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by | Jun 2, 2022

In-Home Care vs. Nursing Home: How to Choose


Senior Care in Their Golden Years

Aging seniors face many challenges today. Rising health care costs, distance in family proximity, and much more. Having the best care for seniors starts with evaluating their needs and abilities as an individual. Some need around-the-clock care at a specialist facility. Others may simply need to be around other seniors sometimes for encouragement. Yet others want to maintain an independent lifestyle, and simply want help when needed.

Changing Senior Care Options

With rising costs of nursing homes, as well as heavy regulations of retirement and care facilities and programs, many seniors and their family loved ones are looking for alternatives to being “put in a nursing home”.

One of the biggest changes to senior care in the past 20 years is the trend toward in-home care (2). In-home care gives seniors the freedom, independence, and flexibility of remaining in their own homes while having to visit care from a trained and qualified caregiver when they need it. Some seniors only need in-home visits a couple of hours a day. Some weekly. And in other cases, seniors request nearly full-time care. Whatever the schedule, in-home care gives the care they need, inside the comfort and convenience of their own home.

What is In-Home Care?

In-home care works by having a caregiver matched with an elderly client. The caregiver comes to their personal home, to provide requested care that may be needed. This may include tasks like cooking, cleaning, organizing, or even social activities like trips together to church, shopping, or game nights. The companionship, combined with practical and physical assistance, can be an important help when needed most. 

It also benefits family and loved ones, by reducing stress and burdens that are associated with regular care. In-home care allows seniors to remain semi or fully independent, as well as rest in the comforts of the environment they are used to.

Pros and Cons of In-Home Care

Before choosing in-home care, consider some of the benefits and disadvantages of this unique service:


  • Aging in the comfort of home
  • Convenience and flexibility
  • More personal care from a dedicated caregiver
  • Potential for substantial cost savings (no facility overhead)
  • Greater independence
  • Easier for visits and other family/friends


  • Less access to a diversity of immediate health care staff
  • Can sometimes feel lonely if no initiative is taken for social activities
  • Hassles of running home if care is limited

What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes, on the other hand, have a wide range of care and environments. Some are large facilities with much round-the-clock staff and structured activities throughout the day. Other nursing homes are smaller and may be family-managed in the size of a large house. Regardless, nursing homes do provide a valuable service, especially for seniors who are limited in their independence and prefer to be around other elderly all the time.

Pros and Cons of a Nursing Home

When deciding on whether to use a nursing home, do your research. Many are heavily regulated because of abuses in the past, and thereby have consistent pros and cons across the board.


  • Typically on-site, 24-hour staff is available
  • Meeting other friends among the elderly is easy; . . . they are always there.
  • Social activities are often on the schedule
  • Meals are usually part of the cost package
  • Relief from the hassles of keeping up one’s home


  • High cost: Facility overhead, full-time staff, regulations. . . they all add up.
  • Loss of independence
  • Feeling of being “cooped up”
  • More difficult for visitation
  • Institutional environment: less comfortable

Independent Living

If your goal is to develop or maintain an independent lifestyle, in-home care might be the best choice. It allows you or your loved one to remain at home, and have some sense of control and independent decision making. With an in-home caregiver, certain tasks and chores can be shared, reducing the burden of remaining at home, while allowing for independence. Many seniors are opting for in-home care to allow them to keep a feeling of dignity and independence as long as they are able.

Care and Compassion

One of the important aspects to look for when searching for either in-home care or nursing home is to find compassionate care. Caregivers and staff who are trained to assist with a smile, listen, and be involved in your life are essential. Anyone can take care of tasks and chores. It takes a caring, empathetic, and listening ear to understand the stresses that the elderly deal with in their golden years.

Being matched with a caregiver that not only performs tasks on a checklist but takes time to ask questions about family, life, spirituality, struggles, dreams, and passions is important. Seniors often feel left out or unappreciated. Having a caregiver who actually cares and is involved in their life will make all the difference.

Verdict: Our Recommendation

After evaluating all of the benefits and options, we feel in-home care is the best option for most senior lifestyles. With the right involvement in activities and social life, along with the right balance of medically supervised care, in-home care can meet or exceed the benefits provided at nursing homes, at a much lower cost.

Remaining in a comfortable, familiar environment, and keeping independence, all while having the helpful assistance of a caregiver, make in-home care shine.

How to Choose the Right In-Home Care

When searching for in-home care providers, start by looking for agencies and companies that manage it. This is far better and safer than looking for an independent caregiver. Caregiving companies have a wide range of trained caregivers that can be a suitable match. In addition, there are backups available if your caregiver is sick or on vacation. In addition, there is an added assurance of supervision, customer service, and accountability that is not found with independent caregivers.

Next, you’ll want to ask for references or look through online reviews. Look for reviews that fully describe the care and services provided. If issues arose, did the in-home care company take care of them quickly? Seeing others’ experiences is powerful in understanding how your experience will be.

Finally, coming up with a schedule is important. Not all in-home care companies are created equal. Look for ones that are somewhat flexible, and offer many options for care. For example, home helper services from Golden Years In-Home Senior Care in Sacramento California, give clients the choice of having “drop-ins” and scheduled daily assistance during the times of the day they need it most. Other in-home care may offer evening visits, bathing time visits, once-a-week care, and more. Decide what works best for your family and personal schedule and budget. 

Long-term Benefits of In-Home Care

Over the long-term, the benefits of in-home care are obvious. There is even research that shows greater memory retention from simply being around the little organizational tasks needed for being at home. (1). While there are certain situations that would require a stay in a dedicated facility, aging in your golden years at home can be quite enjoyable and satisfying. 


About the authors:

 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.



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.