Residential vs home care - What's the difference?

When people think of ‘care’ many automatically think of a care home, or residential home. This is not the only option as quality care can also be delivered at home.

What is residential care?

Residential care involves someone leaving their home, memories and belongings to relocate into a facility dedicated to round the clock care. Some care homes allow residents to come and go as they please, whereas others are more secure to protect more vulnerable residents.

What is home care?

Home care is looking after a person from the comfort of their own home. CAREGivers go into the house to help with the day to day aspects of living such as home help, personal care and companionship. Home care is flexible and can be anything from a couple of visits a week right through to 24/7 live in care.

The difference between residential and home care

Home care

  • Stay at home in familiar surroundings.
  • Live life on your own terms. You decide when you eat, sleep and what you watch on television.
  • Enjoy the company of pets.
  • See friends and family when you like and enjoy companionship from CAREGivers.
  • Choose the bespoke one-to-one care you want.

Residential care

  • Move into an unfamiliar environment.
  • Eat meals and go to sleep at set times.
  • Pets are usually restricted.
  • Visiting times are usually restricted.
  • Not companionship based.
  • Not one-to-one care. Instead a team of carers look after a number of people.

How do I know which type of elderly care is right for me?

Deciding whether home care or residential care is right for you depends on your needs. 

When you first have the conversation about care, it is worth getting an assessment of your care needs from your local council or you can book a free consultation with your local Home Instead office. This will help inform you about the best care solution for you.

Find out more about the difference in cost between home care and residential care or financial support available to fund your care.

Discover how to get started with home care (link 1.7.1).

CAREGiver looking at a cook book with elderly lady
CAREGiver laughing with elderly lady holding a wooden heart