Senior couple talking with a nurse

Home Health vs. Assisted Living: Which Is Right for You?

Like most of us, a time will come when you’ll need some help with Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs, like grocery shopping, housekeeping, and meal preparation. When that happens, you’ll be faced with an important decision: Do you stay at home and have someone come help, or move to a community where help is provided? The decision of home health vs. assisted living has been around for as long as assisted living communities have existed. And because such communities often provide high-quality residences, services and amenities, it can actually make the decision much harder. Let’s take a look at what goes into deciding whether to bring help to your home, or choosing a new home with help built right in.

How much help do you need?

The first thing to consider is how much help you need and how it compares to how much help is available.

Start by making a list of everything you require on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Seeing the big picture will help you get a grasp of the breadth of assistance needed. Next, be realistic about how much help family, friends, or neighbors can provide. Remember to think in terms of ongoing, long-term assistance. This is not a temporary solution you’re looking for, but a new reality going forward.

Senior man having his blood pressure taken by a nurse

Once you’ve compiled these lists, see how they compare. Is there anything you need that no one is available or qualified to help with such as physical therapy, or health and medication supervision? If so, it’s time to look at engaging professional help to address these needs. In some cases, these lists make it obvious that in-home care will work best. In other cases, assisted living might be the clear choice.

What are the costs?

The next item to consider is the cost of home health vs. assisted living. Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy task and is specific to each person’s needs, location and available resources. But while this step can be challenging, doing a thorough job will help you plan for the future and avoid running out of money when you need it most. A faster, but less accurate approach is to use averages from an online long-term care cost estimating tool.

Start by talking to the assisted living communities and home health care providers you are considering and ask for actual pricing information. There are a lot of factors to consider, if all this becomes too overwhelming, ask a trusted relative or friend for help, or consult a reputable financial advisor or accountant.

Here are some costs to take into consideration as you put together your financial comparison of home health vs. assisted living.

Home care services costs

Remember to multiply the hours of care needed by the caregiver’s hourly rate.

Common costs of living at home include:

  • Groceries and meal preparation
  • Personal care supplies
  • Household supplies
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Rent or mortgage and property taxes
  • Home and yard maintenance
  • Utilities, water and garbage

Nurse talking to a senior man in a doorway

Assisted living costs

Assisted living communities may charge for services differently, so make sure you know which services are covered by their base monthly rate.

Common fees include:

  • Monthly base rate
  • Additional fees for the necessary level of care
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care supplies
  • Meals, in-room dining, snacks
  • Overnight visitors

How do they compare?

By now, you should have a good handle on your needs and what it will cost to have them met by home health vs. assisted living. Now it’s time to look at how they compare and really drill down to which option makes the most sense for you.

Attributes of assisted living 

  • More affordable 24/7 supervision and care
  • Family can focus more on relationship vs. care
  • Ample opportunities for social interaction
  • The level of care can easily be increased as needed
  • A variety of caregivers provides for expanded social interactions

Attributes of home health

  • You can stay in your home or a relative’s home
  • You get to choose your caregiver
  • Ongoing family involvement is needed for hiring, scheduling and managing caregivers
  • Potential social isolation, which can contribute to depression, cognitive decline, or health problems
  • Possible home modifications for safety or wheelchair accessibility
  • Additional costs for housekeeping, home maintenance, groceries, personal care items, household supplies, etc.

Which is right for you?

When considering home health vs. assisted living, there’s no right or wrong answer. Each person’s situation is different and involves individual needs, preferences and financial implications. Take as much time as you need with your family and come to an agreement everyone is happy with.

As you consider your assisted living community options, remember Grand Lodge at the Preserve. It’s our mission to provide beautiful spaces for seniors to thrive and celebrate life every day. Get more information by filling out the brief contact form below. A sales counselor will be in touch soon to discuss your plans and help you navigate this important decision.