Choosing between assisted living or home care is a decision many caregivers face. Here’s a look at how these two popular senior care options compare along with the pros and cons of each.
What is Home Care?
Home care – also referred to as in-home care – allows seniors to “age in place” in their own home or in the home of a family member. Home care services vary widely and can include help with personal hygiene, moving around, meal preparation, housekeeping, and help running errands.
Benefits of Home Care
- Seniors can remain in their own home close to a spouse or family.
- Caregiving tasks can be scheduled in advance, which is a level of control some families find especially helpful.
- In-home care works wells when a senior has consistent, expected needs such as a bath several time a week.
Key Considerations with Home Care
With in-home services, aides provide care on a pre-determined schedule. This can be limiting – even dangerous – if an emergency comes up.
Home care averages $20 an hour, according to the most recent statistics from the Administration on Aging. The annual cost of home care can run as high as $170,000 a year, far exceeding most caregivers’ budgets.
Taking care of an aging parent can be difficult and burdensome to other family members. Seniors who are isolated to the home often have less social interaction– an essential part of healthy aging.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a long-term care option that combines housing, support services, and healthcare. Because assisted living communities promote independence, they are a popular alternative to nursing homes and are the fastest growing senior care option in America.
Assisted living is a great option for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living like getting dressed or managing medications that go beyond what you can provide at home.
Benefits of Assisted Living
Trained staff is available 24 hours a day, which can be invaluable for those with serious conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.
Seniors can get help with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and walking.
Assisted living communities offer a variety of amenities from housekeeping, transportation, delicious dining options, fitness programs, and recreational activities.
The social life afforded in assisted living communities leads to better quality of life for seniors.
Key Considerations with Assisted Living
Many assisted living communities provide apartment-style living, while others offer one-room studios. These changes in living space and privacy may be an adjustment for seniors who are downsizing from large homes. Being away from family may be stressful at first. It’s important to create a transition plan to make sure your loved one is emotionally supported during the move.
Assisted Living costs vary with the residence, apartment size, and types of services needed, with the average cost of $3600 a month. Assisted living is affordable, and despite what many people believe, is often less expensive than home care.
Choosing Between Home Care and Assisted Living
As our relatives age, they may need more help with everyday activities. Home care and assisted living are two options to consider.
The earlier you assess your senior loved one’s needs and consider your choices, the more control you will have. That way you can make the decision that’s right for your family and will give your loved one a happy, fulfilling life for years to come.