For many individuals today who strive to retain as much independence as possible while still enjoying a high quality of life, the decision is between assisted living and in-home care. Will we choose in-home care while we age in place, or will we relocate to an assisted living community capable of helping with our daily living needs?
The atmosphere and the level of care seniors experience during in-home care are considerably different than in an assisted living home. There are many factors involved with the decision, including financial ones. Answering the following three questions can help narrow down the decision:
- How much help do I need with my daily living activities?
- How much does each option cost (in-home and assisted living)?
- How much money do I have in my budget to pay for the type of assistance I prefer?
Once you have the answers, you should thoroughly evaluate additional information about the level of care and services provided by each option. Keep reading to learn more about each option to determine the best choice to meet your needs.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living homes, when done well, are designed for seniors who require various levels of medical and personal care (and is available 24/7 when needed). . Assisted living homes hope to preserve many parts of someone’s independent living for as long as possible. As more help is needed, a caregiver is available to help with daily living activities and memory care. Homes also help seniors connect with others and participate in activities like the larger facilities.
Seniors who opt for one of Vista Living Senior Care’s assisted living homes often need help with many aspects of daily living, such as:
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Medication management
- Meal preparation
- Daily living activities (bathing, toileting)
- Mobile doctors and medical services
- Social activities
- Health and wellness programs and services
- Round-the-clock security
Assisted living facilities differ in some of the amenities they offer, so it is best to check what your top choices provide. That way you can evaluate your options fairly and choose wisely.
Who Can Benefit From Assisted Living?
Seniors who know they require some extra help to complete everyday tasks but who still wish to maintain a level of independence will benefit the most from an assisted living home. There are tell-tale signs that it may be time to make the transition into assisted living.
1. Feeling isolated or lonely
Everyone feels lonely or isolated sometimes. But if this situation has turned into an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, it is a warning sign that a change is needed. Lack of community and a feeling of connection is linked to depression, which in turn can lead to chronic health conditions such as dementia and heart disease.
2. Declining health
Chronic conditions can become more prevalent as we age, requiring a more consistent level of care. With more than 70 million Americans aged 50 and older dealing with at least one chronic medical condition, the likelihood of needing additional care as they age increases. Seniors who have required frequent care for a chronic condition for several months are ideal candidates for the extra support and supervision provided by assisted living.
3. Mismanaging finances
A piling up of unpaid bills or other signs of financial distress can be early signs that a senior is struggling to manage on their own. Seniors who live alone also are more susceptible to financial scams, which can put their retirement and other savings at risk.
Hoarding is not exclusive to seniors, but it can pose unique risks and challenges if they are engaging in the practice. It is a sign that they may no longer be able to live on their own. Seniors who hoard are more likely to suffer from falls and other related injuries. Hoarding can make access to emergency personnel difficult or impossible.
5. Practicing poor hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is important in preventing illness. As we age, the fear of falling in the bath can inhibit us from engaging in proper hygiene practices. The fear is not unfounded, with 80 percent of all falls happening in the bathroom. If you or your loved one is having difficulty with a personal care routine, assisted living can help.
What Is In-Home Care?
In-home care is exactly what it sounds like: personal aide, caregiver and/or nurse visit seniors in their homes to assist with everyday living essentials. The biggest benefit of in-home care is that it allows seniors to age in place in the comfort of their own homes.
Services included with in-home care vary by agency. Some of the more common features of in-home care are:
- Assistance with personal hygiene (bathing, toileting)
- Grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
- Running errands
- Transportation to appointments
In-home care services can be extremely limited and may not provide the same level of 24/7 care that’s available with assisted living homes. Those that do are quite expensive and may not fit into your monthly budget. Some insurance plans include coverage for long-term care, and there is always the option of buying long-term care insurance plans or insurance policies with riders for long-term care if you qualify.
Who Can Benefit From In-Home Care?
Seniors who are mostly able to manage their own daily living needs will benefit the most from receiving in-home care. It is extremely beneficial to those who wish to remain in familiar surroundings or who desire to be close to family and friends.
In-home care is ideal for those who have insurance that covers the costs of the service or those who have enough money budgeted for the expense associated with this level of care. The cost of in-home care averages around $25 per hour, according to the Administration on Aging, if the aid is hired through an agency. Independent caregivers typically charge $18-30 per hour.
Seniors who desire or require one-to-one attention and consistency in the caregiver who is providing the services would most benefit from in-home care.
How Much Help Do You Need?
When deciding between in-home care and assisted living, an important factor is the level of help needed by the person who will be using the services. There are several questions seniors (or their loved ones) can ask to determine the appropriate level of care.
1. Is it difficult for me to maintain my current home?
Keeping up with a house or apartment is tedious work, but it has the potential to become even more burdensome as you age. Large yards that require landscaping, flights of stairs that are becoming difficult to navigate, and extra rooms that are never used but still require tidying up are all reasons to consider downsizing from your current living quarters. If your current home has gotten to be too much responsibility, choosing to transition to assisted living is a great option.
2. Is it difficult for me to get to the places I need to go?
Transportation is one of the biggest driving factors in seniors choosing in-home care or assisted living. Homes can help senior’s families coordinate transportation to get to medical appointments, social engagements, or to run errands. If it is no longer safe for you to drive on your own and access to public transportation is limited where you live, it is time to consider in-home or assisted living.
3. Is it difficult for me to stay connected with others?
Social isolation is a very real concern as we age. If you no longer drive and if access to public transportation is limited, connecting with friends and family can be challenging. Many seniors find assisted living communities to be a great resource for social opportunities and fostering a sense of community.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Assisted Living and In-Home Care?
There are numerous pros of assisted living. The biggest benefit is the affordability factor for the 24/7 care available in assisted living homes. Round-the-clock care is possible with in-home care, but it is significantly more expensive.
Other pros include:
- Care needs become a secondary thought, allowing family and friends to focus on spending quality time with their loved ones.
- Seniors have many opportunities for socialization and activities with other residents.
- Family members can stop worrying about hiring, scheduling, and managing caregivers and leave that hassle to the assisted living staff.
- The level of care can be adjusted as needs change.
- Consistency of care: a good assisted living home can keep their caregivers for long periods of time, and in-home care can be more of a revolving door of caregivers.
There are cons with assisted living as well. One-on-one care might not be immediately available at all times. The quality of the care received is dependent on the staff. Some seniors do not enjoy living in an assisted living environment, so that can also be a disadvantage to this kind of setup.
The disadvantages of in-home care include the cost, which can be exorbitant if 24/7 care is required. In-home care also increases the chances a senior will feel isolated.
Need-to-Know Tips to Help You Make the Right Choice
Choosing between in-home care and assisted living is often a personal choice. When making the decision, it is important to listen to the wants and needs of the person who will be benefiting from the care. It is important to weigh all the factors. Some need-to-know tips to help you make the right choice:
- Make sure the in-home care option (agency, individual) or assisted living facility meets your specific needs.
- Compare costs for both: in-home care, especially if needed 24/7, is more expensive than assisted living.
The most important tip is to choose the option that makes the person using it the happiest. Everyone deserves to live out their golden years with dignity and respect and should have the final say in which option is chosen.
The Importance of Socialization
Social isolation is a real concern as we age. Connecting with others is a basic human desire, and when we are denied socialization, the results can be devastating. Groundbreaking research by the late John Cacioppo determined that mental anguish caused by chronic loneliness is real and can be quite devastating to mental and physical well-being.
In-home care is not the best option for seniors who want to increase their social opportunities. Assisted living homes are more equipped to help seniors plug in quickly to their new environment and to take full advantage of the amenities designed to promote socialization.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or in need of dementia care require extra assistance that may not be ideal for an in-home setting.
At Vista Living Senior Care, our staff is trained to provide 24/7 support services designed to help our Alzheimer’s and dementia care residents thrive. Residents enjoy daily activities and socialization opportunities that are therapeutic and uplifting. Family members can rest assured their loved ones will have the attention and support needed. Contact us to schedule a tour of our Alzheimer’s and dementia care communities and speak with a member of our team who can answer any questions.
Staff and Specialty Care
It is imperative to choose an assisted living community with certified staff members who are compassionate and available on-site for round-the-clock care. At Vista Living Senior Care, our staff is comprised of caring individuals who are dedicated to the health and well-being of our residents.
Our full-time nurse and staff goes the extra mile to ensure families are apprised of the level of care needed for their loved one and receive regular progress updates. Our caregivers are highly skilled and have extensive experience in supervisory, personal, and directed levels of care. The caregiver ratio is 1 for every 5 residents.
Help Finding a Senior Living Community at Vista Living
All of the senior living communities at Vista Living feature private suite bedrooms with bathrooms, a kitchen with island seating, and open common areas that encourage socialization. A beauty salon, rehabilitation and workout room, and patio equipped with a BBQ grill are additional amenities offered at Vista Living Senior Care.
We have several levels of care:
- Assisted Living is for seniors who just need extra help with their daily activities.
- Memory Care is ideal for our residents with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related conditions.
- Dementia Care focuses on providing residents with additional assistance with everyday activities while preserving the independent-living model.
- Alzheimer’s Care offers a high level of physical and emotional support for residents who require this additional assistance.
Seniors and their loved ones who are considering one of our communities at Vista Living Senior Care are encouraged to reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our team members. We can answer any questions you may have about our communities and help you choose the best option to suit your individual needs.
Want to check out your options from the comfort of your home? Our virtual tours feature 360-degree views of the facilities and amenities offered at each of our sites.