Assisted Living or In-Home Care? 3 Things to Consider

Choosing between assisted living and in-home care can be a tough decision for older people and their families. The choice will ultimately come down to a number of factors, dependant on the unique circumstances of the older adult.

In-home care is when seniors stay in their own home with formal or informal caregivers who assist with daily living activities. The specific help provided will depend on the needs of the older person, but will typically include preparing meals, moving the person within their home, transportation, bathing, and dressing.

Assisted living is a facility where many seniors live in their own room or small apartments. These facilities generally offer a range of care options, from seniors who are mostly independent to those who need more care. They charge residents a monthly fee that covers meals, transportation, activities, and housekeeping.

There are 3 main considerations to look at when making the decision between in-home care and assisted living. These are:

  • How much help the older adult needs
  • The older adult’s financial situation
  • The key differences between assisted living and in-home care

The following article gives more information on the above points to arm carers and older adults with more information so that they can make the right choice.

1. How Much Help do they Need?

Being able to see the whole picture is the best way to choose the right level of care.

As such, the first step in deciding on a plan for caregiving is to work out how much help the older adult needs. Make a detailed list of all of the tasks the older adult needs assistance with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This can then be compared with the help that is available from family members and close friends. It’s important to be realistic about how much help friends and relatives are willing and able to provide. Once you compare these two lists, it should be easy to see whether assisted living or in-home care would work best. For example, an older adult who requires a lot of help but doesn’t have any family who are able to carry out the tasks may be more suited to assisted living.

2. The Older Adult’s Financial Situation

An older adult’s budget is another consideration in working out whether assisted living or in-home care is more appropriate. Costs will be specific to each person’s needs, location, and the amount of help required.

The following are some of the key costs that should be taken into account for both in-home care and assisted living.

In-home Care Costs

  • Hours of care needed by a professional caregiver
  • Groceries, household supplies and personal care supplies
  • Transport costs
  • Rent or mortgage payments, as well as any property taxes
  • Home and garden maintenance costs
  • Utilities and bills

Assisted Living Costs

Assisted living fees vary by establishment, and all services are not always covered in the monthly rate. As such, it’s important to speak to the assisted care facility to find out which services may not be covered. The following are some of the costs that may be incurred on top of the monthly rate:

  • Additional fees for higher levels of care
  • Housekeeping and laundry fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Fees for overnight visitors

3. The Key Differences Between In-Home Care and Assisted Living

Weighing up the pros and cons of each option is the third consideration that will help to reach a decision between in-home care and assisted living.

In-Home Care


  • The older person receives one-on-one care
  • They are able to stay in the comfort of their own home or at a relative’s home as they age
  • The family can be more involved in caregiving
  • The older person knows their caregivers, as opposed to receiving care from a number of different people
  • Care arrangements are more flexible


  • Costs can get very high in the event that the person needs 24/7 care from professionals
  • Continuous family involvement is necessary
  • There is greater potential for the older adult to experience social isolation, which can lead to depression
  • The home may need certain modifications to ensure the older adult’s safety or accessibility for a wheelchair
  • Someone needs to keep on top of housekeeping and home maintenance, as well as shopping for groceries and supplies

Assisted Living


  • The level of care can be increased or decreased as required, as professionals are already in place
  • The older person’s family can focus on spending quality time with their relative rather than having to fulfil care responsibilities
  • The older person’s family doesn’t need to worry about sourcing or managing formal caregivers
  • The older adult has more opportunity for social interaction with their peers


  • Care is not as personal as changes in staff are common
  • The quality of care can vary depending on the employee
  • There is always the risk that an older adult may have to leave the community for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they may also be given little advance notice
  • The older person may prefer their own home as opposed to a group living environment

We hope that this article has provided you with more information about assisted living and in-home care to make the choice between them clearer. If you’re currently caring for an older relative, or if you think you will be in the near future, you may benefit from one of our courses or workshops. If you’d like to find out more, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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