Difference Between Retirement Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Care

Aging poses its own set of challenges. Whether it is less of a desire to tend to one’s needs, physical complications, or medical concerns, many seniors find themselves requiring the assistance of another. When that need becomes clear, seniors often find themselves stumped as to what the next step is. There are several different types of care an older adult could choose from, but there are three specific options that come to mind first. Learning the difference between retirement homes, assisted living, and home care will allow you to make the best care choice for yourself.

Difference Between Retirement Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Care

What is a retirement home?

Sometimes, as they age, seniors realize they don’t want to care for their homes any longer. They want independence, but they also want to cultivate a community around them. This is where retirement homes come into play.

At retirement homes, seniors live in an apartment or home independently with some support from staff. Usually, this comes in the form of activities of daily living that may have grown tedious or difficult, such as making meals, shoveling snow, or tending to a yard. There are often community events to engage older adults and there are (in general) more relaxed rules. These communities vary quite broadly, from 55+ communities, to independent living communities, to continuing care communities.

What is assisted living?

Similar to retirement homes, assisted living facilities are a community where seniors live full-time. These facilities, however, provide more in-depth care support. They employ registered nurses, nursing assistants, and other medical professionals on a 24/7 basis. Seniors with a wide range of physical and cognitive conditions reside in these centers, so professionals must be able to provide a wide range of care.

Some assisted living facilities provide specialized memory care and therapies that help seniors cope with their condition. In addition to medical support, assisted living facilities offer assistance with tasks such as running errands, bathing, dressing, cleaning, and more. Depending on your needs and financial status, an assisted living facility’s cost of care may be covered by long-term care insurance or government assistance programs like Medicaid.

What is home care?

Home care is a completely different alternative to the above options. After building a life in their home for decades, many seniors don’t want to live up their homes when they need a little help. Home care allows seniors to remain in the comfort of their homes by bringing support directly to their doors.

When a senior hires the help of an at-home caregiver, they receive entirely non-medical support. This means that caregivers cannot administer medicine or provide any form of physical therapy. They can, however, assist with a wide variety of activities of daily living, or ADLs. These can include:

  • Personal care
  • Meal preparation
  • Medication reminders
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Errands
  • Brain games
  • Companionship

Seniors and their families work with the home care agency to create a plan of care that best fits the senior’s needs. As their needs change, so can the care plan. This way, they can retain the independence they desire while receiving the support they need.

How do I know which type of senior care is right for me?

The first thing to consider is the type of care you require. If you have a health condition that requires regular monitoring and support, an assisted living facility may be best for you. The nursing staff is on standby to aid you however necessary, but you can still live an active, social life.

If medical concerns are not a consideration for you, a new question arises: do you want to live alone at home? For some, this is ideal. For others, not so much. The responsibilities of managing a home are daunting, not to mention exhausting, and taking care of this all on one’s own can be lonely. If you’d like more of an opportunity to be part of a community and occasionally receive support from a professional, a retirement home might be best for you.

Many seniors, however, want to age in the comfort of their homes. For these individuals, home care is the answer. Seniors assess what activities of daily living they require support with, and once a care plan is developed, a caregiver comes to their home on a regular basis. They offer as much, or as little, support as the senior desires, which helps seniors retain their autonomy. For many, this is crucial for their mental health.

Deciding which type of senior care is best for you is an incredibly personal choice to make. Before jumping to any decision, speak with your family as well as your doctor. They can help you come to a conclusion that is best for you in the long run.

For home care, consider Home Care Powered by AUAF

For 30 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has offered seniors in the Chicago area the care they require to remain in the comfort of their homes. Our compassionate staff always takes not only your physical needs but your emotional needs, into consideration. It is our mission to ensure our clients always feel supported, no matter the level of care they require.

Dignified care makes a world of difference in a senior’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. If you’re curious about how our caregivers can help improve your quality of life, call us at 773-274-9262. We would love to offer our support.

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