rehab care, easily available.  This is especially important for dementia sufferers as significant changes such as a full move can be very difficult for them.

Assisted Living Disadvantages:

  •  Shared staff.  The staff to resident ratio can vary widely at most Assisted Living facilities today.  In our experience, even the best have about 1 aid for 10 staff, and 1 nurse for 40 or more staff, depending on time of day.  We have situations where our home care caregivers spend 2 to 10 hours per day with clients in Assisted Living facilities.  The reasons they have us there include companionship, but more commonly to assist residents with dementia to navigate their day.  For example, help them get dressed, to breakfast, and then to their first activity.  Or in other cases, the caregiver comes in the evening to help get ready for bed.
  • Extra services cost extra money.  Today, most assisted living facilities include only a certain amount of dedicated personal care for each resident.  It's another reason families use agencies like ours.  Be sure to ask exactly what is included in the monthly fee.

Of course, all of this is a very personal family decision.  If you would like to learn more, call us today at (610) 590-4888.  We're here to help!