Money & Retire

Compare: Senior Home Care Vs. Assisted Living

Maintaining a home with in-home care or finding an assisted living facility can be a daunting prospect. When in doubt, try evaluating the financial, emotional and physical costs of keeping a home versus living in a senior care facility. It can make the decision fairly straightforward.

When To Consider Assisted Living?

There are a variety of options when it comes to moving into a senior living facility. If you’re looking for minimal assistance and would rather just have a a safe living environment then Independent Living is the route to go. If you or your loved one needs more help with daily activities, a bit of extra medical care, but still wants enjoy a variety of independence and activities then Assisted Living is for you.

Overall, Independent Living typically costs less than Assisted Living as the level of personal care is lower in comparison. There are facilities that have both living options making them an easy move as you or your loved one can transition throughout each stage of life. We’re going to dive into Assisted Living as it can be a more complex decision to make for individuals and families.

Compare the Emotional Costs

Most people are understandably hesitant to leave their home and worry about giving up their independence. But consider the emotional costs. Many people who live at home are lonely, especially if they are unable to get out on their own. Grown children may worry about the safety of their loved one—especially if they are at a higher risk offalling and injuring themselves. If they have a heart attack or stroke, how will they get help?

In assisted living facilities, residents have round-the-clock care. Staff can help them take their medications, monitor their health issues, and provide immediate medical care if necessary. These facilities offer social outings, exercise programs, group dining and other events for socialization, fostering new friendships.

Compare the Financial Costs

Owning a home includes not only a mortgage and tax payments, but maintenance costs inside and out. Mowing the lawn and shoveling snow may no longer be possible for some, which means they’ll need to pay for those services. Tallying the monthly bills, including costs like groceries, laundry, and cleaning supplies starts to get expensive; especially if you’re living on a fixed income. That’s not to mention possible unexpectedexpenses such as plumbing, heating, and appliance repairs. Now factor in the minor costs that often go overlooked, such as grab bars and stair lifts and the costs begin to get worrisome. Luckily, all of these can be eliminated with assisted living as most places cost a monthly fixed amount.

Perhaps the most expensive cost is the one you or your loved one may already be dealing with: in-home medical care. This alone can exceed the costs of assisted living and by moving into an assisted living facility costs can be reduced drastically.

Compare the Physical Costs

The risk of injury goes up exponentially as we get older. However, eventually even simple tasks like doing the laundry, cooking or keeping the house clean can take a physical toll that extends well beyond injury. If you or your loved one are beginning to lose the ability to perform daily tasks without pain then perhaps it is time to move to a place that mitigates your daily task load. The costs to a person’s quality of life should also be taken into consideration when determining the right time and place to transition.

What Does Assisted Living Offer?

Knowing the amenities of assisted living facilities can help in the decision making process as well. No longer will you or your loved one need to cook on a daily basis as the kitchen will take care of that. Exercise programs, social activities, and new friends can keep you busy in the time that mundane daily chores once filled. Onsite medical care, laundry, and personal assistance services are other perks that can reduce your worry.

Researching local facilities, touring, and talking with residents can help you find the right new home for you or your loved one. Just like when you’re moving houses or apartments, create a checklist so you know what amenities you desire.

Realizing the Need Before Others

Often, adult children recognize the need for assisted living before their parents do. Your loved one may insist they’re “just fine” living at home or they may have a negative image of assisted living. Walking with them through the process is necessary. By making them comfortable and laying out all the options in an open and honest conversation, you open can express your understanding and hope for their future.

By looking realistically at your options you’re sure to find a living solution that works for your lifestyle.

More on the subject:

Dying too Late: What Worries My Mother About End of Life Care

Make Living at Home Easy and Safe

What You Need to Know About Hospice Care

Photo credit: Providence Place

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