At the point when a loved one needs help with activities of daily living such as meals, medication, dressing or hygiene, there are a wide array of choices, but the two most common ones are in-home care or assisted living. Families often go to heroic lengths to make in-home care work, but before you start down that path, I do think it makes sense to look at some of the pros and cons.
Discussions about in-home care versus assisted living often seem to assume that aging in place is a less expensive option, but as an article at Caring.com points out, that is not necessarily the case. Here at Village Green Retirement Campus, we believe we offer exceptional care for our residents at affordable rates. To read the complete article, click here.
Pros of moving to assisted living:
Flexibility to adapt to changing needs
For all of us, change is constant. But, when your loved one starts experiencing health issues or a general decline, one thing can trigger another and your loved one’s ability to manage can deteriorate very rapidly. Now, not all setbacks are permanent, but even when the prognosis for recovery is very good, it can take longer than you expect. One big advantage of assisted living is that the level of assistance provided can be quickly scaled up or down, depending on what the resident needs.
Availability of expert assessment
In assisted living facilities you have access to geriatric care specialists who can help you determine the level of care and assistance your loved one needs to ensure their safety and well-being.
No need for home maintenance
As people get older, routine household tasks become more difficult to manage, as do repairs, yard work, or serious cleaning. Unfortunately, too often that responsibility gets overlooked or put off, and it can result in costly repairs or deteriorating home value.
Availability of full-time and 24-hour assistance
This is a biggie. If your loved one needs help for four or five hours a day, it’s likely that he or she would benefit from the availability of 24-hour on-site assistance. Your loved one might not need someone sitting in the next room while they sleep, but many of us would sleep better knowing that if we had a problem in the night, help was just moments away.
Cons of assisted living
Typically, the cost goes up as care goes up
There are different price structures, but it is common for facilities to charge a monthly rental fee that includes housing and meals, but not personal care. If a resident requires assistance with medications, dressing, bathing or other activities of daily living, the cost will increase, depending on how much assistance is needed. That protects a resident from paying for assistance that they don’t need, but it does mean the cost can go up over time.
Cost comparison between assisted living and in-home care
According to the article, if your loved one only needs a couple hours of care each day, and wants to stay at home, it might make sense to arrange for in-home care. However, if your loved one needs more than 20 hours a week of care, it’s time to start weighing the obvious costs as well as the hidden costs.
According to the article, in-home care can easily run $20 per hour or more, which adds up to $240 for a 12-hour day or $7,200 for a 30-day month. Then you’ve still got to account for those other 12 hours each day. Typically, those other 148 hours are monitored by an unpaid family caregiver, either in person or through constant phone calls. There is a cost, but it may be hidden.
If you pencil out the cost of hiring a caregiver to provide 24-hour care, you’ll find that assisted living is the far less expensive option.
And, I would argue, the better option in many cases. For me, the biggest “pro” for assisted living is our emphasis on helping seniors stay active and engaged with one another and the world.
At Village Green Retirement Campus we’d love to show you what we have to offer.