The Difference Between a Senior Home Care Facility and Assisted Living

Hospice seattle

It’s never easy to admit you need help. Young or old, male or female, we’re all prone to struggle at the loss of independence. This struggle is only exacerbated when age-related medical conditions are involved. If your loved one needs help with daily living but can’t bear the thought of moving into an assisted living home, consider a senior home care facility instead.

Home care versus assisted living

Most are familiar with assisted living facilities. An assisted living facility often provides 24-hour supervision for seniors. The facility will provide three meals a day – – usually in a group dining room – – and a range of other services to promote quality of life, such as health and personal care, help with medications, transportation, and housekeeping assistance. Nearly 40% of assisted living residents require help with three or more daily activities, most commonly bathing and dressing.

In contrast, a senior home care facility will provide similar services but in the comfort of the patient’s home. Services can range from simple companionship or ninety-minute check-ins to live-in and overnight care by skilled nurses. The beauty of a senior home care facility is it allows your loved one to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own home longer. One survey found that nine in 10 seniors would prefer to remain in their home as long as possible. To meet this desire, some in home care facilities offer hospice care services. An estimated 1.6 to 1.7 million patients received hospice care in 2014. For 58.9% of those patients, that care was received in the comfort and security of their own home.

Why choose a senior home care facility over assisted living?

Besides the fact that the vast majority of seniors prefer to remain at home, there are numerous other psychological and health benefits to in home care. For instance:

  • Retained independence: Even with live-in home care, seniors allowed to continue living at home experience a greater sense of independence than those forced to move into an assisted or nursing facility. This sense of independence can have a great affect on your loved one’s psychological morale, especially when he or she is already struggling with the effects of aging.
  • Stability: Moving into an assisted living or nursing home community means starting over. Anyone who has moved can recall how trying the experience can be. Add to that the potentially detrimental ramifications on a senior suffering from a chronic health condition such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, and it’s not hard to imagine why a senior home care facility would be a better choice.
  • Fewer doctor’s visits: Researchers have found that patients receiving in home care made 25% fewer trips to the doctor than those receiving a different form of care. For patients with dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s, that number doubled to 50% fewer doctor’s visits. Along with hospice care, many senior home care facilities can provide Alzheimer’s care in home. With the important of daily routines in Alzheimer?s care, this can translate into less need for more invasive doctor care.

Types of senior home care facility services

Just as not every senior needs the same level of care, not every home care facility offers the same services. In general, there are two types of home care providers:

  • Medical professionals – these include physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, and occupational therapists.
    • Non-medical professionals – these include companions, homemakers, personal care attendants, and home health aides. Homemakers and companions provide housekeeping and transportation services along with companionship. Home health aides will provide more hands-on care and can assist with daily living activities such as cooking, laundry, and shopping.

    Depending on the needs of your loved one, the senior home care facility will partner your loved one with a professional (or professionals) to provide the appropriate level of care. This care can of course change as your loved one changes. Some patients may begin needing only periodic companionship and assistance with chores, but over time will develop a need for round the clock care. To ensure your loved one’s needs are and always will be met, look for a senior home care facility that offers a variety of care options, from flexible shifts to live-in and overnight care and skilled nursing.