Everything You Need to Know: Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care

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Deciding between assisted living and in-home care is not easy. While they both help seniors, there are big differences between the two that are important when making the decision.

Assisted Living

An assisted living facility is a popular option for seniors who need daily support, but want to preserve their privacy. This setting allows seniors to have their own room, but staff is available to tend to their needs such as daily living activities (bathing, preparing meals, cleaning, etc.).

When making a decision about assisted living, it is important to consider physical, emotional, and financial capability. Those who lack mobility, are unable to care for themselves, and/or maintain a home may find assisted living facilities perfect. Seniors fare the best in an assisted living facility want to live there because they know they are receiving the care they need, and enjoy having people help them. Those who are not emotionally ready for an assisted living facility can become upset, which decreases the quality of their life. The financial aspect can be difficult for some seniors, as the average cost of assisted living facilities is $45,000/year. You should consider setting aside money for this expense now, if you plan to use an assisted living facility for your loved one or yourself some day. It is also a good idea to consider that only about a third of residents end up spending the rest of their life in this setting. Many seniors need a higher level of care as they grow older, which can be more expensive. Insurance is a possibility, but not all Long Term Care Policies cover assisted living. Call your loved one’s insurance company for information on what your loved one’s financial responsibility will be when living in an assisted living facility.

In-Home Care

In-home care helps seniors stay in their home longer. Nurses and aides come to the home to help older individuals with daily activities such as cleaning, cooking, and medication management.

This level of care is much lower than an assisted living facility because the seniors lives alone at home. It is best for seniors who are still able to care for themselves without risk to their health and safety. Fall risks are the most common concerns with seniors living independently at home, since one of three seniors suffer a fall each year, according to the CDC. In-home care services can help seniors decrease the risk of falls and other safety concerns by helping them with exercise to increase strength and improve balance, such as lifting lightweight and doing chair yoga. They can also inspect the home for any safety hazards such as ensuring furniture is not in the way, handrails are secured, and there are no loose rugs that could slip under the senior’s feet.

Since the level of care for in-home services is much lower, it doesn’t cost as much as assisted living. While rates for in-home care professionals vary, the average is $19 an hour. Since many families can afford the cost of in-home services, they usually try this option first to see if it is enough to care for their senior. However, the stage in which a senior needs in-home can be short. When many seniors begin to decline physically and cognitively, it can be a short time before they need a higher level of care. 

HExL‘s CEO Richard A. Kimball, Jr. was quoted saying “The era of preventive medicine and home healthcare monitoring is on the rise. The full integration of telemedicine in our healthcare delivery system is not far off as developments in technology continue along with the improvements in reimbursement.”

Assisted living facilities offer seniors a high level of care than they can get with in-home services. Deciding which one is best for your older loved ones means considering their physical, mental, and financial capabilities. Take some time to review this information with your older loved one to make the right decision for both of you.

Greg Nield is the administrator of Ashford Assisted Living and Memory Care in Highland, Utah. He has a degree in administration from Utah Valley University. He can be reached at 801-610-3500 or by email at greg@ashfordutah.com.

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