When an older loved one can no longer care for themselves, or they are approaching that situation, it’s time to decide how best to provide them with the care and assistance they need. If you or another family member are not able to be the caregiver, you may be faced with choosing between assisted living and home care.
Making the right choice for you and your loved one involves many factors, both personal and financial. What’s right for one family may not be for another. Which is better may depend on your loved one’s specific situation.
To help you make your decision, you may want to consider 3 essential factors: how much care and assistance they need, key differences between assisted living vs home care, and their financial situation (and yours).
Before making any decisions about where they will live, you need to figure out how much help your older adult needs and if you and your family members can provide some of that help.
Start by making a list of everything your loved one needs help with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This can include things like transportation, help with meals, assistance with medications, help with bathing, housekeeping, and more. Looking at the big picture helps you choose the correct level of care.
Next, be realistic about how much help you, your family, and friends will provide. If you live in the same town as your older adult, you may be able to offer more help than if you live in another state. Your loved one may even be able to move in with you.
It’s important to think in terms of long-term, ongoing help. It’s a big commitment. After comparing how much help is needed and how much help you and others can provide, you’ll have a better idea of the tasks your loved one will need additional help with.
In some cases, looking at this list makes it obvious that in-home care is the best option. In other cases, assisted living might be the best choice.
It’s important to understand the differences between in-home care and assisted living so you and your loved one can make an informed decision. Let’s start with the basics of how each type of care works, and key pros and cons for each.
In-home care is when you hire one or more caregivers to come into the home to help your senior with activities of daily living (ADLs). This allows your loved one to continue living safely at home.
The specific help provided depends on your loved one’s needs and how much help you and others are already providing. In-home care can include meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation, assistance with bathing, dressing, using the toilet, etc.
An assisted living facility or residential care home is a place where multiple seniors live, in rooms or small apartments. Spouses or best friends can live together and receive individualized care.
Most assisted living communities offer a wide range of care options, from seniors who are mostly independent to those who need a higher level of care.
Meals, group activities, and housekeeping are usually included in the monthly fee.
Now that you know more about assisted living vs in-home care, you may be close to deciding which environment is best for your loved one. The next thing to consider is cost of care.
Before you can make a choice between assisted living or in-home care, you need to know how each choice would work within your budget and your older adult’s budget. Will you and other family members be able to help out financially? Does your loved one have the financial ability to pay for assisted living?
It’s important to note that Medicare does not pay for assisted living, and only covers home health care on a part-time basis.
It’s important to figure out care costs ahead of time so that you can make a long-term care budget that’s realistic. The easiest way to do this is to call around to get actual pricing information from assisted living communities you’re considering as well as in-home care providers you might hire.
According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the 2020 national average monthly cost for in-home care for 44 hours of care per week was $4,481. The 2020 national average monthly cost for assisted living was $4,300. Remember, that these are just ballpark figures, and the costs may be higher or lower depending upon what state and city your senior lives in and what services they need.
If running the numbers becomes overwhelming, ask a trusted relative or friend for help. Or, talk with a reputable financial adviser or accountant.
Assisted living fees vary by community. You will want to ask each facility for a cost breakdown of what is included in the monthly rate, and what extra fees there are.
After crunching the numbers, you’ll have a good idea of which option is the most cost-effective one for your loved one.
If you’re looking for a residential assisted living home in Maryland, we hope you’ll consider Broad Creek Manor Assisted Living. We’re located on 23 idyllic acres in Harford County. Contact us today to schedule a tour or ask any questions you might have.