Guest Blog: Choosing Between Assisted Living and In-Home Care

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When a senior is no longer able to live independently, the individual and his or her family must make some big decisions. And one of the biggest? Choosing the best way to get the individual the assistance and support that he or she requires for day-to-day living.

For many families, this boils down to three options:

  • Move the individual into an assisted living facility
  • Hire private in-home caregivers so their loved one can remain in his or her own home
  • Move the individual into a family member’s home (with or without the assistance of professional caregivers)

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and a number of factors must be evaluated. These include cost, location, the individual’s personal preference, and the family’s resources and ability to provide the necessary care and assistance.

Seniors Are at Risk of Elder Abuse in Any Living Environment 

One factor people often fail to consider: Which option offers the most safeguards against the possibility of elder abuse?

Sadly, elder abuse is an increasingly frequent problem. Older Americans and vulnerable adults are at high risk of being physically abused, sexually abused, verbally abused, neglected and financially exploited—and this abuse can occur at home, with a professional in-home caregiver, or in a long-term care facility. 

The National Center on Elder Abuse reports:

“Elder abuse occurs in community settings, such as private homes, as well as institutional settings like nursing homes and other types of long term care facilities…In 2000, one study interviewing 2,000 nursing home residents reported that 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.”

It’s not just nursing homes that pose potential risks. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of abusers are family members. The NCEA also reports:

“Both living with someone else and being socially isolated have been associated with higher elder abuse rates. These seemingly contradictory findings may turn out to be related in that abusers who live with the elder have more opportunity to abuse and yet may be isolated from the larger community themselves or may seek to isolate the elders from others so that the abuse is not discovered.”

Do Your Due Diligence

Given these alarming statistics, what is the best way to safeguard your family member from elder abuse and nursing home abuse when choosing a living situation?

  • Ensure that professional caregivers are appropriately licensed and trained (and have passed background and reference checks.)
  • When hiring an in-home caregiver or selecting an assisted living facility, make sure they have the skills and experience to handle your family member’s particular needs. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s has different needs than a mobility-impaired stroke victim.
  • Regardless of where the senior resides, proximity to family members and friends is key. The more people who visit and communicate with the individual, the fewer opportunities an abuser has to isolate and exploit the senior.
  • Familiarize yourself with the signs of elder abuse—many of which can often be mistaken for dementia or mental deterioration—and speak up if you suspect that abuse may be occurring.

Finally, if you suspect that a friend or family member is the victim of elder abuse or nursing home abuse, you should immediate contact the caregiver’s supervisor if applicable, the police, and your state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman (if the victim lives in an assisted living facility.) And should you require legal representation for your case, consider an elder abuse or nursing home abuse attorney.

About The Author: Alan Brady is an author with, and a part-time caregiver. 
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