In-home care versus assisted living — which is the best choice for your family?
Flexible in-home care options make aging at home an option for many seniors. However, some family members can still find caring for an aging or ailing senior exhausting even with support services.
As your loved ones’ needs change, you may need to bring in additional help for daily living. Or even make modifications to your home to improve safety and accommodate mobility issues.
If your parent or spouse is living with a progressive medical condition, requires help in day-to-day activities, or could benefit from access to 24/7 support, assisted living communities might be the solution.
Assisted living communities offer the support, services, and resources many seniors require, increasing their independence. At the same time, they enjoy a wide range of events and recreational activities tailored to their needs or limitations.
The Kensington White Plains offers specialized memory care programs, including:
- Music therapy programs run by certified music therapists
- Robo-Pet Therapy Program that uses robotic dogs and cats to lower anxiety levels while increasing interaction with others
- Horticultural therapy programs that promote senior mental health, wellbeing, and socialization
This is in addition to health care services and activities to support those living with dementia.
Let’s explore and compare the services and benefits of home care versus assisted living facilities
What is home care?
Home care can vary based on who provides the care, but offers the support your loved one needs without having to move them out of their own home.
For example, a Licensed Home Care Services Agency (LHCSA) typically provides nursing, in addition to housekeeping or personal-care services. They typically charge an hourly rate.
Many also help with health and social service needs. Friends or family members may stop by when not at work to help with household chores or cook meals.
What services does home care provide?
Whether family members, friends, agencies, or licensed home health care providers, most in-home senior care providers offer assistance with daily living activities, such as:
- Personal hygiene
- Grocery shopping
- Meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
In-home caregivers typically provide non-medical care services.
However, they can help with medication management by reminding seniors to take the proper medications at the right time.
How do I choose between assisted living and home care?
In-home care can be a good solution for a family with an aging senior in the following situations:
- Their loved one requires a minimal level of assistance with daily tasks
- Their condition has not progressed enough to need around-the-clock care
- They could benefit from a few hours of support services a week
- They live in an aging-friendly residence (i.e., single-level living)
It’s important to note that one of the key struggle points to providing consistent, reliable home care is the difficulty managing schedules and in-home appointments—especially during inclement weather in the winter.
What is assisted living?
Assisted living communities help seniors enjoy their independence longer on a safe campus with their peers and healthcare professionals.
In addition, residents of an assisted living community can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing onsite caregivers are available 24/7 —provided families can afford it.
An assisted living community, such as The Kensington White Plains, can help seniors living with special needs or ongoing conditions, such as:
- Reduced mobility
- Increased risk of falling
- Struggling with personal care
- No longer driving/ no reliable access to transportation
- Difficulty adhering to a medication schedule or unable to refill prescriptions
- Difficulty getting groceries or preparing meals
Other assisted living benefits include an increased sense of community, nutritious all-day dining services, improved nutrition and maintenance of special diets—at The Kensington White Plains, we have onsite dieticians and physicians (in addition to Rehabilitation facilities), opportunities to socialize with other residents, and housing modifications like televisions designed to increase the sound quality (for seniors with reduced hearing).
Assisted living provides opportunities for social improvement
We’re social creatures; we benefit from our interaction with other people.
Social isolation isn’t just uncomfortable, it can negatively affect our mental health. At The Kensington White Plains, resident-led discussion groups, such as our women’s “In The News” group, men’s sports and news discussion groups, and general community trivia, history groups all contribute to increased socialization, conversation, and community involvement.
And older adults living in social isolation face an increased risk of premature death from all causes, a 50% increased risk of dementia, and an increased risk of stroke and hospital emergency visits.
Assisted living communities allow seniors to stay social and continue participating in favorite activities like meeting friends, attending church, family get-togethers, or other community-based activities.
At The Kensington White Plains, residents can choose to participate in any number of activities such as
- Resident-led book clubs
- Cooking clubs that encourage residents to make treasured family favorites and holiday treats
- Kensington Playwrights weekly performances, featuring residents in director, writer, and performer roles
- Live entertainment
- Trips to museums, and theaters
Assisted living communities are designed to help older adults stay secure 24/7 while providing comfortable and affordable housing.
Resources to monitor whereabouts and fully secured environments for early-to-mid stage Alzheimer patients are just some of the safety features for The Kensington White Plains residents.
Aging in place might seem like a more budget-friendly option than assisted living.
But when you consider the additional average costs associated with maintaining a home—like cable services, utilities, yard maintenance, repairs, insurance—and then add an hourly in-home care rate of up to $40 an hour, the actual cost of in-home care can add up to much more.
What are the different levels of care in assisted living?
Residents requiring minimal assistance typically require reduced levels of care. These are generally for residents who
- Are ambulatory; and
- Have no memory loss issues.
These residents may require assistance dressing or showering but can otherwise manage their personal care.
Trained staff handle medication schedules, monitor blood sugar levels, etc., but residents don’t require skilled nursing care or complex medical management.
Assisted living level of care
Residents requiring hands-on assistance from caregivers generally require an increased level of care. This level of care can benefit the following residents who:
- Need assistance to get around or are not ambulatory;
- Need more support with personal grooming and hygiene;
- Are participating in rehabilitation therapy or physical therapy;
- Have some memory loss; or
- Require more skilled medical care or complex medical attention to manage chronic or ongoing health issues, including pain management.
High acuity care with enhanced assisted living residence
Assisted living residences in New York can become certified as an Enhanced Assisted Living Residence (EALR).
Like The Kensington White Plains, these residences exceed standard care in assisted living. EALR’s allows residents to truly “age in place” by hiring skilled nurses or agencies to provide and supervise care.
Our high acuity care program offers the additional help that home caregivers often cannot provide. An assisted living community will already provide all of the resources and accommodations that may be necessary.
This means you don’t have to worry about fitting equipment or beds inside your loved one’s existing home.
While the level of care a resident needs will depend on their individual situation, it can include assistance getting out of bed, helping with incontinence, rehabilitation, speech or memory care therapy, etc.
Memory care at The Kensington White Plains
The Kensington White Plains is more than an assisted living facility; it’s an enhanced community featuring dedicated memory care neighborhoods.
These “neighborhoods” function at a higher level of assistance and care and are specially designed for those living with dementia. Features include:
- Heightened security to prevent unintentional wandering to unfamiliar parts of the community
- Specialized training for staff
- Activities to help improve cognition
- Memory boxes to boost recognition and minimize confusion
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether in-home care or an assisted living community is best for your loved one. It will be a personal choice, but should take your loved one’s physical, medical, and emotional needs into consideration.
Reach out to our team today, if you’re exploring home care versus assisted living for a family member and would like to schedule a tour of the Kensington White Plains residence.