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Home Care or a Nursing Home? 5 Questions to Help You Decide

Pharmacist helping elderly woman
It’s a fact: the majority of older adults would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, rather than move into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. But is this always the best option for an increasingly frail parent or loved one? If cost were no object, home care today could accommodate almost all conditions or illnesses, including skilled nursing situations that involve round-the-clock care by nurses. Many home care companies are now able to care for most chronically ill patients at home under the supervision of his or her doctor if clients are able to afford the extra costs involved in this type of specialty care. However, routine home care is typically very affordable and involves much less serious factors to consider.

We’ve prepared a checklist of the top five criteria to take into consideration when your family is faced with the decision to keep your aging loved ones at home or if a move to an assisted living facility or nursing home is warranted:

  • Is the senior able to call for assistance in an emergency situation or is total supervision and assistance needed?

  • Can the frail senior still get up and down out of a chair or bed? Requiring assistance with toileting means that care may be needed throughout the day (and possibly the night) and that would be charged hourly, possibly moving into a 24-hour, seven-days-per-week situation. The difference in cost between a home care company and a nursing home would have to be carefully considered in this type of situation. However, if the person is able to get out of a chair or the bed by themselves, then the care needed would be sporadic and home care could be considered first.

  • Is the senior able to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming and eating without assistance or with minimal assistance, or is total assistance in all areas needed?

  • Is the senior able to socialize and enjoy recreation or does the senior need an escort and encouragement to attend any activities?

  • What is the mental status of the senior? It is far easier to care for an alert and mentally sharp but physically frail senior at home than it is to care for a cognitively impaired but physically active senior.

Making the decision to sell a loved one's home and move him or her into a facility is an unalterable decision, and may not be necessary with the dedicated care and service that professional home care agencies can provide. Care should be taken by the family to have a complete assessment of the senior or disabled individual done by a RN (registered nurse) to determine medical conditions and prognoses, formal and informal support systems available for assistance, financial ability for care, mental status and family customs prior to making any formal recommendation for long-term care that involves a move away from home.

If your family is facing the tough decision of whether your senior loved one can remain safely at home, feel free to give us a call at 866-464-2344 to discuss the situation, or complete our short online contact form. We can create a unique care plan to address your concerns and ensure that your loved one is safe and well cared for, and we’re available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, for as much or as little care as is needed. Let us know how we can help you!

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