An Investigation into the Benefits of Assisted Living Vs. Hiring a Caregiver
At some point your aging loved one is probably going to need more care than you can provide as their caregiver. You may need to make a decision to hire a caregiver for your loved one or explore some senior living options together.
It is important to consider the cost and benefits of both options before ruling out any of the options. Here is a quick summary to help get you started:
The cost- benefits of these senior care services are detailed here:
Benefits of Home Care Aides
In-home caregivers fall into three main categories: Certified Nursing Assistants, Home-Health Aides and Personal Care Attendants.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) - have some medical training and must pass an exam to get a license by the state. A CNA can help with mid-level care such as: checking vital signs, caring for wounds, administering oral medication and helping with everyday activities or activities of daily living (ADLs), such as getting dressed or taking a shower. A CNA generally works under the supervision of a registered nurse, who is generally not present when they provide care in a client’s home. A CNA can offer the basics in home health care.
Home Health Aides - generally assist with ADLs, including personal care, getting dressed, and bathing. They can also provide some assistance around the home.
Personal Care Attendants - or personal companions, provide general companionship… they assist with household chores, attend to personal care, provide transportation and serve as an escort for appointments, and may do grocery shopping and other tasks.
Decisions in Hiring a Caregiver - Caregivers many be hired independently or through a local agency. Families often opt for independent caregivers (those hired through the classifieds or by word of mouth) because of the cost savings. It is important to evaluate what an independent caregiver can offer over an agency services. An agency, which is regulated and can offer more protection and accountability, may have higher costs for providing care.
To compare the services that a home caregiver can provide with those that are offered at an assisted living community, it is important to remember that while home caregivers might seem like a more affordable option, consistency of care is critical.
Finding the right caregiver is important and sometimes that process might mean that your loved one will need to get used to several different caregivers before you find someone who can provide care to a level of your satisfaction. Lay out the expectations with the caregiver first and foremost and make sure that as your loved one’s advocate, you do everything you can to provide accountability and guidance when it comes to care.
Also important to consider is the variety of services and amenities that are offered within a senior living community. Even with the company of a caregiver, your loved one can feel isolated, lonely, and less than motivated. Community life can help provide companionship on a different level, as your loved is offered lots of opportunities to socialize, learn new things, and be active.
Benefits of Assisted Living
Assisted living communities offer a variety of services to promote health and wellbeing. Their main benefit over in-home care includes consistent caregivers, a buzzing social atmosphere and an overall higher standard of living.
Assisted Living Communities - help your loved remain self-sufficient by providing assistance when needed. Care plans may be adjusted to meet the changing needs of your loved one and care is typically provided by CNAs working under the supervision of a Wellness Team of registered nurses, who work within the community. Assistance with managing medications, getting dressed, taking a shower, and escort services to appointments are similar examples to the kind of care that is available through a home caregiver.
However, safety and security is part of the benefits of living in a community. In the event of an emergency, there is always a caregiver available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can attend to the needs of your loved one. Many assisted living communities are very inclusive and offer meals, housekeeping, laundry services, social activities, transportation services, and more as part of the cost of renting an apartment.
For family members, this can alleviate the stress of having to go through the process of supervising and guiding a home caregiver, as families work directly with a Wellness Team to manage care for their loved one. Also a great advantage of assisted living communities are the opportunities for residents to connect with others and become engaged in living the life they enjoy.
If you and your loved one are deciding between in-home care and an assisted living community, doing your homework is key. This means first evaluating what your loved one’s health needs are and then tabulating the costs-benefits to fit in within your financial goals. Safety, security, and social engagement are the important features that should be factored high on your priority list.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.