Assisted Living Vs. Home Care: What’s The Difference?

Posted by Machelle Thompson on Jun 30, 2015 8:42:00 AM

assisted-living-vs-home-careAssisting your loved one in creating a long-term plan for their care is one meaningful way of showing your loved one support. With a multitude of long-term care options available, you want to ensure you choose the plan that best fits your senior’s health needs and lifestyle.

One of the most common debates among individuals seeking long-term care for the aging adult in their life is whether assisted living or home care is their senior’s best choice. Before you make a decision, it’s important to understand the difference between these two elder care options.

If the senior in your life is no longer able to live on their own and you are preparing to make a decision in regards to their long-term care, read on to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of assisted living and at-home care.

Assisted Living

When your senior lives in an assisted living facility, they are provided an apartment that is usually cleaned once a week. Their bed is made for them each morning, and the apartment is set up for ease of use, especially if your loved one’s physical condition requires accessible facilities.

Additionally, assisted living facilities provide seniors three meals per day at a scheduled time. Some seniors dislike having to eat at a certain time each day because they prefer to eat earlier or later. This is one of the drawbacks of assisted living (although meal preparation is an advantage). Most facilities have assigned table seating, where each person will eat their meals with assigned tablemates. Other facilities offer buffet-style meals and open seating of your choice.

Seniors who live in an assisted living facility are given the opportunity to participate in activities both within and outside the facility so they do not become socially isolated. Your loved one has the option of attending some of the following events:

  • Crafts, music, bridge, bingo and other games
  • Movie night or live entertainment
  • Weekly trips to the drugstore or mall
  • Bus trips to excursions such as museums, etc.
  • Onsite hair and nail salon

In some cases, however, seniors who are not used to so much social activity might become stressed from the perceived pressure to participate in events and may become more socially isolated as a result.

Home Care

The most significant difference between assisted living and elderly home care is that senior home care provides more one-on-one assistance and adopts a more personal approach. In-home senior care is beneficial for people who need more attention for cognitive or functional reasons. An individual may choose hourly care or up to live-in care, depending on the need for support.

Your loved one’s senior caregiver keeps a schedule based on your senior’s normal routine, habits and meal preferences. Seniors are able to live in the home they have grown accustomed to and they experience less stress when they live by their own schedule.

As far as social activities are concerned, your loved one’s caregiver is able to accompany your loved one to the movies, shopping, out to lunch with friends or to a senior center. A caregiver will also assist your senior as needed, should they choose to invite friends over to their home for a meal or a visit.

While many people will need to make some safety modifications in their home to promote accessibility, safety and independence, these modifications are usually easy and inexpensive. Some of the common modifications that need to be made include installing handrails at steps to enter or exit the home, safety bars in the shower or tub structure, a shower chair or tub transfer bench for bathing or a stair lift.

While it’s not impossible to change your mind after making a decision in regards to your senior’s long-term care, it is best for your senior’s sense of comfort and stability to choose the right option the first time.

If you have questions about senior caregiver services and whether at-home care is an appropriate option for your loved one, a Geriatric Care Manager is able to help you start planning for your loved one’s later adult years.

Ready to discover more about providing your aging loved one with the care they need? Download this comprehensive guide to home care and other long-term care options.

Download My Long-Term Care Guide


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