Aging in Place vs Assisted Living: Which Is Better?

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Do you know where Mom prefers to live as she ages? Would she be happier living at home or in an assisted living community? Can you trust the senior care reviews on the facility and staff? It is hard to compare senior care options when your aging parents need more support for daily activities. But we are all living much longer now thanks to excellent health care. More than ever you need to help your parents create their future care plan.

Evaluating options for elder care can be a confusing experience. From assisted living to aging in place, which is the best option for Mom as she ages? This article will discuss what exactly aging in place and assisted living means, as well as the pros and cons of different types of care. Figuring out what Mom prefers to do now will lead to a happier future for everyone. 

Aging in Place

Aging in place means your Mom will stay in her home as long as possible as she ages. The aging in place movement is a growing trend where seniors are no longer forced into unwanted decisions. 

Aging in Place Pros:

grandma with glasses smiling

Aging in place allows Mom to maintain the freedom and autonomy she has always enjoyed. She will remain in a familiar environment with no huge changes to her life. Today there is so much technology available to help Mom age in place easily. You can have peace of mind that she is okay when she has a medical alert system by her side. If she ever has a fall, a fall detection alert pendant will automatically send help.

Aging in place will allow Mom to stay comfortable in her own home. She can keep in contact with neighbors, friends, and family with ease. This option will save money compared to assisted living as well. 

Aging in Place Cons:

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While there are many benefits, there are also drawbacks to aging in place for Mom. There will most likely need to be adjustments to the home. You need to make the home senior safe and remove hazardous items. This could be as simple as installing more lighting or placing non-slip bathroom mats in the tub. There is so much technology available today that can help her age in place.

However, it could also mean major changes if the house has many obstacles. Does Mom have stairs that is she able to get up and down easily? Renovations such as installing ramps or a senior stair lift may be necessary.

A major safety concern to mom aging in place is if she falls and slips when no one is around. It is likely your loved one will be unsupervised much of the day. However, there is technology such as a medical alert system that will let Mom age in place with peace of mind. If Mom needs help with daily activities, she will most likely need a caregiver. She will also most likely need assistance with home maintenance, yard work, and errands. 

The Verdict

old couple laughing in front of house
  • Mom should choose aging in place if she wants to continue to enjoy the comforts of her own home.
  • If Mom is willing to invest in technology to help age in place, this is a great option.
  • Mom should choose aging in place if she wants the least expensive option.
  • If Mom still has her independence, then aging in place is the best option.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is a community where seniors are provided with personal care services. They do not have the extensive care of a nursing home; seniors who live in assisted living need to have some level of independence. 

Assisted Living Pros:

mom caring for grandma

There are many benefits a senior can enjoy while in an assisted living community. It is a safe environment where seniors are given personal freedom. There is privacy for residents if they wish. In assisted living, there is no constant monitoring, just daily supervision and help with daily activities if needed. There is access to physical fitness and activities that provide intellectual stimulation. Assisted living is a social environment where seniors can make new friends.

Residents live in private apartments and are provided with care services. Housekeeping is taken care of and there is no maintenance or yard work to worry about. An assisted living facility can also give peace of mind for your family. You know Mom is being taken care of and can visit easily. There may even be improved family relations because Mom will not be so dependent on you. 

Assisted Living Cons:

man in wheelchair handed water

One of the biggest drawbacks to assisted living is there is no regulation by the federal government, so facilities are not inspected often. There are many excellent assisted living communities, but there are also communities where staff members and administrators may not have adequate training. There is a possibility an assisted living facility may be understaffed and individuals are not supervised accordingly.

This means you must research the home extensively and visit multiple times before. Ask questions like; how many staff members are there compared to residents? How many staff members on duty overnight? What type of nursing and medical care is provided? Don’t be taken in by the beautiful ground and activities, ask tough questions that show the asisted living communities’ true colors.

Additionally, there is no extensive medical care on site. Residents will most likely be taken to a hospital if needed. Assisted living community residents are not usually covered by Medicaid and Medicare, whereas in nursing homes they may be. 

The Verdict

retirement home playing card games
  • If Mom needs more support, residents are helped with daily activities and there are nurses on duty in an assisted living community.
  • If Mom prefers to be in a social environment with meals, housekeeping, activities, and transportation provided assisted living is a great option.
  • If the expense of assisted living is not a problem, this is a great option.
  • If you cannot be around all the time, Mom would not be so dependent on you for support in an assisted living community. 

The Best Decision

grandma smiling with hand on chin

If Mom is independent and wants to continue to enjoy her own home, she should choose to age in place. But if she needs more support with daily activities, she should choose an assisted living community. Respect her wishes, and support Mom along the way to help her pursue her happiness.