Home Care vs. Assisted Living

Aging presents many challenges, and loss of independence and mobility are certainly major ones. It’s wonderful that many adults are so active nowadays, but sooner or later everyone must face the fact that they need help. At that point, there are two main options, staying at home, or moving to assisted living.

Staying at home:

If you only need help for a few hours a week, this may be your best option.  Hiring someone to help can be done in two ways, either through a company or on your own. There are many companies who specialize in bringing help to your home.  No doubt you have heard their advertisements on the radio or TV.  It is important to use a reputable company that thoroughly screens their workers.  Another way is to ask friends and family for recommendations of private individuals they have used.  Often families tell us of the wonderful experiences they’ve had with an individual caregiver and are eager to recommend them.

Going the route of a company usually provides more options. So, for example, when the inevitable call comes in that the scheduled caregiver is sick, the company should be able to provide a replacement quickly.  If personality conflicts arise, then the company should be able to provide other options. Thorough background checks are performed by the best companies.  Pricing is usually around the $22/hr range.  

Since individual caregivers known and recommended by friends and family usually charge $15-$18/hr many people are more interested in finding these helpers. And if a person is highly recommended, chances are they have a real heart for service and aren’t just “in it for the money.”  But even still, caregivers’ cars break, children get sick, life happens.  Usually there is no back up to fill in, and the burden falls on the family.

Regardless of which way you choose, make sure the home is safe. Decluttering and adding grab bars are easy solutions to some big problems.  If the caregiver can always be nearby when the senior is bathing, that is best.  The greater number of accidents happen in the bathroom.  Having help when showering is tremendously important for this reason.

Obviously, living at home means normal bills must continue to be paid, (e.g. taxes, electric, water and sewage, maintenance, food, etc.).  Once the number of hours help is needed to be safe at home reaches a certain cost level, it may be time to consider a move.  At this point, there are two choices, assisted living and nursing home.  For the vast majority of people assisted living is probably the very best option.

Assisted Living:

Good assisted living communities not only offer lovely apartments (usually a studio or one bedroom size) but also provide delicious meals and interesting activities.  They have nursing staff on hand to help with all the care needs of their residents.  Some are large communities with 60, 80 or more residents, and some are small homes with no more than 7 residents. There are pros and cons for each of these types, and we often recommend looking at both.

Prices charged for assisted living vary greatly, but in general smaller rooms and less care needs means cheaper pricing.  The opposite is true as well: a larger room and greater care need means a higher price.  Prices in Richmond range from $1,500 to $8,000 per month, with the average falling in the $4,500 range, a price that is half that of a nursing home.

It’s important to make sure that the communities you visit are not only appropriate but have a good care history.  At CarePatrol we not only check the state violation histories of each community, we also can provide “insider information” that comes from the many families we’ve helped over the last few years.  We find this to be a valuable source of quality information.

If you think it’s time to consider one of these options, give us a call at CarePatrol of Richmond.  Our help is provided at no charge to you and we won’t share your information with anyone.  You’ll be surprised at how good you’ll feel having solid information to make an informed choice!

About the author
Scott Ogburn

MEd, MDiv, CSA

CarePatrol of Richmond, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg and Newport News

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