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Personal Care vs. Assisted Living: What Is the Difference?

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An assisted living staff serving food to a resident.

If you live in Pennsylvania and you’re looking for a community to move to, you may have come across the lifestyle options of personal care and assisted living. 

Assisted living is a relatively new care category in Pennsylvania and differs from personal care in its concept, construction, and level of care. It’s designed to bridge the gap between independent living and skilled nursing care for seniors who can no longer live independently but don’t require round-the-clock medical attention. 

The key difference lies in flexibility for changing needs. Assisted living communities can often adapt their services to accommodate increasing healthcare needs, allowing residents to “age in place.” Personal care homes are not equipped to handle significant medical changes, and residents will need to move to a community with more medical support.

What Is Personal Care?

A personal care home is like a blend between your own home and a long-term care community.  It’s for older adults or people with disabilities who need some help with activities of daily living (ADLs) but don’t require constant medical care.

They often offer comfortable living spaces with varying amenities and can provide: 

  • A helping hand: Staff can assist with tasks like getting dressed, showering, eating, taking medications (reminding you, not giving them to you), and using the bathroom.
  • A safety net: Staff keep an eye on residents and can connect them with social services if needed.
  • Help with meals & chores: Most personal care homes take care of meals and housekeeping.
  • Independent: The main goal is to help residents live as independently as possible for as long as possible.

Personal care emphasizes personalized attention in a cozy, intimate environment. 

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities offer a wider range of services and healthcare support for individuals who need more assistance with ADLs. These communities typically have on-site medical staff and offer services such as medication management and physical therapy.

Some assisted living facilities also have additional amenities such as recreational activities, transportation services, and meal plans. They often provide a higher level of care compared to personal care homes, making them a better option for those with more complex health needs.

Assisted living communities also focus on promoting independence and social engagement among residents and offer group outings, classes and workshops, and other opportunities to socialize.

Personal Care vs. Assisted Living

Ultimately, both personal care homes and assisted living communities aim to provide a comfortable and supportive environment. They both often offer similar services, including; 

  • 24-hour supervision
  • 3 meals a day, often served in a group dining room
  • ADL assistance
  • Medication management or assistance with self-administration of medicine
  • Social activities
  • Recreational and spiritual activities
  • Exercise and wellness programs
  • Laundry and linen services
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Transportation services

The main distinction between these communities lies in the level of medical attention provided. Assisted living can typically accommodate residents with more substantial healthcare needs, but personal care may be a more suitable option for those whose needs are primarily non-medical.

Benefits of Personal Care

Living life to the fullest with a helping hand is the beauty of personal care communities. Here’s what makes them a great option:

  • Independence: Personal care isn’t about a set routine. Residents have the freedom to make choices about their day, from activities to mealtimes. 
  • Care that fits: Every resident’s needs and preferences are considered when creating a personalized care plan, ensuring everyone gets the right level of support to thrive.
  • Vibrant communities: Personal care goes beyond just care. These communities often host activities and events that foster social connections and a sense of belonging.
  • Living options: Whether you prefer a private apartment or a shared room, personal care communities offer a variety of housing options to suit different lifestyles and budgets.
A resident of an assisted living community is getting help with their medication.

Benefits of Assisted Living

Living life on your terms with helping hands nearby is the essence of assisted living. Whether you are someone who needs care or simply looking for a more comfortable and secure living environment, assisted living offers a variety of services to cater to your individual needs:

  • Peace of mind for all: Trained staff is available 24/7 to assist with daily needs like medication, mobility, and personal care, giving both residents and their families peace of mind that help is always there.
  • More than just care: Assisted living goes beyond just the physical. Many communities offer social activities, events, and outings, helping residents stay connected and engaged, which can significantly boost their well-being.

How to Choose Between Personal Care & Assisted Living

Personal care and assisted living offer support but cater to slightly different needs. If you’re not sure what type of care to choose, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Independence level: If maintaining independence is a priority, personal care might be ideal. It assists with daily tasks while letting you spend your day however you want.
  • Medical needs: Assisted living might be a better fit if you have a chronic health condition requiring more medical oversight. These communities often have nurses on staff and can manage some medical needs.
  • Future needs: Consider if your needs might change in the future. Assisted living can often adapt their services, allowing you to stay in your apartment even if your health needs increase. Personal care may have more limited options.

​Ultimately, the best choice depends on your situation and preferences. Talk to your doctor and family and explore both options to help you make an informed decision.

Explore Levels of Care in a Stunning Community

At Arcadia at Limerick Pointe, we put the personal in personal care. Our goal is to ensure that you are emotionally strong, intellectually sharp, and spiritually engaged. Contact us today to book a tour and see what makes our community so special!

Written by Arcadia Limerick Pointe

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