As you or your senior loved ones get older, caring for yourself or your loved ones can become increasingly challenging. How do you choose between in-home care vs senior living? Aging is a normal and beautiful part of life with many benefits. However, it is also common to experience declining health, developing and worsening health conditions, and increased susceptibility to injury and illness. With all of these factors at play, it may be time to consider an increased level of care. There is no shame in this. Most seniors experience an increased need for medical care to maintain their health and quality of life. The question is simply what level of medical care you need, and the best way to get it.
You have two great options: in-home care, or a senior living community. This is an important decision, and what is best for you is very individual and personal. Here, we will explore these options in depth to help you decide what is right for you or your loved one.
In-Home Senior Care
In-home care is one option for seniors with medical needs. For some seniors, “aging in place” could be the right choice. There are a variety of types of in-home care services. A healthcare provider can come to your home to administer medications, provide wound care or medical equipment, or help with physical therapy. They can come for just a few hours each day, stay 24/7, or anywhere in between.
You can also get in-home help with other aspects of life, like chores, hygiene, housecleaning, yard work, errands, grocery shopping, transportation, and more. However, you may require multiple services or providers to get all the help you need at home.
When is In-Home Care the Right Choice?
In-home care may be right for you if:
- You are usually healthy, but need short-term help recovering from surgery, accident, or illness.
- You need limited help with chronic conditions, like diabetes.
- You need a little help around the house and yard.
- You only need occasional assistance.
- You already have a lot of family support or a strong community network.
- You want one-on-one care on your own schedule.
- You have a strong desire to stay in your own home.
Pros and Cons of In-Home Care
There are benefits of in-home care. For example:
- You can stay in your own home. A familiar environment might be helpful in some cases. If you have decades of memories in a carefully curated home, you might not want to leave.
- If you already live near family or a strong community network, you won’t have to move away from this support.
- Depending on how much support you need, in-home care may be more cost-effective than senior living. For example, if you only need a little help with cleaning, you could hire a once-a-week cleaner.
- Staying at home, rather than a communal living environment, could mean you will be exposed to fewer viruses like colds and flus.
However, there are also downsides to staying in your home.
- Cost. Home healthcare providers typically charge by the hour. Medicare will only cover some of these costs at best, and only for short-term cases. If you have more extensive medical needs, in-home care may be out of your budget.
- Private healthcare plans usually do not cover in-home care. Medicaid may provide some coverage in some cases, but it depends on the state.
- This type of care is not comprehensive. A medical in-home provider cannot help you with cleaning or driving. If you need help in multiple areas, you will have to coordinate care across multiple services and providers. Managing all of this yourself can be overwhelming or, at a certain point, even impossible.
- Staying in your home can be very isolating. If you don’t have a strong support system nearby, or find transportation difficult, you may find yourself battling loneliness and even depression. This can worsen existing health conditions, and put you at higher risk for other illnesses.
What is Senior Living?
There are a variety of different types of senior living communities. You can choose from independent living communities, assisted living communities, memory care, or skilled nursing communities.
With independent living communities, you have your own apartment and live in a community of seniors with 24/7 access to medical providers. You may have your own kitchen and be able to prepare meals yourself, but you’ll also be able to use the community dining room, with chef-prepared meals available daily. These communities provide outdoor spaces, activities, entertainment, and transportation. Cleaning and maintenance is also done for you, so all you have to worry about is living your life however you choose.
Assisted living communities also allow you to live in your space, with all the same amenities as independent living communities. However, they provide a higher level of care. In an assisted living community, you may have a nurse come daily to help you with medical needs and/or personal needs like bathing and dressing.
Memory care and skilled nursing communities provide an even higher level of care. Memory care communities offer many types of therapies and treatments for people with dementia or other memory loss disorders. They are also carefully designed to keep you or your loved one safe, and provide dedicated help on a daily basis for all of your needs.
Skilled nursing communities provide the most care you can receive outside of a hospital. They are a good choice for people with advanced medical needs, like feeding tubes, IV therapy, wound care, or recovery from serious illness or injury,
When is Senior Living the Right Choice?
Senior living might be right for you if any of these statements apply to you.
- You have advanced medical needs, are recovering from a serious illness or injury, or have a memory loss disorder.
- You don’t have a lot of family support nearby or a strong support network.
- You are tired of managing and maintaining your home, yard, vehicles, etc.
- You want to live in a community of people in the same life stage as you.
- You want access to lots of expertly-curated activities and entertainment.
- You need daily help with dressing, bathing, eating, or other daily tasks.
- You have mobility challenges that make navigating your home difficult.
- You want access to 24/7 immediate medical care.
Pros and Cons of Senior Living
Some of the benefits of senior living include:
- Continuous, around-the-clock access to medical professionals for any type of medical needs.
- A built-in social network and calendar of community activities
- No need for cleaning, yard work, or home maintenance
- Easy to budget, as almost all of your life costs are included in your senior living “rent.”
- 24/7 access to a dining hall with delicious, nutritious, chef-prepared meals every day
- Structured fitness opportunities and programs to help you maintain your best health.
- Transportation services, so you no longer need to drive or maintain vehicles.
- Peace of mind. You’ll know you are safe and cared for at all times, offering both you and your loved ones peace of mind.
- Personalized level of services. As your needs change and evolve, most communities can continue to provide you with a personalized level of services that are tailored especially for you.
The potential drawbacks of senior living include:
- Potentially less privacy. Since senior living communities are made up of apartments, they don’t provide the same level of privacy and separation that detached single-family homes provide. It should be noted that they do provide the same level of privacy as any apartment building, so this would not be a concern for apartment dwellers.
- Adjustment period. Change can be difficult, especially for seniors. Moving and adjusting to a new environment can be a challenge.
- Cost. If you are on a tight budget and don’t need a lot of help, senior living communities may be more expensive than limited in-home care. However, it’s important to remember that senior living “rent” prices also include all home care and maintenance, food, transportation, entertainment, and more.
Making the Decision
Choosing between in-home care and a senior living community is a tough and important decision. When deciding, you might want to consider these factors for you or your senior loved one:
- Overall health and mobility
- Budget and finances
- Personal preferences
- Lifestyle choices
- Family and community support
- Healthcare professionals’ recommendations
If you’re still not sure what is best for you or your loved one, why not tour a senior living community near you? This might give you confidence to move forward with your choice. You may also want to consult a doctor and other members of you or your loved ones’ medical team to see what they recommend.
Stellar Living hopes this helps you see your options for in-home care vs senior living. Thinking senior living is the right choice for you? Call and speak to a Stellar Living Family Advisor today! They are ready and waiting to help you through this transition.