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Home Care Vs. the Alternatives: Making the Right Choice

Updated on January 28, 2020
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Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers.

Considering care options for an aging family member can be a tough choice to make. Some of them would require substantial lifestyle changes, while others not so much. Nevertheless, there is a range of choices available, and each of them comes with their own set of upsides and downsides.

For many families, home care presents itself as the best senior care option, as it allows patients to remain at home and continue living – more or less – as they used to.

In-Home care services are extensive, and they cover the various care needs of the elderly – companionship, meal preparation, home maintenance, medication reminders, and even end of life care, to name a few.

If you want to know whether home care is the best type of care for your aging loved one, learn more about it below.

Possible Alternatives to Home Care

Senior Living Communities

Senior living is more of a living arrangement than a form of care. To free themselves from the worries and responsibilities of living on their own and – ultimately – make life more comfortable as they age, seniors often choose to move into a retirement or senior housing community.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities are often homes designed with aging in place in mind. They provide room, board, day-to-day assistance, and some form of personal care to the seniors they care for.

Concierge care

Seniors who reside in a senior living or assisted living community may require more assistance than what is typically offered in the facility. Concierge care provides these seniors with dedicated caregivers to support them and give them personalized care while in a facility.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes are for seniors with more complex health issues and medical needs. They have in-house skilled nurses and medical professionals and offer direct and immediate medical assistance to the seniors under their care.

Hospice facilities

Hospices offer care to those who are nearing the end of life. While these facilities provide some level of medical care, they are not on the same level as nursing homes. Hospices focus on making the end of life stage as comfortable for patients as possible.

When is Home Care A Good Option?

Healthy and fully-able seniors

Many seniors are healthy enough to live reasonably independently and take care of most of their daily needs. However, there are things and activities – like household chores, laundry, and home maintenance, to name a few – that could be made easier and more convenient with some help.

If a senior can function fairly well at home with little assistance, leaving home for a nursing home may not be necessary. In these types of situations, home care or companionship is probably the best solution. A caregiver can visit every day to monitor their health and help with the more challenging daily tasks.

Home care is the best possible option for families who wish to have their elderly at home but need someone to watch over them daily. Caregivers can provide family members with regular updates on the patient's condition, giving them peace of mind while they're away or busy at work.

Senior couples who wish to stay together

It’s natural for senior couples to want to stay together. And while this isn’t an issue if both of them can function independently to some extent, it can be a problem if one of them requires a different level of care.

It would not be wise nor financially sound for a couple to take up residence in a nursing home when only one of them is in need of nursing care. In cases like this, home care offers a viable option – especially if one or both of them wish to spend their days at home instead of a senior living facility.

Whether it's round-the-clock supervision, household chores, grooming, or the other more complicated and burdensome aspects of elderly care, senior couples can significantly benefit from having an onsite caregiver who checks on them daily or at least a few days a week.

End of life care

It's often easier for family members to turn to nursing homes, nursing homes, and hospices for end of life care because, whether you admit it or not, most of us would rather avoid the idea of dealing with death.

Still, some seniors hope to spend their remaining days at home rather than in an institution. And in certain situations, receiving hospice-level care at home may be the better option.

Home care at the end-of-life of stage affords the client and their loved ones a chance to spend quality time together, void of the white-washed walls and sterile environment of most care facilities.

Note, however, that end of life poses enormous responsibilities and challenges. Depending on the situation, and the attention and the assistance the patient needs, there are times when care is best served in a facility. Thus, it's crucial to seek the advice and guidance of medical professionals before making decisions.

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