One of the most common questions we get from clients is the difference between in-home care and living in a community. There are pros and cons to both and it’s a very personal journey that hinges on the specific needs of the person or couple. We created Sunways to be an unbiased resource to help families navigate their options and make sure they are making the right decision.
Although there are many factors, we’re going to focus on 3 of them to consider and lay out some of the benefits and negatives of both in-home care and living in a community. Please note that when we refer to “in-home care” we mean having a Caregiver at the house, not a skilled nursing service (PT, OT, etc) that is covered by Medicare. With that said, lets dive in! (+ = pro, - = con)
1. LEVEL OF CARE NEEDED
Both in-home and community options can provide as little or as much care that your loved ones need…ranging with some basic help with housekeeping and preparing meals all the way up to helping daily tasks (showering, toileting, feeding).
+ Flexible: Care can range from 1 time a week for 3 or 4 hours, up to 24/7. This can be a cost savings since you only pay for the care that’s needed.
+ One-On-One Care: Caregivers are able to give One-On-One attention.
- Home Accessibility: most homes are not equipped to offer the support that’s needed like balance bars in bathrooms, doorways big enough for wheelchairs/walkers or may have carpet, stairs, etc. that create a fall risk.
+ Communities are staffed with trained professionals that meet all of your loved one’s needs. Caregivers are available 24/7 and residents receive a customized care plan and there are levels of care so you are only pay for what services are needed.
+ Couples with different needs can still live together in the same apartment and receive different levels of care.
- Nursing and care staff are shared between residents, typically with rotating schedules.
2. SOCIALIZATION & ACTIVITIES
It’s important to consider the emotional support and health of your loved one, as studies show it directly impacts their physical health. Consistent socialization can improve mood, brain health and the connection between time and space.
Plus, a variety of activities usually encourages physical movement like going to the dining room, using fine motor skills for crafting or even if it’s just sitting up and engaging.
In Home Care
+ If currently active, loved ones can continue to do the social activities and routine that they are used to with little to no changes.
- Studies show that Seniors who live alone often become isolated as they age, which affect their physical and emotional health. Usually Caregivers and family members need to step in to fill in the gaps which isn’t always an option.
+ Communities have a big emphasis on socialization with a calendar of activities for all different interests. This ranges from games, crafts and exercise to field trips and much more.
+ Community staff is trained to encourage residents to participate
EFFECT ON FAMILY & CAREGIVERS
We see first hand everyday how taxing this journey is on Caregivers. This is the most personal of all the considerations. It means taking a hard look at how these changes will affect the family members and Caregivers of your loved one.
In Home Care allows flexibility for current caregivers. That said, it’s not always possible to have all of the family/caregiver involvement that’s needed to both fill in the gaps when In Home Care is not present or monitor the staff & loved one’s progress.
A move into a Community is usually a big change for everyone, including your loved one’s family members and caregivers. It can be emotional to work through the transition and changes to everyday life. That said, knowing your loved one is in a safe environment is important and the pressure lifted from the Caregiver shoulders is immense. Communities allow visitors anytime and for residents to leave for trips and activities to keep a sense of normalcy for everyone.
If you are weighing your options or looking for recommendations to in-home Caregivers or Communities that fit your needs, reach out to us and we can help. We are a free service for families and will make sure you’re getting the right support!
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.