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The Big Decision: Choosing Between Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care

When you or a loved one decide that extra support is needed in order to live safely and independently, you have a big decision to make: can you stay in your own home, or would it be better to move to an assisted living community? 

“Most of us would prefer to stay in our own homes as we age and receive in-home care,” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. “However, that’s not always the best choice for everyone. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered besides simply ‘getting help.’ What type of help is needed? What will happen if health needs increase? What’s the best long-term choice for you or a loved one?”

These days, there isn’t a black and white answer as to what’s ‘right,’ says Kristine. “There are many technologies on the market that allow seniors to receive the care they need at home, and there are many assisted living communities that offer countless opportunities and benefits that you can’t get anywhere else,” she says. “In order to make the best decision for you or your loved one, it’s important to judge all the factors available and make a decision that works for your individual situation.” 

Looking at ... Assisted Living

Assisted living communities are specially designed communities for senior adults who are mainly independent but require a little extra help with ADLs (activities of daily life). This includes dressing, bathing, mobility, medication management and other activities that aren’t skilled nursing or long-term care services. These types of communities focus on maintaining the independence of their residents for as long as possible while also providing them with security and safety 24/7. 

An individual residing in assisted living generally lives in a private or semi-private apartment in one contained building (however, other community amenities may be located around the campus). Floor plans will vary depending on the community, but common sizes are studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Besides receiving personal care, residents live a truly maintenance-free lifestyle with meals included, activities and events, housekeeping and laundry services, fitness classes, educational opportunities and so much more. 

Looking at ... In-Home Care.

In-home care is exactly what it sounds like ... personal care that is provided in an individual’s home. This care can be completely customized and can be delivered by a single caregiver or a dedicated team. It’s forecasted that there will be 46,000 companies dedicated to providing in-home care by 2021. These agencies offer a variety of different services, from personal care to companionship to supervision to running errands and more.

In-home care ranges greatly in pricing depending on the individual’s needs. A senior who has a helper come in twice a week for a few hours will obviously pay less than someone who requires around-the-clock care. Some services provided by in-home care are covered by insurance plans, while others aren’t. The biggest draw and benefit of in-home care is that the senior is able to remain in the home that’s familiar and comfortable to them without having to uproot their lives in a big way.

What’s Right for You?

It would be nice if you could point to one thing or another and say, “assisted living is the best choice” or “in-home care is right for me.” The right answer does not always depend on your care level. Someone who is incredibly independent may do better in an assisted living community, while someone who requires significant help may thrive by remaining in your own home. In order to assess your or a loved one’s situation, here are some questions to ask. 

How much help and assistance is required? Before making any decisions, sit down and determine the exact needs of you or your loved one. Once you’ve figured those out, take a look at what help is currently available to them. Is their need small enough that you, friends or other family members can help? Or does your loved one need more extensive, on-going care in order to live safely? This exercise may be enough to help you make a definitive decision. 

What are the pros and cons of each option? 

What’s important and considered a pro or con depends on you and your loved one. In general, here are the “typical” benefits and negatives to each type of care option:

In-home care pros:

  • Able to remain in the family home
  • One-on-one care tailored to their specific preferences and needs
  • Senior can stay in their home or a relative’s home as they age
  • Cost can potentially be lower than moving to an assisted living community
  • Flexibility in care arrangements

In-home care cons:

  • Potentially high costs if extensive care is required
  • Potential for social isolation and boredom
  • May need to modify the home for safety or accessibility
  • Normal chores like home maintenance, grocery shopping, housekeeping and laundry will still need to be taken care of

Assisted living pros:

  • An affordable solution for care and supervision 24/7
  • Plenty of social interaction with peers
  • Care levels can be easily adjusted
  • Family has peace of mind and can re-focus on their relationships

Assisted living cons:

  • One-on-one care may not be as consistent or personal
  • The senior may not enjoy living in a social environment
  • Homesickness could be a problem

What does the financial situation support? Finally, you and your loved one will need to figure out which option best fits your financial situation. It can be difficult to pinpoint how much each care type will cost, so you’ll need to do some research. The best thing to do is to call around to get actual pricing for in-home care providers and assisted living communities. You’ll also want to factor in all the incidental costs in order to make an informed decision (for example, if your loved one opts for in-home care, you’ll still need to find ways to provide home maintenance, etc.). 

For more information about choosing the right type of care for you or a loved one, or to learn more about our distinctive independent lifestyle, please contact us at 781.235.1614.

Beautiful Riverfront Community

Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities.

Celebrating Dynamic Living

Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.

Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors. 

Confidence of Care

The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone. 

For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.