In-Home Care Vs. Alternatives: Options for Your Loved One

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Caregiver helps older adult get ready through in-home care

In-home Care Vs. Alternatives

As your loved one gets older, you may find yourself exploring different ways to care for them. Some families can support their aging adult independently, but most Americans need outside help to care for their aging parents at some point. This is totally normal, and you have options! And while residential facilities are a common choice, you may also want to consider in-home care services and other solutions!  

Elderly couple sits on porch together

What are the alternatives to nursing homes?

Over time, it is expected that your loved one might need more assistance with their daily lives. This is a normal part of the aging process. 

However, over the last several years, most elderly Americans have expressed their preference to stay at home through their aging journey instead of living in a residential facility. In fact, this aging-in-place model is preferred by almost 75% of aging adults. While there are many benefits from an aging-in-place model, everyone’s needs are different.

Together, let’s unpack various in-home care styles and other alternatives that might best suit your loved one and their needs.

Caregiver Helping Elderly Patient with personal in-home care

What does in-home care mean?

In-home care for the elderly is a general term for various non-medical services that could help your loved one in their aging-in-place journey. In-home care can offer social, practical, and limited health support to your loved one, depending on what type of services you require. 

For example, a family might use an in-home care specialist for their loved one’s grocery shopping and meal preparation. Or suppose a loved one was feeling lonely. This family might use in-home care services for companionship purposes.

However, for many families, in-home care aids loved ones with their daily needs and activities. These activities of daily living (ADLs) are usually what our aging adults struggle with the most when aging-in-place. ADLs include things like bathing, cleaning, cooking, getting the mail, and more.

 Additionally, there is increased risk as a parent ages that performing these ADLs can result in a fall or accident. Therefore, in-home care is a great solution for aging adults who could use a little extra help to complete their daily tasks. 

In-home care can include:

  • Home chores (cleaning, laundry, lifting items)
  • Food management and preparation
  • Social and cognitive support
  • Daily living needs (bathroom, bathing, changing clothes)
  • Mobility support
  • Temporary breaks for caregivers (Respite care)
Elderly playing chess with nurse caregiver through companionship in-home care

What are the different types of home care services?

In-home care services range in what they can offer you and your loved one. However, there are general types of in-home care that differ in how they can support your parent. Many providers can usually address multiple needs as well when you create an in-home care plan.

Companionship Care:

Everyone has social needs, including our loved ones. However, access to social circles can decrease as our loved ones age. Therefore, many aging adults struggle with isolation and loneliness. Understandably, these feelings can make take a toll on a loved one’s mental health as they age.

Additionally, increased sociability has been shown to benefit a loved one’s physical health as they age. Therefore, companionship will be valuable to your loved one both mentally and physically. Of course, most caregivers only have so many hours in the day! It is understandable if you simply can give as much social time to your parent as you want. This is actually a common dilemma!

In fact, it is so common that companionship in-home care exists. This type of care will focus on your loved one’s social needs. From engaging in conversation to doing a puzzle together, in-home companions will give your loved one the extra attention they might be craving. 

It is also an excellent opportunity for your parent to share their life with someone new! Many aging adults see cognition benefits from recalling old stories or explaining their favorite game to a newcomer.

An ideal candidate for companionship in-home care is an aging adult who is still relatively independent in their daily lives but could use social support. Companions can often help with light chores and activities, but their focus will be quality time with your loved one!

Personal Care:

However, if your aging adult is beginning to struggle with some daily tasks and chores, personal in-home care might be a great next step. 

Personal in-home care will support your loved one with basic daily needs or ADLs.  They will focus on daily activities, like bathing, cleaning, cooking, movement routines, and more.This type of in-home care can support a variety of needs and levels of independence.  

However, an ideal candidate for personal in-home care is an aging adult who needs help with daily functions but does not need full medical support. While these types of services can do some light medication management, it is essential to note that in-home care staff are usually not medical professionals.

Time Offerings:

Sometimes families need extra help supporting their loved one continuously. In contrast, others may only need it for a season. For instance, if your loved one is recovering from surgery, they may need a different in-home care plan than an adult who needs support for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, in-home providers range in their offerings!

First, assess your loved one’s needs and have a conversation together. Next, determine the extent and scope of your in-home care requirements. Does your loved one need respite care after a procedure? Or do they need live-in support care? Would a few hours a week benefit them? Or would a full-time aide be required? 

Once agreeing on the type of support you need and how often your loved one needs it, continue the conversation with an in-home care provider in your area.

In-home health care addresses an elderly patients needs

What is the difference between home health care and home care?

Most in-home care services can provide basic help with some physical needs, like medication reminders and movement routines. However, professional medical needs will require a different level of in-home service. This type of service is referred to as in-home health care.

This type of in-home care focuses on your loved one’s medical needs and is conducted by certified medical professionals. Unlike other forms of in-home care, this type of health care is usually directed by a physician who will connect you to a suitable provider.

In-Home Health Care support can include:

  • Medication management and administration
  • Occupational, physical, and other therapies
  • Wound and post-surgical care
  • Injections, infusions, and blood withdrawals
  • Chronic condition support
elderly woman in wheelchair is out in the park with in-home care provider

How much does an in-home caregiver cost?

While in-home care is an excellent solution for many families, it can be a big financial decision. An average American family will spend between an estimated $1,500 and $4,500 on in-home care services. 

However, the type of in-home care you need will significantly affect the cost. Meaning, the number of hours you need support and the kind of care you need will determine your cost. A companionship aide 5 hours a week will cost indeed less than a live-in home nurse.

Of course, this can be a steep cost for any family. However, there are a few options to explore for financial support. First, start with your family doctor or medical professional. They will likely have providers that might be covered within your private insurance network. Moreover, Medicaid and Medicare patients could be eligible for some in-home care financial assistance. Certain adults, like veterans, could also qualify for other financial assistance programs.

in-home care provider cooking dinner for elderly woman

Is home care cheaper than a nursing home?

While this is understandably a significant financial investment, many families find that in-home care cheaper than residential programs. While in-home care can indeed cost thousands, the average cost of senior residential services ranges from an estimated $4,000 – $9,000 a month.

Therefore, in-home care could be a more cost-effective option for you and your loved one. Of course, you will know your loved one’s situation and finances best! However, depending on your loved one’s needs and preferences, in-home care could be a suitable alternative!

in-home care companion reading to elderly senior

Considering your options?

We understand that choosing the next step for professional care can be intimidating as a caregiver. We want to partner with you to decide between in-home care and other alternatives for your loved one. At Beverly’s Daughter, we’re here to help you wade through these options to choose what is right for you and your loved one!


Have any questions? Want to leave a comment? Looking for more resources? Continue the conversation below! 

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In-home Care vs. Alternatives

In-home care could be a great next step for you and your loved one. However, there are many care services available to help your loved one in their aging journey. Whether you are considering in-home care, a day center, live-in staff, or a residential facility, you have options. Choose the option that cares for your loved one well while also supporting your own needs! 

Care decisions that benefit your loved one

Making a decision about care can be overwhelming. Whatever next step you choose, we know that decision might come with questions. We want to make sure you and your loved one are supported through these decisions. At Beverly’s Daughter, we are here to help you create a plan for care and find creative solutions for you both. 

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