At some point in your loved one’s golden years, you’ll need to discuss their options for senior care. As they age, many seniors develop mobility issues and other conditions that make it unsafe for them to live alone—meaning they’ll require professional care or assistance to safely retain their independence.
Understanding your loved one’s needs is crucial to deciding what kind of care is best for them. Many seniors have a strong desire to age in place, though some may ultimately opt for assisted living care. The guide below compares and contrasts these home care vs. assisted living to help you and your loved one decide what may be best for them.
If your loved one is reluctant to leave home, Charter Home Health can help them age in place. Our experienced caregivers impart in-home care with compassion and respect so your loved one can continue to thrive at home. Contact us today to learn more.
What is Home Care?
When receiving home care services, professional caregivers come to your loved one’s home to provide assistance with daily tasks, such as tidying the house or helping them take a shower. How much assistance your loved one receives depends on what they need.
For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may require frequent reminders to stay hydrated and emotional support when they become confused. Other individuals may require mobility assistance or transportation services.
The most common home care services include:
- Grooming, bathing, and using the bathroom
- Mobility assistance and safety supervision
- Meal planning, preparation, and feeding assistance
- Light housekeeping (dusting, vacuuming, etc.)
- Companion care (enjoying hobbies, transportation, etc.)
- Medication management
Benefits of Home Care
Possibly the biggest benefit of home care is that your loved one can retain their independence at home. Few people want to suddenly leave the place they’ve lived for decades, especially if it’s associated with fond memories and feelings of safety. This is especially true for those with cognitive conditions that could be exacerbated by sudden changes in their environment.
Other benefits to home care include the ability to follow a personalized schedule, maintain privacy, and enjoy personal freedoms such as watching whatever they like on television or preparing their favorite meals whenever they like. Living at home may also help them remain connected to friends and family.
In-home care also supports focused, individualized assistance because caregivers only have to care for one client at a time. This one-on-one care enables them to engage with your loved one on a personal level and learn about their personality and preferences. Understanding these little details helps the client and caregiver form a more personal connection that supports more comprehensive care.
Cost of Home Care
In the State of New Jersey, a standard 44 hours of care per week costs from $1,276 to $1,452. That comes to between $66,352 and $75,504 per year for non-medical care services delivered by an HHA.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living facilities are private communities just for seniors that feature small private homes and continuous access to care. Depending on the size of the assisted living community, the homes may look like small houses or be configured more like apartments. In most cases, they’ll already be outfitted with things like ramps, shower seats, shower grab bars, and non-slip flooring for accessibility and safety.
These assisted living communities are staffed by care professionals who can be there at any time to assist residents with personal care, mobility, transportation, and medical emergencies. Staff may also arrange activities and prepare communal meals for residents to enjoy together.
An assisted living facility is often beneficial for seniors who are still fairly independent, but need continuous access to assistance and occasional safety supervision or monitoring.
Benefits of Assisted Living
In terms of senior care, assisted living facilities are a blend between home care and a nursing home. Residents maintain independence in their own private living space while gaining access to personal care and assistance whenever they need it.
Some families prefer assisted living because it allows them to focus on their relationship with their loved one rather than on care. Instead of arranging a care schedule with an agency, family members can rely on the assisted living facility to provide care when their loved one needs it. This arrangement reduces potential strain on the family and enables them to spend more quality time together. Most assisted living facilities also allow visitors to come and go freely or even have overnight stays.
Assisted living also comes with a built-in community of people your loved one’s age. Residents can enjoy each other’s company via conversation or by participating in one of the activities hosted by the facility.
Downsides to Assisted Living
Though your loved one will have a measure of privacy and continuous access to assistance, assisted living facilities may not be for everyone. Assisted living staff don’t just care for one person at a time—they’re responsible for all facility residents, meaning your loved one won’t get fully personalized care.
Additionally, the quality of their care may vary depending on the staff member assisting them. Some facilities also have high turnover, so residents don’t know their caregivers very well. Lack of a dedicated caregiver may also require you to hire a personal aide for your loved one if their condition deteriorates, which will add to the cost of their care.
Cost of Assisted Living
According to Genworth, in 2020, the average monthly cost of an assisted living facility was about $4,300. However, assisted living facilities in New Jersey tend to skew on the higher end of the average, costing about $6,650 per month.
Tips For Choosing Between Home Care and Assisted Living
The benefits of assisted living and home care are very similar, but there are key differences that can help you decide which is best for your situation. Below are some details to consider when discussing home care vs. assisted living with your loved one.
1. Determine How Much Help Your Loved One Needs
The level of assistance your loved one requires will help determine whether assisted living or in-home care is best. For instance, if they need round-the-clock assistance and cannot be left alone, 24-hour home care may be the best option. Agencies like Charter Home Health can schedule caregivers during the day and overnight, so there’s always someone alert that your loved one can count on.
2. Evaluate the Pros and Cons
Share the advantages and disadvantages of each option with your loved one as you evaluate their needs. If they feel isolated, in-home companion care may be the answer, or they may prefer the camaraderie of a residential community.
Some specific things you may want to consider are listed below.
If your loved one requires a mobility device or has a cognitive condition that could put their safety at risk, in-home care may be the best option. While assisted living facilities are usually built to accommodate mobility needs, staff at such facilities can’t dedicate their attention to one person—an in-home caregiver can.
Assisted living facilities often provide ample opportunities to form community and socialize with others. Your loved one will be able to connect with people their age who’ve had similar experiences and enjoy their company.
On the other hand, if your loved one has a rich social life within their current neighborhood, home care may be the better choice. Remaining in their own home often allows seniors to more easily maintain relationships with friends and family, attend a familiar church, and participate in neighborhood events. In-home caregivers can even drive their clients to events if they’re unable to do so.
Quality of Life
Your loved one’s quality of life may be the most significant thing to consider. Enjoying daily life is essential to an individual’s well-being, and the comfort and security of their surroundings play a huge role in that.
While assisted living facilities offer privacy, socialization, and planned activities, some people may find the repetitive schedule monotonous after a while. Additionally, they may have to give up certain hobbies—like gardening or woodworking—because the facility can’t accommodate them.
In-home care enables your loved one to maintain a high quality of life simply by keeping them where they most want to be. At home, they have access to all of their favorite items and activities, and they won’t have to sacrifice any autonomy in favor of care.
Assisted living facilities provide each resident with a private apartment to call their own. However, the ability to customize that space varies with the rules of the community they occupy. Some may be stricter than others, which could make your loved one feel like they’re living in an institution rather than a home.
Remaining at home allows them to customize and change their environment to suit their tastes and needs at any time. Even if your loved one doesn’t exercise this freedom, the lack of restrictions may make them feel more at ease.
One of the most significant considerations in choosing between in-home care and assisted living is familiarity. Seniors with degenerative cognitive conditions may deteriorate rapidly if they suddenly move away from familiar surroundings.
Even if your loved one is still lucid, leaving behind the space they’ve known for decades can be upsetting and disorienting. Being allowed to remain at home can help them feel comfortable and secure.
In New Jersey, the cost of an assisted living facility may be far greater than 44 hours per week of home care. As stated above, assisted living facilities in New Jersey cost approximately $6,650 per month. Home care, on the other hand, comes to between $5,104 and $5,808.
Charter Home Health Provides Affordable Home Care in NJ
At Charter Home Health, we believe in choices—especially when it comes to deciding where to spend your golden years. We’re dedicated to supporting your loved one’s desire to age at home by providing the assistance they need to safely retain their independence.
Our experienced and fully insured caregivers can help your loved one with everything from personal hygiene and nutrition to housekeeping, safety supervision, and medication reminders. We also provide specialized in-home care for those who require 24-hour assistance or in-home memory care. Each of our clients receives a personalized care plan just for them.
Additionally, our skilled caregivers receive training and support from multidisciplinary care coordination teams that include nurses and other senior care professionals. For more information about our services and how we can assist your loved one, contact us today.