Many seniors prefer to “age in place,” living out their later years in their own homes, especially when faced with the outdated concept of old “nursing homes.” However, today’s senior can enjoy a wide range of choices in what his or her life will look like in the years to come, including options for still-active seniors who simply want to downsize, or seniors with medical conditions that would benefit from easy access to medical care. Below are three considerations in this decision, and the pros and cons of staying at home or moving to a nursing facility.
1. Access to Care
While access to care at home is definitely a possibility, it’s important to consider how much care a senior will need, and when he or she will need it. There are agencies that provide a range of services, from assistance in daily tasks (such as preparing meals, taking medication, grooming, etc.), to simple companionship, to more intensive medical care. You can even arrange for physical and occupational therapists to come to the house to provide therapy on a regular basis, helping maintain quality of life for as long as possible. Care services can range from a few times a week, to daily, or even overnight. Many agencies also offer “palliative care,” meaning someone coming to stay with a senior for several hours to allow a caregiver personal time to run errands, make appointments, or just take a break. In-home care can be substantially more expensive than care in a facility, but there are pros and cons to both choices.
Nursing homes are probably the most convenient way to ensure you or a loved one will always have immediate access to medical-grade nursing care, although it’s important to review what a potential facility offers, since it can vary. Some facilities provide the additional benefit of offering a range of care options, allowing residents to move around as needed. For example, a resident may need knee surgery, so for the six weeks of recovery, he or she can move into the facility’s rehab wing, then return to his or her permanent room once they’ve recovered. These types of residences offering continuous care are helpful for couples, where one member may need more medical care at any given time, allowing the other member to visit easily and maintain most of his or her regular daily routine.
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