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Home Care vs. Assisted Living: Which Option is Right for Your Parent?

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If your aging parent needs more assistance in their daily routine than you and your family can provide, it’s probably time to look for additional help. Luckily, it comes to senior care, today’s older adults have more options than ever before. But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine what’s best for your parent.

Should you hire an in-home caregiver to visit your parent in their home? Or is moving to an assisted living community a better option? When deciding between home care or assisted living, be sure you consider the differences between the two types of senior care, so you and your parent know what to expect.

In-home care

In-home care can be an excellent fit for older adults who are relatively independent but need a little help with their daily tasks. Caregivers visit seniors in their homes to provide services such as meal preparation, mobility assistance, light housekeeping and laundry, medication reminders, and support with bathing, dressing, or other daily tasks. Caregivers may also provide seniors living alone with much-needed companionship, enriching older adults’ social engagement by playing games together, taking them to run errands or to doctor appointments, or simply enjoying conversation together.

If needed, your parent may also receive skilled nursing care such as wound care or IV therapy in the comfort of their home. Some at-home care services also offer physical, occupational, or speech therapy to help seniors as they recover from hospital visit due to surgery or illness. Home care is a great way to help older adults receive necessary care in the privacy and familiarity of their own home. However, in-home care can be limited; caregivers are not usually available 24/7 to provide around-the-clock care. If your parent needs more frequent help, assisted living might be a better choice.

Assisted living

In assisted living, older adults receive support with daily tasks while enjoying a more maintenance-free lifestyle. Unlike home care, assisted living residents live in private living spaces such as apartments or suites in a community environment and have access to a team of experienced caregivers 24 hours a day. Medical personnel, including registered nurses, physicians, physical and occupational therapists also on staff in assisted living facilities to provide medical care. This way, older adults and their families can feel confident knowing help is available in the event of an emergency or other urgent need.


In assisted living, older adults have access to convenient housekeeping and maintenance services, as well as freshly prepared meals, transportation services, and other amenities. Assisted living residents also enjoy opportunities for daily social engagement and activities with peers who share their interests.

Which option is right for your parent?

If you’re still unsure about whether home care or assisted living is best for your parent, ask yourself the following questions:

How often does my parent need assistance? Do they only need help a few times a week, or do they require more frequent help in completing daily tasks?

What happens if an emergency occurs when an at-home caregiver isn’t present? Can friends and family check on your parent at any time of day or night?

Does my parent have access to social activities while living at home? Or would they benefit from the daily opportunities for social interaction in an assisted living community?

Has my parent expressed whether they want to stay at home or are they open to moving to a senior living community?

Which option makes the most sense for my family, financially? Be sure you ask for all of the costs and fees associated with each type of senior care. Assisted living can often be a surprisingly cost-effective option when compared to at-home care since so many of the monthly costs associated with owning a home are included in assisted living.

Written by Bethany Village

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