Home Care Versus Assisted Living

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Home Care Versus Assisted Living

By Jackson Richman


It’s a decision that many of us may face as our parents (and eventually ourselves) age: Will the next line of care come from an assisted living center or at-home with professional outside assistance? The option of what is best for the elderly may be the latter.


In this article, according to the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey, the cost of home care can be cheaper than assisted living. “Home care services may be less expensive with adherence to creative management of caregiver schedules and utilizing available family caregivers. Alternately enlisting adult day care on a part-time or full-time basis and/or supplementing with home care services opens up more possible savings. Therefore, seniors preferring to stay home and hire outside assistance will be pleased to find in-home care rates that are competitive with assisted living.”


According to an article in Health magazine, “In-home health aides average $19 an hour, and hired companions who don’t provide health care are slightly less expensive. Do the math and you’ll see that for round-the-clock assistance, the tab can run as high as $170,000 a year, making home care a very costly option.”


The Health article quotes Chris Cooper, a certified financial planner and social gerontologist located in Toledo, Ohio: “It’s so expensive because people are basically trying to recreate the nursing facility at home.”


Also according to the article, Medicare and private insurance generally do not cover long-term in-home care. Therefore, “unless you have a long-term-care insurance policy, the cost must be paid out-of-pocket, which may mean liquidating assets or applying for a reverse mortgage.”


However, according to the Wisconsin-based Laureate Group, which operates senior housing communities, “There is an important role for in-home care in the range of senior services. It is valuable for someone returning from a hospital or a stay in a rehabilitation center, who needs assistance for a short period of time. It can work well when a loved one has a care need that follows a consistent schedule, such as a bath several times a week. An aide can come and provide that service on a scheduled basis. In-home care can also be helpful when family members are providing most of the support to an older adult and they need a break.”


According to Felicia Baskin of the Chicago-based CJE Senior Life, which provides elderly care throughout the Jewish community, AARP reports that nearly 90 percent of seniors state they prefer to stay in their own homes as they age even if they need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care. She said this is referred to as “aging in place.” She added that nine percent of the elderly express a preference for moving to a facility where care is provided, while four percent choose moving to a relative’s home.