Elder Care Options in Washington State: A Quick Guide For Families

Last updated on May 30th, 2024 at 07:33 pm

Most people will need some form of long-term care services during their lifetimes, especially as they age. But with all the different elder care options available today, it can be hard to figure out what’s best for your loved ones. 

At Sunrise Services, we help many older adults find the care resources they need throughout the Puget Sound region. Below, we will explain the differences between three common types of care: home care, assisted living, and adult family homes (AFHs).


Home Care


Home care is a way to receive help with personal care and housekeeping tasks without the need to move into a different residence. It’s a flexible caregiving option that caters to individuals’ daily living needs while allowing them to stay in the comfort of their own homes.

This service can encompass a wide range of tasks, including the following: 

  • Assistance with bathing
  • Assistance with dressing
  • Housekeeping chores
  • Meal preparation
  • Errands
  • Medication management
  • Access to healthcare appointments
  • Regular companionship

The main goal of home care is to support individuals in their chosen home environment and foster the best possible quality of life. It is often a good choice for people who only need minor to moderate assistance or short-term care.


Assisted Living: Comprehensive Care in Residential Comfort

Senior man and woman with their caregivers

Assisted living provides a higher level of care than you could receive with home care, but the care recipient must move into a residential setting that has additional amenities. These homes offer round-the-clock care, more direct healthcare access, meals, and an array of services comparable to home care. Beyond basic caregiving, many assisted living facilities also provide times for socialization, fun community activities, and exercise opportunities based on residents’ abilities. 

Assisted living offers a holistic approach to well-being within a supportive community environment. This care option can work well for people who need more care than family members or regular home care aides can provide. 


Adult Family Homes (AFHs)

Adult Family Homes, also known as Adult Care Homes or Residential Care, are an alternative care option that is somewhere between home care and assisted living. They offer an intimate care setting in a home with a smaller number of residents. These homes offer services akin to home care, coupled with room and board as well as access to social activities.

In Washington State, AFHs must be licensed by the Department of Social and Health Services. They are operated by certified caregivers, medical professionals, or para-professionals. Staff members are certified in caregiving, CPR, and first aid to ensure a high standard of care. 

Some AFHs specialize in care for individuals with developmental disabilities, dementia, or mental health needs. These homes are an excellent choice for individuals with less predictable care requirements, as they offer one-on-one attention and a secure, comfortable living environment. However, they cannot always provide sufficient care for people with complex medical issues or certain types of safety concerns.


Elder Care Resources in Washington State

If you need help caring for an older adult in the Puget Sound area, reach out to Sunrise Services. As a care agency, we can help you find a certified Home Care Aide to act as a home caregiver. 

You can find many additional resources from the Washington State government Seniors page. Depending on your needs, you may also want to check out Sunrise’s lists of Western Washington dementia care resources and mental health services.

Sunrise also offers Adult Family Homes in the Puget Sound area with services like:

  • Personal care from professional, compassionate staff with specialized training 
  • Support from a dedicated health department led by a Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Detailed care planning and assessments and care planning
  • Nurse delegation in place

Ready to start looking for a home caregiver or AFH in the Puget Sound area? Get in touch with us today.


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