Senior Resources » Assisted Living Vs. Home Care & How to Choose

Assisted Living Vs. Home Care & How to Choose

assisted living or home care, senior walking with adult daughter trying to choose

If you have a senior loved one who is beginning to need assistance with daily activities, you might already be considering some outside help. But how do you know what’s right for you and your loved one? Do they need someone who can visit once in a while to assist with household tasks and cook the occasional meal? Or, do they need access to care on-demand? Two options to consider are assisted living and home care. Both options have their pros and cons, and it will really all come down to the needs and preferences of your loved one. But, let’s try to make the decision a little easier. Here are some key differences and a few tips to help you and your senior loved one make the right choice.


What is Assisted Living?

assisted living nurse and patient

Assisted living typically involves seniors living in a community with others in a residential setting. It’s generally for those who lead active lifestyles but may need medical or personal care help. Living space varies depending on the assisted living facility, but there are usually apartments or units with most common areas being shared. Residents within these communities live as independently as possible with support from staff members. Assisted living offers services like meals, healthcare, housekeeping, and transportation.

What are the Pros and Cons of Assisted Living?

nurse and patient in assisted living community


Socialization: Assisted living facilities provide social activities and events to promote interaction among residents.


Safety and Security: Facilities are designed with safety features such as grab bars in bathrooms, emergency call systems, and secured entrances to ensure the well-being of the residents.

Housekeeping and Maintenance: Most assisted living facilities offer housekeeping and maintenance services for residents, which can relieve some of the burden of daily chores.

Transportation: Many facilities offer transportation services for residents to appointments or outings.

Health Care: Assisted living facilities often have health care professionals on staff to assist residents with medication management, nursing care, and therapy services.



Less Privacy: Living in a communal setting can often result in limited privacy.

Cost: Assisted living may be expensive.

Limited Space: Living space in an assisted living facility may be smaller than what your loved one is used to at home.

What is Home Care?

Home care worker assisting senior gentleman.

Home care is often used as a sort of blanket term to mean any service that can be obtained and used in the comfort of your own residence. However, there are different types of home care. Depending on the service that you hire, home care can simply mean companionship, personal care assistance, or housekeeping help. If you hire a home care company that employs certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or other professionals who are able to administer skilled nursing, then you can expect more things like medical assistance, occupational therapy, or physical therapy to be included in the breadth of services available.

What are the Pros and Cons of Home Care?

home caregiver


Personalized Care: Home care allows seniors to receive personalized one-on-one care in the comfort of their own homes.

Familiar Environment: Seniors can remain in their own homes and maintain their daily routines.

Independence: Home care promotes independence and dignity.

Flexibility: Home care services can be tailored to meet the specific needs and schedule of the senior.


Limitations: Home care may not be appropriate for seniors with complex medical needs or mobility limitations.

Inconsistent Care: Home care is dependent on the availability and reliability of the caregiver, which can sometimes be inconsistent.

Safety Concerns: Safety hazards in the home may require modifications to be made before home care can begin.

Personal Space: Home care requires sharing personal space with a caregiver, which may be uncomfortable for some.

Does My Senior Loved One Need Assisted Living or Home Care?

senior home care helping hands

Choosing the right option for your senior loved one is a big decision – and one that they should be actively involved in making. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between the two:

Level of Care Needed

What daily activities does your loved one need assistance with? If they only need help with a few tasks, then home care may be the better option. However, if they’re at risk for falls or need more frequent help with things like medication management, then assisted living may be a better fit.


Is your loved one safe at home? Do they need a higher level of supervision and assistance? Safety should always be a top priority when deciding between home healthcare and assisted living.


When comparing the costs of home care and assisted living, it really all depends on the level of care your senior loved one requires. You’ll also have to consider what you or your loved one already spends on other expenses.

According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living is $54,000, annually. Homemaker services (that is, non-medical home care) are around $60,000 annually. And, finally, a home health aide is just over $61,000 annually.

Personal Preferences

Does your senior loved one prefer to be at home or in a social environment? Do they need to be close to family or medical facilities? These are all important factors to consider.


If your senior loved one wants to be near family members or prefers a specific community, then assisted living might be the better option. However, if your loved one wants to stay in their current home or community, home care may be a more convenient option.

Find Assisted Living Near Me

assisted living

To find assisted living near you, start here.

Find Home Care Near Me

home care spelled out in blocks

Find home care near me.

Do You Need Help with Something Else?

If you’re looking for more about health and wellness for seniors and retirees, then start here.

If you’re looking for retirement planning advice, then check out Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch.

Originally published July 17, 2023

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