Are you or one of your loved ones considering home care or assisted living? Do you want to receive care at home, but feel uncertain that it’s the best option for you?
Assisted living and home care both have advantages and disadvantages. Home care often leads to more thoughtful individual care and independence, but it’s not for everyone. Choosing the right option depends on many factors, such as ability level, personal preference, financial situation, and unique needs.
What is an Assisted Living Home?
An assisted living home offers a combination of housing, health care, and personal care services. These home options are also called residential care, boarding homes, adult congregate care, and congregate housing, among other terms.
Typically, the home provides three meals a day, exercise opportunities, housekeeping, and assistance with many daily tasks. These include organizing medications, eating, bathing, and housekeeping activities. Services like transportation, religious services, and nursing care through a third-party home health agency are also common.
A major advantage of an assisted living home is that it allows residents to maintain privacy and dignity. Residents of assisted living homes generally have their own apartments with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen area. They can manage their own finances and continue using personal possessions.
Assisted living homes also support community involvement. They generally provide regular opportunities to socialize with other residents and members of the broader community. In addition, most homes allow visitors at any time of day or overnight, and many allow pets.
Assisted living homes provide help with many daily tasks. However, they generally lack specialized care for individuals who have severe physical, cognitive, or behavioral impairments. For individuals who need less intensive care but around-the-clock availability, an assisted living home may be the best option.
What is Home Care?
Home caregiving is often a great option for individuals who want to stay in their home but need care beyond what their family and friends can provide. It can involve anything from providing company, to personalized care and supervision in the comfort of the individual’s home.
Most home care agencies provide a combination of medical and non-medical care services. These may include meal preparation, housework, medication reminders, shopping, and transportation.
To determine an individual’s needs and eligibility for benefits, home care agencies and insurance companies often calculate an ADL (Activities of Daily Living) rating. The rating depends on the individual’s abilities in six basic areas: eating, walking, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and transferring (their movement and level of physical ability).
The cost of care varies greatly and depends on the level of care required. Over time, many individuals find that they need a higher level of care than they may have needed at first.
If an individual needs specialized care, wants more independence than they would have in an assisted living home, or simply wants to stay in their own home, home care may be the best option.
Comparing Assisted Living and Home Care
There are major benefits and drawbacks to both assisted living homes and home care. To summarize, here are some important pros and cons to consider when making your choice:
Assisted Living Homes:
- Pro: It’s generally more affordable when an individual requires 24/7 care.
- Pro: Residents can easily socialize.
- Pro: The individual’s family can focus more on their relationship with the individual rather than on coordinating care.
- Con: One-on-one care may not be consistent since staffing changes happen regularly at many assisted living homes.
- Con: It’s possible for residents to be displaced with little or no notice.
- Con: The individual may not want to leave their home or live in a group environment.
- Pro: In-home care may be more affordable when an individual needs less frequent or skilled care. Different forms of care may be combined in ways that lower the overall cost.
- Pro: The individual can receive more personalized care that meets their unique needs and preferences.
- Pro: The individual can stay in the comfort of their home.
- Pro: Care is more consistent since the individual may have a single caregiver and staffing changes are not likely to happen as often as in an assisted living home.
- Pro: The individual and their family members can choose who provides the care.
- Con: If the individual requires 24/7 care, the costs can be extremely high.
- Con: Managing care often requires continuous family involvement.
- Con: The home may need to be modified to support safety or accessibility.
- Con: Living at home may provide fewer opportunities to socialize.
- Con: Home care may not include heavier housekeeping, grocery shopping, and home maintenance tasks.
This list may help you decide when choosing between an assisted living home and home care. By evaluating which factors matter most in your situation, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.
Picking the Best Option
There are many factors to consider beyond the differences between assisted living and home care. You or your loved one’s needs should be the guiding focus in your decision. Here are a few things to think about:
1. How Much Care You or Your Loved One Needs
Before you can take any further steps, you’ll need to understand what precisely the individual receiving the care needs. Do they need specialized healthcare? Do they need help with grocery shopping and cooking? Do they just need someone to remind them to take medication? These answers will determine which options are best to consider.
2. How Much Help Will be Available from Family Members and Friends
If you have a network of family and friends who can donate some of their time to care, you may not need as much help as you initially thought. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that these arrangements will continue forever.
Even the most dedicated relatives’ ability to help may change as they take on more work or more responsibilities with other family members. Look for family members who have long-term availability and can continue to help for years if necessary.
3. How Much Additional Help is Needed
If there’s a gap between the individual’s needs and the help relatives and friends can give, you’ll need additional assistance. Look closely at each list to determine what services need to be covered.
4. Compare the Pros and Cons of Each Option with the Services You Need
Use the chart above to evaluate your options. Now that you know what is really needed, you can see which pros are most important and which cons are deal breakers.
Sunrise Services offers nearly 40 years of experience in care. We pride ourselves in offering services tailored to each individual and providing compassion. Whether you choose to partner with Sunrise for home care, train to become a caregiver, or move to an adult family home, we can help you rise to the occasion.
Sunrise Can Help You Get Quality Care