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Assisted Living vs. Home Care

Why Might Assisted Living or Home Care be Necessary?

As family loved ones begin to age, some may find it challenging to complete daily tasks that help them maintain a healthy, safe, and independent lifestyle while living in their home environment. When loved ones cannot care for themselves as they have in years past, are isolated, or rarely go out because they may be unable to drive or get around, their ability to maintain their independence can be adversely affected. Chronic isolation, unsafe conditions, and the struggle to carry out self-care activities without assistance can negatively impact an individual’s health and wellbeing. Senior care services can improve the safety, health, sanitary conditions, and quality of life of older adults. Being able to accomplish self-care activities of daily living (or ADLs) is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing. 

Self-care ADLs include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Preparing meals
  • Ambulation (the ability to walk without the need for any kind of assistance)

If a family loved one cannot accomplish some of these activities on their own, their long-term health may be affected. 

How Home Care Services Can Help the Elderly

Senior care services can assist and support older adults with daily self-care activities that they may be unable to complete on their own. Providing quality assistance with these activities can help improve the health conditions and reduce the risk of injury of the person receiving care. For an older adult who is at risk of falling, receiving hands-on assistance when bathing or showering can reduce their risk of falling and sustaining a debilitating injury. Assistance with personal hygiene and safe bathroom use will also benefit older loved ones by improving their sanitary conditions, helping reduce health risks, and lessening the chance of a bathroom-related fall. 

Senior care services can include a wide range of care options, from daily companion care that helps reduce isolation to personal care services for those who need assistance with self-care activities.

Loved ones residing at home can receive senior care services from a licensed in-home senior care provider. Senior care services can also be provided to individuals who reside at an assisted living facility. 
 

What is Assisted Living?

As the name suggests, assisted living is the type of help provided to individuals who require assistance with daily care services, including personal care. 

Assisted living facilities (ALFs) offer a combination of health care and personal care services for residents living in an ALF community. Moving to an ALF community may offer a residential care option for individuals who cannot live by themselves, who are unable to manage their home, and who cannot complete ADLs without help.

Assisted living facilities can offer residents different levels of care, along with services.  A variety of services are provided, including daily meals, assistance with personal care, security, laundry services, general housekeeping, and maintenance. ALFs may also provide residents with wellness programs and recreational activities that foster social interaction and active engagement. Wellness and recreational programs will vary by facility and location.  

Depending on the ALF, residential accommodations will also vary. Some ALF communities may include private rooms, semi-private rooms, studio-type units, and apartments. Residents share common areas, such as dining rooms, libraries or media rooms, and other recreational and communal living areas.

Regardless of the many programs and available services, some individuals may not want to move out of their residence and into an ALF should they need support in completing their ADLs. They may prefer to stay and receive senior care services while living in an environment that is familiar to them and could be reticent to the idea of packing up and leaving the place they call home. 

Moving into an assisted living community or adjusting to new changes and a new environment, along with a new set of rules, can be overwhelming for some individuals. Adapting to an unfamiliar living arrangement and abiding by new home rules can add stress, especially to senior loved ones who have always had a strong sense of independence.

What is Home Care and Is it Right for Me?  

Senior home care is an affordable option for individuals who wish to remain at home and receive home care services. Many seniors want the choice to stay in their homes for as long as possible and receive in-home care services when they are no longer able to complete some of their activities of daily living (ADLs) without help. Moving into an assisted living facility or a nursing home is not an option for those who have made up their minds to receive home care services in the place they know as home. However, as health care needs often change, care plan options can also adjust to the change.

Senior home care services can range from daily companion care to personal care services, respite care, transitional care, and more specialized care services for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or other types of dementia

Older loved ones may benefit from companion care services, especially if they live alone, have recently experienced a loved one passing away, or do not have family members in the area. Receiving companion care can mitigate the negative impact that loneliness can have on physical and emotional wellbeing. Companion caregivers can provide daily visits, assist with grocery shopping, help with housekeeping, or join seniors on regular walks and outings. Companion caregivers can also provide transportation to doctor’s appointments. 

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who work for a home care agency can offer support and hands-on assistance to ensure that older individuals living at home remain healthy, well cared for, and safe. A licensed CNA in the state of Florida can assist with ADLs, such as ambulation, bathing, toileting, and dressing. A home health aide (HHA) can also help individuals who require senior home care services. 

Home care services can help reduce isolation by providing opportunities for social interaction, which is especially important for older individuals who may feel lonely and do not have family members living in the area to check in on them. Besides offering companionship, caregivers can assist seniors with transportation to join group exercise activities and recreational programs at local senior centers. 

Common Misconceptions about In-Home Care Services:

A misconception about senior in-home care services is that seniors who receive care at home have limited access to activities or programs such as those provided at ALFs. However, experienced and trained caregivers can encourage, assist, and provide transportation so that seniors can join others during group activities and recreational programs available at local senior centers, area gyms, art centers, or museums. Trained caregivers can also assist with craft activities and organize partner walks, small gardening projects, and scrapbooking, as well as help seniors with a favorite hobby. 

How to Choose Between Assisted Living vs. Home Care

Knowing that a time may come when a family loved one may benefit from senior care services, deciding which care options are the most suitable requires careful examination and planning. 

When researching care options, family caregivers and care partners may want to consider their senior loved one’s health and wishes regarding care choices, input from their physician, the level of care needed, and the condition of the home environment.

The senior’s desire to remain in the home or move: Has your senior loved one made known their wish to stay in their residence to receive in-home care, or do they want to move into an assisted living community?

Consulting a physician to better understand the medical conditions of a loved one: Talking to a physician can give insight into the health care needs of a loved one and provide a better understanding of their medical condition. A physician may also help family members better prepare for future health changes that could impact a senior family member diagnosed with a progressive illness.

Level of care needed to meet the needs of the individual: Is the person able to live at home and only needs some assistance and companion care services? Do they need hands-on assistance with activities of daily living for a short period due to a recent fall, injury, or surgery? Or do they need frequent daily help with personal care services and continued health monitoring because of a progressive illness or deteriorating health?

Home environment: If your loved one wishes to remain at home, does their current residence meet necessary safety requirements, especially if they have a health condition that could increase their risk of a fall? Can changes be made to make moving around the house easier for a senior loved one? Have safety hand bars been installed in the bathroom area to help reduce the risk of a fall? Are modifications necessary to make ambulation easier for a loved one who uses an assistive device, such as a wheelchair or a walker?

Meeting a senior loved one’s health care needs early on, providing a safe and healthy living environment, and reducing social isolation can have a positive impact on quality of life. Not all care options are equal, nor will they fit every person’s wants and needs, but families can still take steps to assist in making sure that senior loved ones are well cared for and safe. Researching available care choices, understanding the needs and wishes of the person requiring care, and consulting with a physician can help you identify the right care options for you and your loved ones.

Why Choose Home Care Services for Your Loved One?

Providing quality senior care services, reducing isolation, and meeting the needs of senior loved ones can have a positive effect on the person’s overall health. 

Senior Helpers Orlando provides quality in-home care assistance that enables older adults to continue to reside in the comfort of their homes. Our services range from daily companion care to personal care services, respite care, transitional care, and more specialized care services for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or other types of dementia. 

For family loved ones who want the option to age in place and wish to receive care in their home environment, Senior Helpers Orlando can honor their wishes by providing quality care services that meet their needs. 

Should a family member need assistance, contact Senior Helpers Orlando to inquire about the wide range of in-home care options we provide in the Greater Orlando area. It is a privilege to be able to honor your loved one’s wishes. To learn about our services, please call (407) 628-4357.  

Resources and references:

“What is Assisted Living? Residential Facilities, Assisted Living, and Nursing Homes.” National Institute on Aging and National Institute on Health. Accessed September 9, 2021. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/residential-facilities-assisted-living-and-nursing-homes

“Certified Nursing Assistants; certification requirement (464.203).” Regulations of Professions and Occupations, Title XXXII. The 2021 Florida Statutes. Accessed September 9, 2021. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0464/Sections/0464.203.html.