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Home Health Care vs Assisted Living Facilities

Both home health care and assisted living facilities have their own place. Every family has its own needs to think about, and it’s important to know the basic facts. Let’s go over the differences, advantages, and reasons you should consider each option!

Differences Between Home Health Care and Assisted Living

What Is Home Health Care?

Home health care is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a form of health care provided in the patient’s home, generally for an illness or an injury. This form of care is generally less expensive than staying in a hospital or assisted living facility and helps the patients maintain more independence.

Home health care services often include:

  • Wound care
  • Patient and caregiver education
  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status

Generally, home health care is a service used to treat an illness or injury. Home health care is clinical, medical supervision, education, and rehabilitation provided by a licensed professional. Registered and licensed practical nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists provide home health care through home health agencies or hospice agencies.

This care is a part of a health care regimen following hospitalization, surgery or an injury. It can include the following:

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Administration of prescription medications or injections
  • Medical labs
  • Monitoring of health status
  • Wound care

Some home health care organizations will also provide personal care services like helping with daily tasks such as prepping meals, grocery shopping, grooming, bathing, and getting dressed.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a program where seniors can reside in housing specifically intended for them and their continued care. This often involves regular help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like getting dressed, bathing, using the bathroom, grooming, and more.

Assisted living may also include the following:

  • Help with transportation
  • Shopping
  • Medication management
  • Other activities that seniors find hard to do on their own
  • Scheduled meals

Also, assisted living facilities help residents with most of their non-medical needs.

Benefits of Home Health Care and Assisted Living

Home Health Care

Below is a list of benefits you should be aware of when considering home health care for yourself or your loved ones:

1.) Better Independence and Comfort

Home Health care is for all ages.

Older adults may not want to lose their independence and refuse to admit they're struggling with daily living needs. So, a primary benefit of home health care is that it helps adults continue accomplishing everyday tasks (such as walking, bathing, dressing, and prepping meals). Through this service, they can still live independently.

Also, living in a familiar environment can be beneficial for an older adult. With home health care, patients receive help with all medications and don't risk a wrongful or missed dosage. Being at home will allow the older adult to maintain their familiar surroundings and normal routines in their daily life.

2.) Relief for Family Caregivers

Some home health aides help with bathing, dressing, and other daily tasks in everyday life. This care reduces some of the responsibilities of family caregivers. Your chosen home health care team can also educate family members on how to provide proper care and guide them with useful resources.

3.) Saves Money

Home health care means families don't have to make unnecessary trips to the hospital and can save money. Home health care also saves you money by delaying the possible need to consider a nursing home or other costly needs of extensive care. You can save a lot of money by doing home health care.

Home health care is also covered by Medicare. You can also use private insurance to see if your relative can be an eligible patient.

4.) Personal One-On-One Care

A patient will receive personal one-on-one attention and a care plan tailored to their specific physical and emotional needs. This will enhance treatment and build a positive rapport between the patient and caregiver. They may even enjoy this trust-building period!

Your selected caregiver is also extensively trained. From skilled nursing and therapy to emergency care and medication management, your family member can receive a combination of at-home treatments.

5.) Companionship

While you may want to be there for your family member, it can be easier to unload the burden to a paid specialist. It'll also be more comfortable for friends and relatives to visit your elderly loved one in their home.

With your loved one at home, there are no time restrictions or visiting hours you must abide by. Plus, patients get more social interaction and are generally less lonely.

Benefits of Assisted Living

While home health care is a valuable option to consider, assisted living can also be a better choice for some patients. Below is a list of benefits an elderly patient can appreciate:

1.) Ensures Loved Ones Are Together

Some communities ensure that couples and relatives are together. This would be a good option for an elderly couple that wants to continue living independently without risking health emergencies. Also, some assisted living facilities do allow their residents to keep their pets.

If a married couple wants to stay together or a patient needs to keep their pet for emotional reasons, this would be a good choice to consider. This type of setting could benefit a person's mental state.

2.) Customized Help for Mental Illness

Some assisted living facilities are specifically intended for patients suffering from serious conditions, such as dementia. They can be identical in structure to a patient's home, with the counted advantage of extra supervision.

A primary benefit is occasional assistance with daily tasks; such as getting dressed, eating, or incontinence care. When an adult's need for care increases as they age, their required assistance is already arranged.

These benefits of assisted living communities include:

  • Caregiver aid
  • Medication and prescription management
  • Transportation to medical appointments and services
  • On-call nurses and staff responders

3.) Intellectual Stimulation

Each assisted living community has its activities and extra advantages. Mental stimulation can lower the risk of gradual cognitive decline. So, opportunities for long-term learning are a great benefit of assisted living facilities. These can include physical activities, crafting lessons, or even education.

Every community is different, but there are several ways elderly ones can stay active. These can include:

  • Stimulating brain games
  • Guest lecturers and local teachers to speak about various topics
  • Computer rooms and tablets to help seniors acquire technical skills

4.) Lack of Boredom

Following retirement, seniors may grow bored by no longer working or doing as much. This new time can allow them to pursue new hobbies. Many assisted living communities offer diverse activities, such as:

  • Movie nights that show old favorite films and offer snacks
  • Communal gardens that allow seniors to spend time outside
  • Art and music classes that teach new skills and creativity
  • Card games that entertain seniors
  • Book club to entertain seniors and promote discussion

5.) A Healthy Lifestyle

Senior age adults have individual physical and nourishment needs. At home, the responsibility of preparing healthy meals, and transportation to physical therapy falls on the seniors or their relatives.

However, many assisted living benefits improve aging health, such as:

  • Meal services that provide flavor and nutrition. This includes healthy meals and specialized diets for those with health needs.
  • On-site exercise classes and fitness. Assisted living communities offer supervised and safe exercise programs for all seniors. Physical activity keeps elderly adults healthy and improves cognitive function.

Reasons to Consider Each

Both home health care and assisted living have their benefits and individual purposes. Each also has its list of medical services. Insurance often covers these types of care:

  • Medicare and private insurance plans cover home health when prescribed by a physician. Ask your loved one’s doctor about home health if you think it would be beneficial. This service is available to any patient who qualifies for Medicare.
  • Medicaid covers both types of care for income-qualified patients, though coverage amounts vary by state.
  • Private Pay is another option. However, it's only necessary for home health that is not covered by insurance.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance covers home care only if it’s included in your loved one’s existing plan. Check with their insurance agent for specifics.

Generally, assisted living homes are more cost-effective when constant care is required. It allows the family to focus on their relationship and residents have options to socialize. The family will not have to manage caregivers. Seniors also get daily meals and exercise.

Home health care allows the person to benefit from one-on-one tailored care to meet their individual needs. The patient remains in the comfort of their home. The patient has the choice to determine who will be providing care.

Home health care and assisted living each have their place in healthcare, and one or the other may be the best choice for your loved one. If you are in a place where you need additional care for your loved one, we encourage you to talk to your loved one’s healthcare providers to help determine what their options for long-term care are so you can make the best decision.

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