As the Baby Boom generation continues into retirement, decisions about housing needs will become increasingly more prevalent. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) estimates that “Americans aged 65 and older will nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060.” That increases the age group’s share of the population from 16% to 23%.

Whether it’s a topic you’re discussing with a family member, or you’re considering your own options in the not-too-distant future, choosing between assisted living and senior home care is a deeply personal decision that involves many factors. Your support system, finances, and mobility all carry considerable weight in the final analysis.

Assisted Living

Often referred to as residential care, assisted living facilities best serve senior adults who only require minimal assistance. Residents are encouraged to be as independent as possible. Such facilities promote community activities and participation while respecting the individual’s right to privacy.

While not designed for those requiring long-term care, assisted living communities do offer some medical services. Additionally, assistance with laundry, housekeeping, and transportation is also an option.

Each facility offers its own unique residential structure. Some may provide only a private bedroom and bath while others feature a one-bedroom apartment with its own kitchen and living area. Semi-private apartments may also be an option depending on finances. Family and friends may visit at any time, and depending on the facility, pets are also welcome.

Health and safety are a priority in assisted living facilities, which is often the reason some seniors ultimately make the decision to move from their homes. Healthy living is not only encouraged, but exercise and education classes are often an integral part of the community. Residents also enjoy the sense of safety that 24-hour security provides.

Senior Home Care

Having created a life and so many memories in the home, it’s not uncommon for a senior to choose to remain living independently. A caregiver fills out the picture of the senior’s ability to continue living at home. Depending on necessity and finances, a home care provider may provide live-in services, tend to the elder’s needs daily for several hours, or assist only on specific days of the week.

Senior home care providers‘ services may include assisting with daily hygiene and dressing, medication, house cleaning, organizing, transportation to appointments, errands, and cooking. The companionship provided also prevents the elder from feeling so isolated.

Your health and mobility will dictate the type of care required, and you could receive visits from several different types of healthcare professionals:

  • Alzheimer’s home care services: Respite care is available when family members require time off. Daily services, such as memory care, errands, meal prep, household chores, and personal grooming are provided in this category.
  • Dementia home care services: Progressive disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease require a certified case manager to monitor the senior’s health and wellbeing.
  • Licensed medical professionals: Occupational and physical therapists may be required to pay home visits as well as nurses and physician’s assistants under the direction of a physician.
  • Non-medical personnel: General assistance with senior home care is included in a non-medical home care’s job description. Laundry, bathing and dressing, and companionship are part of the service.

Which Option is Best?

There isn’t a standard answer to that question. What might be right for one person may not work for another. Each type of care offers pros and cons.

Kim Elliott, senior vice president of clinical services with Brookdale Senior Living in Tennessee maintains, “Staying in one’s home is always desirable.”

Before arriving at your final decision, spend some time thinking about and researching the following points:

Senior Home Care


  • A greater sense of independence
  • Customized care package
  • Possibly a more affordable option


  • Social isolation
  • Over-involvement of family members in personal care
  • Personal safety
  • Can become costly as needed care increases
  • Continued home and household care required

Assisted Living


  • Supervision and care available 24/7
  • Less stress on family members
  • Socialization opportunities
  • Built-in staff and caregivers
  • Meals provided
  • No home maintenance


  • Less personal attention
  • Less control over the quality of caregiving staff
  • May require paying out of pocket for additional care
  • Cost
  • Dislike the community

If there are a growing number of concerns about the safety of the senior remaining in the home, it may be time to research assisted living options. A refusal to even consider moving is sometimes tied to a fear of the unknown. Taking some time to tour a few facilities offers a new perspective on possibilities.