The Difference Between an ALF and At-Home Care

 

assisted living or in-home care

Almost all elders desire to remain in their own homes as they age (90%+ according to various surveys). However, caring families struggle with worries about loved ones’ safety and well-being when they’re living alone. Home care is a perfect solution to bridge the desires of the elder with the peace of mind for the family.

Often as an elder faces health problems or has some difficulties keeping up with household or self-care, families consider the option of an Assisted Living Facility. Sometimes this feels like the answer to all their worries and the most logical choice, but it’s typically not what the older person wants. Knowing what home caregivers can do and having a better understanding of options can help everyone come to the best decision.

To help you, today we will share some comparisons between Assisted Living and Home Care. Look for upcoming blog posts on different considerations, pros and cons and when to consider getting help.

Costs (average/year)

Assisted Living                      $41,000

Home health aide                  $29,000

*From John Hancock’s Cost of Care 2013 Survey, average nationwide cost for a year of care.

Space

Assisted Living                   60-500 square feet

**Florida ALF regulations: Private resident units are required to have a minimum of 80 square feet of floor space (multiple-occupancy resident rooms must have at least 60 square feet per resident). An additional minimum of 35 square feet of living and dining space per resident is required. Resident bedrooms used for multiple occupancy (in facilities newly licensed or renovated six months after October 17, 1999) shall have a maximum occupancy of two people. Shared bathrooms are permitted and there must be one toilet and sink per six residents, and one bathing unit per eight residents. Average size for a one-bedroom apartment in an ALF (nationwide) is 500 square feet.

Home                                   2392 square feet

**average home size in the U.S. from 2010 census

Care ratios (staff: client)

Assisted Living              1:17

**minimum requirements are figured in care hours/resident, but this is the minimal requirement for having one staff awake for facilities over 17 residents (smaller facilities don’t have this requirement); see link for education/experience requirements for staff

Home care                       1:1 (or possibly 1:2 for couples’ care)

**C.N.A. or Home Health Aide certified, additional requirements for tasks such as helping with medications (at EasyLiving, must score about 90% on skills test and complete continuing education); RN available for medication management; Safety and Care Coordinator provided (free of charge) for home visits, supervision and caregiver coaching

Care Continuity

ALF

In the state of Florida, a resident must be capable of performing day to day living activities with supervision or assistance, not require 24-hour nursing supervision, be free of stage II, III, or IV pressure sores, be able to participate in most social and leisure activities, be ambulatory, and not display violent behavior in order to be admitted into an Assisted Living Facility. A resident must be discharged if he or she is no longer able to meet this criteria, or is bedridden for more than seven days.

Home Care

Different levels of care/providers can be brought in to manage various needs (pressure sores, bedridden, etc.), including and up to hospice care at the end of life.

Meals

ALF

Meals usually served in a dining room, can typically be adjusted to special diet such as low sodium but are not customized to each resident. ALFs and retirement communities usually charge an additional fee if the person requires a meal delivered to his/her room.

Home Care

Meals are customized to the person for special diets and preferences, including the possibility of recreating favorite family recipes and catering to likes/dislikes. The meal is served in the home and the caregiver can provide mealtime companionship. There is also the option of having a caregiver prepare meals ahead-of-time for the week or someone to come in primarily to shop and prepare meals. Caregivers can also take clients out to restaurants.

Activities

ALF

ALFs usually provide a range of group activities (smaller ALFs or Adult Family Care Homes usually don’t have activities staff so will not have many organized activities), including occasional outings. Activities are not one:one and if a resident wants to go to a specific outside activity or place, this may need to be arranged privately.

Home Care

Activities can be designed in to the careplan and as caregivers get to know clients, they can customize different activities to the client’s preferences. This can include outings and activities at home. For those who don’t like group activities, this can be especially good. On the other hand, if the client could benefit from more group interaction, trips to a local senior center or other group activities can be arranged.

For a free consultation about all your eldercare concerns, contact us at 727-447-5845.