What You Don’t Know About Assisted Living vs Home Care

Here’s an inside look at the differences between assisted living vs home care. We will explore the pros & cons of each option and what you can expect to pay.

Is your elderly parent having a hard time caring for themselves? Maybe they call you every other day to change a light bulb or take them to the grocery store, or maybe they try to hide it under a facade of “everything’s alright.”

But when you get that looming suspicion that your parent needs more help, it can be hard to decide the next steps.

Lucky for you, there are many different care options that will cater to their specific level of need. If your parent doesn’t have any medical requirements, then you’ll probably be looking at assisted living vs home care.

Don’t know what they are or what the difference is? Keep reading to get everything you need to make an informed decision with your parent.

Assisted Living

You may be thinking that your only option to get more care for mom or dad is to put them in a “home.” But there are various different facilities, including assisted living, nursing homes, and dementia/Alzheimer’s care facilities.

Out of the three, assisted living facilities will allow your parent to retain the most independence, although they will have to downsize their belongings. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what an assisted living facility really is.

Care Provided

An assisted living facility is a great option to allow your parent to stay independent while getting them the help they need.

Most facilities offer two hours a day of personal care, which includes things like helping them get dressed, brushing their teeth, bathing, and fixing their hair. Additionally, there is typically a housekeeper which can help with routine cleaning, like dusting and vacuuming.

But that doesn’t mean your parent is limited to just two hours a day of care. Assisted living facilities have caregivers and housekeepers on site 24/7 in case your parent needs help getting up from a fall or cleaning up a spill.

You can also talk to the facility about providing more than two hours of help. Make sure to set up a daily schedule, so your parent will know when the caregiver will come.

The most important thing to remember is that this is not a medical facility. While many will provide basic services, like medication management and emergency first aid, you should look into other options if your parent requires daily medical care.

Socializing

If your parent is divorced or the other parent has passed, chances are they might feel very lonely. Making friends and socializing is one of the best ways to lift their spirits.

Assisted living facilities are excellent at helping seniors meet new people and maintain friendships.

Not only will your parent have plenty of neighbors located in the same building as them, but the facilities have sanctioned events to promote socializing. This could be anything from book clubs and bingo nights to fitness classes and planned outings to the mall or movie theater.

Cost

Of course, the cost is another important factor to consider when deciding between assisted living vs home care. You want to make sure your parent (or you) can afford the option you choose and afford a more expensive facility in the future if they need more care.

The average cost of an assisted living facility is $41,724 a year ($3,477 a month). This may seem like a lot, but it’s very comprehensive. Rent, cost of care (both personal care and housekeeping), maintenance fees, utilities, and social activities are all typically covered under that cost.

Most facilities also have a cafeteria or meal delivery service on site, so check to see if meals are included. Of course, if you parent wishes to cook their own meals, grocery bills are not included.

Home Care

Right about now, you may be thinking that assisted living sounds like a great option, and it is!

But many seniors want to stay at home as long as possible. Not only do they feel this is the best way to stay independent, but there are tons of memories wrapped up in their home that they may not be ready to part with.

If your parent wishes to stay at home, you could hire a home care company. Below we’ll look at what exactly that entails.

Care Provided

The care provided by home care companies is more or less the same as what is provided in assisted living facilities. A caregiver can provide both personal care and light housekeeping. However, “heavy housekeeping”, like shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, and mowing the lawn, is usually not provided.

Additionally, caregivers can also cook meals and run errands for your parent. If you parent wants to stay involved, a caregiver could also drive your parent and help them with their errands.

Just like with assisted living, home care is not medical care. But some home care companies are adding a home health care component in which they hire nurses who can help with various medical needs.

The amount of care you get depends on what you and your parent decide. Caregivers are hired by the hour, so you may choose to have them in for a couple hours to help with their morning routine or to have a caregiver present 24/7. You can learn more about the value of home care here.

Socializing

Many home care companies realize the importance of socializing and strive to include that in their plan of care. Meaning, your caregiver will try to strike up conversations and offer a social component to their visit.

With that being said, your parent may prefer friendship from other seniors. A caregiver can offer rides to senior centers or various senior actives in the area to keep your parent engaged.

Cost

Calculating the cost of home care can be tricky.

The average caregiver costs $19 an hour. So, if you only need a caregiver in for 2 hours every morning, that’s $13,832 a year. Compared to $41,724 a year that it costs to live in an assisted living facility, home care may seem like a steal!

Assisted Living vs Home Care: Which Is Right for Your Parent?

Choosing the right care option for your parent can be challenging. But we hope this breakdown of assisted living vs home care has helped make your decision a little easier.

Are you worried your parent isn’t exercising or eating right? Check out our health and fitness blog for more information to help them stay healthy.

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