Home Care, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living? Which Is Right for Your Parent?

Home Care, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living? Which Is Right for Your Parent?

Home Care Options: In-Home, Nursing, Assisted Living Compared

When seniors need extra help or care, there are several options available. Three of the most common options are in-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes. These three care settings provide different types of care, so it’s important to choose the option that is right for your parent or senior loved one at the appropriate time.

Let’s break down the basics of what you can expect from each option so you can make the best decision for your parent.

What to Expect With In-Home Care

When you enroll a senior in in-home care, a caregiver will come to the home and care for the senior. Trained caregivers provide all sorts of care, and home care can run the gamut from minimal care, like meal preparation and companionship, to much more intensive care. With home care, a senior can be very sick and remain at home in familiar surroundings, thanks to the skilled nursing care they receive. If someone requires less care, a caregiver can come in once or twice a week to assist and ensure the senior has everything they need.

Home Care Lets Seniors Stay At Home

One major reason people tend to prefer in-home care is that they do not have to leave their homes. Assisted living and nursing homes both require going to a separate facility, and that can be not very pleasant for many seniors. For seniors with a strong community and local friends, remaining at home allows them to maintain that support system.

Home Care Provides One-On-One Care

One of the significant advantages of home care is that it provides seniors with one-on-one care. Cahoon Care works to match a caregiver with each senior, so your parent will see the same caregiver every time. This setup allows the caregiver and the senior to form a relationship, allowing the caregiver to provide quality care. Each senior has a customized care plan designed around his or her needs, which can be altered to accommodate new or changing requests. In-home care is a great way to meet a senior’s needs.

The Cost of In-Home Care

The cost of in-home care varies depending on several factors, including a senior’s specific needs and how often home care is required. Home care can range from around $330 per week up to about $5,500 per week. Remember, though, that this includes one-on-one care, which is more attentive and personalized than the care a senior would generally receive in assisted living or a nursing home. *For more detailed information about home care costs, please see the scenarios at the end of this article.

What to Expect With Assisted Living

Assisted living is an option generally available to seniors beginning at age 55. When in assisted living, seniors have their own apartment, and tasks related to home ownership, such as mowing the lawn or painting, are completed for them. People in assisted living can usually decorate their apartments, though the decorations may have to be approved. The facility is staffed by people who are available to help seniors if they require it.

Assisted Living Means Less Responsibility

Assisted living can be appealing because it means less responsibility for the senior. Seniors don’t have to worry about everyday chores like maintenance or lawn work. Assisted living facilities usually have dining rooms, so seniors don’t have to worry about cooking. Seniors are in a safe location equipped with emergency call buttons in areas like the bathroom, and staff is always on the property.

Assisted Living Offers Activities

One of the features that many seniors enjoy about assisted living is the activities often provided by the facility. Activities such as lectures, music, exercise classes, yoga, and even bus trips to local shopping areas are common. Assisted living also creates a natural community, which can be helpful for socialization.

Assisted Living Means Limited Care

The care that comes with assisted living is typically minimal, especially compared to the options available with in-home care. In some cases, seniors in assisted living employ home caregivers to come to the facility to provide them with the additional one-on-one care that they need. If this extra care is necessary, assisted living can quickly become expensive.

The Cost of Assisted Living

According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national median monthly rate for staying in an assisted living facility is $3,600.

What to Expect With a Nursing Home

Nursing homes are generally appropriate for seniors who have extensive medical needs. They are more intensive than assisted living and provide comprehensive health care options. Nurses are available around the clock, and a doctor is on call. Nursing homes provide a great deal of medical care and are usually the final care option that seniors enter.

Nursing Homes Mean 24-Hour Monitoring

One of the advantages of nursing homes is that staff is on call at all times. Rather than living in their own apartments, seniors are centrally located within the nursing home so that staff can monitor and care for them. Private and semi-private rooms are usually available, which can affect the price of the nursing home.

Nursing Homes Reduce Responsibility

When seniors are in nursing homes, virtually all of their responsibilities are taken care of for them. Seniors have little to no responsibility in this setting from laundry to cooked meals. Even though nursing homes provide comprehensive care, it is still possible for a senior’s needs to not be met completely. In these cases, families may employ home care caregivers to come to the nursing home to complement the care that the senior receives in the nursing home.

The Cost of Nursing Homes

According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national median daily rate for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $220. The median daily rate for a private room is $250. Unlike assisted living and home care, the cost of a nursing home is partially covered by Medicare.

Choosing Home Care, Assisted Living, or Nursing Home Care for a Senior

Ultimately, choosing which option is best for the senior in your life depends on several factors. While the cost of care is certainly worth considering, it is equally important to consider which options can fulfill the senior’s care needs.

If you would like to explore in-home care for a parent or loved one, please contact us at Cahoon Care. We would be happy to discuss your loved one’s needs and how we can help.


*Here are two examples of potential home care scenarios and the costs associated with each. The cost of home care varies depending on the services that a senior needs. Please contact us; we are happy to discuss your parent’s needs to give you a better idea of the cost.

Scenario 1:

A senior lives alone but no longer drives. She is mostly self-sufficient and very social but needs someone to come into the home three days a week to bring her to appointments such as the hair dresser, social engagements, church, and the grocery store. She needs someone to assist with laundry, light housekeeping and to help organize things around the house. The caregiver and the senior go over the calendar for the following week/month to schedule appointments and engagements together. The senior usually has a list of errands for the caregiver to help her complete during her scheduled visit.

Price range $330.00-$400.00 weekly

Scenario 2:

A senior lives alone and his family lives out of state. The senior needs 24-hour care, 7 days a week. He has Parkinson’s disease, uses a walker, and is dependent on all ADLs, safety, appointments, and all household tasks. He was living alone without help until his family came home during the holidays to find that he had declined to the point that he had lost a good deal of weight, his hygiene was very poor, and the household was in disarray. The senior has expressed that he is staying in his own home and is not open for discussion on alternatives. He has made the compromise to have assistance 24/7 so that he can age in place. The caregivers take care of mostly everything in the household under the supervision of a care manager except for the major housekeeping, maintenance of the home and snow removal.

Price range $4,500.00-$5,500.00 weekly