In-Home Care vs. Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

When choosing care on behalf of your loved one, it’s important to find a situation that fits their lifestyle, abilities, and needs. As aging in place becomes more common, more seniors are able to enjoy their later years from the comfort of their homes. While this living situation is ideal for many seniors, it also may involve getting them proper in-home care. As seniors’ health and physical well-being deteriorate, they may need even more extensive forms of care.

Here we explore the varying levels of care seniors can receive, focusing on in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care.

What Is In-Home Care?

In-home care is when families hire outside help for their loved ones’ needs. Oftentimes, families partner with personal care agencies, like CareProvide, to find a trained professional who can care for their loved ones. A care provider can assist with everyday living activities, like meal preparation, light housekeeping, and daily exercises. This is the ideal option for seniors who want to age in place, as their care provider comes to their home. There is no need for these seniors to move into a care facility since all of their care takes place in their current home.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is similar to in-home care in that those who use this service have varying levels of needs. The key difference is that these seniors move from their homes into assisted living homes. Here, they will live among other seniors who need help with their everyday activities. Staff may come into their living space (which often resembles an apartment or condo) to help them with cooking, organizing medications, bathing, and other activities. Seniors can also partake in assisted living community events, such as shared meals, bingo, social hours, and entertainment.

What Is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home is where seniors who need more extensive care live. These facilities provide personal and medical services for seniors, with a higher emphasis on medical attention. Seniors with chronic health issues tend to need to move to a nursing home for around-the-clock attention. Those who live in these facilities may struggle with a more independent living situation, especially if they have deteriorating cognitive and physical health.

Differences Between In-Home Care vs. Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

Learn how in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care differ:

Level of Care

The level of care for each of these senior living services can vary. In-home care and assisted living are often reserved for seniors who need help with daily living activities. Factors like limited mobility, health concerns, and family resources may require these seniors to get outside help. Caregiving requires a lot of personalized attention and support, making this a challenge for many families to uphold for their loved ones.

Seniors who have rapidly declining health may need to move from in-home care or assisted living to a nursing home. This way, they can get more hands-on medical attention, rather than solely help with their daily living activities.

Level of Independence

In-home care offers the highest level of independence for seniors. Many people prefer to live out their golden years from the comfort of their own homes. Rather than having to adapt to the changes of aging in addition to moving to a facility, seniors get to continue to live their normal lives. The only difference is that a care provider is visiting their home to help with their care needs.

Assisted living offers slightly less independence, as seniors must adhere to the rules of the facility. For instance, these facilities often have strict guidelines to prevent communicable diseases and illnesses among their residents.

Nursing homes offer the least independence, as residents often adhere to meal schedules and regular medical visits. Likewise, family members typically need to check-in at a front desk to see their loved ones. They may have to follow specific guidelines when it comes to having their loved ones leave the facility for the day.


How much these services cost can vary based on your loved one’s medical coverage and insurance. Long-term facilities, such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes, costs can vary based on your loved one’s location, medical needs, and meal plans. In-home care can also vary due to your loved one’s needs. Paying for occasional help is likely to cost less than 24/7 support. When determining costs, it’s important to speak with the financial department of each facility or agency you work with.

Deciding Which Level of Care Is Right for Your Loved Ones

When determining your loved one’s level of care, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the needs of my loved one? If they only need help with their daily living activities, then in-home care might be the best choice. If managing their home is too much and they want to live among other seniors, assisted living is an option. If they have severe medical needs, a nursing home might be something to consider.
  • What can my family help with? As a caregiver, you feel responsible for the care of your loved one. When you need additional support with their care, you may seek help from a care provider who is trained in in-home care services.
  • What does the future look like? Remember, the level of care your loved one receives can evolve. While in-home care services may be ideal for them right now, they may need more extensive care at a nursing home as they age. Plan for the future, while also considering your loved one’s current needs and desires.

Need help deciding what level of care to choose for your loved one? Fill out our questionnaire.