A growing portion of the older population wants to stay in their homes as long as possible. This is known as “aging in place” and has several benefits when it is appropriate for the individual. However, there are some other care concerns to consider when deciding whether someone is at the point of needing additional help.
Most people want to remain in their homes because of the comfort, familiarity, and memories within it. Moving into assisted living or a nursing home is a big change for anyone, but especially for a senior who feels the loss of their independence during this transition. Remember that, when it is safe for them to stay there, someone’s home can support their overall mental and physical health.
If staying in the same place is important to your loved one, look for ways to ease your mind while also protecting their independence. Is there a neighbor or friend who can check on them each week? Can you drop in every other weekend to make sure things are going well?
Many adult children or other loved ones start thinking about these issues because they’re concerned over safety. Triggering events prompting a conversation about additional care needs include a loved one beginning to show signs of dementia or suffering one or more physical incidents like a fall in their home.
As a family member, it’s natural to want to do everything you can to care for a loved one. Caregiving, however, can be very difficult and time-consuming. It can be even more challenging if you don’t live nearby. If your time and that of other family members can no longer support a loved one, a nursing home or assisted living may be the answer.
Whether or not your loved one owns their home is the first consideration. Ongoing mortgage payments are just part of the puzzle. It can be hard for people to part with their home, but maintenance concerns and costs can be problematic. Evaluate the age of appliances and yard maintenance required, too. At some point a home might be more trouble than it’s worth to the occupant.
If a loved one only needs help with light housekeeping or meal preparation, they may not need to move to another location, especially a nursing home. Local organizations or a part-time hire could help with these needs while allowing your loved one to stay in their home.
However, if they have more advanced medical needs or challenges with multiple activities of daily living, in-home care from a medical professional could bridge the gap. For more advanced situations, a nursing home might be appropriate.
There are other care options along the spectrum in between care services provided by family and a nursing home. Part-time help from someone local such as a nurse, in-home care providers, assisted living, and adult day care are just a few. For someone who needs extra support but does not require the support of a formal nursing home, these options are well worth exploring.
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