Deciding to elect the options of non-medical in-home care services or residency at a nursing home is a huge decision. Many older individuals, understandably, do not want to leave the home that they have spent many years of their lives in and worked hard to own/maintain. However, the idea of a nursing home is sometimes appealing to family members who may not have the time or resources and ability to provide the extensive care and assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) that their loved one may need in order to be safe and happy. For elderly individuals who can manage to live from home but still require some additional non-medical assistance with ADLs, home care services can make a lot more sense until it is absolutely necessary to acquire regular medical assistance that a nursing home can provide.
So, which option is better? Ultimately, that is a very personal decision that you and your loved ones must make together. In making that decision, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Levels of Care
Home Care – The extent of in-home care can range depending on the needs of the consumer. It is ideal for individuals who do not need a great deal of care yet, but in-home care can also provide 24/7 care and supervision. Under that in this type of program, elderly individuals and their families can work together to design a flexible and personalized plan that fits their ADL needs.
Nursing Home – In nursing homes, ideally your loved one will always have immediate access to nursing care, whether or not they need it. Nursing homes are a good option for individuals who truly require round the clock care and access to non-medical and medical assistance. However, many individuals will not require the assistance that a nursing home setting provides until their care needs have progressed in severity due to a serious illness, such as individuals who require Alzheimer’s care. Conversely, some individuals may require nursing home level care sooner rather than later if they are afflicted with certain disabilities.
Home Care – A recent study shows that as much as 90 percent of seniors would rather stay in their home than move to a nursing facility. The major contributing factor to this statistic is that their home is familiar to them, and the thought of leaving it makes them very uncomfortable. Familiarity is perhaps one of the biggest advantages to home care, and it can be especially beneficial for those who have early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Comfort Home Care recognizes the importance of happy and familiar faces, and we take this into account when pairing a consumer with a professional aide in order to provide valuable social interaction and the therapeutic benefits of companion care.
Nursing Home – In many cases, there simply is not the same level of familiarity for seniors as they move to a nursing home. This can be due to patient-staff ratios where one staff member is supporting numerous patients. However, if some of their friends or family members are located in the same nursing home, this social aspect can be beneficial. There is also the opportunity to socially interact and make new friends that would not be available if they stayed at home. Your loved one can adjust to life in a nursing home, but it may take some time.
Maintenance and Household Chores
Home Care – When your loved one still lives in their own home, they will have the same home maintenance concerns that need to be addressed. Even if the home itself is relatively maintenance free, there are always going to be things like landscaping and routine cleaning of the home that will need to be done right. If your loved one is relatively active, he or she may be able to do some of these things themselves (and sometimes it is good for them!). However, you may also need to add these types of ADL services to your home care plan if you cannot arrange for someone else to do it.
Nursing Home – There are virtually no maintenance concerns when your loved one moves to a nursing home. The staff takes care of everything that your loved one would otherwise have to do on their own. This can be a significant benefit for many older individuals who do not want to do or cannot do their own maintenance around the house. Of course, if you are not arranging for the sale of your loved one’s home when they make the move to a nursing home, you may need to arrange for some of the maintenance of their prior home to be addressed as well.
Emotional Impact on Caregiver
Home care works to help alleviate some feelings of stress, frustration, and sadness that can accompany long-term caregiving duties. It is easy to become overwhelmed when providing more care for someone than you are for yourself and your own needs. Home care thoughtfully advises on how to realistically share caregiving responsibilities, in hopes of taking a lot of the pressure off of the primary caregiver. Caregiver burnout is a very real experience, and no caregiver should have to try to support a loved one beyond their capabilities to do so. At the same time, caregivers have their loved one’s best interests in mind and they will also have to take into consideration what they want for themselves.
Caregivers who choose support from home non-medical services may avoid feelings of guilt that many families feel when placing a loved one to a nursing home before they really have to. Our elders don’t want to feel like a burden on anyone, and so they may make the choice to receive all the medical and non-medical assistance they need from a nursing home. But for the elderly who want to remain at home for as long as possible until it is time to seek professional medical support, in-home non-medical care is a viable option that will allow an individual to retain as high of quality-of-life as possible from their familiar home environment.
Making the Decision
It is important to sit down and make a list of the care that your loved one needs. You should also consider their individual wants as well—is remaining in their home more important than some of the social and ADLs support benefits of being in a nursing home? Can you cut expenses by providing some aspects of your loved one’s care yourself, and which activities do you and your loved one require additional support to do?
Home care is a great option for many people who want to remain at home when it makes sense to do so, but it will not work for some others who require professional medical assistance in addition to non-medical care. Again, this is a very personal decision that only you and your loved ones can make. But it is important to remember that there are options available for individuals and families who need additional support.
Making the Two Work Together
Some families decide to elect the best of both worlds by combining nursing home and in-home care assistance. Our professional caregivers are able to support individuals who are residing in nursing home to ensure they are getting the level of care and attention they need. This combination offers all of the support that a nursing home facility can provide along with the compassionate support offered by a in-home care professional.
Contact Us for a Free Evaluation Today!
Comfort Home Care can provide you with solutions and answers to your questions regarding the benefits of home care vs. nursing home care and what would make the most sense for your loved one’s situation. Please give us a call or contact us online to schedule a complimentary evaluation that can determine the levels of care desired and needed to keep your elderly loved one safe, comfortable, and taken care of during the aging process.