At-Home Care or Senior Living? Making the Right Choice

Although many older adults can live at home well into their retirement years, there often comes a time when help is needed to ensure they remain safe, healthy, and happy. As this need for additional care increases, it may become a burden on families forcing them to consider either hiring at-home care or moving to a senior living community. This decision can be difficult but sorting through the facts will help make the choice that best fits everyone’s needs.

Care availability

Securing steady at-home care can be tricky because of the ongoing scarcity of skilled caregivers. According to the blog, “Overcoming The Home Care Agency Caregiver Shortage,” since the COVID-19 pandemic some at-home care agencies have seen a 20-to-50% drop in workforce. At the same time, the number of older adults who need help remains high, with one study noting that of adults who reach age 65, 48% will have paid care during their lifetime and 70% will require “severe” long-term services and support.

In senior living communities, however, care is always available, and residents can receive more or less care as needs change. Senior living caregivers offer consistent, compassionate help for activities like personal hygiene and dressing or mediation management. They also assist seniors who struggle with mobility get around the community and provide additional support for those living with some type of memory loss 24/7/365 so they can remain safe and independent. Read our blog, “Lifestyle & Care Options in Senior Living Communities” for an overview of what to expect.

Thrive Family Decision Toolkit Guide

Socialization versus isolation

Older people who need at-home care often need companionship as well. But when families who are striving to provide care are pressed for time, they may have to limit quality time spent with a loved one. Even hired at-home caregivers generally have a limited amount of time to spend just talking or engaging with seniors before they have to move on to their next assignment. This can leave seniors feeling isolated and lonely, which can negatively impact their mental and physical well-being.

Making the move to a senior living community, however, can help seniors get the daily socialization they need. Not only are there plenty of friendly residents and team members, but there are also activities and events that bring residents together to share in the fun. For example, taking a yoga class, participating in arts and crafts, or going on a group outing can help seniors feel like they are part of a greater community that cares about them. Find out more about the many social benefits of senior living in our blog, “In With the In Crowd: The Benefits of Socialization for Older Adults.”

Round-the-clock risk

One of the greatest fears of families is that their senior loved one will get hurt when they are not there to help. This is a very legitimate fear, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in 2018, approximately 36 million falls occurred to seniors resulting in 8 million injuries. But unless there is always help on hand, seniors are constantly at risk for injuries that can make their lives more difficult or even hasten their death. Unfortunately, at-home care isn’t normally provided around the clock, so the seniors are left to fend for themselves.

Residents of senior living communities are never truly alone since team members are nearby day and night to assist them. And for those in memory care, families have the peace of mind that comes with knowing there is additional security to help prevent their loved ones from wandering and getting lost or injured. For more about how senior living takes safety to heart, check out our blog, “We’ve Got Your Back: Safety & Security in a Senior Living Community.”

Cost compared

When at-home care is needed, families may be surprised at how much it costs. According to the article, “Cost of Care Survey,” the 2021 national monthly median costs for 44 hours with a home health aide was $5,148 and $4,957 for homemaker services. And that doesn’t include all the usual costs of living at home like utilities, food, home maintenance, security, etc.

On the other hand, the national monthly median cost of assisted living was $4,500 and includes meals, private housing, community amenities and activities, transportation, socialization, and zero maintenance.

For more about choosing the right senior living community, download our Family Decision Guide. Learn more about Thrive’s communities, housing choices and amenities by contacting us today!

Thrive Family Decision Toolkit Guide