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Understanding senior care options: in-home care vs. adult day care

by Shannon Lee

Choosing senior care options can be a daunting task. Should you choose in-home care? What about adult day care? Use this comparison guide to get all the information and enjoy peace of mind about your decision

With broad leaps in medicine and science, individuals are living longer than ever before. As a result, more and more seniors may find themselves needing care in their golden years. No matter the situation, there is a senior care solution that should suit you and your loved ones.

Two of those options may be in-home care and adult day care.

What is In-Home Care?

In-home care covers a wide range of services that allow seniors to remain in their home for as long as possible. Home care can consist of assistance with running basic errands, cleaning, cooking, and even dressing or bathing. Depending upon the home care provider, some medical assistance might be provided. The skilled providers who offer home care might work in shifts, full-time, part-time, or on an as-needed basis.

What is Adult Day Care?

Adult day care offers daily activities for seniors. Not only do the seniors thrive in an atmosphere that offers mental stimulation and social interaction, their caregivers have the opportunity for a much-needed rest. Adult day care can be a social event, but for those who need physical therapy and other medication attention, an Adult Day Health Center might be a better option.

How do the two stack up? Here are the facts and comparisons:

In-home Care

  • Availability. In-home care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can choose a private caregiver or opt to work with an agency that specializes in home care.
  • Social Interaction. Those who have in-home care run the risk of feeling isolated. Making certain your loved one has plenty of social interaction can help avoid those feelings of isolation and abandonment.
  • Cost. The cost of home care varies greatly depending upon the services required. Personal care assistants or companions can cost up to $15.00 per hour, while skilled nursing help can demand $25.00 per hour or more.
  •  Insurance. Some private insurance may cover certain types of in-home care. Medicaid might cover the costs for those who have few assets or financial hardship.
  • Types of Care. In-home care offers numerous possibilities. Some seniors may need only a little help with cleaning, cooking, and the like. Others might need round-the-clock skilled nursing care or hospice services. If there is a need for it, there is probably an in-home caregiver who can provide it.
  • Independence. If your loved one can be left home alone for long stretches of the day, occasional in-home care might be suitable.

Adult Day Care

  • Availability. Adult day care is usually available only during the day, and during set hours. If you work outside the home or have to be away for other reasons, it might be necessary to hire in-home care for the times adult day care is not open.
  • Social Interaction. Feelings of isolation can quickly lead to depression. Adult day care provides the stimulation your loved one needs in order to feel like a productive, active member of society.
  • Cost. Depending upon the services provided, adult day care can cost anywhere from $25.00 to $75.00 per day. Some adult day care centers offer services on a sliding pay scale.
  • Types of Care. Basic adult day care offers socialization, basic meals and snacks, and a change of pace. Adult Day Health Centers might provide some medical care, especially physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Some types of adult day care are tailored to handle seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia.
  • Insurance. Some private insurance may cover the cost of adult day care if a physician has recommended it. For those with Alzheimer's or those with very low income, Medicaid might pay the cost of care.
  • Independence. Those who cannot be left at home alone can have the daytime supervision they need in adult day care.

Choosing the Best Senior Care

Whether you choose personalized in-home care or adult day care, researching every option is the key to peace of mind. When your decision is made, you can rest assured that your loved one is getting the best care possible.