Making decisions about care for yourself or your loved one can be a difficult, overwhelming task. You’re probably not sure where to start or what questions to ask, and feel like there are too many choices to make to ensure the best experience possible. If so, you’re not alone. Fortunately there are many options for people who need a little extra help. Home care and assisted living are options that have helped millions of individuals who need a little extra aid day-to-day, and they can help you too.
As the name implies, home care allows you to remain in the familiar comfort of your own house. You can stay in your own bed, eat at your regular table, and enjoy the home you created. Home care gives you the freedom to select certain times of care that work best for your needs, even 24/7, and have assistance whenever you need it. Home care has also been found to reduce time spent in the hospital, saving time and money. In an additional study, home visits reduced rates of mortality and longer term care in senior patients.
As of 2015, there were 4.5 million patients in the United States receiving home care. Home care assistants can be medical professionals for necessary procedures such as shots or emergencies. Home caregivers could also be individuals skilled in care for clients with a wide array of needs. Either way, home caregivers are much more than a visiting guest; they provide consistency and companionship in addition to experience. Home care can also be an additional feature for persons in senior living communities: housing communities in which seniors can live near each other.
Similar to home care, assisted living allows you to live your life and receive help when you need it. It involves moving into a new place, such as a residential care community. In a recent study, residents in community-dwelling exhibited better improvement of daily living activities compared to individuals treated in a regular hospital.
As of 2015, there were over 811,000 residents in over 28,000 long-term residential care communities. Assisted living communities provide care when you need it, while also adding the social dynamic of new people. Caregivers in assisted living communities can also help with daily tasks as needed.
There is no one size fits all right choice between home care and assisted living; circumstances are different for everyone and always changing. There are, however, a few questions that you can ask to find the right choice for you:
- Do your current housing options fit your needs?: With many options for long-term care come many options for housing. For many older adults, aging in place provides comfort and familiarity during a difficult time. Others may prefer the opportunity to live somewhere new or in a community. Which circumstance best fits your needs? Are there any medical or environmental factors which may make living at home easier or difficult? When deciding on home care vs. assisted living, ask yourself how comfortable you feel in your home, and if you can see yourself remaining there long-term.
- What are the specifics of your needs? Home care professionals can be hourly or live-in, whereas assisted living communities are typically always staffed. Do you need assistance for a few hours per day and during consistent times? Or are your needs more sudden or long-term? If the latter is the case, you may want to consider assisted living or a live-in home caregiver. Home care also offers better options for schedule flexibility compared to assisted living communities.
- What form of care do you need? Home care professionals can offer a wide array of services to fit your needs, beyond those offered by assisted care facilities. Home care services can specifically fit individuals recovering from surgery, patients with physical disabilities, or patients with dementia, in addition to seniors.
- What are your ideal social dynamics? Home care can provide one-on-one companionship, while assisted living can also introduce you to a whole community of new people. What level of social interaction would you like? It is worth considering that multiple studies have found that increased social interaction with individuals outside one’s family is good for seniors and can have many benefits.
We know that these choices are not easy and you are likely feeling lost. Answering these questions now can be the compass to guide you out of that confusion.
We hope you have found these suggestions helpful. If you are considering home care in the Colorado area, we would like to be even more helpful with a free consultation.