Comparing In-home vs Residential Care
The realisation your loved one needs extra care in their older age is often fast followed by worry and confusion, as you navigate the best way forward.
Learn more about in-home and residential aged care options, so you can feel confident in helping your loved one choose the best path for their needs and lifestyle.
The traditional choice for those finding it tough to live independently is residential care. This is where a person moves out of their own home into long-term accommodation. There are range of residential options to choose from:
- Independent living in retirement villages or over 55’s communities;
- Assisted care facilities, where meals, housekeeping, laundry and garden care are provided;
- Nursing homes, where people with the highest needs can receive the specialised medical help they need and, down the track, end of life care.
Someone who loves living at home may be very reluctant to move into residential care. The good news is there are alternatives. KinCare offers a vast array of in-home care services for people who know they want more independence – and maximum choice in the type of care they receive.
Below, we explain the main differences between home care and residential care to help you make this critical decision.
In-Home vs Residential Aged Care
What type of support can I expect?
Whatever your needs, in-home aged care can be tailored to you. Services range vastly – from practical domestic assistance, personal care and social support – to complex care including nursing, clinical services and palliative help.
KinCare also provides that something extra most in-home care providers can’t: 24/7 services, just like a nursing home.
If you are an older person who needs intensive ongoing help, an aged care home is one option to consider. You will need to choose between permanent care and short-term care (also called residential respite care).
The major disadvantage of either model is that care providers have much less flexibility to customise their support services to meet your unique needs, due to the demands of supporting so many residents.
Are many people opting for this choice?
In a recent Australian Government survey of individuals over 60 years of age, an overwhelming 83% of people said they would prefer to stay living at home in their older years*. It’s clear that most people now think this alternative offers the best of both worlds – independence and high quality, personalised support – in their ageing years.
*Housing Decisions of Older Australians research paper, Australian Government’s Productivity Commission, 2015
The study on decisions of older Australians also revealed that only 6% of people aged over 60 years old would prefer to live in a retirement village in their older years. And even less people – just 1% – would choose to live in a residential aged care facility as they age.
What stage of life does this option best suit?
For older people who choose to continue enjoying the security and independence of life at home, in-home care services can offer the most appropriate, personalised support at this stage of life.
Whether it is practical assistance with day-to-day tasks, or complex medical support, in-home care provides the opportunity so many people dream of – to stay in their own home indefinitely.
As more people choose to age in their homes, residential aged care is increasingly focused on catering for people when they are nearing their end-of-life. In fact, the average age of admission to residential aged care is now 84.6* years – and this is only expected to rise in the coming years.
*6th report on Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector, July 2018
How much will each type of care cost me?
Our rapidly ageing population is creating new challenges for the Australian economy. To alleviate the burden of care, the government is now offering more care packages to older people to help them stay in their homes for longer.
You may be asked to contribute to the cost of your care package, depending on your means, but these contributions are capped:
- People experiencing social and financial disadvantaged will have costs capped at 17.5% of standard single aged pension.
- Part funded and self-funded retirees will be asked to pay more, but there are annual and lifetime caps on income tested fees ($29.92 per day, $10,892.89 per year, lifetime cap of $65,357.65).
The good news is that living independently is fast becoming the most cost-effective option for many families.
At the time of life when you are already at your most vulnerable, full-time residential care can take a huge toll, financially and emotionally on you – and your family.
The average cost to enter residential care is a staggering $350,000 – and it can even go as high as $500,000. On top of that cost, there’s an annual care fee everyone pays – which equates to a further $46.87 per day. But as it is means tested, you may be expected to pay as much as $211 per day – up to $25,000 per year.
Your house may be your main source of wealth, yet you could be required to give up your home equity to secure your place in a residential care facility – or scramble to find another funding alternative if your need is urgent. For many people, this is an intolerable loss of security and independence to endure in their retirement years.
What effect will this type of care have on my happiness?
There is no place like home for comfort and security and people who access in home care services, such as social support, are more likely to stay in their homes for longer. Your living environment has a huge influence on your happiness.
Feeling content and safe in a familiar setting close to your community is essential for your mental and physical wellbeing. But the gains flow even further – lightening the load on your carers and family and dramatically reducing their stress.
Sadly, according to The National Ageing Research Institute, more than 50% of people living in aged care facilities have depression, anxiety or both. It’s not surprising that residents in aged care facilities often experience isolation and loneliness separated from their friends, family and home.
This is a grave concern, as research shows loneliness is a precursor for depression and a risk factor for other psychological and physical health conditions.
Will it keep me healthy and independent?
Studies have found that the more hours of in-home care a person receives, the lower their risk of entering permanent residential care. This is due to the life-enhancing combined benefits of independence and support. In fact, there is clear evidence that staying at home longer has direct health benefits for older people and can even increase their life expectancy.
It’s a grim but indisputable truth, but recent research indicates that people who enter institutional care have substantially higher mortality rates than peers who continue to be cared for in their homes.
Contact KinCare today to find out how we can help you
Whatever your needs, KinCare can tailor an in home care solution to suit you. Contact us and speak to one of our experienced Customer Care Managers to find out what kind of support you could benefit from.Contact us