At some point, most of us will face a time when we will need to support or even take our aging parents and other family members in hand when they are no longer able to care for themselves on their own. If that time comes for your family, knowing the options, and advantages/disadvantages of those options will enable you to wisely make those choices for them. Seek unbiased advice wherever possible. Many communities have a council on aging or other governmental, faith or not-for-profit organization that can provide you with timely information. If you are unable to locate such an organization, seek out the local Meals on Wheels program, and they can probably point you in the right direction.
At first, home healthcare might seem to be a daunting option, however, after examining all of the types and methods of care available, this should almost always be your first choice. If an aging person is medically able to stay in the home that they love with its precious memories, neighbors and familiar surroundings and cherished objects, better health outcomes can be expected. Levels of in home care range from several visits per week related to specific care issues, to live in/around the clock options. In most cases these levels of care can cost less, and often significantly less than expensive assisted living facilities. Home eldercare gives the senior and family flexibility and control over aid and care versus assisted living facilities that often have rigid rules and protocols.
Physical home modifications for aging in place can be easily and quickly accomplished, and some costs may be covered by Medicare or other insurance. These modifications can include grab bars and shower/tub replacement in the bathroom and other locations in the house. Combined with monitored fall alarms and other needed medical equipment, such as hospital beds, lift chairs, etc., these modifications will ensure safety, bolster confidence and can practically bring the family member back to full independence within their home. Better medical care outcomes and increased quality of life can be enjoyed when the trauma of abruptly leaving comfortable, familiar surroundings and entering a completely new and jarring environment of an assisted living facility can be avoided. Often the stress of relocation and loss of a feeling of “control” over their own affairs can have immediate negative health consequences. If your senior family member is covered by long term care insurance, or eligible for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits, almost all of these in-home care options are covered if a valid medical need exists.
Ultimately individual circumstances will determine which is the right choice for your loved one, but senior care in an assisted living facility should be your last resort, both financially and for quality of life.
Bonus Ted Talk -- give it a watch, it’s really interesting and on the point: