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Home Care vs Assisted Living: When Does Moving to a Community Make Sense?

A health care worker holds the arm of an older woman while she walks through her home

Once you realize your loved one needs additional personal assistance around the house, it can be difficult to figure out the next steps. They could move to an assisted living community, or you could hire a professional caregiver to provide home care. Each choice has its pros and cons, but which one helps your family member maintain or maximize their current lifestyle?

What is Home Care?

How much home care your loved one needs depends on their mobility and overall health. For example, if they need help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, bathing or housekeeping, having a home health aide stop by daily could help. However, once your family member goes beyond two or three main areas of focus, home care becomes more expensive and harder to coordinate.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living provides your loved one help with ADLs and access to around-the-clock care. In addition, assisted living communities also have a range of services and amenities.

Pros and Cons

To help you decide between assisted living and home care, here are some of their pros and cons.

Home care benefits for your family member:

  • Stay in their home as they age
  • Receive one-on-one attention for their specific care needs
  • Freedom to choose your caregiver
  • Provides greater daily flexibility

Assisted living benefits for your love:

  • Doesn’t have to make any modifications to their home or schedule
  • Don’t have to worry about planning and scheduling care
  • Readily available opportunities to socialize and explore their passions
  • If needed, higher levels are easily available

While there might be an option that’s best for your family member’s needs, it’s important to know some of the common limitations they can run into with home care and assisted living.

Home care cons:

  • Your loved one’s home may need to be modified, which can get expensive.
  • There is an increased risk of becoming isolated.
  • You’re required to manage your family member’s caregiver and monitor other aspects of their health.
  • It can be a challenge to have caregivers take on additional tasks.

Assisted Living Cons:

  • Your loved one may not want to leave their home.
  • Cost can vary depending on the types of amenities offered.
  • Could take time for your family member to adjust to their new environment.

When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

There are more reasons to consider moving into assisted living than just ADLs.

Expanded social circle: Moving to an assisted living community is a great way for your family member to meet new people.

Fall prevention: Assisted living communities are designed with safety features and have staff available around the clock in case an accident does happen.

Chronic health problems: If your family member has ongoing health problems, having access to care is vital to their safety. As a Life Plan Community, Freedom Square of Bradenton offers higher levels of care including memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, if ever needed.

Better nutrition: Weight gain or loss can be a sign of serious medical problems or that your loved one is having trouble preparing food. Freedom Square offers restaurant-style dining with well-balanced chef-inspired meals.

Mobility issues: If your loved one is having trouble walking or getting up and down stairs, moving to an assisted living community is one way to ensure their safety.

Difficulty with household chores: It’s easy to fall behind on maintenance and upkeep until it becomes overwhelming. Making the move to a maintenance-free community can free them from the responsibilities of homeownership.

Prevent caregiver burnout: Being the primary caregiver for an older adult is rewarding but it’s also hard physical and emotional work. Feeling burned out can seriously affect your ability to care for your loved one. Making the move to assisted living allows you to reassume the role of a loving family member without the worry of handling their daily care. If you just need a break, respite care at an assisted living community is a great way to get some time for yourself and your family while allowing your loved one to “try out” a community.

Average Assisted Living Cost

Genworth, a national provider of long-term care insurance, conducts surveys to determine the cost of care around the country. In 2023, the national monthly average of assisted living care was $5,350. According to Genworth, the average cost of assisted living in Bradenton, Florida, was $385 a month lower at $4,965. In comparison, the average monthly cost for a home health aide (assuming 44 hours/week) was $6,292 nationally and $6,673 in Bradenton.

NOTE: While this is a good general number to get you started, the cost of care varies based on setting, geographic location and level of care required. These numbers are an average that includes all assisted living from communities that offer semi-private rooms up to those with a full apartment. It also includes a small community with limited activities to ones with resort-style amenities and on-site health care.

As you consider your choices, here are some financing options to keep in mind:

Long-term care insurance: While Medicare and most private health insurance plans don’t cover assisted living, this type of policy typically does.

Medicaid: The federal/state health care program for people with low incomes and limited assets may provide some help if you’ve exhausted other financial resources. Contact your state’s Medicaid agency or Area Agency on Aging to learn more.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): The Aid and Attendance benefit, a supplement to VA pensions for older veterans who need help with daily living activities, can help pay for assisted living. VA health care does not pay for room and board at an assisted living community but might cover some additional services. Contact your state or regional VA pension management center for details.

Learn More About Freedom Village

To get all your questions answered about our care and assisted living lifestyle at Freedom Village of Bradenton, use our Community Assistant chat feature or contact us here. You can schedule a personal visit and learn more about our respite care.