Home Care vs. Assisted Living: Which is the Right Choice?

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For many people, getting older presents unique challenges, and facing it often means decreased mobility and independence. Thankfully, many adults are staying active and involved, but the body does have a way of slowing down, and most people are eventually faced with having to ask for help — or accept it.

If you think it might be time for you or a loved one to think about getting more help, there are generally two next-step options to consider.

In-home care

For those who do not wish to move out of your current home, but do need extra help, home care may be the best option. You can seek a caregiver privately, by doing research and interviewing candidates, or work with a caregiving agency. Working with an agency has the added benefit of easily replacing or substituting caregivers, though its convenience usually indicates a higher price point than hiring a private caregiver. Agencies also vet and interview their staff, so if you’re looking for someone else to do the research, strongly consider work with a renowned agency. Ask family and friends for referrals or conduct online research for the right fit.

Home care may be a better option for you if you’re looking for part-time assistance and if your home is suitable for aging in place. Part-time home care is typically more affordable than assisted living. As the need for help rises, so does the cost of care. Once at the level of needing full-time or 24-hour care, it’s time to consider other options.

Though many people consider all senior communities as “nursing homes,” there are actually three tiers of senior communities, which offer varying services. Many seniors are fairly independent but require a little extra help don’t need nursing care and should seek other options.

The first tier of senior living is independent living. If you already live on your own, in a house, apartment, condo, or independent senior community, you’re already participating in this type of housing.

Assisted Living

The second tier of senior living, Assisted Living, is the next step up, which generally offers more ADL (assistance with daily living) services.

Most Assisted Living communities feature private apartments or rooms, ADL, housekeeping, laundry assistance, and prepared meals (some have mandatory full meal plans, and others offer kitchenettes and only part-time meal plans).

Though most communities are larger, it’s becoming more common to see smaller assisted living homes, called Residential assisted living, which were usually private residences converted into assisted living quarters. For some people, these communities offer a homey and more familiar space and environment. The pricing is often lower as well.

Prices generally vary, as do services and amenities, so be sure to do your research before settling on one. Some communities require large entrances fees (which are sometimes refundable and sometimes not), and others charge rent that covers utilities and meals, etc.

Choosing an assisted living may be the best option for you if your home is not a suitable for aging in place. Raised walkways, stairs, narrow walkways and halls, and bathtubs can eventually cause problems for seniors with mobility issues. If your home isn’t easily converted for aging in place with renovations, and you need assistance with daily living, it may be time to think of moving to assisted living. Moving there also has the added benefit of less physical responsibility, since the burdens of housekeeping, cooking, laundry, lawn care and more are lightened.

To have access to all tiers of senior living, many seniors are now choosing a CCRC, a continuing care retirement community. Typically, these communities feature independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. Some also offer specialized memory care. Having all the options can be beneficial since your needs may change as you get older. It also eases the transition, since it’s generally not a far move, and the management stays the same. Prices usually increase as you move up levels and require more services.

If you think it may be time for you to consider moving to a senior community, consider speaking to a CarePatrol of Baltimore housing placement specialist. They will sit down with you, assess your needs and financial situation, and offer the best options they can find. They are also available for tours and guidance during your final search. You can contact a specialist from CarePatrol of Baltimore, a senior housing placement agency that serves the Baltimore city and county areas, at (410) 844-0800 or [email protected] Also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CarePatrolBaltimore.

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