Sometimes we all need an extra hand with everyday tasks, from cleaning to running errands. This is particularly true as we get older. Those of us who have elderly relatives in need of help should consider two methods of doing so: in-home care versus assisted living facilities.
In-home care is a popular choice because it allows the elderly person in question to remain relatively independent and stay in their own homes. In comparison to assisted living facilities, it is an incorrect assumption that in-home care is not as comprehensive and is only suitable for aging relatives with a low dependency level. In fact, in-home care can be just as around-the-clock as assisted living. Many home care providers offer a variety of packages that cater for every possible need, and will work with the elderly person and their loved ones to devise a customized plan that works around the schedule of family members.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities are sometimes wrongly imagined as providing better care than in-home care solutions. This is a completely erroneous assumption, and needs to be challenged. The reality is that this simply couldn’t be the case for two reasons:
First, assisted living isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing: there are actually three different types of assisted living. These are independent communities, assisted living communities, and nursing homes. These types of assisted living differ according to how much assistance is offered, and the average monthly price.
Independent communities are generally the cheapest, ranging from anywhere between $1500-$3500 per month. This cost is determined by the fact that such communities are most beneficial for elderly people with a low dependency level: in other words, they can’t do everything on their own anymore, but they are still relatively mobile and active, with only minor health issues.
Assisted living communities are the middle ground in terms of expense and level of care offered. They offer a higher level of care than independent communities, but a lower level of care than nursing homes. As a result, the monthly cost of an assisted living community is usually somewhere between $2500-$4000 per month. Such communities are mostly suitable for elderly loved ones who can no longer live on their own safely but do not require the high level of care provided in a nursing home. Assistance provided includes tasks ranging from meal preparation to housekeeping.
Nursing homes are the most expensive and offer the highest level of assistance to aging relatives. At nursing homes, it is common to see trained, professional nursing staff who are on call to provide around-the-clock care. This level of care is only necessary for aging relatives who have an extremely high dependency level: for example, if they need help with eating or getting dressed. Moreover, the facilities in nursing homes are aimed at elderly people who have consistent needs; Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, for example.
Make the Right Choice for Your Care
The discussion above shows that in-home care is arguably a superior option to an assisted living facility when it comes to choosing how to care for an aging relative. This is because in-home care allows your loved one to remain in their own home. Doing so encourages them to retain as much as possible of their previous way of life: there may be some things that they can no longer do without help, but the things they are still capable of doing remain the same. Routine and creature comforts can often make the experience of getting older a lot easier to get used to.
While there are different varieties of assisted living facilities, it’s only recommended to choose this option for your loved one if they need a very high level of care. Nursing homes are really the only level that grants greater peace of mind than in-home care, and they are only necessary if your relative is seriously ill. If your loved one has moderate needs, in-home care is truly the best solution.
First, the only time in-home care becomes as expensive as assisted living is if you are turning your relative’s home into a nursing home. For low and moderate dependency relatives, in-home care will be a lot cheaper than assisted living — especially if your relative’s house is no longer mortgaged. Second, in-home care allows for your relative to build up a relationship with the professional carer, whereas in an assisted living facility there is a more professional relationship between the staff and residents.
This is by no means an extensive discussion that covers every angle pertaining to care options for the elderly, but it’s a good place to start.