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Choosing the Right Care: Exploring the Benefits of Care Homes vs. Care at Home.

care home vs care at home

Choosing the right care for yourself or a family member can be a difficult and overwhelming task. You may have noticed that keeping on top of healthy eating, medications, exercise, or buying groceries has become a struggle, or physical challenges like climbing the stairs or getting dressed in the morning are increasingly problematic.

At Grace, we are often asked about available care options and the differences between them, in particular the differences between care homes and care at home. To help you make an informed decision, this article examines the qualities of care at home and care home environments.

Care home or care at home: What is the difference?

Care home vs care at home? Let’s begin with care at home as this can often be the first step in a person’s care journey, enabling them to live safely in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. A domiciliary care agency can provide regular visits to an agreed daily or weekly schedule. Some agencies provide overnight care and live-in care. 

By comparison, care homes are residential settings with support on hand 24/7. Individuals can move into a care home on a short-term basis for respite or convalescent care, or on a long-term basis. Each home chooses the kind of care it offers, such as:

  • Residential care - for those who want the security of 24/7 support, whose needs can be met with the support of carers and, where required, community nursing visits to the home

  • Nursing care – for those with care needs that require 24/7 nursing support, or

  • Dementia care

Let's drill down and examine the care options in a little more detail...

Care at Home

Home care is a flexible option, offering the opportunity for people to continue their lives in as similar a way as possible to what they’re used to. 

care home vs care at home

Home care providers offer a broad range of assistance from helping with daily tasks such as tidying, laundry and changing the bed. Care staff can help people travel to appointments, visit friends, attend social activities, and shop with or for their client.  As a result, they provide companionship and can help minimise the risk of social isolation, particularly for those living on their own.

Where care needs are greater, individuals may require help with getting up in the morning or be reminded to take their medication. The carer may help them with preparation of a bite to eat, either providing hands-on assistance or just supervising depending upon the level of needs and preferences of their client.

The chosen home care provider will wish to visit their potential client at home to discuss and agree a package of care and once it has begun will review the package on a regular basis. A good Care Coordinator will be happy to have discussions in between these reviews and will provide advice if there are any concerns or if it might be time to increase the package. 

Benefits of Care at Home:

  • Independence: Allows individuals to continue their life with some or all of their usual routines, enabling them to feel that they are retaining their independence and autonomy.

  • Familiar Environment: Being in a familiar environment can be comforting for the individual receiving care.

  • Personalised Care: Care at home should be tailored to the individual's specific needs and preferences, within the budget available.

  • Family Involvement: Family members can be more involved in the care process, providing emotional support and companionship.

  • Cost: Care at home is flexible and packages can in many cases be adjusted to fit in with the available budget.

Care Homes

While some people move into a care home because they have high care needs, other people choose to move into a care home for the social aspect and the security that comes with having access to 24/7 assistance.  

care home vs care at home

Some individuals may have decided that they no longer wish to be responsible for maintaining a house or they would like to enjoy two or three course meals prepared by a professional cook each day. 

Care homes offer the opportunity to be part of a community enabling residents to socialise, make new friends and participate in stimulating and enriching activities. This in turn can reduce the risk of feeling isolated or lonely.

Some care homes offer convalescence which can be beneficial if a person is recovering from illness, injury or surgery.  They may also offer respite stays which can enable informal carers, such as a spouse, to take a break, plan the future, attend to their own needs or in some cases have surgery.

Benefits of a Care Home:

  • 24/7 Care: Care homes provide round-the-clock care and support for those who require a low or high level of support. 

  • Peace of mind: The right home should bring peace of mind for both the elderly individual and their loved ones who can rest easy knowing that constant care is readily available.

  • Social Interaction: Care homes should offer activities and opportunities for residents to interact with staff and peers, which can combat loneliness and isolation.

  • Family: Family can visit and spend quality time with their relative.

  • Food: Three meals a day, refreshments throughout the day, afternoon tea perhaps for those with a sweet tooth!

  • Professional Expertise: Care homes should only accept residents whose needs they feel they can meet with the number of staff that they have, taking into account their level of training, qualifications and experience.

Everyone is different

Choosing elderly care is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different personalities, medical or care needs, make it necessary to approach care in a tailor-made way. While some elderly people prefer to be independent and stay in the familiar surroundings of their homes, others like to be around people and opt for the community environment of a care home. Either way, it's key that each individual receives the appropriate care they require.

How we can help

If you'd like more specific advice for your situation or guidance on the local support services and funding entitlements available for you or your family member, make an appointment with one of our expert Grace Care Advisers. We provide a listening ear and help you find the support you need.


Grace Consulting are the UK’s founding providers of expert independent advice on elderly care advice, special needs advice and neurodiversity advice. 

Independence and client wellbeing are at the heart of everything we do. We listen, reassure and advise you on how to move forwards and find the best possible solutions for your unique life challenges. 


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