While there are a variety of resources that are available to seniors to support them as they age, it’s sometimes hard to choose what’s right for you. Some of the most common options are home health care, home care, and assisted living. While these services are designed to support seniors both medically and physically, they also offer different services on different platforms with unique advantages to each.
Home Health Care was created for seniors to allow them to live more comfortably in their own homes, while receiving assistance with a medical need or condition. Often these seniors wish to remain at home while also receiving critical services that they need due to a chronic or acute illness or physical impairment. Home Health Care is comprised of a multitude of different services, tailored to their needs identified by a medical professional. These services could include physical or occupational therapy, wound care, medical assessments, medical supplies, and other nursing services. An assessment is done by a medical professional, typically after a hospital stay, injury, or overall decline in medical state, and refers him or her to a home health agency. The services provided in a home health care setting may be covered by medical insurance if prescribed by a physician, including those covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
Advantage: Client remains at home.
Disadvantages: Most expensive option, good help is often inconsistent, no socialization opportunities.
Home Care focuses primarily in assistance with activities of daily living. They generally provide personal care services, medication reminders, house cleaning services, transportation, meal preparation and companionship. Healthcare workers schedule routine visits, typically on a weekly basis, to deliver their services and help seniors live more comfortably in their own homes. The services provided are not necessarily medical in nature and would therefore not be covered by medical insurances like Medicare. Most of the funding for home care services is paid privately, utilizing long-term care insurance, or Medicaid for low-income qualified seniors in certain states.
Advantage: Client remains at home.
Disadvantages: Staffing turnover, 24/7 help is very expensive, no socialization opportunities.
Assisted Living offers a variety of services for seniors under one roof. Assisted living offers a combination of personal care services, health care and housing, providing a more complete continuum of care. Assisted living is designed to increase and maximize individual independence, while also supporting residents with their activities of daily living. These services can range from supervisory assistance to more comprehensive and complete assistance with their needs. The level of care that each senior will need will vary from person to person, offering a more comprehensive care package uniquely tailored to each person living in an assisted living community. Upon entering an assisted living community, each resident is evaluated initially to determine what services are required to best support the resident in maintaining their independence. They are re-evaluated on a quarterly basis, or as the need may arise. With medical staff on site 24/7, residents always have access to medical services no matter what time of day. Having the ability to receive medical care or assistance whenever needed can be a huge relief for seniors and their families, knowing that there is always someone there to care for and assist them.
Advantages: Typically less expensive than home health, 24/7 help, socialization opportunities.
Disadvantages: Must move from home, usually private pay.
Just as no two seniors age the same, the care that each may need can also differ substantially. Differences based on health status, preference, and physical needs may determine which option may be the best fit. Discussing these options with a physician will help determine which of these services will best help seniors to maintain their independence, receive needed care services, and increase overall health and well-being.