If your loved one has reached a point where you no longer feel like they can adequately care for themselves, then you are likely weighing the pros and cons of assisted living vs. in-home care. It can be a difficult place to find yourself because we all want the best for our loved ones and sometimes the answer is not obvious. Balancing factors such of required care level, safety, personality, uncertain longevity and resources can make the selection process stressful. In an effort to help you make a wise choice, consider the following 3 big differences between assisted living and in-home care.
The major selling point of in-home care is that your loved one can stay in their existing home. It’s popularity is understandable because it is an obvious choice of least resistance. In other words, a move to assisted living is a bigger change compared to having a visitor helping with daily chores. Remember though that assisted living is a very misunderstood term because our older generations still falsely associate it with the poorly run nursing homes of the 70’s and 80’s. In fact, in-home care agencies are notorious for throwing around the “nursing home” term – precisely because of these negative connotations. Assisted living today however is much different. In fact, many locations could more accurately be described as “resort-style living”. So the fear your loved one has of “the home” might be may actually be hindering them from enjoying a more fulfilling life – depending on their situation. In-home care is a fine option for those in need of such things as housecleaning, laundry, and cooking but it can become extremely costly as your loved one becomes more and more dependent. Let’s look at the numbers.
The cost of a single in-home caregiver costs between $20-$30 an hour and assisted living can cost between $1500-$4500/month. For the sake of comparison, let’s compare $20/hr of in-home care vs the average $3300/mo in assisted living costs. The typical rule of thumb in the senior living industry is that once 40 hours a week of in-home care is needed (8 hrs a day), then assisted living is the best option from a cost perspective. However, that rule is a broad sweeping and flawed generality. The math in this scenario is $20/hr at 8 hrs a day x 30 days in a month = $4800/mo. Even that number could be exacerbated by other costs as well. Costs such as their mortgage/rent, electricity and water, cable tv, etc. The cost of assisted living on the other hand includes all such costs while providing 24 hr care. The point is that even 20 hours of in-home care could be unreasonable financially depending on varying situations. So, know what your loved one is paying a month, and compare it to the cost of assisted living to see what makes sense.
Imagine if you were able to find quality assisted living for $2500/mo rather than $3300/mo. That could even make 20 hours a week of in-home care look like an unwise financial choice. It’s a juggling act for sure but costs are critical to those that have set incomes. Keep a long-term perspective and stretch your loved one’s resources further.
Anyone in the medical community will tell you that social interaction is critical to living a happier and fulfilling life. As our loved ones age, it’s common for them to begin avoiding social situations outside of family get togethers. They may even say that they prefer to be alone. More times that not however, this is just a defense mechanism to hide the fact that they do not feel comfortable doing things they once did. A walk to the neighbors house, for instance, may be a terrifying thought for them because they fear the idea of a trip or fall.
In-home care is great for providing companionship a few hours a day but there is only so much social connection a lone caregiver can offer. Conversely, assisted living, offers a larger community of like-minded peers and social opportunities conducive to building friendships. In fact, many assisted living locations have event coordinators who plan movie nights, BBQ’s, games, crafts and outings. When you consider your loved one’s happiness, consider their style of socialization and personality as well.
The moment you begin contacting assisted living communities or in-home health companies, you can expect to be asked what type of care level your loved one is in need of. A physician will need to give you specific direction in that regard but if you feel like your loved one will be in need of specialized care in the near future, you may want to consider the 24/hr a day specialized care assisted living can offer. For instance if your loved one shows signs of slight dementia or memory loss, then in-home care would be a band-aid solution from a long-term perspective. Dementia is a degenerative disease that progressively requires a higher and higher level of care. You may have the greatest in-home caregiver but he or she cannot possibly meet your loved one’s needs during off hours which is perhaps the greatest drawback to in-home care. Many assisted living locations, however, offer multiple caregivers – 24 hours a day. In this way, they are better equipped to assist in emergencies and provide early treatment.
Differing situations call for differing solutions but determining your loved one’s care level and near-future care-level are critical factors in the decision of assisted living vs in-home care.
We hope this comparison of assisted living vs in-home care helped you gain insight into your situation. If you would like more information about quality assisted living facilities and their prices in the greater Phoenix, AZ area, contact Transitions Assisted Living. Transitions takes pride in knowing the market and helping you find that perfect assisted living location that meets your care level, location, and budget requirements. And, since their fee is paid by their partners, they provide their services to you free of charge. In the end, both assisted living and in-home care are fine options – depending on your specific situation.