Assisted Living vs. Staying at Home with Home Care

Learn about the benefits of each, plus the three questions you can ask right now to help make the decision.

When a senior loved one needs more support, many families wonder which option will be best: assisted living or remaining at home with home care.

There is a lot to consider when making the decision between assisted living and remaining at home with home care. What will make your loved one happiest in the long term? Are they safe at home? What is best for the whole family?

Read on for more information about the difference between assisted living and home care, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and the three questions you can ask right now to help make the decision with your family.

What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Home Care?

Choosing between assisted living and staying at home with home care is about more than just where your loved one lives. There are significant differences in services, costs, benefits, and lifestyle that come with each decision.

The first step is to understand the difference between the two options.

Assisted Living: Assisted living (or senior living) refers to communities in which seniors have their own apartments and receive assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as managing medications, bathing, and grooming. Communities provide social activities, meals, housekeeping, and some transportation.

Assisted living communities are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some assisted living communities, like Sunnyside Manor, offer a continuum of care  with memory care and skilled nursing on the same campus.

Home Care and Home Healthcare: Home care and home healthcare both refer to services seniors receive in their current home. You may hear the terms used interchangeably, but they are different.

Home care refers to non-medical assistance, like help with dressing and light housekeeping. Home care may be provided by an aide and typically is not covered by Medicare.

Home healthcare refers to medical assistance, such as wound care or assistance with a feeding tube. Home healthcare is provided by a visiting nurse and often is covered by Medicare when ordered by a physician.   

What Are the Benefits of Assisted Living vs. Staying at Home?

Both assisted living and staying at home have benefits and drawbacks. Weighing the pros and cons of each is part of the decision-making process. The process is personal; a benefit for one senior may feel like a drawback for another.

Benefits of Assisted Living

  •  Assisted living communities are staffed 24/7. Help is always just around the corner.
  • Opportunities to socialize with peers are available throughout the day, every day.
  • Many seniors report a greater sense of independence after moving to assisted living because they have don’t have to rely as heavily on family for assistance and companionship.
  • Families have greater peace of mind knowing that their loved one will be cared for, regardless of weather or other outside circumstances that might delay an individual caregiver.
  • Family can focus on their loved one, rather than the logistics of care.
  • The costs are predictable.
  • Assisted living can be less expensive in the long term.  

Drawbacks of Assisted Living


Benefits of Remaining at Home with Care

  • Many seniors prefer to stay in their current home rather than move.
  • While modifications to the home may be required, the surroundings are familiar.
  • Home care can be less expensive in the short term, especially for seniors who require very little assistance.


Drawbacks of Remaining at Home with Care

  • Seniors can become isolated, which negatively impact health.
  • The family is responsible for coordinating care services, as well as home maintenance, upkeep, repairs, and any modifications needed to accommodate mobility devices.
  • Staying at home can become more expensive long-term, as needed home care hours increase.


Assisted Living vs. Staying at Home: How to Make the Decision

There are three important questions you can ask now to help determine what will be best for your senior loved one and your family.

  • How much care does your loved one need?
  • How much assistance is available from family and friends?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of each option for your family?

How much care does your loved one need?

Establish how much help your loved one needs by making a list of the tasks that require assistance daily, weekly, and monthly. Daily assistance might include help with dressing, medications, and preparing meals. Weekly help might include housekeeping, laundry, and transportation to appointments, errands, and social events. Monthly assistance may include assistance with bill paying and home maintenance.

How much assistance is available from family and friends?

Consider who is available to help for the long term. While many families can provide all that a loved one needs for a few weeks or a few months, what are realistic expectations over the course of a full year? What about three years or five years? Take into consideration expected life events, like new jobs, vacations, moves, and growing families.

What are the benefits and drawbacks for your family?

Review the financial, logistical, and emotional benefits and drawbacks of each option. Give yourself time to weigh the pros and cons of each option in order to make the best decision for your family.

While each family situation is unique, all families want what is best for their loved ones. Now is the time to become familiar with the options available to seniors now. You can find more resources throughout our blog and by connecting with our experts.

Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor

When you have questions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.

Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. The community features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.

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