It’s challenging to remain independent and safe at home while coping with issues related to aging, disability, injury, or illness. Even if a loved one helps you with personal care and other tasks you find difficult, that may not be the best solution for you or them.

Researchers find informal caregivers — family and friends who provide assistance to loved ones but are not professional caregivers — are more at risk of mental and physical harm than the general public or trained caregivers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics reflect a greater risk of the following among those who care for family or friends:

  • Multiple days of poor physical or mental health each month
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Two or more chronic diseases
  • Disability
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coronary disease

Professional in-home care services or the care provided in an assisted living community can make an enormous difference in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. Learn the benefits and drawbacks of each, the average cost of services, whether insurance covers any of those costs, and other details to help you choose the best option.

What is In-Home Care?

As the name suggests, patients receive in-home care in their private homes. Care can be nonmedical or medically related, or both, depending on the provider’s credentials and the patient’s needs.

A Personal Care Assistant (PCA) often administers nonmedical in-home care helping the elderly, or those with physical or mental health conditions with:

  • Personal care – hygiene and grooming, toileting, bathing, transferring, eating, and walking.
  • Household tasks – may include shopping, preparing meals, cleaning the house, laundry, and pet needs.
  • Companionship
  • Transportation

PCAs are not licensed medical professionals and cannot perform medically-related duties. While anyone is eligible for in-home nonmedical care assistance, insurance rarely covers such services. However, Veteran’s benefits, a long-term care policy, Worker’s Compensation, or Medicaid may cover some personal in-home care.

A Home Health Aide (HHA) may deliver basic medical services like blood pressure, blood sugar, and medication monitoring. Although HHAs rarely have a medical license, federal law requires at least 75 hours of training in a state-approved program and 16 hours of clinical training. If you are receiving skilled services in your home, Medicare may also cover “part-time or intermittent home health aide care” services.

On the other hand, Medicare and many private insurers will cover in-home medical care ordered by a physician that meets specific criteria. A licensed medical professional must perform In-home medical care. Covered services may include physical or occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and intermittent skilled nursing care.

Benefits of In-Home Care

  • Privacy – able to remain in your private space.
  • Comfortable and familiar surroundings – less stress and a greater sense of control in familiar surroundings.
  • Sense of independence – easier to get around and feel safe when you know where everything is.
  • Familiar neighbors – you can continue valued relationships with your neighbors.
  • One on one companionship – having the continuity and attention of a regular care provider helps foster connections and keep you engaged.
  • Help with daily tasks and personal hygiene – when activities of daily living are challenging to perform on your own.
  • Safety and emergency response – ensuring the home environment is free of fall and other hazards. Alert for changes in condition showing the need for medical attention.

What is Assisted Living?

An assisted living facility (ALF) is a residential community that provides housing and varying levels of care services to those who cannot live independently. Although ALF residents are primarily seniors, people of any age who need help performing daily activities can benefit from living in an assisted living facility.

Assisted living communities differ from nursing homes. Nursing homes offer a higher level of care than an ALF, including round-the-clock skilled nursing care. While a nursing home is a distinctly medical environment, residents in an ALF typically have their own apartment or private space reflecting a home-like atmosphere.

To achieve and maintain licensure, ALFs must adhere to state-specific laws and regulations. Refer to this guide to assisted living regulations in your state.

ALFs typically offer both nonmedical and medical care services, which may include:

  • Personal care – hygiene and grooming, toileting, bathing, transferring, eating, and walking.
  • Household tasks – housekeeping and laundry.
  • Meal preparation – restaurant-style dining in a community dining room.
  • Life enrichment activities – provided according to a monthly calendar, often including exercise and wellness programs, social events, music, games, and more.
  • Resort-style amenities – some ALFs offer amenities like a swimming pool, golf course, walking paths, tennis courts, and gardens.
  • Medication management and administration – some communities may allow patients to control and take their medications independently.
  • Transportation – to appointments or group outings.
  • Nursing services – while there may not be a nurse on-site around the clock, trained personnel are at the facility 24/7 to ensure resident safety.

Monthly fees include many of the above services, however, some may be charged and billed separately.

Benefits of Assisted Living Care

While most people choose to remain in their homes if possible, there are also benefits to living in an ALF, including:

  • Round the clock supervision – staff ensures residents are safe and can access medical attention if needed.
  • Opportunities for social engagement – help keep residents engaged with others which can prevent depression resulting from isolation.
  • Stay can be short term if needed – some people need assistance while recovering from an acute condition. Many ALFs also offer respite care if a person’s in-home caregiver needs a break.
  • Amenities that may not be available at home – pool, hair salon, wellness programs, transportation, and a diverse activity schedule.

Costs of Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care

The annual median monthly cost of in-home care is about $4,600 vs. about $4,500 for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility, according to insurance company Genworth Financial, Inc. However, these figures can differ depending on the level of care, the area of the country, and the amenities of the ALF.

Because the monthly fee for assisted living typically includes room, board, care, and transportation, living in an ALF may cost less than in-home care.

Although Medicare and most private insurance companies rarely pay for nonmedical in-home or assisted living care, they may cover some services received at home or in an assisted living community. Medicaid and veteran’s benefits may help cover the cost of both in-home and assisted living. Long-term care insurance typically covers assisted living services.

At Home Harmony

Our expert team provides cutting-edge services to your loved one at home, monitoring and supporting them 24/7. Our fully licensed personal care aides provide the warm, personal touch your loved one deserves while assisting them with daily activities. At the same time, At Home Harmony physicians and other advanced practitioners are ready to respond to medical needs.

Choose from our full range of services to customize a program that is right for you or a loved one.