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Living Assistance vs. Assisted Living - What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking at senior care options for a loved one, you may have come across two similarly worded concepts: “living assistance” and “assisted living.” After finding these terms, you might be wondering: What’s the difference?

The main difference between living assistance and assisted living is where care is performed. With living assistance, seniors receive care in the comfort of their own home, with visits performed by professional caregivers. With assisted living, seniors move into a care facility where they receive care from onsite staff.

Below, we’ll take a deeper look at what sets these two services apart, along with how to choose the right option for your loved one.

Living Assistance: In-Home Support & Caregiving

Living assistance is generally used to describe in-home assistance, usually for non-medical care. With this type of assistance, seniors can continue living at home while they receive care. In fact, this type of care allows many seniors to live at home for much longer than would otherwise be possible.

Aging in place is generally the biggest benefit of living assistance. The vast majority of seniors prefer to age in place and dislike the idea of moving to a care facility. In-home caregiving allows them to stay in the place where they feel most comfortable, happy, and secure.

At the same time, in-home caregiving allows for a greater degree of personalization. Care can be scheduled around the recipient’s routines and personal preferences. Meal-making can be tailored to their tastes and dietary needs. And unlike facility caregiving, seniors receive one-on-one care from the same caregiver each visit, creating a more personal relationship.

With that said, living assistance isn’t a perfect fit for everyone. Some seniors prefer the social and community aspects of care facilities. Others live in unsafe home environments, making assisted living facilities a safer choice.

Assisted Living: In-Facility Residence & Assistance

Assisted living is a form of in-facility care, representing an alternative to nursing care. While nursing care facilities offer skilled healthcare service, assisted living focuses on non-medical care.

Seniors in assisted living facilities also tend to enjoy a greater degree of independence compared to those in nursing care facilities. Most assisted living centers offer apartment-style residences, which are designed to be safer and more accessible for elderly adults. Many assisted living facilities also offer social activities, helping seniors avoid the risks of senior isolation.

But unlike living assistance, care services provided in assisted living centers tend to be less personalized. Certain types of care are performed according to the facility’s schedule, not your loved one’s routine. Meals are prepared in a cafeteria-style kitchen and served at set times. And care is performed by a rotating team of caregivers instead of the same person on each visit.

Also, there can be physical and emotional consequences to moving away from home. Without the familiarity of home, seniors risk feelings of alienation and depression. At the same time, seniors who receive in-facility care have worse physical health outcomes compared to those who receive in-home care.

Choosing Between Living Assistance & Assisted Living

Now that we’ve covered the difference between living assistance and assisted living, you might be wondering: What’s the right type of care for my loved one?

While the correct choice depends on your loved one’s personal circumstances, here are a few things that can help you find the answer:

  • Ask your loved one about how important it is for them to continue living at home.
  • Speak with your loved one’s physician about what level of caregiving is needed.
  • Determine whether your love one requires specialized caregiving, like Alzheimer’s care.
  • Calculate your budget for caregiving services or residence in a care facility.
  • Get detailed information from local in-home care companies and assisted living centers.

If you’re deciding between in-home vs. in-facility care, we recommend contacting your nearest Visiting Angels®. Your local office will be happy to provide a free consultation, conducted in the comfort of your loved one’s home. During this consultation, we can discuss your loved one’s care needs and preferences, create a framework for providing in-home care, and discuss ways to make sure that our services fit within your budget.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our living assistance services and request a free in-home consultation.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.