Home Care vs. Assisted Living Homes: How to Decide
In the beginning, the world of senior care options can feel foreign and confusing for seniors and their adult children. Aging is a natural part of life, and for many seniors, the time eventually comes when their activities of daily living become too difficult to manage on their own.
One of the questions seniors and their family members have on their minds is, “Is home care better than assisted living care?”
That question is usually followed closely by, “What’s the difference between home care services and what an assisted living community offers?”
We’re providing the answers to these questions and some other commonly asked questions to help you make the best decision for senior care services.
What Is In-Home Care?
Home care services are professional support services provided in a senior’s home that enable them to live as safely and independently as possible.
Home care services can include:
- Personal care (bathing, feeding, dressing, transferring, etc.)
- Light housekeeping
- Personal companionship
To answer the question, “Is home care better than assisted living?” For many people, the answer is a resounding yes. It’s common for seniors to feel happier and more comfortable in their own homes rather than move to a new place.
What Are Assisted Living Homes?
Assisted living homes are communities that offer professional care staff directly on the premises. Staff includes registered or certified nurses and other personal support staff. Depending on the community, nursing staff may be available 24/7.
Some of the advantages of assisted living homes include:
- Care beds, wheelchairs, etc.
- Accessible bathrooms
- Suites designed for easier mobility
- Opportunities for socialization to reduce loneliness
What assisted living facilities do not want you to know up front is the cost.
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Is Home Care More Affordable Than Assisted Living in Pennsylvania?
One of the biggest hesitations for seniors and their family members in exploring their options for senior care services is worry over the costs. Cost for care is of special concern for seniors living on fixed or low incomes.
Here are some facts to help answer the question, “Is home health care cheaper than assisted living?”
- The average cost of assisted living care in Pennsylvania is $5550 per month.
- The average cost of home care services in Pennsylvania is $4767.
- Average care for a senior is $24/hour for 20 hours/week ($1920/month).
- Home care services charge by the hour, so costs can be even less depending on the need.
Does Medicaid Pay for Home Care Services in Pennsylvania?
Medicaid is often a good source of funding for home care services for Pennsylvania residents. It’s a joint program between the state of Pennsylvania and the federal government that provides assistance to elderly residents with low incomes.
As of January 2020, Medicaid offers a new managed care waiver program called Community HealthChoices (CHC). The concept behind this program is to make it possible for individuals to receive care in their homes rather than in a more restrictive, expensive nursing home.
CHC covers services such as:
- Personal care
- Emergency response systems
- Meal delivery
- Respite care
- Home or auto modifications
- Medical services
- Mental health services
Be aware that CHC replaces the PDA Waiver and enrollees of the PDA Waiver are automatically enrolled in CHC.
Why Is Home Care Safer Than Assisted Living?
Safety is a major concern for seniors and their families. With home care services, seniors get the right care at the right time, and that significantly helps to reduce safety risks and hazards.
We’re highlighting some of the specific reasons why home care is safer for seniors than assisted living:
- Care plans are customized to the individual’s needs as opposed to those of an entire community.
- Trained professionals provide one-on-one care services.
- Caregivers consider the needs, preferences, and dislikes of their patients, allowing them greater independence safely.
- Seniors and their family members have an opportunity to interview and hire caregivers they connect with and trust.
- Seniors will continue building trust in their caregiver(s) as their relationship grows and strengthens.
- Professional caregivers communicate safety concerns with family members early on before safety hazards become inevitable.
We’ve provided some basic information and guidelines to lead you in the right direction as you make decisions for the best care. Bear in mind that the guidelines and services vary by agency and facility.
If you’re still looking for clarity between what home care and assisted living services can offer, contact our specialists at Good Hands, a home care agency in Pennsylvania that accepts Medicaid programs. Good Hands offers customized care plans and professional caregivers which may be more affordable than assisted living options. Call us at 610-285-1095 to learn more about your options.