When the time comes to decide between senior living versus staying at home, it goes without saying that there’s a lot to consider. More than you may think actually, because many families don’t realize that senior living doesn’t just offer you one option. There are actually different lifestyle experiences available that support different wants and needs. Here’s how to compare the pros and cons of senior living with those at home.

Your Options at Home

In choosing care at home there are typically two options. One is home health care which can be provided on an as-needed, hourly or 24/7 live-in basis and includes services such as personal care, household chores, cooking and transportation as well as even occupational, physical and speech therapy if necessary. Adult day care is the second option. Services there are provided during normal business hours, five days a week and include meals, snacks and health monitoring as well as fitness, enrichment and social activities. The pros and cons are similar for both.

Pros:

  • Gives primary caregivers a break should they need to work, go to school, manage other responsibilities or just have some downtime. 
  • The flexibility to choose how many hours a day support is needed and when.
  • The comfort of remaining in a familiar place. 
  • Ability to continue living with family members who don’t yet need assistance. 

Cons:

  • Challenges of managing caregiving with their other responsibilities, particularly as care needs increase.
  • Still have to keep up with home maintenance and repair.
  • Costs can increase dramatically as needs increase.
  • Updates to the home may be needed to ensure it is safe and accessible. 
  • Specific to adult day care, transportation must be provided to/from and the hours/services may be more limited than you may need.
  • Social isolation as well as lack of exercise and proper nutrition are risks when care is provided intermittently at home.

Your Options in Senior Living

In senior living, there are three common options from which to choose: independent living, assisted living and memory care. As each supports different needs and wants, we’ll discuss their pros and cons separately.

Independent Living – A lifestyle experience designed for active seniors interested in social and enrichment opportunities as well as freedom from the responsibilities of home ownership.

Pros:

  • A wide range of accommodations and floor plans from which to choose.
  • Home upkeep and yard maintenance plus restaurant-style dining, housekeeping and scheduled transportation are typically included in your monthly fee.
  • Resort-like amenities; which in our communities includes an on-site salon and spa, fitness center, bistro café, cinema-style movie theatre, game room with billiards and dedicated art studio as well as beautiful courtyards and outdoor areas.
  • A full calendar of social events, activities as outings as well as fitness and enrichment opportunities. 

Cons:

  • Onsite medical care is typically not offered in independent living communities unless they also offer other levels of care on the same campus.
  • Stress of downsizing and moving.

Assisted Living – This lifestyle experience empowers independence with just the right amount of support with daily tasks from professionally-trained staff and an active, engaging environment.

Pros:

  • Personalized care to help with bathing, dressing, eating and medication.
  • Onsite medical care that can adapt to changing needs.
  • An elegant, homelike setting with the conveniences of housekeeping, restaurant-style dining and scheduled transportation. 
  • Similar amenities as independent living and many communities like ours are also pet friendly.
  • Daily opportunities to connect and engage through programs, classes, activities and outings.
  • For caregivers, less stress and more free time to be a daughter, son, husband or wife again.

Cons:

  • Less privacy than you would have in your own home.
  • Can be challenging to adjust to a group environment.
  • Intensive, round-the-clock care or specialized care is typically not available.

Memory Care – An experience specifically designed to nurture and support those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in a comfortable, calming setting.

Pros:

  • Staff training that includes a deeper understanding of dementia as well as techniques for managing challenging behaviors and effective communication strategies.
  • A lower staff to resident ratio for more individualized care.
  • A safe environment with 24-hour supervision, an easy-to-navigate layout and enclosed outdoor space.
  • Structured daily routine and therapy, plus our Pathways to Discovery helps residents to remain active, engaged and happy through innovative programming and activities.
  • Dining options are designed to enhance nutrition and independence.
  • For caregivers, less stress and more free time to be a daughter, son, husband or wife again.

Cons:

  • The stress of being in an unfamiliar setting.
  • Challenges in adjusting to a group environment.
  • Potentially limited availability.

The Value of Senior Living vs. Staying at Home

While every family’s circumstances is unique, we believe that senior living provides a value that can be difficult to achieve at home, particularly when living alone because of the convenience and range of opportunities it offers to enhance wellbeing. Having the cooking, cleaning and chores done takes such a weight off our residents’ shoulders. What’s more, our Daily Living program engages each of the six dimensions of wellness: physical, social, intellectual, emotional, purposeful and spiritual to help residents truly make the most of life.

Not to mention the added peace of mind that support is always available as many of our communities have multiple levels of care on one campus to accommodate evolving health needs.

For more information on senior living versus staying at home, download our Stay or Go Guide, or schedule a virtual tour at a Navion community today →

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