What Is the Difference Between Group Homes and Aged Care Facilities?
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What Is the Difference Between Group Homes and Aged Care Facilities?

Deciding which care option is right for you or your loved one is potentially difficult. Because there are a variety of traditional aged care options to choose from, such as in-house care, living with family members, or a traditional aged care facility, many people may overlook the new concept of aged care. When we look at group homes, especially in comparison to aged care facilities, it’s important to decide which will benefit you or the person you care about best. Homes that specialise in aged care are becoming more popular, as they can offer a number of benefits over traditional aged care solutions. We are going to show you the difference between group homes and aged care facilities, so you can decide the best approach for your needs.

What Is a Group Home?

A group home is sometimes called a shared home. It is an environment that allows people to need assistance to live together in a supported environment. The important thing to note in comparison to an aged care facility is that a group home is designed to provide a supportive home environment to a small number of people. Rather than a care home, where there are dozens upon dozens of residents, the benefit of having this group home environment means that residents can receive the support they need in a more hands-on approach.

Is a group home the same as supported independent living?

Supported Independent Living (SIL) is where someone is supported on an individual basis, so they can develop skills to live independently. It is also important to note that a group home is technically Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). SDA is different to SIL in that SIL refers to the level of support an individual receives in a home environment, but SDA refers to the property itself. While a group home is a model of care providing an alternative to traditional facilities, it is possible for the residents to receive Supported Independent Living support as an NDIS participant. Supported Independent Living is the level of support.

What Can You Expect from a Group Home?

In a group home environment, individuals living in the accommodation can have professional support workers to meet their everyday needs. Group homes, as opposed to a care facility, are set up like a home. The importance of the individual living in an accommodation that feels like home is a priority. A group home is set up so the person using the facilities experiences a comfortable living situation. A group home will consist of a small group of residents, usually up to five, where support workers come in and help with supported independent living duties. These could consist of:

  • Daily household chores. 
  • Cooking meals. 
  • Assistance with daily activities, such as travelling to appointments on public transport. 
  • Budgeting or money management. 
  • Support with behavioural issues. 
  • Medication management. 
  • Developing social skills.

What Are the Benefits of Group Homes?

Group homes pose a significant number of benefits. They are very popular on an international level because of the following reasons:

Group Homes Allow for Flexibility

A group home is a home first and foremost. Therefore, the resident can have a high degree of flexibility. People with disabilities can choose the home they wish to live in. This could mean they may choose to live on their own or in a group environment. Therefore, the person is able to decide on the home that is the right match for them, socially and culturally.

Group Homes Are Meant to Be Homes

These are not typical aged care facilities. Care facilities are designed with very strict regiments, but with group homes, they are designed to meet the needs of the person living at the property. When we look at aged care facilities, they can appear impersonal and institutional, mainly down to their large structures. Group homes are classed as homes and are designed to feel like them. Home is an important component to living as independently as possible. This means that the environment is designed to help the residents, especially with their unique challenges. Whether this is someone living with dementia or is less physically able than someone else, the home environment is created to help the individual feel like they are at home, rather than staying in a facility with a limited scope of well-being.

Group Homes Focus on Independence

Elderly and disabled people can experience many worries, especially when it comes to their independence and autonomy. Group homes gear themselves towards encouraging residents to maintain their independence and look after themselves by taking ownership of their spaces, while also contributing to the household in general. Group homes provide 24/7 care but the focus is not on needing support workers doing the tasks for the residents, but supporting the residents to be as independent as possible. This contributes to the overall sense of well-being. 

Group Homes Are Social Environments

There is this clichéd perception that retirees or elderly people are more suited to an aged care facility. But the older generation of Australians are young at heart, and not interested in activities like sewing or singing. This is why group homes are so popular and have been designed to be a social setting. It is the ideal location for people who need specialist support as they get older, but can also make new friends, and enjoy visits from family and friends. Group homes are not just a house, but they incorporate outdoor areas and entertainment spaces so residents and visitors can relax in a social hub.

What Are Aged Care Facilities? 

An aged care home is also known as a nursing home or residential aged care facility. While the term “aged care facility” consists of residential care in aged care homes, it is important to recognise that there are different types of facilities in aged care. For example, as well as residential care in aged homes, there are in-home aged care facilities so you can stay as independent as long as possible. Also, there is short-term care, which can help individuals improve their independence and well-being. This usually involves respite care, short-term restorative care, or after hospital or transition care.

What Does an Aged Care Facility Provide?

An aged care facility is designed to provide all the care to meet individuals needs, including health, social life, wellbeing, and safety. The types of services provided by an aged care facility are broken down into three general areas:

Care and Support

This would consist of personal care, for example, hygiene, and grooming. It also consists of functional movement. For example, helping to eat, getting out of bed, as well as other essentials, such as checking the batteries of their hearing aid, depending on the individual’s needs. In addition, they would also provide clinical care support, including mobility support, nursing services such as pain management, therapy (including podiatry, physiotherapy, and emotional support), as well as health management (including optometrists and dental support).

Hotel Type Services

This includes day-to-day needs, including meals and refreshments, toiletries, laundry services, social activities such as trips and arts and craft sessions, as well as emergency help. Additionally, the services would include furnishing the facility and maintaining utilities, waste disposal, and the building and grounds.


A service user’s room is fitted with furniture, including the beds, bedside table, armchair, as well as the opportunity for an individual to personalize their room.

What Are the Benefits of Aged Care Facilities?

The benefits depend on the nature of the individual’s needs. The benefits of aged care facilities in a residential setting include:

Personalised Care

With 24/7 care by highly trained staff, it provides the individual’s care needs. It is peace of mind for the individual as well as the family members.

 Daily Support With Essential Tasks

The household tasks that might have proved difficult in a group home environment such as cleaning and cooking, are taking care of you.

Medical and Health Support

Aged care facilities can provide comprehensive healthcare support. Staff organise these sessions or appointments, taking the stress out of managing your health.

Specialised Support

In an aged care facility, the support is dependent on the individual’s needs. Aged care facilities provide general support, including palliative care, and dementia care.

Extra Services

Additionally, there are different services depending on the package you pay for. For example, an on-site hairdresser.

Which Is Best for You? Group Homes or Aged Care Facilities?

Clearly, there are big differences between the two. Group homes focus on the importance of maintaining autonomy and independence. Aged care facilities are, in many respects, closer to a hotel. Ultimately, the answer depends on the needs of the individual. Many of us want to retain our independence as much as possible. But it is important to work with your plan manager and your loved ones to find the most appropriate care package. It is important that we get the help we need, which is why we need to understand if a group home is the most appropriate setting for our support or an aged care facility.

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