Home Care vs. Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

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1 year ago

Is your aging loved one struggling to complete normal everyday tasks like driving, bathing, cooking, or cleaning? If so, your family is not alone. Numerous family caregivers each year in Indianapolis must make tough decisions about where and how to support older loved ones.

As a normal part of aging, slowing down doesn’t mean the days of independent living are over. Unlike a few decades ago, several senior living management options are now available, including assisted living and home care assistance. To help your family make a better-informed decision, what follows are the pros and cons of each, along with telltale signs your aging loved one may need help.

What is Home Care?

According to a 2018 AARP survey, roughly 75% of Americans aged 50+ want to remain in their current homes for as long as possible – including many in Indianapolis. Realistically speaking, most seniors eventually require at least some assistance to remain independent. Home care allows you to stay at home by bringing professional caregivers to you.

How long they stay and how they help depends on the client’s specific needs. While there, home care aides can assist with non-medical activities of daily living (ADLs), like hygiene assistance, meal preparation, medication reminders, companionship, transportation, and more.

If you require medical attention like skilled nursing therapy or wound dressing changes, your doctor may order home healthcare services provided by licensed professionals with advanced training and education.

What is Assisted Living?

With assisted living, you go to the caregivers. An assisted living facility (ALF) or residential care facility provides shared or private rooms in a community of seniors. Although there’s no constant supervision or medical treatment, 24-hour assistance is available for an additional fee.

When needed, on-site caregivers can help with bathing, dressing, medication management, meal services, and transportation. However, additional services like housekeeping, laundry, physical therapy, and memory care might cost you extra.

What Are Some Additional Considerations?

Other factors to consider when choosing between assisted living and home care include:

Personal safety

No matter where they choose to live, you want your loved one to be safe. Assisted living communities are designed to keep seniors safe, with elderly-accessible housing, security, and 24-hour personal care services. Aging at home is safe too, but it might take some home modifications such as widening doorways, installing a walk-in shower, or using a medical alert system.

Social opportunities

Being social is essential for good health at any age, including seniors. In-home caregivers provide companionship that may include conversation, playing games together, watching movies, or reminiscing over old photos. Staying in the same neighborhood keeps friends and regular activities close by, and your loved one can still host family get-togethers in an environment where everyone feels comfortable.

In an ALF, they would live near fellow seniors while enjoying access to activities like bingo, holiday parties, and group outings. There are shared meals, organized social events, arts and crafts classes, and group trips.

Familiarity

For the average senior in Indianapolis, there’s no place like home. Nothing can duplicate the ability to spend one’s golden years surrounded by family and friends without rules and routines to follow. Regardless of one’s age or where they are going, moving is a big inconvenience. Plus, their home is theirs. It’s comfortable and familiar. Familiar surroundings also help speed up the recovery process after an illness or surgery.

Cost

When friends, neighbors, and relatives act as informal caregivers, home care is always the cheapest option. According to the 2021 Cost of Care Survey from Genworth Financial, the median monthly cost of homemaker services delivered by a trained aide in the U.S. is $4,957. The median price of assisted living runs about $4,500 per month, although both figures rely on variables starting with the geographic location.

How to make the right choice

Assisted living and home care have similar goals — helping seniors age with dignity while staying as independent as possible. The most important thing for your family is choosing which option will keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe without depleting your or your loved one’s retirement nest egg.

Signs Your Aging Loved One Needs Help

For reasons like pride, privacy, and a fear of losing their independence, many seniors don’t like to ask for help. These are some telltale signs that your loved one has functional limitations:

Physical signs

Losing or gaining excessive weight, wearing the same clothes every day, and poor hygiene are all signs that your loved one needs assistance. Cognitive red flags like memory loss, confusion, and forgetfulness could indicate the onset of dementia.

If poor mobility is affecting your senior’s quality of life, volunteer to hire a “personal assistant” who can prepare meals, do laundry, help them bathe, etc. If you suspect your senior has cognitive impairment, take them to the doctor for further evaluation.

Frequent falls

Fall-related fractures and related injuries send scores of older adults to hospital emergency departments every year.  Vision changes, poorly lit hallways, and slippery bathroom surfaces are all fall hazards for aging-in-place seniors. If your loved one has fallen several times recently, they may need help getting around.

Driving-related issues

If your senior has gotten several tickets or caused multiple accidents, it’s probably a good idea to have “the talk” about driving safety. Suspicious dents and scrapes on their vehicle could also be a sign that it’s time to turn over the car keys for good. Before respectfully discussing the topic with your loved one, find them suitable transportation alternatives.

Social isolation

Depression, anxiety, and dementia keep many seniors from socializing as they should. On the other hand, older adults that stay socially engaged tend to enjoy happier, healthier, and even longer lives than those who are lonely and isolated.

Unfinished business

An empty fridge, stacks of dirty dishes in the sink, or past-due bills on the kitchen table could all indicate that your loved one is having trouble managing their daily affairs. Offer your assistance or, if you live far away, find them a trustworthy assistant who can come to their home and help them complete their unfinished business.

Family Trusted In-Home Care for Seniors in Indianapolis

When you or your loved one need assistance, contact Senior1Care in Indianapolis. While proudly serving families in Indianapolis, South Bend, Elkhart, and Fort Wayne we are a fully licensed and insured home care provider with highly trained professionals who are experts at delivering the nurturing your loved one deserves. As an extended family in your senior’s home, our compassionate caregivers can perform duties like light housekeeping, personal care, dementia care, companionship care, medication reminders, and even live-in and 24-hour care.

Our agency’s focus is maintaining your loved one’s quality of life, as well as their dignity, self-esteem, and independence. For your added convenience, all our in-home services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! Please visit us here now to learn more about us or schedule a FREE initial consultation for a senior in our service area.

The post Home Care vs. Assisted Living: What’s the Difference? appeared first on Senior1Care.

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Jordan M
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