Assisted Living and Non-Medical Home Care: A Comparison
If you’re caring for an aging loved one, or faced with making decisions for an aging loved one who can no longer care for themselves, you might be considering two alternatives:
- Non-medical home care
- Assisted living community
Both living arrangements have a number of benefits and some drawbacks.
What are some of the key differences?
Here’s a quick comparison.
What Is Non-medical Home Care?
When you hire non-medical home care, a home care aide will come to your loved one’s home and stay with them—either round-the-clock or on a pre-determined schedule. This person, sometimes called a senior care companion or home aide, can help your loved one perform daily tasks.
These tasks may include:
- Bathing and personal hygiene
- Medication reminders (although in most states they cannot administer medication)
- Getting dressed
- Help eating
The home aide may also provide:
Non-Medical Care versus Skilled Home Health Care
- Light housekeeping
It’s important to note the difference between non-medical care and home health care. Nearly anyone—even without a medical license—can perform non-medical care. In fact, the burden often falls on a family member, who isn’t paid for these services.
On the other hand, home health professionals are skilled medical professionals who can often administer medications, offer occupational therapy services, change wound dressings, and assess your aging loved one’s overall health.
What Is Assisted Living?
In an assisted living community, staff is available 24/7 to provide non-medical care services. Your senior loved one receives the care and companionship she or he needs, whenever it’s necessary.
In addition, an assisted living community often provides social activities from group yoga classes to movie night
to keep residents engaged with life.
Many also offer wellness programs, healthy meal options and transportation. If you opt for in-home non-medical care, you’ll have to pay separately for these types of services.
Non-Medical Home Care or Assisted Living?
Caregivers for senior loved ones often believe non-medical home care is a suitable, more affordable option to assisted living. They might even believe non-medical home care gives a senior more freedom. For an older adult who wishes to age in place, in-home care may be the right option.
When analyzing all factors, including costs, it’s important to remember the following:
Assisted Living: Scale the Services to Your Loved One’s Needs
- A senior who uses non-medical home care must pay the home aide, along with all the usual expenses such as meals, mortgage, taxes, and utilities
- Assisted living includes non-medical care, as well as a place to live, transportation, some meals, home maintenance (including lawn care), and utilities
- Assisted living provides services when your loved one needs it, round-the-clock
Many senior living communities offer independent living, assisted living and specialized memory care. Your aging loved one can scale up or down depending on their needs.
If they need short-term skilled nursing or therapy to support a recovery from an injury or illness, they might be able to receive from a skilled home health agency in their own apartment. And while neither assisted living nor in-home care is covered by Medicare, skilled home health care may be
Move or Stay?
The decision to move to assisted living or to age-in-place with help from a home aide is a difficult one. Start by touring a Five Star Senior Living community
to see if the environment, services and amenities would be a good fit for your aging loved one.
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