Senior women walking on a trail outside

In-Home Care vs. a Senior Living Community: What’s the Difference?

Many older adults today are choosing to “age in place” in their own homes rather than move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). And while home health care is an attractive option, it unfortunately leaves seniors vulnerable in a variety of different ways. From quality and availability of care to social interaction, senior living communities are outpacing in-home senior care. But what is included in in-home health care, what are the benefits and pitfalls of aging at home vs. assisted living, and what is the cost of assisted living vs. in-home care? Read on to get answers to these questions and more.

An elderly woman with a cane looks out a window

In-Home Care

The reasons people choose to “age in place” in their current home typically boil down to not wanting to leave the place they’re most comfortable. They may have family close by, live with a spouse who doesn’t need or want to move, or value the flexibility of home health care. Most commonly, and perhaps most importantly, older adults have a negative perception of senior living communities. They often think of them only as nursing homes or hospice care in which they give up their independence. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Assisted living in continuing care retirement communities actually enhances residents’ sense of independence by providing the help they need so they’re able to live the fullest life possible. While choosing in-home care seems like the ideal option for many, it has a number of disadvantages:


Home health care costs are subject to the area’s current and typically rising market rates. The cost of a 24/7 caregiver can be extremely high. Around-the-clock certified home health care staff coverage requires two to three different caregiver shifts and can cost upward of $19,000 per month. Plus, several other factors need to be accounted for in home health care:

  • Groceries and meal preparation
  • Personal care supplies
  • Household supplies
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Rent or mortgage and property taxes
  • Home and yard maintenance
  • Utilities, water and trash collection

Home Maintenance

Some people opting for home health care consider downsizing to a smaller home or apartment, but many choose to remain in their current home. This means the usual yardwork and home maintenance are still their responsibility. There can also be the costs of home remodeling — like adding safety railings — to consider. 

Mobility Issues

For those who choose to stay at home and don’t have a 24/7 caregiver, the risks for accidents and falls due to declining mobility become much greater.

Health Resources

People choosing home health care rarely have the range of quality health services those in senior living communities have. And if they need a higher level of care, they’ll likely have to move out of their home and into a specialty care facility, whereas in senior living communities, higher levels of care are usually on-site.  

Family Involvement

 Home health care usually requires more in-depth, ongoing family involvement. From choosing caregivers to taking care of daily errands like grocery shopping, families play a larger role when their parents and loved ones choose in-home care.


There isn’t much opportunity to socialize for those choosing in-home care. Social isolation is often an issue for older adults staying at home, which in turn leads to depression and increased risk of cognitive decline.

A group of seniors enjoy each others company out on a patio

Senior Living Communities

Continuing care retirement communities are senior living communities that usually offer a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing long-term care, and rehabilitation all within the same campus. But they’re much more than health care providers. CCRCs offer a wide breadth of services and amenities designed to enhance each individual’s lifestyle and maximize social, physical, mental, emotional and intellectual wellness.

Continuum of Care

Both availability and quality of care in senior living communities are simply unmatched compared to in-home health care. In CCRCs, residents have priority access to every level of care whenever they need it. For example, if the time comes when someone in assisted living’s cognitive abilities decline, they can seamlessly move to memory care without leaving the community they’ve grown accustomed to.

In every level of care, community team members are on-site 24/7 to provide immediate care in any event. Having this kind of comprehensive care available around-the-clock is a unique advantage of senior living communities and can provide peace of mind beyond that of a home health aide. 

Community Value

Among the most attractive reasons people move to CCRCs is joining an active, friendly community. Like-minded people who want to keep their independent lifestyle come together to enjoy retirement in these communities. Because we know social interaction is a key element to successful aging, many communities have full activity programs covering a wide range of interests and hobbies, as well as multiple dining venues where residents can share meals and socialize.

Services and Amenities

From maintenance-free living to weekly housekeeping to off-site transportation, senior living communities offer many services that allow residents to spend their time in meaningful ways. Most communities also feature amenities like fitness centers, libraries, classrooms, art studios and more to ensure residents have every opportunity to engage their interests and discover new passions. 


There are several senior living options to choose from in most communities. In communities like Edgewood Summit, residents pay an upfront entrance fee that guarantees priority care in every level of living. This entrance fee also goes toward community services and amenities, and importantly, reduces monthly fees. At Edgewood Summit, our Health Care Benefit offers a substantial discount on higher levels of living. It gives residents a 20% discount for all levels of care – for life. While entrance fees are a significant amount of money, they act as an investment in one’s future, securing quality care for life on top of the many community benefits. Plus, this safeguards residents against the ever-rising market rates of in-home health care.

At Edgewood Summit, you can rest assured you or your loved one will have a wealth of quality care, camaraderie and new life experiences compared to receiving in-home care. Of all the many advantages we offer over in-home care,  we provide the one thing you or your loved one wants most — peace of mind. Here, our residents’ days are spent engaging in the things they love with neighbors and friends instead of worrying about what they’ll do if their circumstances change. To learn more about our stunning community, contact us on our website, or call us anytime at 304-346-2323.