In the lives of most seniors, there comes a time when it becomes clear they need assistance and care every day. When this time comes, it can be an overwhelming process for seniors and their loved ones to decide what the next steps should be. Often the choice comes down between two options: assisted living or in-home care. 

When deciding between the two, there are a lot of considerations that need to be made, such as:

  • How much supervision is needed from trained staff? 
  • Where is the senior most comfortable?
  • How important is the opportunity to socialize?

This article will help you decide which is the best for you or your loved one when the conversation is in-home care vs. assisted living. 

What Is the Difference Between In-Home Care and Assisted Living?

When you or a loved one can no longer care for yourself completely, in-home care or assisted living is needed to ensure health, safety, and wellbeing. 

In-home care is just what it sounds like — care that takes place in the older adult’s home. The level of care that is given depends on the level of care needed. Usually, services provided include assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, and basic housekeeping tasks, such as running errands, cooking, and cleaning. 

Families can choose to have a live-in caregiver or a caregiver that comes in a few hours a day a few times a week, depending on how much care the older adult needs. 

On the other hand, assisted living requires the senior to move from their home to an assisted living community. There, seniors receive help with daily tasks, round-the-clock staffing, provided meals, and opportunities for activity and socialization. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of In-Home Care?

The biggest and most obvious benefit of in-home care is a senior gets to age among familiar surroundings. Additionally, seniors and their loved ones decide who provides care in the home to ensure that they are a good match. 

In-home care also makes it easier to customize the senior’s care based on their needs. Some older adults may be social and need transportation to community events, while other seniors may prefer to stay home and need help with household chores more. Seniors and their loved ones can work with caregivers to customize their care. 

However, if the senior needs care and assistance 24/7, the cost can be very high when looking at in-home care. Unless there are family members or loved ones who are willing to assist in care or cover when care is unavailable, an around-the-clock caregiver is costly. Also, any modifications that need to be made to the home, such as wheelchair ramps or safety measures to prevent falls, are the homeowner’s responsibility or the family’s. 

In-home care also tends to lead to more social isolation. While the caregiver provides a certain level of companionship, if they aren’t in the home 24/7, the older adult can be cut off from the world. This kind of isolation can lead to loneliness and depression, which can lead to cognitive decline. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Assisted Living?

One of the biggest benefits of assisted living is care being provided 24/7. For seniors who may need help or assistance in the middle of the night, or for loved ones who want peace of mind that their senior is always being looked after, this is a huge consideration to keep in mind. 

Assisted living communities also offer ample opportunities for seniors to socialize with one another. However, this could be a downside for an older adult who is not very social or not interested in group activities. However, whether engaging in organized activities planned by the facility or just sharing a meal with friends in the common dining room, seniors who call assisted living home have ample opportunities to keep social isolation and loneliness at bay. 

Unlike in-home care, older adults and their loved ones do not have any decision-making power in who is hired and assigned to their care. Since frequent staff changes are more common in assisted living, consistency in one-on-one care can be difficult to maintain. 

Making the Decision

When it comes to making the right decision between home care or assisted living, it’s important that you:

  1. Conduct a Needs Assessment

Make a thorough and honest assessment about the kind and amount of care you or your loved one needs to maintain an excellent life quality.

  1. Do Your Research

Ensure you have a clear understanding of what in-home care and assisted living entail to help you better understand which can offer you what you need best. 

  1. Look at Your Financial Situation

Look carefully at how much you could afford monthly with assistance and out-of-pocket. If you’re looking into home care, don’t forget to consider the money that would be spent on meals, home repairs, and utilities. 

  1. Work as a Team

This is a big decision and not one to be made alone. Involve the whole family in the decision-making process and work as a team to ensure the best possible scenario plays out for all affected. 

You don’t have to make this decision alone. The care team at Elder Care Alliance is ready to assist you or your loved ones in evaluating which option is best for you. Contact one of our professionals today to discuss both options or schedule a virtual tour of one of our communities.