This article examines how assisted living programs differ from home health care as to costs and the types of services that are provided to the elderly. Just like the former, home health care is also provided for older people who are unable to perform certain activities that are necessary in daily living. They may need assistance in preparing their meals, taking a bath, cooking, dressing, or even toileting. An aide is made available and assists the retiree on the performance of these tasks. Regular visits by physical therapists and/or nurses may also be provided if their health requires it. All of these are done while the elderly person is at home. However, in assisted living programs, the retiree lives in a retirement living community.
An important difference between the two kinds of services is whether Medicare can be used. In general, Medicare cannot be used to cover for assisted living costs unless the resident is required to stay in a nursing or rehabilitation facility for a certain period of time. However, for some states, such as in RI and in Kansas, Medicaid can be utilized for a certain percentage of the costs. As for home health care, Medicare can cover certain types of expenses, such as the purchase of durable medical equipment including a wheelchair or walker, physical therapy, medical social services, some medical supplies, skilled nursing care and the services of home health aide.
It should be noted that the primary difference between home health care and assisted living programs is that the latter is designed for the elderly who need more supervision. Some people may think that those who live at home have more independence compared to those who are staying in a retirement community. However, some assisted living facilities offer accommodations that are not different from a regular home and sometimes they are even better because there is no neighbor playing the radio so loud. Moreover, some conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, require constant supervision and home health care is definitely not recommended for them.
While it may seem at first glance that home health care is cheaper than assisted living programs, the reverse is true. The latter kind of arrangement is less expensive and costs about half of the expenses required for home health care. Fortunately, Medicare can cover some of the costs in home health care and the elderly enjoys the benefit of remaining at home. Meanwhile, Medicare will not cover assisted living expenses but they are only half the cost of home health care. Moreover, Medicaid can take care of some of the costs in some states. There are many arguments that can be provided for having the advantage of staying at home. However, there are also several benefits for staying in a retirement community. For one, residents find it easier to socialize and interact with other people. Those who remain at home have less chances of socializing and run the risk of boredom and loneliness. Of course, the final choice will depend on the person and what he or she values most.