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by | Mar 9, 2022

In-Home Care vs. Assisted Living: Which is Best?

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The Need for Proper Senior Care

As we age, the need for assistance and care in everyday activities becomes more essential. Whether it is the simple things like taking out the trash, to more medically-focussed activities like handling medical appointments, daily life activities can be a heavy burden for most seniors. Even daily personal needs like bathing can be extremely difficult for some. A companion who helps in these normal duties can provide much needed help when the body is aging.

The Right Care for Elderly 

Seniors in their golden years today have many options for care. Finding the right care for elderly can be confusing. There is a wide range of care options. Some of these include:

  • Home Care
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Senior Homes
  • Retirement Communities
  • Nursing Homes
  • Respite Care
  • Memory Care facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospice
  • Semi-independent living
  • And a growing list of specialty care

With all of the options, how does one choose? In addition, there are many parties involved in the decision. What if an elderly senior despises care, yet obviously needs it? What if they are not in the mental or emotional capacity to make the right decision? In addition, there are a wide range of costs and burdens with the various elderly care options.

Ultimately, adult children of elderly often play the greatest part in making decisions about care. And this can be an emotional choice. Feelings, money, insurance and siblings can all be involved; . . . making it a hard choice. 

Two of the most used senior care options include home care and assisted living centers. Let’s delve into both of them.

What Is Home Care?

Home Care is unique in that a caregiver comes directly to a senior’s home. Whether the senior lives with their adult children, or they live separately with others or in their own home alone, home care comes to their residence. These care professionals can be a wide range of medical professionals like doctors-on-call, visiting nurses, or non-medical such as standard home caregivers, or specialty trained caregivers. These caregivers are experienced and trained in being “inside” the life of an elderly person.

Home care can be simple, infrequent, or as much as 24/7 full-time care. This gives many options for users of home care. Finding a caregiver of any specialty is widely available.

Pros of Home Care

  • Allows for the greatest independence
  • Comfort of remaining at home
  • Familiar surroundings
  • Evidence of higher recovery and healing
  • Potentially lower cost than an assisted living center
  • Flexibility of schedule and time
  • Can retain much of what is importance (keepsakes, memories of their neighborhood, pets)
  • Much easier for family members to visit
  • Little to no disruption

Cons of Home Care

  • Less suitable for medically-critical conditions
  • Alone if no family members or caregivers are present
  • Further distance from on-site medical professionals

The Cost of Home Care

Home Care, because it occurs in a senior’s home benefits from lower costs. Because there are no major expenses of operating a large facility, home care has a lower-cost advantage. The cost of home care can be up to 50% less than dedicated elderly facilities. If an assisted living center is $7,500 a month, you can expect to pay a home care agency about $3,500 monthly for a 40/hr a week care plan.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living is typically defined as personal assistance in a dedicated facility or building. These facilities are often operated by senior care companies, hospital networks, and nursing home organizations. Residents relocate from their home to an assisted living facility to reside full-time in a hotel-like environment with many personal services available. These on-site services can include a full foodservice with 3-meals a day. In addition, there are a wide range of 24-hours-a-day staff such as nurses, CNAs, and caregivers to help residents with walking, bathing, and social activities.

Pros of Assisted Living

  • Greater variety of staff and care on-site
  • Meals, cleaning, and a professionally-managed facility
  • Social environment, with a greater opportunity to interact with others
  • Safety and services designed throughout the facility.

In addition to these pros, many of these facilities offer full care and taking on of daily responsibility that normally family members would share.

Cons of Assisted Living

  • Typically higher costs than home care and standard senior care homes
  • Loss of much independence. (Dependent on staff, and remaining inside the walls of a managed facility)
  • Highly difficult (compared with home care) for family and friend visits. Often, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, these facilities have limits on visitation.
  • The feeling of being “stuck inside” a facility
  • Institutional, and loss of familiar surroundings of home
  • Greater likelihood of exposure to diseases, sickness, etc.

The Cost of Assisted Living

Costs of Assisted Living have continued to rise. Much of this has occurred due to real-estate costs, and increasing government regulations for dedicated facilities. These regulations often do not affect a person’s private home, leaving a greater gap in home care vs. assisted living costs. Nursing home and assisted living can start at $6,000 a month, requiring insurance or other outside funds.

Finding the Right Home Care for Seniors

Finding the right home care can be a challenge. There are many large national chains that offer homecare, however, they typically have high caregiver staff shortages and turnover. This is often due to lower pay, and a competitive job environment. In many cases, there is a better chance to find long-term dedicated home care through a locally owned home care agency or a small chain that has been in the local area for a long time.

In addition, many home care agencies advertise many types of care offered, but in reality cannot provide this care due to staff training and license limitations. All of this can make it difficult to find the right home care provider.

We recommend definitely checking reviews and length of service. In addition, is the agency large enough to provide replacements when the primary caregiver is not available? Also, is it small enough to know the local area. The better qualified caregivers tend to prefer to work for locally-owned agencies due to the ease and access to company support, and typically better pay and employee care.

How to Be Admitted to Assisted Living

Assisted Living Centers often have long waiting lists. And admittance can sometimes be regulated in some states. Some assisted living centers require referrals, or work in conjunction with a hospital. This can create quite a challenge for being admitted.

In addition, it will require a tour and on-site consultation. 

However, some senior care agencies, and even home care companies have working relationships with assisted living centers and can provide that valuable referral and assisted living placement if needed. 

Making the Right Choice

In most cases, choosing home care over assisted living is going to be the better choice. If your elderly loved one has some independent capacity, and like most, prefers to live at home, you will find home care a more affordable solution. In addition, all of the psychological and emotional benefits of familiarity with home, and retaining some level of independence will all make a big difference. 

In addition, home care companies are a good “bridge” option for transitioning into assisted living care if they need it in the future. They can document and work through preferred styles of care, and pass that along, in addition to a referral, to an assisted living center that works best.

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About the author:

 Mike Cutler writes on senior lifestyles elderly care, and homecare. Enjoying living in a multi-generational household, along with senior care are some of his passions. He lives with his family in Reno NV and enjoys going to the Sierra Nevada mountains for hiking and family activities.

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References

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Golden Years

Privately Owned, Locally Established

As a privately-owned local company, Golden Years is well equip to adapt to each client’s needs on an individualized basis. We are not a franchise.
And because we are local, we are able to consult our care team concerning our clients care needs in a quick and efficient way. Our clients are our first priority. Nothing is more important to us than providing superior quality care for you or your loved.

Intensive Caregiver Training

At this time California has very few state requirements for caregivers. For this reason, many home care providers are not obligated to hire caregiver with formal training.
Golden Years always goes above and beyond the minimum requirements to ensure your loved one receives the best care possible. Each Golden Years caregiver completes Golden Years Academy, an orientation training program which ensures our caregivers have a complete understanding of all the essential care techniques. This provides for a safe, and effective home care experience.

Immediate Caregiver Response Time

Golden Years is available by phone 24/7.

Local Golden Years representatives are available to meet with clients for any reason.

We are here for you, at your convenience, to discuss any care needs or concerns. And we will create a customized solution for any care concern. In addition, we can schedule an in person meeting any day, and most times, available within a few hours. Lastly, we are available during the day, evening, or weekends. We will work around your schedule.

With Golden Years, clients and professional care partners can call anytime to speak with live staff 24/7.

Complimentary Nurse Wellness Visits

Every client receives a complimentary wellness visit within 30 days of care service from Golden Years' own nursing staff.

Although no regulations require nurse oversight in California, Golden Years goes above and beyond the industry standard. Our clients are routinely visited by a Golden Years nurse. Each visit consists of a wellness check where our nurse discusses care needs and takes notes pertaining to the overall wellness of the client. These notes are submitted to our care team for review, where care changes are discussed and implemented after the family’s approval. We go the extra mile to ensure your loved one receives the best care possible. We ca say with confidence, you won’t find any other locally owned care provider who will care for you or your loved one like us – By the way, there is never a fee for this service, it’s always free.

Specialized Care Management Program

At Golden Years In-Home Care, each client is assigned a dedicated Care Manager, ensuring personalized care that is second to none. This manager is available for questions, support, and scheduling changes.

Care Managers develop personal relationships with clients and their families, gaining insight into specific preferences and needs. This allows for effective communication, ensuring caregivers follow the care plan and adjust as needed.

Care Managers oversee caregivers, arrange services, make supervisory visits to seniors' homes, and conduct monthly wellness calls to families. They are specially trained to handle all client requests, providing comprehensive support for every client.