David Lohmann

By: David Lohmann on April 8th, 2019

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What's the Difference Between Senior Home Care and Community Care?

Family Members

When trying to determine the best type of care for your aging parent or loved one, there’s a lot to consider. Between the various levels of care, comfort, and cost, it can be tough to evaluate all the options. Learn more about two options for care – senior home care and community care – and discover which of these options is best for your loved one.

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Home Care vs. Community Care: What’s the Difference?

Navigating your care choices for a senior loved one can be overwhelming. There are a lot of options, some which could be the right fit for your parent and others that may not work. To make the best decision, you’ll have to take two steps – learn more about your care options and evaluate your parent’s needs. Let’s start with learning more about care options.

Two care options you want to consider are home care and community care, such as in a senior living community. How are these options different? With senior home care, a home healthcare provider comes to your loved one’s home for a set or flexible amount of time as needed. This could mean they come every day, every other day, or once a week; it just depends on the level of care your loved one needs. Families often choose elderly home care due to the individualized care and attention their loved one will receive. This is also a comfortable option for seniors as they can stay in their own homes.

Senior living communities also provide residents with care, but many seniors are reluctant to choose this option because it requires them to leave their homes. Community care facilities, like a nursing home, adult day care, or senior living community, can accommodate seniors with a wide range of needs, from around-the-clock care provided at a nursing home to minimal assistance in independent living communities.

To make your decision easier, consider how home care and community care can meet your loved one’s needs.

How Home Care and Community Care Stack Up to Help Seniors

Level of Care

One of the first things to consider when choosing between home care and community care is what level of care and supervision your senior loved one needs. Some seniors need constant supervision, or at least access to constant assistance. However, other seniors may only need help with certain activities like medication management or homemaking. How do home care and senior care communities differ?

  • Home Care - With home care services, your parent will receive personalized attention and care. These visits can be as short or as long as needed, with even a live-in caregiver as an option. If your parent lives with you or if you are the regular caregiver, home care services could be a helpful way to supplement your efforts.
  • Community Care - Around-the-clock care is available at some communities, but not all of them. Care is delivered in a community away from home, and seniors split care time with their fellow residents.

Comfort

Many families want this season of their parents’ lives to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Comfort is an important component to consider when choosing between home care and community care.

  • Home Care - What could be more comfortable than staying in your own home? With home care, seniors also have access to assistance in the home and transportation to and from appointments.
  • Community Care - Seniors may not be as comfortable in a community as they would be in their own homes. Regulations about pets and visiting times can feel restrictive. However, if a more encompassing level of care is needed, staying in a community with 24/7 care may be necessary.

Want to find out if senior home care is right for your family? 

Take the home care quiz now to learn more.

Take The Quiz!

Flexibility

Most seniors don’t want to give up living independently and making their own decisions about everything from food choices to scheduling visitors. If your senior loved one needs flexibility in their lives, this can also play a factor in whether home care or community care is right for them.

  • Home Care - By having a provider at their home on their terms, your parent or loved one can have the flexibility to decide where they want to go, what meals should be prepared, or what time a caregiver should arrive.
  • Community Care - Depending on the community or facility that is chosen, the degree of flexibility with daily choices may be limited. For example, many communities have fixed menus with a limited number of options.

Family Involvement

When choosing a care option for a senior loved one, it can be stressful to think of how you’ll keep track of their care and ensure they are receiving help from attentive caregivers. With home care options, you have greater control over who is providing care and how your family can be involved.

  • Home Care - With home care, you can talk directly caregivers who are coming each day. You can make sure you trust the caregivers who are attending to your parent or loved one.
  • Community Care - In community settings, there are typically more people available to provide care. However, this can make it difficult to gain transparency into who is actually providing care. While some communities do work hard to provide a transparent account of the care seniors receive, others may fall short of the mark.

Caregiver Qualifications

Every family wants to feel confident that their senior loved one is receiving care from the most qualified caregivers. In both elderly home care and community care environments, you can find highly qualified professionals.

  • Home Care - Caregivers undergo background checks and are put through an interview process prior to visiting seniors. This ensures they have the right credentials to be an effective caregiver.
  • Community Care - Communities typically offer a wide variety of care providers to assist residents. These employees must meet any specific requirements or background checks outlined by the community. They will also undergo an interview and screening process.

Social interaction and Activities

Seniors who live at home alone often struggle with feelings of loneliness. Family members want to make sure their loved one is in an environment where they are actively involved and engaging with others.

  • Home Care - Caregivers can provide one-on-one attention and companionship, engaging your parent in conversations and fun activities.
  • Community Care - One benefit of a senior community is the numerous scheduled activities. These activities and events bring seniors together for conversation and entertainment.

Cost

Ultimately, cost can be a deciding factor when it comes to senior care. Like many other families, you could be worried about how you will pay for either home care or community care. You may be surprised how affordable these options can be.

  • Home Care - In many cases, home care is a more affordable option than community care. This is especially true if you use a care-by-the-minute option like CaringOnDemand. An option like this allows you to pay for the exact amount of care your loved one needs, down to the minute, while avoiding hourly minimums that some agencies require.
  • Community Care - Since care is constantly available and seniors live at the community, the costs for this option are significantly higher than home care costs. However, remember that this cost includes food, entertainment, and medical care, so you don’t have to worry about paying these expenses like you would with home care.

What do you think is best for your senior loved one? Both home care and community care have the same mission: to provide seniors with the care they need. However, each option may be better suited for different seniors and life situations.

With qualified home care providers, your loved one is in a comfortable and flexible environment. Using a service like CaringOnDemand, family members have peace of mind that their senior parent or loved one is getting the care and attention they need, when they need it in the comfort of their own home.

Want to find out if senior home care is right for your family? Take the home care quiz now to learn more.

About David Lohmann

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