Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care: What You Need to Know

Woman holds onto a senior’s hand

When it’s time to choose between in-home care and assisted living, it’s important to consider what’s best for a senior’s health, happiness and safety. This choice usually arises once a senior has experienced a noticeable change in behavior or health that affects his or her ability to live completely independently. In situations like these, living alone in your home or choosing independent senior housing may not be the best options, as a more involved level of care and assistance is necessary.

If you or a loved one are comparing elderly living at home vs. a nursing home or assisted living community, read on to see the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of In-Home Care

Naturally, most people feel comfortable with a familiar home environment and their established daily routine. On the other hand, seniors who become too dependent on life at home may miss out on the opportunity for new experiences, activities and friendships.

In-home care services vary widely, but they always include a caretaker who visits a senior’s home to assist with the activities of daily life. These caretakers may or may not be licensed medical professionals, depending on the needs of the senior. Some in-home care is available 24/7 while other caretakers only visit during the day.

Pros:

  • Privacy: Some people enjoy spending the majority of their time alone or with a few close friends. In-home care allows for this more secluded lifestyle.
  • Familiarity: Many seniors have lived in their homes for decades and they take pride in owning a home full of happy memories. Becoming accustomed to a new routine and living space may feel overwhelming or scary.
  • Assistance with Certain Activities: Depending on the level of in-home care, professionals can assist with things like hygiene, meal prep, companionship, medications and more. Other types of assistance such as transportation vary depending on the type of care offered.
  • Customized Care: Similar to the lifestyle options you’d find in a residential community like Cherrywood Pointe, in-home care providers usually offer a range of service levels. Seniors and their families can customize care services that range from companionship care to memory care.

Cons:

  • Housework: While most in-home care services will cover tasks like cooking and cleaning, there are others that usually remain a responsibility for the homeowner. Paying bills, mowing the lawn, checking the mail and other important tasks may become too much to handle for some seniors.
  • Mobility Challenges: Most homes aren’t designed with a senior’s unique needs in mind. The stairs between floors, for example, may be difficult to climb and descend for someone with limited mobility.
  • Transportation: In-home caretakers will typically provide transportation to activities for the day, but once they are gone, it’s up to the senior to get around. This can be problematic if the senior needs regular visits to the doctor. Senior living communities like Cherrywood Pointe bring a lot of services right to the resident, so residents don’t need to go out in the Minnesota weather for lab appointments, podiatry, vision or x-rays.
  • Cost: In-home elderly care costs can vary. If your loved one requires 24/7 care, assisted living will prove to be the most economical choice, as 24/7 in-home care is the most expensive care option. In addition to the cost of care, the homeowner is still responsible for the cost of maintaining the home, homeowners insurance and property taxes.
  • Limited Social Activities: Although a senior’s home is familiar, it limits opportunities to meet new people and enjoy new activities in a social setting. Social activities, meeting new people and trying new things helps people maintain mental sharpness — an added benefit!

Pros and Cons of Senior Assisted Living

If you asked our residents, the majority would probably say they had some hesitations about moving to our assisted living community — it’s a big change after all! While a senior might not be thrilled about uprooting and starting a new chapter in life, once they arrive they almost always enjoy the conveniences and companionship they will find at an assisted living community like Cherrywood Pointe. This is a service that’s designed to make seniors feel alive and happy while still maintaining some level of independence.

Pros:

  • Personal Care available at All Times: Assisted living provides residents with the ideal level of medical and personal care services. Resident Assistants are in the building 24/7 and can be called upon at any time. Nurses are on call 24/7 and can be called when needed. Visiting Physicians and ancillary health care providers are in the community on a regular basis, which is convenient for residents and family members alike.
  • 24/7 Assistance With Activities of Daily Life: Similar to in-home care, assisted living provides seniors with the help they need for daily tasks. This may include dressing, bathing and meal services. Additionally, more involved assistance such as physical therapy or memory care is readily available if the senior’s needs change.
  • Transportation: Getting around town can be a challenge for seniors who no longer drive a vehicle. Most assisted living communities, including Cherrywood Pointe, provide residents with transportation shuttles to and from local stores, restaurants and other destinations. Ask about personal transportation as well!
  • Social Activities: Whether playing a game of bingo or listening to a visiting musician with friends, there are countless opportunities to socialize in an assisted living environment.
  • Safety: Assisted living communities feature secure buildings, which helps provide peace of mind for residents and their family members alike.
  • Fewer Responsibilities: When a senior moves to assisted living, they leave behind many bills, errands and other home chores behind. We take care of the most tedious parts of life so our residents can focus on the things they truly enjoy.

Cons:

  • Big Changes Can Be Difficult: Understandably, it can feel overwhelming for seniors to move to an assisted living community. Our empathetic team and friendly residents understand this and help make newcomers feel welcome from day one.
  • Moving Responsibilities: Listing, cleaning, selling and moving out of a home is a lot of work. While it is only a one-time inconvenience, it’s important to factor in the time and effort it will take to move out. It’s reassuring to know that there are service providers who can help to reduce the stress of downsizing, packing and moving. Our Outreach & Sales Directors can put you in touch with someone who will help.

Choose the Best Option for You or a Loved One

Both assisted living and in-home care provide a high level of assistance while helping seniors maintain as much independence as possible. The choice comes down to one question: what will ultimately provide the best future for the senior? When you weigh the pros and cons of each option, you should be able to make the right choice for you or your loved one.

If you already know your family member will need ongoing residential care for a memory-related illness, learn more about when you should move them into a memory care community!