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  • Tricia Stepanski Plouffe

How Does Assisted Living Differ From Home Care?

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Often a time arrives, due to aging or mobility issues, when we or our loved one has to

decide where changes may be needed regarding how and where to live. One choice is

to find an Assisted Living Facility. An Assisted Living facility provides housing for

people with disabilities or for adults who cannot or choose not to live independently in

their own home. Home Care allows people to stay in their own home and receive

individualized services to meet their particular needs.

There are many differences when describing Assisted Living vs. Home Care:


Choosing to live at an Assisted Living Facility is a huge decision. It means moving out

of your primary and familial home and possibly requiring immediately selling your

property. Doing so can be enormously disruptive to the person and his/her whole family.

Most people would prefer to “age in place”. Reasons for this choice include: cost,

wanting to stay in familiar surroundings, ability to maintain own schedule and routines,

sense of personal independence and reminders of cherished memories and traditions.

They also prefer guests and family members to be able to return “home” rather than visit

a facility.

Choosing to stay in the home or in an in-law suite, with the assistance of qualified

caregivers, is one of the favored choices for people who want to remain where they

already are. With caregivers, all of the personal needs and services can be met. These

can include companionship, grocery shopping and errands, light home making and

cooking, personal care (assistance with showering, grooming, dressing), fall prevention,

walking assistance, attending houses of worship, visiting friends or family, rides to

doctor appointments, and more. The services are set up to meet the individual

requirements of you or your loved one. This care allows people to live independently in

their own home.


Not everyone can live in an Assisted Living environment. Residents need to qualify,

both physically and financially. Physically, the new resident needs to be mostly

physically able, yet may require some added assistance. Assisted Living is not

appropriate for people who: have severe cognitive impairment; show behavioral

symptoms, such as wandering; have extensive medical needs; and/or require daily

nursing services. In an Assisted Living Facility meals are provided and property is

cared for by staff. Group activities occur on a daily basis and offer a time for socializing

with other residents. Residents within Assisted Living get up to 1.5 hours of personal

care per day. If more care is needed, outside help can be hired through a home care


Home Care allows for individualized, one-on-one attention and service. The caregiver is

100% available to the recipient of care. Depending on the unique requirements

evaluated and identified, the number of hours of care can be customized. Some people

only require a couple of hours per week of assistance; some require several hours per

day; others require 8 hours per day; and others may need 24 hour care. Home Care

allows for tailoring the caregiver professional to meet the true needs of the person.

Caregivers offer companionship and conversation and other activities. Physically, the

services are provided within the home setting of the individual and can be given to

people all the way through end of life care.


Genworth, a long term care insurance company, conducts and produces an annual

study called “The Cost of Care Survey”. Year 2022 figures stated the average cost of

Assisted Living in the Worcester/Central Massachusetts area is $5,685/month. There

also can be an added down payment fee with amounts depending on the facility

requirements. Costs can vary depending on the resident issues. For example, if

someone needs memory care, an additional $1,100 to $1,600/month can be required.

Home Care costs depend on the number of hours a home care professional is hired.

Qualified, professional home care givers are Certified in Home Care and have had at

least 75 hours of training to earn their certification. Hourly costs for home care in

Massachusetts range from $35 to $42/hour, depending on the number of hours and

the agency rates. Total monthly costs can be customized based on your budget and

care needs.

Written by Golden Rule Home Care, Inc., of Massachusetts

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