In-Home Care vs Assisted Living: What's the Difference?

Are you trying to figure out living arrangements for an elderly loved one? Read on to learn about in-home care vs assisted living.

Deciding how and where to best care for an elder loved one -- whether it's assisted living, home care or other option -- is a huge decision with so many factors to consider. Everything from your loved one's health and emotional needs to financial resources to pure practicality and logistics to cultural traditions must be looked at.

But you're on the kind and loving path if you're doing this and embracing your family member to make sure she or he has the best love and care in old age.

Other cultures around the world would applaud you too. In China and France, they even have elderly rights laws that say that adult children must tend to their elder parents!

But how do you know what is the best care when looking at senior assisted living versus keeping your loved one at their or your home?

Keep reading for some key points to consider.

Assisted Living Versus In-Home Care

The most obvious difference between having your loved one living in their or your private home with in-home care and living at an assisted living facility is the location.

In one case, they're either at your place, living with family, or living in their current home with care coming in.

And in the other case, they're living in a home with rooms or complex of individual apartments, condos, or other units owned by a company with other elderly folks. Part of the care is provided by staff on a shift and the rest is provided by professionals -- medical or non-medical -- coming in on a schedule, similar to in-home care.

Assisted living isn't the same as a nursing home. Assisted living gives your loved one the option of having her or his own space, whether it be a completely contained apartment or a room, more like a dorm room.

Level of Care

Both in-home care and assisted living offer a variety of levels of care. Both options provide professionals that do basic care needs like dressing, bathing, shopping, transportation, entertainment, food prep, and management of meds. And both options provide professional medical services.

The costs are similar. But one big difference is that in assisted living, there is someone nearby around the clock.

Here are some of the types of professionals that will come to your loved one's home (or your home) to provide care:

  • Non-medical care professional that provides things like housekeeping, bathing, shopping, transportation, social activities, and medical management
  • Licensed medical care, such as a physician
  • A licensed nurse that will provide specific care, such as wound care
  • Alzheimer's and/or dementia professional or aide to stay with your loved one if he or she can't be alone
  • Physical therapist

These professionals are all available at an assisted living facility, too. It's just that they come to the facility or work shifts at the facility instead of the private home.

One thing assisted living facilities have over home care is that they often have a physical therapy area with more equipment on the spot.

Familiar Surroundings Versus a New Locale

In-home care usually happens either in your elder's current home, in your home, or in the home of a relative or close friend.

Most people want to continue living in their homes as they age. They have their belongings. It's familiar. And they chose to live there in the first place!

Friends are likely to be nearby, as are communities like religious groups or senior recreation centers.

For most elderly people, staying in their home and community where they've been living would be their top pick.

The good side of in-home care is they can stay. One downside is that sometimes, even in their home, they can feel isolated if they're living alone.

Even with the caregiver coming by and doing activities, they are on their own a lot. And as they get older and have to give up driving, getting out to enjoy friends, groups, and activities becomes fewer and further between.

If your elder is living with you or a relative or friend, this loneliness is eliminated because they are around family and friends. Even if they're just sitting around, it's nice for them to see their loved ones. This is a huge plus of in-home care if your elder lives with you.

Assisted Living Can Offer a Wonderful Community

But if there's no chance to live with loved ones because it isn't feasible, an assisted living home is a great option instead. Many people feel guilty at first about sending loved ones off, but assisted living offers plenty of opportunities to be around others!

One of our favorite assisted living facilities covers this topic perfectly in their blog -- and we suggest you read it to get more information.

Assisted living facilities tend to be community-focused, so your loved one can still get the level of connection they enjoyed when they were more mobile.

Plus, assisted livings promote independence. And if you find a great spot in the same city where your loved one was living before, she or he can still participate in the community.

Plus, your loved one is sure to make new friends. And in the assisted living facility, your loved one's care can be adjusted as needed.

Cost in Terms of Money, Time, and Energy

The cost of hiring in-home care is in the same ballpark to the cost of care at an assisted living. But you'll have to factor in the differences in the cost of the actual living space. If your loved one owns their home and it's paid off, there is no cost of rent as there would be in an assisted living facility.

If your loved one lives with you or in their own home, you will have to manage their care and spend more time and energy than if your loved one is in assisted living. You'll still have to oversee the whole thing in general, but you will have more help from the management and staff of the assisted living.

Take the First Steps to the Best Care for Your Loved One

Now that you know some basic differences between assisted living and in-home care, you can start making informed choices for your loved one. Does one stand out over the other? Start there!

All the best and keep reading our blog for more tips.