Home Care or Assisted Living?

Discussing home care or assisted living for elderly parent.

An adult child often faces a hard choice. Should he seek home care or assisted living for his elderly parent who needs an elevated level of care?

There is actually no simple decision here because both options have positives and negatives. Below, I summarize the pros and cons of home care or assisted living for your elderly parent.

Cost of Home Care or Assisted Living

Assisted living can be very expensive. According to the 2020 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey, monthly costs average $4,300 with the amount varying by state. Another determining factor is the level of care required.

However, home care can be even more costly. CareScout, a Genworth Financial company, reports that the monthly median cost of home care is approximately $5,000 for 44 hours of service weekly. Again, this amount will depend on the level of care needed (non-medical or medical).

Service Comparison

Assisted living offers a wide range of services within a group-oriented and protected environment. The elderly have options from independent living to more advanced personal/nursing care. Many also offer planned entertainment, social gatherings, gyms for exercising, and meals. The con is that the services are not individualized, but created to best serve the needs of a group of residents.

Home care can offer similar services as assisted living, but with a focus on individualized care. The elderly person has the full attention of the home care aide who can help plan specific activities and times. However, social interaction is limited, as are entertainment options.

Other Factors to Consider

Both home care and assisted living offer options that can affect cost. Optimal levels of care can include medication management, bathing and dressing, meal plans, specialized dementia care, housekeeping, and similar services.

Home care, though, allows for greater flexibility in relation to service hours. With assisted living, you are paying for the protected environment offered by a facility. This is a definite plus, but does factor in cost. It is easier to control service costs in home care by limiting the number of hours to those that best fit into a set budget.

Another factor relates to privacy and personal decision making. Assisted living facilities have set rules, policies, and procedures that optimize their ability to provide a well-managed environment. These benefit the group and not individual needs. Home care caters to the individual needs of an elderly person.


There is no best fit when deciding between home care and assisted living for elderly parents. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. Home care may be the best option for people who can still show independence and who are less interested in interaction. It can also cost less if fewer hours are required.

Assisted living is optimal for people who require more help and who can not live alone anymore. Also, people who enjoy social gatherings and planned entertainment will take to the assisted living environment much better.

People interested in reading the Cost of Care Survey results published by Genworth can CLICK HERE. Also, check out this online article by Aging.com that provides information on deciding between home care and assisted living. CLICK HERE.

Here are a few other useful resources on this important issue. Click the book title link.

You can also learn more about why elderly people become sedentary, why it is an issue, how to persuade them to exercise and take part in activities, and what activities/exercises are best by Clicking Here.

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