When it comes to choosing between home care and assisted living, people will typically tell you, “Well, there are pros and cons for each, and it depends on your needs and preferences.” This type of information is somewhat helpful, but it doesn’t assist you with decision-making.
Below, we compare home care and assisted living side by side, provide options to mitigate your concerns, and give guidance on what to choose.
Now get a piece of paper. Once you finish reading a section, check your preferred option. When you finish reading all sections, count the total number of checkmarks for each option, and you will be clear what to choose.
This is a relatively long article. But we believe it is worth the time. 🙂 We hope this will be more helpful than simply listing the pros and cons of each option.
It is obvious that home care allows you to stay in your home, an environment you are most familiar and comfortable with. You are basically living in the community, where your friends and relatives are around.
In contrast, in an assisted living facility, you will be living in a private or semi-private (shared) room or apartment. It is a community of seniors, ranging from those who are fairly independent to those who have a high level of need for assistance with daily living.
Living Environment: ☐ Home Care ☐ Assisted Living ☐ Not Sure
There aren’t many differences in terms of the services offered between home care and assisted living. Both provide assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and personal hygiene. Light housekeeping, laundry, and transportation services are provided on an as-needed basis too.
Neither provides medical care. In some assisted living facilities, a physician or a nurse can provide regular medical checkups, but no around-the-clock medical care is provided, which is available at a nursing home. For individuals eligible for Medicare, medical care might be provided by a visiting physician or nurse.
Service Offering: ☐ Home Care ☐ Assisted Living ☐ Not Sure
One advantage of home care is that it provides consistent care from the same caregiver. A good home care company should make sure you receive consistent care so that you don’t need to worry about caregiver turnover. Depending on how independent you are, it is certainly beneficial to have a family member, a friend, or a neighbor to help you schedule care and make decisions. This is particularly helpful if a care recipient has memory impairment.
The staff of an assisted living often change frequently, and it is harder to maintain service consistency. If needed, however, you can pay out of pocket––in addition to the regular monthly fees––to hire a paid caregiver when living in an assisted living facility.
Service Consistency: ☐ Home Care ☐ Assisted Living ☐ Not Sure
People consider assisted living advantageous in providing 24/7 care. It is true that many assisted living facilities offer around-the-clock care whenever there is a need. Some facilities accommodate seniors with memory impairment and have put in place monitoring systems to prevent them from wandering.
Most home care providers do not have 24-hour on-call services, although some do. But you can certainly equip yourself or your loved one with a medical alert system. In the case of an emergency, there is someone you can depend on, especially if you or your loved one lives alone.
In addition, regular home safety checks and home modifications such as installing grab bars in the bathroom would certainly help prevent injuries. If needed, contact us to obtain a home safety checklist.
Safety: ☐ Home Care ☐ Assisted Living ☐ Not Sure
Some consider assisted living to be advantageous in offering social activities and entertainment, such as playing games, watching movies, wellness classes, and book clubs. But remember, you can find places to do these activities when you live at home. With the help of a caregiver, you can go to different places to join social activities or visit your relatives and friends.
Social Activities: ☐ Home Care ☐ Assisted Living ☐ Not Sure
For home care, the service cost depends on how many hours of service you need. In the greater Boston area, for example, the median monthly cost of home care (44 hours of service per week) is about $5,720 in 2020, according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey. This is equivalent to $30 per hour. If you need more services, the monthly cost will increase.
In comparison, the median monthly cost of assisted living is $6,100. This is the price for a private one-bedroom. If you would like to have a larger private space, the cost will be more. When interviewing an assisted living facility, be sure to ask if there are additional charges other than monthly fees.
If we do the math correctly, it means if you need more than 47 hours per week, home care is more expensive than assisted living. The cost advantage of assisted living is more prominent if you need 24/7 care.
But, home care providers often offer live-in services. Namely, a caregiver lives in the home of a care recipient. Typically, you are charged for 16 hours of services unless the caregiver needs to get up to care for multiple times at night. Live-in services mostly come with discounts, which vary across providers. This is another option to consider.
Service Cost: ☐ Home Care ☐ Assisted Living ☐ Not Sure
You’ve almost finished this article. Congratulations! Now count the number of checkmarks for home care and assisted living, respectively. Have you reached your conclusion yet? If not, we are happy to help. Contact us for a free consultation.
By the way, we will publish an article about how to choose between home care and nursing homes soon. We welcome your feedback. Tell us what you think in the comment area below.