Care Home or Home Care. What's the difference?

If you have elderly family members that are starting to need extra support due to their health you may be looking at the best way of caring for them now or in the future.   

There are different types of care available – and how they all work may differ depending on where you live so it’s certainly sensible to do as much research as possible to find the best possible solution for your loved one.

Residential Care

Residential care homes are facilities that offer round the clock care from on-site care staff.  Care homes will provide a range of care services, with some offering specialist care such as nursing or dementia. 

Care homes typically provide private rooms with communal living areas.   Additional services and facilities will vary from location to location.    Finding a place at a local care home may not always be simple – with limited places, it may be a case of going on a waiting list.  With more urgent needs, you may need to look at facilities away from your local area that have availability.

Finance is a huge factor when considering your care choices.  The cost of residential care can be extremely expensive.  According to Which, the average cost of a care home is currently more than £31,000 per year (Which Report 2018-19).

Home Care

If you have a particular attachment to your home and it holds a lot of memories for you, leaving it behind to go into residential care can be devastating.  Home care gives you an option to be able to stay at home, but have regular visits from a carer who will help to support you in your independence.

Home care can be a much more flexible option for families, allowing you to choose your level of care.  You may only need a few hours a week or you may be looking for something on a more full-time basis. 

Things to look out for:

Continuity of care team

Having a constant flow of different faces can be upsetting for someone receiving care.  A care provider who can provide continuity of carer can help your loved one to build up a strong, trusting relationship.

Duration of visit

No matter how frequent, a rushed 15 minute call isn’t going to benefit anyone.   Realistically, how much can a carer achieve in this short window?  Spending longer with the client allows time for higher quality care. 

The client will also benefit from a sense of companionship that having a carer can bring.  Longer visits of 1 to 2 hours can make a significant different to someone’s wellbeing, particularly if that’s the only person that they might see all day.


Home care services are charged per hour.  Self-funded care may be more expensive than that offered through social services, however it will typically give you more flexibility and choice of care.  If you are eligible for social services care, direct payments will allow you to pay for your own care with a provider of your choice (top up payments may be required).


Home Care providers are regulated and have regular inspections to ensure the quality of the service provided.   It’s also useful to read reviews and testimonials from current clients – some of these can be found on which also provide ratings for home care providers on an annual basis.

Home Instead provides home visits across Wrexham & Flintshire, offering high-quality care from trained and qualified CAREGivers.
If you are considering home care then why not give us a call and find out more about the services that we can provide and why Home Instead are the UK’s most recommended home care provider.