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Is In-Home Care or Assisted Living Best for My Loved One?

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Realizing that your senior loved one needs more care than what their current situation is offering can be hard to come to terms with. With so many options and factors at play, it can be difficult to determine which type of care will fit their needs best and allow them to keep living life to its fullest. Luckily, there are many different forms of care for older adults, with the two main categories being in-home care and out-of-home care.

What is In-Home Care?

In-home care includes any kind of support received in the senior’s home. According to a survey by AARP in 2021, “two-thirds of U.S. adults, and more than three-quarters of those age 50-plus, want to stay in their home as they get older.” This is a popular method for many seniors who may only need help with light activities done around the house. It is also becoming more accessible for Americans nationwide, as the number of home care health workers increased by 21% between 2017 and 2018. Many local options for in-home care are also improving, but it is important to keep in mind that your state or city’s offerings may vary.

Home care can be broken down further into non-skilled home care and skilled home care (U.S. News, 2019). Non-skilled care is less formal and typically not covered by Medicare; instead, it would often be performed by loved ones, health aides, or personal attendants and includes help with daily living activities such as bathing, getting dressed, or preparing a meal. Skilled care would be services done by registered professionals. This could include regular changing of bandages, administration of mediation, and other complex interventions requiring high-level nursing skills and are generally covered by Medicare Part A. This care can also be specific to support people with memory issues or cognitive impairments and could be a fit for someone who is starting on their dementia journey or are having mild symptoms of dementia. Other types of home care include recovery care (provided on a temporary basis such as recovery from a surgery or injury), respite care (provided when the senior’s ordinary caregivers are unavailable), and hospice/palliative care (specialized for those approaching end of life to keep them as comfortable as possible).

What is Nursing or Assisted Living Care?

Out-of-home care is often chosen when someone wants to let go of the responsibilities of maintaining a home and in return becomes a part of a community. Communities can range from no nursing assistance, as in independent living, all the way to complete nursing assistance, known as nursing homes. Certain communities might offer enrichment activities, dining services or other programs as well. These types of facilities are usually designed specifically for easy mobility and all-inclusive senior living; this could be in the shape of a studio, one-bedroom, shared room, or even small home. Assisted living facilities can provide a great deal of support all while being in a home-like environment. At Wentworth Senior Living (WSL), the different types of care we offer for our residents are assisted living and advanced memory care; each community is molded to the needs of those specific residents at that time.

Choosing the Right Care Option

Moving is a big decision, and there are a few factors that may help you determine if this is the right choice. If your loved one’s care needs are becoming too complex for safe at-home care (this can look like needing 24/7 supervision or severe mobility issues), moving to an assisted living facility may be necessary. It could also be memory related, for example, if your loved one is forgetting to eat meals or is constantly trying to leave the house, they will benefit from moving into a place where there is a higher volume of professionals and an around-the-clock secure community. Lastly, if as their caregiver you are feeling chronic stress due to their needs being too much to orchestrate, it is time to seek additional services so you and the person you are caring for gets the support that they deserve.

Choosing the right kind of care for your loved ones can be tough, as there are many factors that will affect the decision. Cost, location, level of care, and your loved one’s opinion are all important considerations when deciding on a community. Some helpful steps to take when undergoing this decision are to develop both a short-term and long-term plan, as your family member or friend’s needs can change quickly, and it is important to have an idea of what to do in each situation. Moving into a senior care community that allows a resident to age in place can give everyone comfort knowing that they will most likely never have to move again and will be provided with care when needed. Yet sometimes seniors are not ready to take that step, a simple solution for the time being, if appropriate, could be simply adapting their home for their safety. (For example, making fixes for fall prevention or fine-tuning the home for dementia). By reviewing these options, you are on the right track to make sure your loved one receives the care they deserve in a safe environment, and WSL is here to help you throughout the process.