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What’s the difference between home care vs assisted living facility?

Shalini was at a crossroads in her life. On one hand, she just had a baby who needed 24/7 care and attention; on the other hand she had her father who unfortunately was in the advanced stage of Dementia and was fully dependent on her. He didn’t recognize his own daughter but that didn’t deter her from taking care of him. Her mother had passed away a few years back and since he had started showing early signs of the condition, Shalini and her husband brought him home to live with them. Shalini left her corporate job and started taking tuitions at home to have a steady income and also look after him. It was difficult but leaving him under the care of a stranger wasn’t acceptable to Shalini. He was after all her father who had always showered her with unconditional love and support and taught her everything she knew in life. His mental condition was deteriorating and sometimes he would go out on his own and get lost and she would be worried sick till she found him. She wanted to be a good mother and daughter but she knew she couldn’t delay this tough decision any longer. With a heavy heart, she decided on an assisted living facility which would be best for him as he would have better professional care in a safe and healthy environment. This way Shalini could also focus on her relation with him and provide him with a dignified life. 


As per research, India’s senior demographic is projected to reach 240 million by 2050. This “senior demographic” consists of our loved ones- beloved parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents and others who enriched our lives with their presence and made our childhood so much more fun. We used to look forward to summer holidays because they were all about visiting grandparents and being pampered silly. Watching them grow old and be affected by ailments is heartbreaking but inevitable. Everyone would like to personally take care of them but urban lifestyle, work and other responsibilities make it very difficult. Thus, the need for home care services and senior living facilities is witnessing rapid growth and is being fine tuned according to the person’s unique specifications. Real estate developers are also working towards creating exclusive and safe residential townships for the senior buyers which come with round the clock security services, cleaning and maintenance facilities, medical care and meals. Seniors who would prefer the comfort and familiarity of their own home can also rejoice as advancements in technology and medical equipment are making it more feasible to benefit from senior care at home.


Let’s have a look at the two choices in detail:


Home Care

It isn’t easy for anyone to leave their home and stay elsewhere, let alone seniors who crave familiarity and security of their own home. They like to keep their own routine and sleep in their own bed. Home care allows that as one can stay at home and professionals are hired to take care of their specific needs within a time frame & budget. Agencies providing home care offer a range of different services from hygiene assistance, meal prep, medication reminders, companionship, transportation, emergency call systems, and more. Home caregivers are appropriate for individuals who want to stay at home, but also need ongoing care that family members can’t provide. It allows seniors to age in the comfort of their own home. The broad four categories of home care are licensed medical professional care, non-medical professional care, Dementia home care and Alzheimer’s home care.


Assisted Living Facility

Assisted living facility also known as senior living homes, adult care home, retirement homes, etc. is the fastest growing long-term care option for senior people. From being very active and requiring little assistance on a daily basis to constant medical care, assisted living facilities have residences and services available for all elders at different stages of ageing. These communities work to ensure that senior residents continue enjoying a rich, social and independent lifestyle filled with friendship, activities and events whilst providing benefits of having the extra care and support that they need round the clock. The facilities and infrastructure are age friendly. Recurring charges comprise two basic components; room and level of care charges. The room component covers the rent/maintenance and meals, whereas the level of care charges covers personal and other services provided.


Ashiana Housing is one of the pioneer developers to have launched full fledged senior living townships with world class infrastructure, age friendly designs, facilities facilitating an active life & companionship and ample security measures for senior residents. They organise events like cricket matches, dance and swimming competitions to enable socialisation at these senior residential societies. The Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC) provides best care for the senior residents and updates their services as & when an elderly resident moves from an active life to assisted living. These townships are equipped with facilities like 24/7 security, health centres, specialised kitchens, gyms and recreational spaces. They even have doctors, therapists and dieticians on site. In-house maintenance staff is available round the clock. The reputed builder has senior living projects in Bhiwadi, Jaipur, Chennai and Lavasa, Pune. Vedaanta Senior Living, Paranjape Schemes, Impact Senior Living Estates, Covai Properties, Tata Housing are some of the other big names in the senior living space.


Evaluating the Pros And Cons

Both assisted living facilities and home care services offer some great benefits but also has a few limitations based on a person’s specific situation. Analysing the pros and cons will help in having more clarity.


Home Care

Pros

  • It allows the individual to benefit from one-on-one care that can be tailored to meet their unique preferences and needs.
  • The senior gets to remain in the comfort of familiar surroundings as they get older.
  • One can choose the person who will be providing care and create a personal bond with them.

Cons

  • Nature of caretaker while taking care is unpredictable.
  • Background check of the caretaker would have to be done in case they are a personal reference and not from a professional agency.
  • The managing of caregivers and backup care planning requires continued family involvement.
  • Being at home all the time can lead to social isolation which contributes to depression and cognitive decline.
  • The home may need to be modified for wheelchair accessibility or safety precautions.
  • Home care will not take care of several important tasks such as housekeeping, grocery shopping, home maintenance etc.
  • When 24/7 care is required, the costs can be very high.

Assisted Living Facility

Pros

  • The facilities and infrastructure are age friendly and fine-tuned to specific needs of the residents.
  • They will be taken care of by professionals who would follow the best practices to make their life easier and healthier.
  • Residents have ample opportunities to be a part of a senior community who look out for each other. Socialization with peers is good for an agile mind and helps in leading an active lifestyle.
  • In case of 24/7 care, investing in such a facility would be the more affordable option. 
  • It allows the family to focus more on their relationship with the senior.
  • The family will not have to manage, schedule or hire caregivers.
  • The level of care can easily be increased as necessary.

Cons

  • They may not like living in a group environment or being away from family.
  • Being away from the familiarity and security of home and family members causes discomfort to seniors.

Conclusion

We can’t wait to grow up and become independent, live our dreams and just jet set around the world. But in all this growing up, we forget that our parents are growing old too. The sunset years are like a second childhood where you become the parent and your “child” 9needs your attention and love. In a perfect world we would be besides our elders all the time but the urban dynamics shatters that dream and shows us the stark reality. Your one decision will decide the course of the rest of their life. So the choice should be based on what is best for them, their well being and safety. Any decision taken under guilt or false sense of responsibility will prove to be futile.


The stigma attached to leaving your parents in a retirement home has also long gone. Even retired parents encourage it because it gives them a golden opportunity to live their life according to their wishes and pursue their passions without any responsibilities. Senior Living communities give them companionship and a sense of belonging. Promoting overall wellness, these facilities foster healthy aging with dignity, choice and independence. With increasing life expectancy and scales tipping in favour of the aging population in the next few decades, the growth and importance of senior living is inevitable.

Category: Care Homes,

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About The Author

Ashiana, Ashiana Housing build homes. Homes surrounded by vast green spaces and fresh breeze. Homes cocooned in secured gated complexes. Homes where futures are forged and there are opportunities to grow. And Homes in environments brimming with healthy activity, trust and respect. At heart, we build communities with care.

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