My parents are both older and have been struggling to stay in their own home. I live several hours away from them on the opposite side of Michigan. In addition to having a family of my own, I work full-time outside my home. It makes it tough to be there as often as my parents need me.
I’ve just begun to research options for senior care and it’s a little confusing. My parents live in the house they bought together over 40 years ago. They raised their family there and have so many fond memories attached to their home. However, it’s not very senior friendly. It has old bathrooms and lots of stairs to navigate. I find myself worrying that one of them will suffer a fall.
It seems like home care could be an option, but assisted living might be a better choice. Can you please help me understand the differences between these two types of senior care? Any advice would be much appreciated.
Theresa in Grand Rapids, MI
Comparing Home Care with Assisted Living
This is a struggle we frequently hear from adult children. Their aging parents are unable to maintain their independence, and loved ones aren’t sure where to turn for help. The senior care industry has so many options available, it can be overwhelming. As you described, debating between enlisting the services of a home care agency or relocating to an assisted living community is common.
While both choices have similarities, there are distinct differences to better understand before making any decisions.
Home Care Basics
Home care, also referred to as in-home care or private duty care, brings services and support to people in their own house. It sometimes allows seniors to age in place, at least for a while. Depending on the older person’s situation, these professional caregivers help with anything from bathing and grooming to light housekeeping and meal preparation.
This type of senior care might be good for those who live independently and only need minimal to moderate assistance. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:
- Home care assists seniors with routine tasks, such as morning showers and meal prep. It does not help with tasks that occur at random times, like nighttime trips to and from the bathroom.
- Care is generally nonmedical in nature and doesn’t require a licensed nurse.
- While it can be cost effective, home care is meant for seniors who need only a few hours of support each day, not for extended periods of time.
- The older adult should live in a safe, senior-friendly home that doesn’t present fall risks.
Some families find home care is a good temporary solution while they search for an assisted living community. It helps keep senior loved ones safe so the family has time to make an informed decision for the future.
Understanding Assisted Living
Assisted living is often described as the best of both worlds: residents have their own apartment or suite, but caregivers are on-site around the clock. It’s a solution that allows older adults to maintain a greater sense of independence.
This type of senior housing can be ideal for people who:
- Have mobility problems that put them at higher risk for a fall.
- No longer drive a car and don’t have access to reliable transportation services.
- Aren’t willing or able to plan menus, go grocery shopping, or prepare well-balanced meals.
- Live with chronic medical conditions or are at risk for health issues linked to isolation, such as depression or cardiac disease.
- Have difficulty managing their medications, including taking the right dosage at the proper time.
- Are seeking an environment that makes it easier to make friends and stay actively engaged with life.
You might find the article “6 Ways Assisted Living Supports Independence among Older Adults” to be helpful in learning more.
If you have any more questions or would like to visit a Heritage Senior Community for a personal tour, please call us today! One of our experienced team members will be happy to help.