Assisted Living vs. Home Care: Which One is Right for You?

Senior home care

Home is where the heart is. For most of us, home is a comforting and familiar place filled with cherished memories. But as you age and the need for help with daily activities becomes more apparent, staying in your home becomes increasingly difficult.

Deciding whether to hire the in-home help you need, recruit family and friends to be your caregivers, or move to an assisted living facility is something you should think about sooner rather than later. The last thing you want to do is ignore the problem until a fall or other health issue forces a move without time to consider the options or adjust to the change.

To help you understand how assisted living vs. home care compare, a definition of each is a good place to start.

What is In-Home Care?

In-home care and home health are sometimes used interchangeably but they’re not the same thing. Home health involves the services of a skilled nurse while in-home care provides non-medical services, such as help with bathing, dressing, laundry, shopping and meal preparation.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a residence where groups of people share meals and other activities and where each resident can get the personal assistance they need to maintain their independence. People who choose assisted living typically have difficulty living on their own but don’t require constant medical care.

How Much Help Do You Need?

Deciding whether you’re better off with home care vs. assisted living depends on how much help you or a loved one needs. Start by making a list of everything you need assistance with on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. This will give you a clear picture of the level of care required.

You should also consider how much help family and friends can actually provide.

You or your loved one may need help with daily activities, not to mention home maintenance, for years to come.

Seeing how much help you need and who can provide it will give you a clearer picture of where the gaps are in coverage.

In-Home Care: Pros and Cons

In-home senior care

Staying at home is typically the easiest choice for many people who need a helping hand with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating and getting around the house. However, it may not be the best choice. It all depends on how much help you need, your finances and your support network.

Pros

  • One-on-one care tailored to individual needs and preferences
  • Family gets to choose the caregiver
  • Instead of receiving care from different people, individuals can get comfortable with one caregiver
  • Costs can be lower depending on hours of care needed and caregiver skill level (The monthly median cost for a home health aide in Connecticut is $4,576 versus $4,880 for assisted living, according to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.)
  • More control over your routine

Cons

  • High costs if 24/7 care is needed
  • Managing caregivers and providing backup care requires continued family involvement
  • Living at home alone can lead to social isolation which can contribute to health problems, including depression and cognitive decline
  • Home may need to be modified for safety and wheelchair accessibility
  • In-home care doesn’t include housekeeping and running errands
  • You’ll still have to hire someone to maintain your home and make repairs

Assisted Living: Pros and Cons

Assisted living

Assisted living offers a wide range of care options and staff are on-site round-the-clock to assist in the event of an emergency. Nutritious meals, engaging activities and a sense of community are just some of the many benefits of assisted living.

Pros

  • More affordable when 24/7 supervision and care is required
  • Allows family to focus on their relationship with the senior rather than acting as caregivers
  • More opportunities to socialize and participate in community activities
  • Family doesn’t have to manage, schedule or hire caregivers
  • Level of care can easily be adjusted or increased as needed
  • Transportation provided for medical appointments

Cons

  • Changes in staff are common, so one-on-one care won’t be as consistent
  • Your loved one may simply not enjoy living in a group environment

Respite Care: Give In-Home Care and Assisted Living a Trial Run

Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but it’s also stressful. Respite care gives the caregiver time to recharge their batteries, while offering a loved one the opportunity to experience first-hand what in-home care or assisted living is really like.

In-home respite care can last for a few hours to overnight. Respite care at an assisted living community can range from a partial day to several weeks. It’s a commitment-free way to see which caregiving option might be a good fit for the future.

Learn more about Respite Care at Meadow Ridge. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference it can make to your quality of life.