With our aging population, millions of families everywhere will face the same difficult challenge: how best to care for an aging parent or loved one?
Whether you are just beginning this process or are currently evaluating your options, here are two critical questions in need of answers:
- What is the best elder care choice for my aging loved one?
- How does one decide considering everything at stake – health, well-being, quality of life, and monetary impact?
Fact is, the sheer totality of contributing factors when evaluating caring for the elderly is often overwhelming. And as a result, the best possible outcome is still elusive.
For example, some fall victim to information overwhelm and hit the brakes until their decision becomes urgent. And when the in-home care need does become acute, there is the ever-present danger of rushing to judgment and making a snap decision.
When that happens, everyone suffers families and aged loved ones alike. In this scenario, the entire family unit lives with a choice they aren’t happy with, which is the last thing wanted when faced with this challenging decision.
Will it be in-home care or assisted living?
There are many pros and cons to in-home care and assisted living. (Keep reading, and you’ll notice an easy-to-review list of key plusses and minuses with each option.) The best place to start? The critical factors involved in making an informed choice for your aging loved one. Here’s a helpful overview of the two different care routes for elderly family members.
The In-Home Care Option: Is it for You?
Aging-in-home (with home care assistance) is an explosive trend accelerating across the country. The rate of senior citizens choosing in-home care services for seniors is increasing dramatically. The truth is, in-home care is the fastest growing and most requested service in the U.S today.
With in-home care, different home care agencies supply services based on your loved one’s health and emotional needs. Family members can coordinate with the care providers to form a baseline level of care. And if more management of the seniors’ level of care is essential, in-home care is seriously considered.
The Pros & Cons of In-Home Care for Seniors
- Elderly care services offer lower costs than assisted living
- The senior gets customized, personal care based on their needs
- The senior can stay in a familiar, comfortable environment: their own home (or the home of a relative)
- The senior’s family are the ultimate decision-makers in choosing the caregiver(s)
- A companionship bond between the senior and caregiver is often established
- New, accessible technology and tools help better manage care, including IoT devices, pill dispensers, app interfaces to help manage care
- The senior is still able to maintain a level of independence (and less of a burden on immediate family members)
- High costs if 24/7 care is needed
- Increased family involvement (could be a pro for some)
- Social isolation
- Home modifications may be required
- Regular housekeeping and home maintenance
The Assisted Living Option: What’s most Important to Know Now?
Assisted Living facilities are often the first thought that comes to mind when caring for the elderly. That’s because they have been a staple of senior care for decades.
Private or semi-private rooms are available depending on the cost of care. These facilities can also assist with daily activities for seniors in a managed environment. Choosing this option does require a major life shift for the senior: a move into a facility.
The Pros and Cons of Assisted Living
- A more affordable way to get 24/7 care
- Less family engagement (could be a con for some)
- Opportunity for socialization
- A system is in place to ramp up care through assisted living
- Care is not personalized for the senior
- Quality of care issues
- Extra out of pocket expenses if more intense care is required
- Seniors have little to no control over housing status – could be moved for multiple reasons
- Senior must leave a familiar environment (their home) for an unfamiliar one (a facility)
What to ultimately consider when making your in-home care decision
First, what level of care does your family require? Identifying the seniors’ areas of need is essential.
What is the ideal retirement lifestyle? The senior’s preferences in this area are paramount. Is the senior still relatively independent and prefers aging in their own home, or are they more dependent and need to consider assisted living?
What is the ongoing cost? Since most seniors live on a fixed income, they rely on a combination of retirement savings, social security, and Medicare, so it is essential to consider the best financial option for the senior.
Does the senior have a pet? Pets supply invaluable companionship for older adults. And research shows that pet ownership affects a senior’s overall health and well-being.
Your Primary Outcome: The Gift of Peace of Mind
The decision to care for the elderly is a tough one. The ideal outcome is peace of mind for all concerned. The best solution provides care that meets the needs of the seniors and their families. When this happens, the complexity, stress, and fear of a challenging process are replaced by being at peace with the decision and how it’s working out.
Have you found this article helpful? To learn more about the latest developments with in-home care, reach out to one of our family care advisors or call (925) 905-1662 today.