Is the subject home health care vs. nursing home argument on you decision horizon? Cost is certainly a factor in the equation of perception.
Our research has shown that if you are looking on the low end of nursing home care, then the prices of home care (24 by 7 hours) is slightly higher. On the other hand, if you are looking for a high-end nursing home, then its cost will be 15-30% higher.
Many of our aging parents want to live on their own. According to AARP, more than 95% of seniors want to stay in their home as long as possible, even if they need help with day-to-day activities. After all, home is comfortable and familiar, and they are surrounded by memories and circumstances that make them feel safe.
There is no magical age when a senior may need help. There are many 90-year-olds who live at home and need very little help. On the other hand, there are 60 and 70-year olds who find their ability to live independently waning.
It’s a hard reality for adult sons and daughters to face: when is it time to become a caregiver yourself, get help in the home, or move your parents to a nursing home or assisted living facility?
Let’s explore the pros and cons of each living situation so you can make an informed decision about what is best.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Home Care
How often we have heard seniors say: “If you move me to a nursing home I will crawl up and die.” The major advantage of home health care is that seniors get to “age in place” among their friends and surroundings that make them feel secure and happy.
They can maintain their freedom. The main problems with staying at home are they may need help with cleaning, meal preparation, driving, grooming and other tasks.
However, if seniors need a little help, there are various options available:
- Enlist friends or family. The chore of being a caregiver shouldn’t rest on one person’s shoulders. Enlist family or friends to help with tasks your aging parents find challenging. Many religious communities or organizations have volunteers who can help with driving and prepare nutritious meals. Or you can have meals delivered to the home.
- Hire in–home care. Home health care agencies such as Wood Home Care have compassionate caregivers who can come into the home on a part-time, hourly or 24/7 basis. We provide different levels of care, from personal care to dementia care. This can provide you with peace of mind knowing that someone is there to pinch hit for you. In some cases, the home care costs can be reimbursed by Medicare, Veteran’s aid or other sources.
- Remote monitoring. Remote devices are now available for both emergency situations or to remind your loved ones to take their medication. Web-based tools are often available so you can know your parent’s schedules and communicate with any caregivers.
If your parents want to stay in their home, make sure it is as safe as possible because falls are quite common. Do a home maintenance checklist to make sure any hazards such as loose rugs are removed. Also, it may be easier if grab bars are installed in bathrooms.
Other Senior Care Housing Options
According to a study by Clarity, seniors fear to move into a nursing home more than they fear death, mainly because of the institutional feeling and loss of freedom. However, depending on the level of care that is needed, this may be the only option.
There are many different types of senior homes, all providing different services and levels of care Medicare describes them as follows:
- Group homes or board and care homes. Adults live in a home with 10 – 12 people their age and get assistance with bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom.
- Subsidized senior housing. If your loved one has a very moderate income, there are federal and state programs that help pay for housing. Additionally, there may be help with meals and other activities like housekeeping, shopping, and doing the laundry. Residents usually live in their apartments in the complex. Rent payments are usually a percentage of your income (a sliding scale).
- Assisted living facilities mean that your loved one has his/her apartment within a building or a group of buildings, but can get help with meals, transportation, cleaning and social activities. Some of these facilities have health services on site. You pay a monthly fee for rent and utilities and a separate fee for any extras.
- Retirement Communities.The beauty of this type of community is they usually have different living options and progressive levels of care. In other words, you can start out in your home and progress to skilled nursing care when and if you need it. Many retirement communities charge a large fee before you move in plus a monthly maintenance fee.
- Skilled Nursing Facilities. If your loved one needs 24/7 care, skilled nursing facilities have nurses and doctors on site.
- Hospice Care.Ordinarily, for the terminally ill (who have six months or left to live), these facilities primarily make patient’s comfortable and provide counseling for the family. As part of hospice care, you will have a team of doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors and trained volunteers to help you and your family cope with your illness. Depending on your condition, you may get hospice care in a hospice facility, hospital, or nursing home.
The bottom line
The most important questions are: How much care do my loved one’s need and how can we meet these needs considering out budget and lifestyles? Then you as a group can best determine what type of long term care would be the best!