When it comes time for a little extra help for yourself or your loved one, many people assume the only options are to stay home or go to a nursing home. Luckily, seniors today have far more options to consider. While it may seem a bit overwhelming, each senior care option is actually tailored to a specific type of need or want. So, not only does that make it easier to find where you fit, you can rest assured that you’ll have just the right blend of support and independence. Here are the pros and cons of each senior care option.
Care at Home
There are two main options for care at home. The first is home health care which is provided on an as-needed, hourly or 24/7 live-in basis with services that include personal care household chores, cooking and transportation as well as occupational, physical and speech therapy. The second is adult day care which provides care during normal business hours, five days a week with services that include meals, snacks and health monitoring as well as fitness, enrichment and social activities.
- Caregivers can have time away to work, go to school, manage other household responsibilities or have a much-needed break.
- It may cost less than senior living initially as you have the choice of how much or how little support is needed.
- You or your loved one have the comfort of remaining in a familiar place.
- You can remain with family members who don’t yet need assistance.
- Can be hard on family members to manage caregiving with their other responsibilities.
- Costs can increase dramatically as needs increase and/or if the support is needed long term putting a strain on your budget.
- To make the home safe and accessible updates to may be necessary which create additional costs.
- You also still have to keep up with home maintenance and repair.
- In the case of adult day care, you have the hassle of transportation to and from the center each day and hours/services may be more limited than you may need.
- Isolation, insufficient exercise and lack of proper nutrition are common problems when only intermittent care is provided at home.
Care in Senior Living
Nursing homes and senior living are not the same at all. Nursing homes are hospital-like settings specifically for people who need 24-hour medical care. On the other hand, senior living communities offer differing levels of care all focused on supporting independence, an active lifestyle and overall wellbeing.
Independent Living – A type of senior living for people who don’t need daily assistance, but rather want more social and enrichment opportunities and less responsibility with chores and home maintenance.
- Wide range of accommodations and floor plans.
- Home upkeep and yard maintenance as well as restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, laundry services and transportation are typically included in your monthly fee. Some utilities may even be included.
- Resort-like amenities such as a pool, fitness center and onsite beauty and barber salon. Many communities are also pet friendly.
- A vibrant social community with planned events and excursions as well as fitness and enrichment opportunities.
- Many independent living communities also have other levels of care on the same campus to help ease the transition as health needs evolve.
- Onsite medical care is typically not offered in communities that are strictly independent living.
- The stress of leaving home and moving to a new, unfamiliar place.
Assisted Living – This type of senior living offers housing, onsite care and support with daily tasks while helping you maintain independence and stay active.
- Personalized care to help with bathing, dressing, eating and medication.
- Onsite medical care offers peace of mind.
- The setting feels homelike but home upkeep, cooking, cleaning and yard maintenance are taken care of for you.
- Offers many of the same amenities as independent living.
- Daily opportunities to connect and engage with a range of scheduled programs, social activities and outings.
- Less privacy than you would have in your own home.
- While there is support with daily tasks and onsite medical care, assisted living typically does support medical conditions that require round-the-clock care and/or need specialized care such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Memory Care – This type of senior living offers care specifically designed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- The staff is specifically trained to assist those with Alzheimer’s and dementia by providing personalized support, continuity and compassion.
- A safe environment with 24-hour supervision and an easy-to-navigate layout.
- Therapy, stimulating activities and programs with social opportunities to enhance quality of life are provided.
- Dining options are designed to enhance nutrition and independence.
- For caregivers, the ability to reduce stress and have more time with your loved one as their daughter, son, husband or wife again.
- The stress of being in an unfamiliar setting.
- Challenges in adjusting to a group environment with less privacy.
These options certainly offer quite a bit to consider, however hopefully they give you a starting point from which to determine the best fit for your needs and wants.
For more information, check out our Stay or Go Guide or schedule a virtual tour →