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Nursing Home vs. Home Care - Which Is A Better Option?

Nursing Home vs. Home Care - Which Is A Better Option?
Kevin Cleary

5 Key Takeaways:

  • Understand your loved one’s limitations and level of care before choosing.
  • Each assisted living community/facility is different and may offer a variety of activities and support services.
  • The cost and level of daily care need to be assessed for each individual involved.
  • Nursing homes offer 24/7 care with trained medical staff but maybe less personal.
  • Home care offers those who need less care the option to stay in their home and HPFY has numerous options to help.


Caring for an elderly loved one can require tough decisions. The idea of putting mom or dad into a nursing home may seem like abandonment to some but at the same time caring for them ourselves can prove to be more than one can handle. How do we make the right choice for our loved ones and our families? Medical coverage, mobility, medical issues, and comfort are all components of this decision. While homecare is generally less expensive, this must be weighed against the medical or cognitive needs of our loved ones.

Levels of Care

One of the more crucial parts of assisted-living vs. homecare is the level of care each patient requires. Obviously, each patient is different and so are their needs. Assisted-living facilities provide distinct levels of care. These include:

  • Level I: For patients that still have mobility and can manage their own personal hygiene, this level of care is the lowest level. This care level usually aids with medication reminders, bathing assistance, and help with household tasks.
  • Level II: This mid-range level of care is for those who may require some one-to-one assistance from caregivers but do have some level of mobility and independence. This includes tasks such as dressing and getting on/off the toilet.
  • Level III: The highest level of assisted care is also known as Enhanced Assisted-Living. Care recipients that require hands-on help for most daily tasks fall into this category. They often have limited mobility or even dementia that requires a higher level of supervision.

What Do Nursing Homes Offer?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term nursing home. What exactly is a nursing home and what services are provided? Nursing homes are 24/7 facilities that provide staffing and supervision of patients. Nursing homes provide benefits such as:

  • Socialization
  • No ned for housekeeping
  • Safety
  • Provide daily task assistance
  • Medical supervision

Nursing homes do have pros and cons. While the positives may seem perfect, one must consider some of the shortcomings of nursing homes. Some downsides of living in a facility such as a nursing home can include lower levels of individualized care, the need to adhere to policies and procedures, and less direct communication with caregivers which can lead to a family’s say in care decisions diminishing.

The Upside of Homecare

So, what exactly does the term “homecare” refer to? Homecare is just as it sounds, care in your home. This allows patients to remain in the comfort of their own home and their caregiver assists them with daily tasks. Some benefits of personal homecare vs. nursing homes:

  • Patients stay in their own home
  • Familiarity
  • Often, patients and caregivers form a strong relationship/friendship
  • Caregivers help with housekeeping, errands, and socialization

A homecare caregiver can allow someone to stay in their home and neighborhood longer, even if they start experiencing early signs of dementia. The familiarity of their surroundings can help delay the need to increase medical care and supervision. Yes, staying in your home has benefits but there can be drawbacks to this decision. Often, those receiving homecare are reliant upon a single person/agency and may not have much social interaction with others. Also, those with mobility issues can have difficulty managing stairs in their homes or apartments.


Yeah, the cost of care can be a mitigating factor in your decision. Since each person is different (and so is their personality), their needs and requirements are also different. This may require a tailor-made approach to care. Medical coverage and patient needs/requirements directly affect the cost of care. Evaluating the cost of assisted living vs. homecare can help make your decision easier. There’s no reason to pay for more services than you need!! According to the Cost of Care Survey by the GenGrowth in 2021, the monthly median cost for care is:

In-Home Care Community/Assisted-Living Nursing Home Facility
$5,148 $4,500 $7,908

When to Seek Medical Attention

Even though both options of care provide assistance and supervision, if your loved one is experiencing pain or even bruising you might want to take them to see their physician. You should always have an open line of communication with any care provider/facility and be your loved one’s best advocate.

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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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