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Home Care or Care Homes: What’s the Difference?

Two options remain at the forefront for elderly people needing later-life care: home-based care and purpose-built care homes. Here, we’re looking at the telling differences between the two.

Home care

With a home care arrangement, the person receiving care lives in their own home and has regular visits to ensure they have the support they need. As well as regular medical check ups, visits can also include cleaning, meal preparation and the delivery of shopping. One of the key benefits of choosing home care is that the resident is able to retain their independence and privacy completely; they are also able to keep the entirety of their belongings, given that there is no need to downsize.

The drawbacks of home care

While this option is popular for many elderly people, there are drawbacks that can be comprehensively solved in a well-planned care home setting.

One of the key drawbacks of home care is concerned with the structure of homes themselves. That is, most modern homes simply aren’t suited for elderly people to live in. Features such as stairs and tight corners coupled with a lack of mobility aids make most homes difficult for elderly people to navigate, even with help.

Another problem with home care is the regularity of the care offered. Given that many home carers don’t actually live on site, there can be periods of vulnerability for the resident when the carer is away from the home. Ultimately, this makes care homes a safer option. 

Care homes

A care home is purposefully designed to provide wide-ranging care services to residents from all walks of life. The fundamental design of a care home is its biggest differentiator, and is the main reason for someone to opt for living in a care home instead of their own property.

With trained carers on site, residents can receive responsive support and care whenever it is required. For someone who might find it difficult to live alone without close, or even constant, support, this is a key aspect.

Independence and care

A good care home is built to encourage an independent lifestyle without some of the stresses of regular home life. Things mentioned before – shopping, cleaning and meals – are also standard in a care home. Residents aren’t responsible for major upkeep, either – things like utility bills and repair of appliances.

A care home also caters to a resident’s social needs with organised trips, groups and social spaces designed into the structure of the home. This mixture of sociability, independence and bespoke care – including specific care for residents with Alzheimer’s or severe accessibility difficulties – can mean much more than the initial freedom provided by a resident’s own home.

Accessibility is another key consideration – along with privacy and safety. For home care, major structural changes may be needed for someone who requires specific accessibility aids. These will be planned in as standard by a care home. It’s the ability for care homes to plan for and accommodate varying needs that sets them apart – and why focused design is essential from the beginning.


At Aedifice Partnership, we manage new care home construction as well as refurbishment projects throughout the UK. For further details on the services Aedifice Partnership offer, just get in touch with our experienced team.


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