The difference between care homes and home care

If you have an elderly relative who requires care, you may be interested to learn more about the differences between care homes and home care. Both have certain advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider each so you know your loved one will receive the level of care they need.

In this article we will take a look at care homes vs home care and explore the differences of each, including the pros and cons, to help you make the right choice for your loved one.

What is home care and how does it differ from a care home?

Home care is a type of care available to those who need assistance due to age, illness or disability. Care is provided at your loved one’s home by a trained and experienced professional carer who will visit at certain times throughout the day. Care is one-on-one, so is highly personalised.

When care is provided in a care home setting, your relative moves into the care home as a permanent resident. This ensures they have instant access to care whenever they need it. Personalised, one-on-one care is also offered at certain periods throughout the day.

Both forms of care ensure your loved one retains as much of their independence as possible, however, one may be better suited than the other. 

Pros and cons of care homes vs home care

There are pros and cons for both care homes and home care, and it is up to you to decide which may suit your loved one better, depending on their individual needs.

Pros and cons of a care home


  • Expert 24/7 care
  • A home from home
  • Assistance with everyday tasks
  • Social engagement and recreational opportunities
  • Preserved autonomy
  • Nutritious, freshly prepared meals
  • Safety and security
  • Respite for primary caregivers


  • Potential for temporary disorientation
  • An initial period of settling in
  • It can be costly
  • Upset for family members

Pros and cons of home care


  • A greater feeling of independence
  • They continue to live in a familiar setting
  • Personalised, one-on-one care
  • Family can continue to provide assistance
  • Affordable


  • Care is not 24/7
  • Care can be disrupted if carers are unavailable or sick
  • Limited social interaction
  • Limited access to resources
  • Environmental challenges
  • Safety risks

Cost differences between home care and care homes 

Home care is generally the most cost-effective option as carers only spend a limited amount of time at your loved one’s home. This can work if you or another relative can provide support during the carer’s absence or if they still have a lot of independence.

There are risks involved with home care, and if your relative is unwell, has cognitive decline or requires regular assistance, it may not be suited to their needs. If this is the case, your loved one may require care in a residential care home.

Services provided: in-home care vs care homes 

The care services provided by in-home care and a care home do have some crossover, however, there are also a few big differences:

In-home care

  • General living assistance such as getting them out of bed, getting dressed and grooming
  • Medication management
  • Light housekeeping
  • Meal preparation
  • One-on-one companionship
  • Medical care
  • Respite care for loved ones

Care home

  • 24/7 dedicated care
  • Around-the-clock living assistance
  • Medication management
  • Medical care
  • Freshly-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services
  • Grooming, including haircutting
  • Regular social events and activities
  • Living with like-minded residents
  • Safety and security
  • Peace of mind for relatives
  • Memory care for residents with cognitive decline
  • Palliative or end-of-life care if required

Factors to consider when choosing between care homes and home care

When faced with the decision about whether a care home or home care would suit your relative, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Does your loved one require 24/7 care?
  • Do they still have a level of independence?
  • Could they live safely and comfortably in their own environment?
  • Do they have complex medical needs?
  • What are their and your preferences?
  • Do they have access to social and mental stimulation at home?
  • Can your loved one receive the level of necessary care they need at home?
  • What is your loved one’s budget for care?

Who would benefit from home care?

Home care can be suitable for many people, but it does depend on your loved one’s circumstances as to whether or not it is right for them. If your loved one would be comfortable and safe at home, and receive the level of care they need, they may benefit from it.

Who would benefit from a care home?

If your loved one has complex medical or care requirements and requires regular assistance throughout the day, they would likely benefit from receiving care at a care home. Similarly, care homes offer additional services that in-home care may not, such as regular activities and social events, which are important for mental health.

Enquire today 

Now that you know the difference between the care provided by care homes and in-home carers, you can make enquiries about providing your loved one with the care they need.

At Ashberry Care Homes, we offer an affordable service at our care homes across the UK. To find out more, contact our team today.