Home health care and assisted living programs are often confused with one another, most likely due to the fact they are both forms of healthcare available for elderly individuals that require some degree of help.

The main similarities are that both offer some degree of assistance for an older person. This could be help with day-to-day activities such as preparing meals, washing, dressing or possibly, going to the toilet.

However, there are a number of notable differences between the two, ranging from costs to services, and any family considering additional care for an elderly loved one will need to review which one may be more suitable for their personal situation.

Let’s take a look at how assisted living programs differ from home health care:

Home health care happens at home while assisted living offers its own accommodation

As the name implies, home health care tends to occur in the elderly patient’s home, whereas an assisted living program will see the older person move into a facility. Both offers various levels of care that will be specifically tailored to each individual patient’s needs.

This means that the elderly person can enjoy a level of independence with each service, although most feel that continuing to live at home while receiving care is more preferable than having to move into a private facility.

Assisted living programs are usually reserved for those that require more supervision

For the most part, you will find that assisted living programs are usually reserved for situations where the older person requires more round-the-clock care. As they are living in a retirement community with qualified professionals such as nurses and caregivers, they are able to receive continued supervision and care whenever necessary.

With home health care revolving around a private residence, it often more suited for elderly patients that still have a degree of independence. Home health care professionals can offer as little or as much care as is needed depending on the individual.

That’s not to say an assisted living facility doesn’t offer independent or isn’t suitable for elderly people that only require some assistance. Because many facilities will provide accommodation not unlike a private home, the differences can be kept to a minimum in many cases.

With that being said, assisted living programs are sometimes more advisable for certain situations, such as patients with severe chronic issues and deteriorating mental health that will need constant supervision.

Costs can differ significantly

A misconception is that home health care will always be cheaper than assisted living. While true in many cases, it is not a given, as many home health care programs can provided comprehensive care services that will cost a fair amount.

This is more likely if expensive medical equipment is necessary for effective home health care, as well as the number of hours the caregiver will work each week.

The bottom line is it can be hard to determine the costs of either as it will depend on a number of variables. The more care the elderly person needs for either, the more the costs will rise, with costs determined by what services are used, the number of hours a caregiver spends with them, and the severity of the condition (e.g. Alzheimer’s requires more in-depth care).

It’s worth mentioning that insurance providers will not pay for either. Medicare can be used to cover some costs of home health care (usually towards expenses for equipment and services of care professions), while assisted living programs are not typically covered by this.