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Featured image for post A Comparison of 3 Main Senior Care Living Options

A Comparison of 3 Main Senior Care Living Options

Many people think of senior living communities and nursing home facilities as being the same thing. Meanwhile, that assumption has evolved and grown over the years, making the notion outdated. In fact, a nursing home isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for senior care anymore. The change is a good thing since it provides a better fit for aging people who aren’t ready to move into nursing homes.

Whatever your reason for investigating senior living arrangements in Narberth, PA, it’s vital to assess the existing, unique situation and thoroughly research all the options. By learning more about them, you can make a more informed choice, a choice that leads to a living arrangement that is happy, healthy and more fulfilling for your aging family member.

So what are the three main senior care living opportunities, and which one best fits your loved one? What follows is a guide to provide you a better look and examines the differences between them.

Assisted Living Facilities

Approximately 1.2 million seniors are living in assisted living facilities across the United States today. Assisted living senior care combines private or semi-private apartment-style housing, private duty support services and organized social interaction.

Also known as residential care, congregate housing and domiciliary care, this option is suitable for aging adults who need minimal daily assistance. Outside providers that care for the residents visit the facility at designated times or rent an office space there.

Services They Provide

Assisted living services may benefit an aging loved one who:

  • Lacks access to transportation but wants to participate in recreation and fun activities
  • Is looking to pursue passions such as art, religious studies and golf
  • Doesn’t want to worry about any maintenance-related issues associated with homeownership or renting
  • Needs assistance with day-to-day activities like bathing, grooming and meal preparation
  • Wants to make new friends and participate in social activities
  • Currently is in good health but may need more assistance later
  • Only needs some medication and assistance nursing, not full-time medical care
  • Needs help with mobility, incontinence, or other challenges
The Pros

Studies show that interacting socially with others leads to happiness and flourishing, which improves long-term mental health. However, loneliness is often a factor for aging family members, especially if they live alone.

One of the strengths assisted living facilities offer residents is the sense of community it builds and the social interaction it provides. Amenities and services they provide are a plus, too. Some examples include:

  • Transportation and trips to nearby cinemas, stores, parks and museums
  • Help with everyday activities such as bathing and grooming, laundry, medication management and housework
  • Suites with mini-kitchens for cooking
  • Larger apartments where aging couples can live together
  • Restaurant-type dining accommodations and recreation based on community interests
The Cons

Transitioning from home to an assisted living facility can cause an aging family member anxiety and stress that may not end once they live outside of the home. Everyone is different, and that goes for seniors as well. If your family member didn’t participate in a lot of social interaction in everyday life, the adjustment of moving to and living in an assisted living facility might be hard on them.

The cost of assisted living can be off-putting. A recent cost of care survey by insurer Genworth Financial found that the median cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community is now $4,051 per month or $48,612 per year.

As you consider senior care living options for an aging family member, you should also know that assisted living communities can have health standards when considering admitting a new resident. For instance, seniors might have to be capable of transferring themselves between a bed and a wheelchair without the help of another or be able to feed themselves.

Lastly, assisted living is not an option for seniors requiring 24-hour monitoring and medical assistance.

At-Home Care

Over their lifetime, seniors grow accustomed to the independence and freedom they enjoy when they live at home. The thought of the unknown often affects us more as we age, and moving out to live elsewhere can cause an aging person to experience a great deal of anxiety. Most seniors prefer to remain at home as they age, and a recent survey by Brookdale Senior Living says that 61 percent of aging adults say that they prefer to age in place, even if it means doing it alone.

No matter how active they are, seniors will eventually reach a point where they can’t go it alone. When this happens, regardless of their preferences, an aging loved one will need senior care living options.

Because of the combination of the rising costs and the preference of seniors who want to stay where they are accustomed to, families are looking at aging in place options. Aging in place, sometimes called in-home or at-home care, provides many advantages for those who want to get senior care from the comfort of their home.

Services They Provide

At-home caregivers keep your family member safe and well with services that include:

  • Assistance with bodily and oral hygiene
  • Shopping, errands and transportation
  • Helping with walking and mobility
  • Offering personalized dementia and AD care
  • Assisting in transfer and posture
  • Aiding with continence and toileting
  • Providing meal preparation
  • Companionship through friendly conversation
  • Eating assistance
  • Helping with day to day chores
  • Staying on top of medication
The Pros

At-home care centers have the advantage of keeping seniors within familiar surroundings, allowing them to keep their independence. The cost of at-home senior care is not as expensive as the daily costs of living in an assisted living community in most cases.

Additionally, services can be customized as to how much senior care is needed. The hourly rate for at-home care is often the most inexpensive option, and it is for seniors who remain mostly independent in their daily activities. In addition, seniors with stress triggers can be soothed more easily in the familiar surroundings of their home.

The at-home senior care living option is a particularly good fit for an aging loved one who is slowly losing vision and has Alzheimer’s disease. With in-care overnight options, compassionate caretakers can help with an aging parent who could wander off when it’s nighttime or have Sundowner’s Syndrome.

The Cons

Although at-home care is cheaper than any of the other two senior care living options listed, the expense and how many can afford it can be a downside.

Also, as seniors age in place, more care is needed over the years, which can result in more expenses. Like assisted living, at-home care is not an option for seniors requiring 24-hour monitoring and medical assistance.

Nursing Homes

Assisted living communities and at-home care are a unique option for older adults who are mostly independent but require some assistance with day-to-day living. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities and convalescent homes, are generally designed for seniors who require 24-hour medical supervision due to physical or mental conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves.

A typical nursing home is a good fit for residents who suffer from debilitating mental or physical or mental conditions that leave them unable to take care of themselves. For these seniors, live independently would be a danger to them, and they must have skilled nursing care as part of their daily lives.

Aging adults who are candidates for a nursing home include those that are bedridden or are wheelchair-bound. A nursing home’s goal is to ensure the safety and comfort of older adults who need round-the-clock care. Benefits that nursing homes offer include:

  • Providing palliative care to give pain relief and respite from distressing symptoms
  • Giving continuous and preventative long-term care
  • Offering skilled caretakers who are usually professional nurses
  • Giving rehabilitative services such as cognitive, physical, speech, occupational, respiratory and more
  • Managing medication and administering medication, including injections
  • Offering meal plans that meet daily nutritional requirements and specialized dietary needs of residents

Nursing homes are the best senior care living options for seniors requiring around-the-clock monitoring and medical assistance. Like at-home care and assisted living options, caregivers provide assistance with laundry, light housekeeping, and activities of everyday living. Plus, all state-funded nursing homes offer emergency and routine dental care services.


A recent survey was conducted on 100 families seeking nursing homes as a solution. After consulting with senior living advisors, 89 of the families decided that a nursing home wasn’t the right choice for their aging relative. The families ultimately decided on more moderate senior living arrangements for their loved ones.

The rising costs and expense of convalescent homes can be a downside for families. The average cost for nursing homes is about $247/daily, or about $7,512 per month on average. However, in the case of not-for-profit nursing homes, they accept government assistance for lower-income residents that pays a partial or full amount of services.

Quality of life can be an issue in nursing homes, also. Anything from monotony to nursing homes being understaffed, to a lack of personal relationships with personnel, are factors to consider. Before a senior is admitted, convalescent homes always require a physical examination and a physician’s prescription before accepting them. Visits to nursing homes to see an aging relative may be an inconvenience for their families, too.

How to Find Out More About Senior Care Living

Finding the right place for your senior family member to live can be a daunting task. As you can see, senior living communities come in several shapes and sizes, and there is no universal approach to deciding what’s best. However, finding the best fit is an important part of keeping them active, healthy and safe. When comparing nursing homes to in-home care, to assisted living, there are many factors to consider.

Fortunately, if you and your family live in or are nearby to Narbeth, PA, you have a wide variety of assisted living communities, nursing homes and in-home senior care services to choose from. Your parent’s needs and your situation are different from anyone else. At FirstLight Home Care, a compassionate caregiver stays for as long as your beloved family member needs them, helping with whatever they need, all from the comfort of their own home. If you would like to know more about your options in senior care living, please give us a call at (866) 985-4031 or contact us online.

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