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When choosing between assisted living and home care, you should consider your physical and mental limitations, your finances, and the types of services available to you before making a final decision about where to live and the type of care you need. You should also consider your own preferences and solicit input from your family. Assisted living may make the most sense if you believe that you need ongoing monitoring or are unable to find quality home care workers in your area. On the other hand, home care allows you to remain in a familiar environment and can provide you with a significant amount of freedom and independence.
The differences between assisted living and home care are significant. In assisted living, you will move to a residential facility in which you will be provided with various types of assistance in meeting your day-to-day needs. For example, you will often be provided with meals in a community dining hall, and an aide may assist you with bathing, dressing, and completing housekeeping tasks. Your medical condition will generally be monitored by your aide and a nurse or nurses who oversee health care at the facility. In many cases, the assisted living facility will offer you ample opportunity to participate in group activities and community events.
If you choose to remain at home, you may be able to receive assistance through home care aides. Like the aides at an assisted living center, these aides are trained to help you care for your home and to assist you with basic hygiene and, in some cases, health care needs. In many cases, your aide may visit for only a few hours each day or a few days each week. While living at home allows you a great deal of independence and privacy, you will not have the advantage of 24-hour care availability or a built-in community as you would in an assisted living center.
Both assisted living and home care can be expensive, so this may be an important consideration for you, particularly if you do not have insurance to cover the cost of one or both types of care. By living in assisted care, however, many of your normal expenses, such as utilities and meals, may be paid for, while home care would require you to pay for your home care aide in addition to household expenses. It may be possible, however, to control the costs of home care by hiring an aide for only a few hours each day and relying on family members or social service agency volunteers to share in some of the responsibility for your care. If you are having difficulty deciding between assisted living and home care, you may wish to ask your family members about whether they are willing to provide ongoing assistance to you if you wish to remain at home. If they are willing to provide assistance and you would like to stay at home, hiring a home care aide may be the best option for you.
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