Have you heard the phrase “age in place”? It’s what your dad means when he declares, “I want to stay in my own home!”
He’s not alone. Most seniors, if given the choice, would choose to remain in their own home for as long as possible.
Flexible in-home care options are readily available, yet some families may find providing in-home care overwhelming, and many seniors find they enjoy living with their peers in an assisted living facility.
With so many factors to consider, how do you determine whether in-home care or assisted living is best for your parent?
What to Expect from In-Home Care
In-home caregivers can provide a wide range of services depending on your parent’s needs and the terms of your agreement. They can support daily activities such as hygiene, dressing, nutrition, and exercise. Or they might help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and laundry. Although in-home caregivers don’t provide medical care, they can remind your senior to take medications, schedule doctor’s appointments, and help with transportation. Not least, caregivers offer companionship simply by being available to run errands, take walks, and play games with your senior.
A benefit of in-home care is that your loved one gets one-on-one care tailored to their needs and preferences. But this requires ongoing family involvement for hiring and managing caregivers as well as planning backup care options. And because your loved one will be able to stay in their home as they age, there is a potential for social isolation, which can contribute to depression, cognitive decline, or health problems. For increased socialization, you’d want to consider signing them for an adult day program
What to Expect from Assisted Living
Assisted living communities are residential facilities that are designed to provide opportunities for residents to enjoy a life they choose with the comforts of home through a variety of living options, amenities, assistance, services, dining options, social programs, and customized personalized care. Seniors typically live in their own apartments and maintain their own schedules, but they also have access to a variety of social activities and public areas. Daily care is typically limited to the types of basic needs that in-home caregivers address, but residents also have access to complete medical services, should they need a higher level of care.
If you choose assisted living, you won’t need to worry about hiring, scheduling, or managing caregivers, so you’ll be able to focus more on your relationship with your loved one rather than on their care needs. Although one-on-one care won’t be as personal or consistent as it is at home, your senior will have plenty of opportunities for social interaction with other residents, not only in common areas but also through planned, structured activities such as cultural events and field trips. Assisted living actually inspires seniors to get involved, which leads to greater happiness and quality of life.
How the Costs Compare
You can get almost any type of help you want in your home — often for a cost. Although the monthly rent of assisted living may seem high, it typically includes 24-hour security services, three meals a day, utilities, housekeeping services, personal care, landscaping and home maintenance, and social and entertainment. However, the fees vary by community, it’s important to ask for a list of all potential fees on top of the monthly rate.
With in-home care, you’re paying for property tax and insurance, housekeeping and home maintenance need to be done. and groceries and personal care and household supplies need to be bought — on top of in-home caregiver costs. Additionally, your home may need modifications for safety or wheelchair accessibility.
How to Decide What’s Best for Your Senior
To decide whether in-home care or assisted living is best for your parent, start by asking these questions:
- What are the wishes of your loved one? Have they senior voiced a preference for aging in place or living in a senior community?
- Does your senior need occasional or more frequent help with basic daily needs?
- Is your loved one still actively involved in the community, or are they isolated and lonely?
- Are family and friends able to stop by frequently to make sure your senior is safe and healthy?
- Which option makes financial sense for your family?
Including your loved one in the decision and finding a solution that all family members can feel good about may take considerable research, time, and the support of a professional. However, knowing you gave this significant decision the consideration it deserves allows everyone to move forward feeling good about the choice.
Do you have more questions about assisted living? Get answers to frequently asked questions in this free guide.