What Is the Cost of Assisted Living vs. Home Care?
Posted: November 15, 2023
Assisted living and home care are two distinct options for providing care and support to older adults who may benefit from assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). The primary difference between the two lies in the setting and level of care provided. This article presents a breakdown of the differences.
The cost of assisted living vs. home care
Assisted living communities are residential communities that provide a combination of housing, personal care services, and social activities for older adults. Residents have their own apartments or rooms within the community. They can get assistance with ADLs, including bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation. Additionally, residents often have access to social and recreational activities.
The costs of assisted living can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, level of care needed, size of the living space, and amenities offered. Generally, the costs include a monthly fee that covers housing, meals, and basic services. Assisted living costs are generally higher per month than home care due to the included amenities and services, though this is dependent upon the level and frequency of support needed. The average monthly cost for assisted living in the United States is around $4,000 to $7,000.
Home care refers to receiving care and support in one’s own home. It can encompass various services tailored to an individual’s needs, such as assistance with ADLs, medication management, nursing care, therapy, companionship, and household chores. Home care can allow for a more flexible approach as caregivers provide only the care and support requested by the individual or their family.
The cost of home care can also vary based on factors such as the level of care required, the number of hours of care needed per day, the geographic location, and the specific services provided. Home care may be more cost-effective than assisted living since you pay only for the services and hours you need. Hourly rates for home care aides or caregivers usually range from $20 to $30 per hour. Many agencies have a four-hour-per-day minimum.
An assisted living community can be more cost-effective for those needing more frequent support. For example, take the average monthly cost of assisted living—$5,500—and divide that by an average of 730 hours in a month for a cost of about $7.50 per hour. Compare that to someone needing six hours of home care at $25 per hour, which comes to about $4,500 a month. But home care doesn’t include meals, entertainment, community engagement, and the other amenities found at an assisted living community.
Benefits of living in an assisted living community
Although home care may be more economical from a strictly financial standpoint, living in a community specifically designed for older adults can offer numerous benefits that may not be available for seniors receiving home care.
- Social interaction. Older adults often face the risk of social isolation, which can negatively affect their mental and emotional well-being. Living in a community provides ample opportunities for social interaction, helping to combat loneliness and fostering a sense of belonging. Many older adult communities offer various activities, classes, and programs catered to residents’ interests and hobbies. This keeps them engaged and promotes mental stimulation and physical activity. Being part of a community allows older adults to connect with others in similar life stages, leading to a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Living among peers with shared experiences can provide a strong sense of community and purpose, encouraging residents to stay engaged and active in their later years.
- Supportive environment. Assisted living communities are age-friendly and accommodating, with features such as grab bars, ramps, and wider hallways to ensure the safety and comfort of residents. This can be particularly important for those with mobility or health challenges. Gated communities or those with enhanced security measures can provide a greater sense of safety for older adults, alleviating concerns about crime and unauthorized access.
- Access to healthcare services. Some communities have on-site medical services or partnerships with healthcare providers, making it easier for residents to access necessary medical care and support around the clock. For those who have family caregivers, community living can offer a level of independence for older adults while giving caregivers some respite from their caregiving duties. In an assisted living community with a team of care partners, consistent care for residents is more likely. If one care partner is unavailable, others can step in without disrupting the routines and familiarity that residents rely on.
- Maintenance-free living. Older adults may no longer want the responsibility of maintaining a large home and yard. Community living often includes maintenance services, freeing residents from tasks such as lawn care and home repairs. Older adult communities usually offer a range of housing options, allowing residents to choose the type of living arrangement that suits them best.
- Fewer transportation challenges. Many assisted living communities provide transportation services, making it easier for residents to access shopping centers, medical appointments, and other essential services without relying on their own vehicles.
Tips for choosing between assisted living vs. home care
Choosing between assisted living and home care is an important decision that depends on various factors, including the individual’s health, preferences, financial situation, and support network. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
- Evaluate the level of care needed. Assisted living communities generally provide more comprehensive care, including assistance with ADLs, medication management, and medical supervision, while home care offers more personalized care in the comfort of one’s home.
- Consider the individual’s health condition. Assisted living may be more suitable for those with complex medical needs. In contrast, home care might be preferable for those who can maintain a relatively independent lifestyle but require some assistance.
- Consider the individual’s preferences. Some people may prefer the familiarity and comfort of their home, while others may appreciate the social interactions and activities offered at an assisted living community.
- Compare costs. Assisted living can be more expensive due to the comprehensive services provided, while home care costs can vary depending on how much and what type of care is needed and the hours of assistance required.
- Evaluate the safety of the living environment. Home modifications may be necessary to ensure safety, accessibility, and mobility. Assisted living communities are already designed with seniors’ safety in mind.
- Consider the social aspect. Assisted living communities offer prospects for socialization and activities, which can combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Home care may require more effort to maintain social connections.
- Assess the availability of family and friends for support. Home care might be more feasible if there’s a strong support network, as family and friends can help with caregiving responsibilities.
- Consider the well-being of the primary caregiver. If a family member is the primary caregiver, consider their physical and emotional health.
- Think about the desired level of independence. Home care offers more control over daily routines and living space, while assisted living may involve more communal schedules and routines.
- Evaluate potential future needs. If you expect your loved one’s health to decline, choosing an option that can accommodate increasing care requirements over time might be beneficial.
- Visit assisted living communities and research home care agencies. This will clarify what each option offers and how well they align with the individual’s needs and preferences.
Ultimately, the decision between assisted living versus home care should carefully consider the individual’s needs, preferences, and circumstances, and how those align with costs. Involve your loved one receiving care in the process to ensure their wishes are respected.
Contact us to learn more about assisted living at Cappella of Grand Junction.