- Tricia Stepanski Plouffe
How Does Assisted Living Differ From Home Care?
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
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
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 homecare
Homecare 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. Homecare
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 2020 figures stated the average cost of
Assisted Living in the Worcester/Central Massachusetts area is $5,488./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.
Homecare costs depend on the number of hours a homecare professional is hired.
Qualified, professional homecare 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 $25. to $35./hour, depending on the number of hours and
the agency rates. Total monthly costs can be customized based on your budget and
Written by Golden Rule Home Care, Inc., of Massachusetts