When a friend or family member is aging or ailing, you are at the beginning of a journey, and you may not know what to expect along the way. Knowing what your options are is essential. You may have concerns about the cost, the different services each offers, and whether or not medical services are provided. It is commonly believed that hospice care and assisted living are two similar options that are in competition with each other, but once you become more aware of the differences in these two services, you will see that only one will be right for your situation.
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What’s the Difference Between Hospice and Assisted Living?
If your loved one needs more care than you can provide, you may have many questions about the difference between hospice and assisted living. These kinds of care are commonly misunderstood, but the following guide will help make clear which one is more suitable for your situation.
What Is Hospice?
If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed as having no more than six months left to live, they may have been referred for hospice care by their physician. Many people believe that hospice is a place where a terminally ill individual can go, but hospice is actually a specialized kind of care that is designed to make people comfortable during their last weeks and days of life.
Hospice workers provide compassionate care, including administering medications and pain relief along with emotional and family support. Passing away in the comfort of their own home is important to many terminally ill patients, and over 1.3 million Medicare beneficiaries alone were enrolled in hospice in 2015.
Related: What Is Inpatient Hospice Care?
What Is Assisted Living?
Although an assisted living facility will have aides on staff who provide individuals with necessary care, the facility is not a hospital. Instead, it is a home-like setting, and the typical resident is elderly but still mobile and free from cognitive impairments. The residents of these facilities enjoy everything from dining and transportation options to exercise programs and educational activities. Assisted living facilities are a popular choice for these individuals because of their commitment to treating their residents with the respect and dignity they deserve. In fact, there are approximately 1.2 million people in the US living in nearly 30,000 of these facilities today.
Typically, individuals will stay in the ALF for two to three years before they transition to nursing homes that can provide a higher level of care. Seniors who require therapeutic services because they are bedridden or need complex medical and therapeutic assistance will need to move on to long-term care. In long-term care, they will receive assistance with basic health needs such as incontinence maintenance, dressing and bathing, and moving from a bed to a chair along with quality of life assistance with everything from budgeting to communicating by phone to meal preparation.
Hospice vs. Assisted Living: Which Is Right for My Loved One?
Assisted living facilities are meant for people who can’t live on their own and need care while hospice is meant specifically for the dying. You don’t have to choose between hospice and an assisted living facility because you may be able to benefit from both at the same time (but only if your loved one has a terminal diagnosis). You can receive hospice care in the comfort of your own home or in an assisted living facility depending upon your situation. However, while individuals can receive hospice care in an assisted living facility, it is not ideal. An ALF is simply not equipped to handle the needs of the terminally ill.
It’s understandable that your focus is on making the right choice for your loved one’s specific situation. At Omni Care Hospice, we are happy to answer your questions. Our commitment is to helping the terminally ill to live each day they have left to the fullest.