Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care: Which Is Better?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 5 people (20%) will be older than 65 by 2030. That means there will be a lot of seniors in need of elder care. 

Two popular options for elder care include assisted living and in-home care. But which one is better?

In this article, we’ll help answer that question. We’ll go over what both types of care entail and the important factors to consider when choosing between them.

Let’s get started!

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a housing facility for seniors (aka a retirement home). Seniors may have a private bedroom and bathroom and share other living space with other residents. 

Though assisted living facilities don’t provide full long-term care, they can help with basic daily tasks like dressing, cooking, bathing, and transportation. Medical care is very limited, if there is any at all. 

This means assisted living residents are largely free to do as they please within the facility. It’s a great place to maintain most of your independence while still getting assistance with daily tasks when you need it.

What Is In-Home Care?

In-home care (aka aging in place) refers to when you stay at home while caretakers come to you. How long they stay and what services they provide depends on your specific needs. 

There are many different types of in-home care professionals. Non-medical caretakers can help with the same daily tasks listed earlier (dressing, eating, bathing, transportation, etc.). But for medical care, you will need a licensed professional. This could be a certified nursing assistant (CNA), a registered nurse, or physical and occupational therapists. 

In-home care is great for seniors who want to stay at home (as most do), and it may even qualify for funding by Medicaid or other government programs. 

Important factors to consider

Now that you have a basic understanding of what assisted living and in-home care are, here are five important factors to consider when choosing between the two:

1. Needs


The first step is to determine what your needs or the needs of your elderly loved one are. Do they just need help cooking and getting around? Or do they also need help taking their medicine, dressing, bathing, and more?

The answers to these questions will help guide your decision. 

It’s also helpful to know how much care the family can provide. Because any care provided by family can offset the senior’s needs.

2. Cost

As much as you may want the best care for you or your loved one, cost is always a factor. 

According to Genworth, the median annual cost for assisted living care services in the U.S. in 2021 was $54,000, while the median yearly cost for in-home care was $61,776. 

So in-home care may cost slightly more than assisted living. But this also depends heavily on whether the in-home care is full-time or not. Part-time care is much less expensive. In fact, if you qualify for Medicaid, you can even have family members get paid to be your caregiver through a program called FreedomCare.

Determine your budget and then see which elder care solution best fits.

3. Social opportunities

Socializing is important. It helps ward off feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, which lead to an increased risk of premature death.

Fortunately, both assisted living and in-home caretakers can provide many opportunities for seniors to socialize:

In-home caretakers can offer personal companionship. They can talk, play games, and do other activities with you. On top of that, they can drive you to gatherings and events so you get a chance to socialize with others. 

Assisted living facilities let you socialize with other seniors. You can talk with your peers every day over meals and other activities because they are always around.

4. Safety

As you get older, you become more susceptible to safety hazards and dangers. That’s why it’s important to choose an elder care solution where there is a low risk of accident.

Assisted living facilities are designed to keep seniors safe. They have security gates, 24/7 guards, and staff who are always available in an emergency. 

In-home care can be safe too, but it often takes more work. For example, you may need to make the home safe by installing a chair lift or investing in a medical alert system. This may lead to more upfront costs.

5. Convenience and comfort

Lastly, convenience and comfort are an important factor you shouldn’t ignore. 

Many seniors prefer in-home care because it allows them to stay where they are and not have to deal with change or comply with a facility’s rules. This eases their stress and anxiety and helps them live more comfortably. And with the help of modern technology, many types of medical care are now available at home.

In contrast, moving to an assisted living facility can be stressful and discomforting. It’s like moving but worse because you’re old and you have less control over what you can and can’t bring. Plus, it may put you further away from family and friends depending on where it is located.

However, assisted living facilities make it more convenient to regularly socialize with peers and no longer have the day-to-day worries of bills, managing a house, and more. In other words, it allows for a maintenance-free lifestyle.

The final verdict

Choosing between an assisted living facility and in-home care can be difficult. 

Carefully research and assess your options. You may want to give both assisted living and in-home care a test run to see how they go. Then do whatever’s best for your or your loved one’s situation. 


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