Finding the Right Care for Your Aging Loved One

Our care teams get a lot of questions about the different kinds of care available for people as they age. There are a lot of options to choose from and it can feel confusing. Today, we want to share the differences between in-home care and assisted living to help you and your aging loved ones make the right choice for their needs.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living homes, also known as residential care, are community living spaces where seniors can rent apartment style homes that are often outfitted to better manage age-related issues like limited mobility. There are usually amenities within the community like restaurants or cafeterias, recreation opportunities, and communal spaces. There are different types of medical and non-medical staff available to help residents with things like organizing medications and managing daily tasks. Assisted living is meant to provide a safe environment for seniors as they age, allowing them to live independently within a more monitored space.

Female caregiver helping senior man using a walking cane walk down a hallway

What is Non-Medical In-Home Care?

Non-medical in-home care is a service provided by licensed professional caregivers right in the home of the client. Rather than moving to a new location, seniors can have caregivers come to their home on a semi-regular or regular basis to help with day-to-day tasks like meal prep, light housekeeping, hygiene assistance, medication organization, and more. Non-medical in-home care allows seniors to stay in their homes longer.

Which Service Is Best for Seniors?

The answer is not as straightforward as either one service or the other. It all comes down to what the senior needs. Non-medical in-home care is a great place to start, as a person ages and needs additional help. It allows for more flexibility and the familiarity of home with the professional assistance of a caregiver. Assisted living, however, is a better option for individuals who need more around-the-clock supervision or immediate access to medical professionals. To get a better idea of which service might work best for you or your loved one, explore our pros and cons lists below:

Assisted Living


  • Most amenities are easily accessible
  • Medical and non-medical staff are available to help
  • Provides a built-in community for seniors
  • Streamlines bills & paperwork


  • Seniors must leave their homes
  • Can lose independence
  • Must follow community rules/guidelines
  • Have to adhere to community schedules
  • Can feel alienated or alone

Non-Medical In-Home Care


  • Seniors stay in their own homes
  • Caregivers offer regular companionship
  • Services are tailored to each client’s needs
  • Seniors can maintain their regular social circles


  • Does not include around-the-clock supervision
  • Medical professionals are not readily available
  • The home may need accessibility updates
  • All visits are scheduled in advance
Female caregiver helping table of elderly women play cards in retirement home

Is Assisted Living or In-Home Care Better?

Both services have their benefits and limitations as we’ve reviewed above. The single most important thing you can do to ensure you are selecting the right service is to clearly evaluate what you or your aging loved one wants. Sit down and have a conversation about your needs.

Some questions to consider are:

  • Do I need help going to and from medical appointments?
  • Can I be alone for longer periods of time?
  • Does it feel overwhelming to manage my medications?
  • Am I having a hard time keeping up with housework?
  • Am I happiest at home?
  • Do I want to see a regular caregiver all the time or work with different caregivers?
  • Do I want to be close to family and friends?
  • Am I ready to move?
  • Do I feel safe having someone in my home?
  • What activities will make me feel more fulfilled?

It might not be an easy conversation, but it is an important one to have. If you are unsure of what services would be best for you, reach out to your local ameriCARE to learn more about our non-medical in-home care services to see if they are the right fit for you and your family!