Assisted Living vs Home Care: Family Senior Care Options
As cherished family members or loved ones age, they may need more daily, specialized care and accommodations to support optimal physical and mental health. Seniors often require more assistance in necessary daily activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and attending medical or social appointments.
Senior care can be challenging for both seniors and their family members committed to a safe but independent lifestyle. Seniors live healthier, fuller lives with healthy diets, safely guided physical activity, intentional cognitive care, and socialization and community involvement.
However, the level of care necessary to provide a good quality of life for seniors can often take time and effort for families to manage independently. Family members want their loved ones to receive the care they need in a clean, professional setting that offers safety, comforts of home, and social interactions. Seniors need care and support to promote good health and safety without losing their independence and vitality. Oftentimes, families find they need help to manage this level of care while maintaining their own busy lives.
Assisted living and home care are the two most common options that family members consider when they need help to care for aging loved ones. Choosing the best option for your family is a very personal and emotionally charged decision that deserves thoughtful consideration of family members’ needs, expectations, and long-term goals and desires for care in safe living situations.
Understanding your senior care options and exploring the differences between assisted living vs home care and what each choice will mean for your family is essential in this process.
Vivante Assisted Living and Memory Care counsels families on this important decision every day, and we wanted to share the most important points of consideration that we frequently discuss with families who are comparing assisted living vs home care and are committed to providing the best senior care options for their loved ones as they age.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a community-based facility that provides professional, basic medical support and assistance for seniors who need more care in their daily lives as they age. Assisted living communities offer senior residents and their families many services to support health and care for aging family members and loved ones. These assisted living services may include:
- Assisting with bathing and dressing
- Preparing healthy and delicious meals
- Managing medications
- Providing transportation
- Social activities
Specialized assisted living communities may also provide specialized mental care services such as memory and cognitive care to help manage mental health alongside physical health and daily assistance. The Shores at Vivante offers compassionate memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions.
Assisted living facilities typically offer medical support, ensuring residents have a nurse on staff 24/. In addition, Vivante’s groundbreaking partnership with Hoag brings medicine to the patient, offering medical appointments, physical therapy and occupational therapy on site,
What Is Home Care?
Home care is a service in which trained medical professionals, caregivers, or family members come to a senior’s home to provide care and help with daily activities. Home care can be set up part-time or full-time depending on how much care and daily assistance a senior requires to live safely at home. Home care services typically include bathing, dressing, meals, and dispensing medications.
What’s the Difference Between These Two?
Choosing the best senior care options for your family and loved ones involves understanding all your options and carefully weighing the advantages and drawbacks for your family. This is a very individualized choice and understanding the differences between assisted living and home care will help you make decisions that benefit everyone involved. The best scenario is always achieved when seniors and their families feel comfortable and confident in the care choices they’ve made together.
Here’s a closer look at the key differences between assisted living and home care to help inform your senior care decisions:
The setting where senior care takes place is one of the major differences between assisted living and home care. In assisted living, senior family members are cared for in a community setting with trained medical and care staff to help seniors with all their daily activities, including bathing, meals, medications, and transportation to appointments.
With home care, on the other hand, a caregiver comes to the senior’s home each day to help provide meals and support in daily activities.
Physical & Mental Health Care Services Available
Assisted living facilities provide various services such as healthy meals, medication management, transportation, social interactions, cognitive care, and emergency medical care. Services in assisted living are carefully constructed and guided by medical, nutrition, and caregiving professionals in a safe community setting.
Home care, though, is designed to give seniors daily living support in the comfort of their own homes to ensure they have help with the things that might be becoming more difficult or unmanageable as they age, such as bathing, dressing, housekeeping, and meal preparation. Caregivers typically do not have medical training and seniors are still required to go to medical appointments.
Social Interaction Opportunities
In assisted living, senior residents have social interaction opportunities through both planned activities and natural community interactions and bonds. Many facilities offer group classes centered around exercise, meals, arts and crafts, and entertainment, allowing seniors to promote cognitive health through fun and engaging community activities.
On the other hand, home care provides support and care to safely accomplish daily activities around health and wellness. Still, interaction with others is more limited when a senior is being cared for in their own home. Many seniors experience isolation and loneliness, which can negatively impact their physical and mental health.
Level of Care & Personalized Attention
Assisted living facilities can provide professional medical, mental, and daily care for seniors in community settings. Established facilities for an assisted living tend to have more resources and provide more consistency and better overall care with dedicated staff trained in senior care and wellness.
Home care, while convenient and supportive of a senior’s desire to remain independently at home, typically provides less specialized and dedicated care and virtually no medical care than assisted living.
Independence is an important component of senior care. In assisted living centers, residents are allowed to live an independent lifestyle with their own apartments, meals, and social activities. Seniors in assisted living also have access to the daily care they need to safely bathe, dress, dine, and get to and from appointments, as well as emergency care when needed.
While in-home care allows seniors to remain at home and receive needed daily care, they will have different and fewer social opportunities and care levels with at-home care.
Quality of Life
Assisted living facilities can provide seniors with a higher quality of life by providing various services and social activities. Seniors thrive when feeling like part of a larger community. They can also help reduce the stress and burden on family members who may be responsible for their care. Home care can provide seniors with the comfort and familiarity of their own home but may provide a different level of social interaction and services.
The costs of assisted living vs home care can vary, and due to the specialized, 24/7 care provided by assisted living facilities tends to be more expensive. Assisted living communities charge a monthly fee for all the care and services provided to seniors. On the other hand, home health care is usually charged by the hour, so families only pay for the hours a caregiver works each day, which can work out to be much more expensive than assisted living if round the clock care is required.
Advantages of Assisted Living Communities
In assisted living, trained professionals provide seniors with physical and medical health services, create social interaction opportunities, and have higher standards for care. There are many advantages to assisted living, which include:
- Assisted living communities are designed to ensure seniors can safely live and move about the facilities with necessary accommodations such as wheelchair access, safety handrails and grab bars, and 24/7 emergency care.
- Professional, Personal Care
- Seniors in assisted living can be provided with the daily one on one care they need for health and wellness, from bathing and dressing to medications and meals.
- Social activities such as special events, exercise classes, arts and crafts, book clubs, and communal meals help seniors stay socially engaged and foster friendships and well-being.
- Amenities & Transportation
- Assisted living communities typically offer residents amenities to support independent, safe living with housekeeping, meals and snacks throughout the day, and transportation.
Advantages of Home Care
Home health care can provide seniors with the assistance and care they need to remain in their homes while maintaining their independence.
Some of the advantages of home care include:
- Independence and Autonomy
- Many seniors prefer to stay at home as long as possible to maintain their routines and independence.
- Familiarity and a sense of home
- Being at home with familiar surroundings can give seniors a sense of comfort and familiarity.
- Personalized home care on an as-needed basis
- Home care can be customized to your family’s needs to make sure senior care is available as needed.
Making the Decision Between Assisted Living & Home Care
Spending precious time with family and loved ones in the sunset of life can be a joyous and fulfilling experience for seniors and their family members. However, caring for an aging loved one and providing all the health and safety measures needed to ensure independent, safe, and fulfilled lifestyles can be overwhelming for families providing daily care. Trying to balance senior care while fostering strong family connections and relationships can be very difficult and lead to burnout, creating stress and sadness in family bonds and dynamics instead.
When families and loved ones can no longer manage senior care alone, they come to a critical crossroads. They must make decisions that benefit the entire family most when deciding between assisted living and home care.
Vivante Assisted Living and Memory Care believes that quality senior care involves a delicate intersection of seniors, families, loved ones, and assisted living care teams working together to foster vitality, care, and socialization safely.
Contact Us today to learn more about our assisted living facilities, social activities, and cognitive and memory health programs. We can help you understand the options available for your family, address your questions and concerns, and guide you through this vital decision-making process to ensure that you feel calm, confident, and secure in your choices for senior care.