Personal Care Homes vs. Assisted Living for an Atlanta Senior

Personal Care Homes for an Atlanta Senior

Are you caregiver who is looking for ways to care for an Atlanta senior? It is no secret that finding the right care level for an elderly person is a challenging process. Family members who become caregivers are often faced with time, money, and energy deficits. Placing a loved one in a senior care community (we don’t like the word “facility”), though, eats up resources too. It also adds to the stress and worry about the level and quality of care a loved one is receiving.

So, if you are a caregiver looking for the right kind of community care for an Atlanta senior, this information should be very helpful.  The information below will help with navigating the many levels of care and it focuses on the care definitions in the state of Georgia. However, it is still useful for other locations as it also shows what types of care options are out there, and how they work.

Personal Care Homes for your Atlanta Senior

Personal care homes cater to those who do not need licensed medical care, but who do need help with activities of daily living. This can include cooking, eating, dressing, bathing, and even grocery shopping.

Many personal care homes are designed for limited or temporary stays. They may serve people who need help during recovery from a health setback, such as an injury. These patients are not projected to need permanent help. Personal care homes are also useful for respite care when caregivers at home need a break, need to leave town temporarily, or are going through stresses themselves. An example would be a caregiver who needs surgery or is ill and temporarily is unable to care for someone else.

Unlike nursing homes, there are no federal rules governing personal care homes.  Also, most personal care homes only take private pay, however, there are some that will consider taking a low-income senior who has social security.

Personal care homes do not usually have licensed medical personnel on-site. Therefore, it is a good idea to talk with a doctor before entering a loved one into one. That can be an important factor if someone needs the care of medical personnel on a routine basis.  All of these factors, (1) the length of stay (2) the relative health of a senior and (3) the ability to pay need to be considered. in making a decision about an elderly person’s care.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living homes are for seniors who may require a licensed medical professional to care for them on a semi-regular basis. If a person has open sores which require frequent treatment, for example, a personal care home may not provide this service. Those suffering from dementia or cognitive decline may be better suited for assisted living. The same holds true for those who need close monitoring for safety, medication use, and eating. Some assisted living facilities focus exclusively on memory care. This is a better choice than a personal care home. Multiple or serious disease diagnoses also call for assisted living rather than a personal care home.

Assisted living is a “step up” the care ladder from a personal care home or care at home. Assisted living facilities are for those who need access to healthcare professionals frequently. Such people have care needs beyond the assistance with activities of daily living they can receive in a personal care home.

We do not discuss nursing homes in this article but there are those seniors who may do better in a nursing home if they have passed the level of care need that even an assisted living facility can offer.

This is a great infographic prepared by and

Comparison of Assisted Living vs Nursing Homes

by Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities

Choosing between a Personal Care Home and Assisted Living

In Georgia, personal care homes and assisted living facilities have similar staff-to-resident ratios and administrative employee requirements. Assisted living facilities offer more privacy and medical care than personal care homes. What is more, residents in personal care homes must be ambulatory. “Ambulatory” is defined as being mobile, either on one’s own or with an assistive device. This requirement alone may make the decision for some seniors.

Choosing a care level for your Atlanta senior is a matter of balancing needs, finances, safety, and preferences. Family members also need to take into consideration the duration of the care level needs. Someone with dementia or a chronic disease might need a permanent facility that offers graduating levels of care. Someone with a temporary health setback or who needs respite care just needs a safe, nurturing place for a short time.

Care level needs often require vastly different environments. Knowing the options and including doctors’ input can locate the best care for elderly persons in Georgia and beyond.

A tool that has been developed by the Georgia Department of Community Health could be useful in locating Personal Care Homes for your Atlanta senior.  It allows for choosing communities by a location and also indicates if inspection reports are available and contains a link to any reports available.  See this link:


Georgia Center for Assisted Living. Making a Choice—Assisted Living or Personal Care? Available at Retrieved September 17, 2016.

Note:  if you see your organization sourced here, we would appreciate a link back to and a follow @seniorsmatter on Twitter.