Assisted Living vs. Home Care
THERE COMES A TIME IN most seniors’ lives when medical conditions, loneliness or an inability to care for oneself force families to decide to make a change about where a loved one should be living. Often a decision needs to be made between staying at home with the assistance of a caregiver or moving to an Independent or Assisted Living community. Each decision is an intensely personal one, and families must consider many factors when trying to make the right decision.
What Is Home Care?
Home care is provided to a senior in his or her own home. Typically, services include assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and running errands. Many families hire an agency that sends a caregiver to the home for several hours each day or a few times a week, depending on the senior’s needs. A live-in caregiver is another option that some families choose. Most insurance plans do not cover these services and they can range from $28/hr. to $35/hr. There are many home care agencies out there and they vary in the level of training they provide to their staff and the services they offer. Most try to match the caregiver to the client’s personality, but you may need to move through a couple caregivers before finding a compatible caregiver for your loved one.
What Is an Assisted Living Community?
Assisted Living Communities are a great option for people who can get around pretty much independently, whether using a cane, walker or wheelchair, but need assistance in some aspects of their activities of daily living (ADLs). These types of communities usually include many opportunities, including social, educational and recreational activities. They offer residents convenient amenities that allow them to fully enjoy retirement and also offer services such as medication management and personal care within a supervised setting. Services provided by these communities may include:
• Medication management
• 3 Meals daily
• Social activities
• Assistance with activities of daily living (bathing, toileting, etc.)
• Health services
• 24-hour security
• Wellness program, including onsite doctors
• Community involvement
Every community is different, and all offer varying levels of assistance. It is important to thoroughly assess you or your loved one’s needs before deciding on which community is the most appropriate fit for you or your family member. Prices can range from $3000/month to well over $8000/month and insurance does not cover the cost.
Assisted Living vs. Home Care-Which Option Is Right?
It’s not that one option is always better than another. It all depends on the situation, and each family will have to consider its own needs. Both home care and assisted living have their pros and cons. In deciding, which is the best option, you’ll need to carefully consider your loved one’s needs and preferences and weigh those against your financial resources, and safety concerns. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Staying at home, which many think would always be preferable, must be evaluated on a person-by-person basis, based on both physical as well as social elements. These factors include but are not limited to:
• Safety and supervision.
• Access to care.
• Ability to manage bathing, dressing, medications and food access and preparation.
• Connections to other people and basic socialization. This is vitally important!
A key component of whether home care is a better option than assisted living is safety. If a senior is planning to remain in the home, a professional Home Safety Evaluation to identify potential hazardous throughout the residence to decrease the risk of falls is always a good idea.
The Importance of Socialization
There’s a potential for isolation and loneliness when staying at home. A person, or their family, will still have responsibilities, such as cooking, shopping, and maintaining the home, which can entail paying bills, doing yard work and so on. Also, care is not always available at the exact time of need. The family must make plans for “call outs” of caregivers at the last minute. In an assisted living community care is available 24/7. That hands-on, 24-hour access to care and support is one major advantage an assisted living community typically has over home care. In home care, you don’t have access to that 360-degree view of care and socializing. There are not many programs viable outside of one-on-one activities in the home setting.
The Health Effect of Socialization
Socialization is a major factor in deciding where to live and shouldn’t necessarily be overshadowed by other factors. If you’re around like-minded people and you’re socializing with others in a book club or a golf club or whatever your interest is, that plays a role in living a healthier, longer life with fewer ailments. There’s substantial research from the National Institute of Health that shows that socialization is important for health. It can be very hard to create adequate socialization opportunities at home. Contact with others can also provide improved medical care. The care team in an assisted living community can take a coordinated approach and collaborate to come up with the best comprehensive plan. Coordination of care in an assisted living community includes dietary concerns and working with your physician, a psychologist, social workers, music therapists and others. All of those services are rarely available in a home care setting.
In the end, deciding on whether to stay in your home or move to an assisted living community is a family decision. Make sure when you are deciding you take a look at all the options and ask the questions so that you have a complete understanding of each choice. If you would like someone to assist you through the process, New Season In Life, LLC is here to help you guide you. Liz Cornish is a Physical Therapist, Certified Dementia Care Practitioner and Care Specialist, Senior Care Consultant, and owner of New Season In Life, LLC located at 70 Deer Run, Plantsville, CT 06479. Connect at 860-841-9504 or email@example.com
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