In our objective guide, we’ll explain the key differences between home care versus assisted living, and offer suggestions to help you make the best decision for your loved one.
Picking between hiring an in-home caregiver or moving your loved one into an assisted living facility is a complicated decision to make. You might not feel equipped with enough information to make the right choice for your loved one.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, which must be considered when determining the right health care for your loved one.
What are Assisted Living Communities?
Assisted living communities are residences that specialize in providing care and supervision for aging adults and people with disabilities, such as dementia or memory loss. They are also referred to as assisted living facilities (ALF) and or Assisted Living Residence (ALR).
Assisted living communities help seniors live as independently as they would like, while providing enhanced levels of care that allow seniors to age in place, even as their care needs change over time.
If your loved one enjoys an active social life and no longer wants to live alone at home, then moving into an assisted living community is probably your best option.
Helpful Questions to Decide if Assisted Living Communities are Right for Your Loved One:
- Is your loved one feeling isolated or depressed?
- Did your loved one suffer from a recent fall or have declining health?
- Does your loved one need additional help bathing or taking their medication?
- Does your loved one want a maintenance-free lifestyle?
- Is your loved one unable to drive themselves to go shopping and buying groceries?
Helpful Tips to Decide Which Assisted Living Community is Right for Your Loved One
- Make sure the facility is licensed
- Determine what insurance the facility carries for their private property
- Find out what activities are offered
- Learn their visitation policy
- Find out how medical emergencies are handled
- Learn what amenities are included
- Understand how billing and contracts work
Be sure to visit Caregiver.com’s Assisted Living Checklist for more helpful tips to help you pick the right community.
What is In-home Care?
In-home care is a type of supportive healthcare that allows a caregiver to supervise an elderly person in their own home, allowing your loved one a greater sense of independence.
In-home caregivers typically help your loved one perform their daily activities such as bathing, cleaning, grocery shopping, taking medications, grooming, and cooking, as well as offering companionship.
In-home caregivers can either be professionally licensed nurses or family members, usually children of the aging senior. It’s common for families to hire an in-home nurse to monitor their loved one a few days a week, filling in the other shifts with family members who can supervise their loved one.
The benefits of in-home care are that your loved one gets to live in their home, giving them a sense of independence and familiarity. However, the downsides are it’s often more expensive and emotionally draining to provide in-home care for an elderly loved one over a long period. Other downsides include caregivers who are unlicensed can’t administer medical aid in case of emergencies.
Many families often start with providing in-home care as long as they can afford it but eventually transition their loved one into an assisted living community as their needs require more care or medical assistance.
Key Differences Between Assisted Living and Home Care
The key differences in the home care versus assisted living discussion are the environment in which the care is being provided, and the level of amenities included with that care.
When your loved one moves into an assisted living community, they typically will live in an apartment-style group setting, which encourages social interaction. ALCs also offer a comprehensive facility that includes dining rooms, community rooms, outdoor gardens, as well as medical professionals on-site 24/7. When your loved one moves into an assisted living community, it’s like they’re moving to a new city that has everything they need all in one spot.
When your loved one receives in-home care, they are still able to live in their house and stick to their regular routines. They get to keep their neighbors and a sense of pride in being a homeowner. Often caregivers are relatives, such as daughters or sons, who can help their loved one do their laundry, cook meals, and do yard work and other home activities. As their loved ones require more medical assistance, licensed nurses or professionally licensed caregivers may become required, raising in-home care costs.
Assessing the Specific Needs of You or Your Loved One
Both options are great if you pick the right assisted living facility or the right caregiver. One option isn’t necessarily better than the other, it all depends on your loved one’s personality and healthcare needs.
You’ll need to determine how much care your loved one will require, and how much money you can sustainably afford to spend on care.
In-home care is great if your loved one doesn’t want to leave their home, and are perhaps not interested in pursuing an active social life. As long as they are mostly independent, hiring a caregiver is a good way to supervise them so they can keep their regular routines.
Assisted living is great if your loved one wants to reduce the amount of house or yard work and focus on spending more time being socially active, with fewer responsibilities.
Both options are capable of providing great healthcare and companionship for your loved one. While in-home care might start as a more affordable option, it can become increasingly more expensive as around-the-clock care becomes necessary. At that point, moving into an assisted living facility is actually less expensive, and reduces time families spend coordinating caregiver schedules, making it an overall better solution for all involved.
Rather than essentially trying to run an assisted living operation out of a family’s home, a dedicated assisted living community can optimize a senior’s lifestyle while also allowing the family to maintain their own lives. Assisted living removes the need for the family to manage the senior’s house and yard work, medication, nutrition, activities, transportation, and healthcare services.
We mentioned before that it’s very common for families to start by offering in-home care as long as they can until their loved one’s needs require additional help. Usually, a recent fall or declining health in your loved one are signs it’s time to move them into an assisted living community.
The Kensington Park Promise
Kensington Park Senior Living offers assisted living communities for elderly people who still maintain a strong sense of independence and enjoy an active social life, offering tons of amenities and group activities.
Our community offers a full schedule of transformative life enrichment activities, including music therapy, rehabilitation, and relationship-building with friends and loving caregivers, all immediately accessible in one location. This level of increased activity, socialization, and connectivity often just can’t be replicated at home, especially as it becomes more difficult for a senior to easily leave the house as needed.
We also provide specialized memory care for those who begin to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia, which makes our community well equipped to provide long-term healthcare for our residents who may begin to need more assistance.
You can rest assured knowing your loved one is in good hands at Kensington Park, with our state-of-the-art facilities and medical staff available on-site 24/7.
At Kensington Park, we promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.