Home Care vs. The Alternatives: How to Make The Right Choice

Home Care vs. The Alternatives: How to Make The Right Choice


In-home care or home care, also known as aging in place, is getting a lot of attention nowadays because seniors can continue enjoying their independence. On the other hand, many clients still choose assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and retirement facilities, which are popular, traditional, and familiar. Nevertheless, numerous cities and states now provide more choices for their senior and elderly population.  

With the many prospects presented to them, families may find the selection process confusing and challenging. How will they know they made the right choice? Which type of facility should they choose? If caught in this situation, the best thing to do is get help from the companies offering senior care services. The general details may be the same in every city or state, but it’s ideal to choose a local company like home care services in Phoenix.

It’s also essential to learn more about every option available to you. So, compare the benefits of home care services with those of the alternative and more popular options.

First, however, be sure to get enough information about the different types of senior and elderly care.

There are two major care categories: outside of the home and in-home care.

Under outside the home care category, the choices are:

  • Senior living – This facility is a senior housing or retirement community for fully functioning seniors and the elderly. It doesn’t provide any of the services offered in-home care.
  • Nursing home – Also known as skilled nursing facilities, this is for seniors and elderly with health issues
  • Assisted living – This is a senior housing facility that provides selected personal care services and room and board. There are no medical professionals on-site
  • Concierge care – This service is offered to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in need of personal caregivers. Home care agencies provide it
  • Respite care – This facility provides temporary care services for seniors whose caregivers are not available for a specified period
  • Hospice care – This is a facility for individuals who are nearing the end of their life

In-home care includes:

  • Home care – This service is for two kinds of non-medical care for seniors and the elderly: ADL (activities of daily living) assistance or personal/companion care and IADL (instrumental activities of daily living) assistance or housekeeping
  • Home health care – This is another term for skilled nursing care. It provides rehabilitation or nursing home services like medication administration and IV treatment
  • Respite care – This is the kind of home care provided when the primary caregiver is not available
  • Recovery care – This is temporary care for a senior or elder recovering from an injury or a surgery
  • Hospice and palliative care – This is special care given to patients nearing the end of life and seniors and the elderly with untreatable diseases.  

Now that you have the necessary details of different care types, the next step is to explore the factors to consider before choosing between home care and more popular alternatives.

1. What extent and type of help do you or your senior family member need?

It is vital to identify the kinds of assistance you or your senior family member need. Come up with a list and break it down into different categories: day-to-day, weekly, and monthly needs.  

The next step is to find out how many of your family members, relatives, neighbors, and friends can help. Don’t focus on temporary help; try to look at the situation on a long-term basis. Let these people know that ongoing commitment is essential.

Home care services are of two types: ADL or activities of daily living and IADL or instrumental activities of daily living. ADL services are for seniors who require assistance when dressing, bathing, performing hygiene-related activities, moving from the chair to the bed, and toileting. IADL services include preparation of meals, housekeeping, shopping (for clothes or groceries), bills payment, money management, scheduling appointments, and managing medication.

Which home care service does your senior family member need? Some cases require just one, but there are also seniors and elderly who need both types of assistance.

2. Identify the significant differences between home care and nursing homes and assisted living

There are several advantages to choosing in-home care:

  • In-home care is ideal for seniors who prefer a one-on-one service environment. It allows for a more personal client-caregiver relationship. They become familiar and comfortable with each other. Some seniors do not like working with different caregivers. They want the exclusivity offered by home care services – only one person takes care of them
  • Some families prefer home care services because it gives them the freedom to choose the caregiver
  • In-home care is flexible as it can be combined with other care types, like home health care. It also offers options for family help, more social interaction, and personalized programs
  • Seniors remain in their home or their family’s home. They are not isolated from their loved ones
  • Depending on the caregiver’s skill level and the number of care hours needed, in-home care services cost less

The following are the advantages of nursing homes:

  • Nursing homes have professionally-trained medical practitioners who are licensed to provide non-medical and medical services
  • Nursing home staff is available 24 hours a day
  • Seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s are safe within the nursing home facility. Families need not worry that they’ll get lost when they wander around. Security is tight in nursing homes

Assisted living also offers several advantages:

  • In an assisted living community, your senior family member will enjoy interacting with fellow residents
  • Care and supervision are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • The family does not have the burden of choosing, hiring, and managing a caregiver
  • Since the staff is available 24/7, it’s easy to adjust the care level

3. Compare home care services cost with the financial requirements of the alternatives

Studying the financial aspects of every option is essential. You can’t choose a care type without finding out first if the costs suit your budget. Find time to compare the prices of home care services with that of assisted living facilities, among others.

Home care costs vary according to your chosen provider. The total cost depends on the number of hours the caregiver provides services. Hourly rates vary by state. In Phoenix, Arizona, for example, the hourly rate is $21 per hour. So, if your caregiver provides home care services five days a week, four hours a day, the annual cost would be more or less $21,840.

Like home care services, assisted living rates are different in every state. In Arizona, where there are over 700 assisted living communities, the average monthly rate is $3,418, which is slightly higher than the $2,877 per month national average. The estimated annual cost in Arizona is $41,016 ($3,418 multiplied by 12).

These figures are not final, though, as there are several additional expenses to consider. In an assisted living facility and some nursing homes, the cost of meals is often separate, especially if the resident prefers to dine in the dining room. Storage space is another additional expense for seniors who bring their belongings to the facility.

For home care services, the additional expenses include household supplies and needs like groceries and utility bills.   

4. Reduce costs by hiring the right service providers

Hiring the right home care or assisted living provider is vital because this can help lower your expenses. Some providers, particularly for in-home services, even offer caregiver training for family members who want to take care of their senior and elderly loved ones.

Assisted living communities and nursing homes also have options for families with a limited budget.
Knowing and understanding the characteristics and factors of each care type help make the decision process more manageable. For some, the logistical aspects are more important; for others, personal facts have the most substantial weight. Financial factors also play a significant role.

About the Author:

Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in long-term care for your loved ones. She enjoys riding horses and camping with her friends and family in her spare time.

We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.

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Sarah Keller
Sarah Keller

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