As people age, some tasks aren’t as easy to manage as they were before. As this begins to happen, some type of change is in order. Perhaps that change is arranging for some type of help to come in a few times a week. Other situations may call for a live-in caregiver who can manage the tasks that you can no longer do safely. There are also instances when moving to an assisted living facility would be the best solution.
How do you know what’s right in your case? The question of assisted living vs home care is one that should be considered carefully. The ideal choice will enhance the quality of your life and allow you to enjoy the years that you have left. Here are some points to ponder that will help you determine the course of action that would be best for you or for someone that you love.
Understanding When It’s Time for Home Care
It’s not unusual for people to have more difficulty getting things done as they age. In some cases, it’s possible to augment what you or your loved one can do by having someone take on some of those tasks. This may be a live-in caregiver or at least one who is present for several hours a day. If any of the following are occurring now, home care could be the solution.
- The Home is Getting More Cluttered:
While clutter is common in most homes, it’s kept to a minimum thanks to regular cleaning. A chance in the way you or your loved one keep house could indicate that the ability to keep ahead of the clutter isn’t what it was in the past. If so, now may be the time to think about someone who can come in and help out.
- Changes in Personal Hygiene:
Someone who has usually been consistent with taking showers, brushing the teeth, and in general remaining clean and tidy may begin to develop problems with those activities due as they age. The cause may be difficulty getting in and out of a shower or tub, or it could be forgetting to take care of personal hygiene. Whatever the case, a home caregiver could help with ensuring the client bathes regularly and is kept clean.
- Driving Skills Have Deteriorated:
While you or your loved one may still be able to drive, it’s become more difficult lately. Maybe it has to do with feeling more nervous behind the wheel. It could also be that coordination or response times are not what they were in the past. In this type of situation, a home care specialist can take over the driving and help the client get where he or she wants to go.
- Forgetting to Take Medications:
It’s one thing to forget to take a pill once in a while. It’s another thing to begin missing doses on a regular basis. Along with placing the person’s health at a greater risk, this could also mean further compromise of physical and mental ability. If someone is coming in daily and ensuring you take your medication on time, this can be averted.
- Mishaps That Could Have Led to Disasters:
It was fortunate that a neighbor happened to stop by before the contents of the pot on the stove started burning. The same is true with the cake in the oven that was pretty much burned to a crisp. Those are events that can do more than ruin cookware. If things proceed enough, they could lead to serious problems. Someone to come in and prepare meals would make a difference.
- Missed Appointments and Social Engagements: If you or your loved one is beginning to have trouble keeping up with appointments or social engagements, it may require more than making better use of a reminder feature on a smartphone calendar. A home care provider can make sure no doctor appointment is missed and that everything is ready to go out and meet friends for dinner.
- A Decrease in Mobility:
When getting around the house has become more difficult, it’s easy to get depressed. Having someone come in regularly and help makes aging at home a little easier to bear. A helping hand to get out of bed, to the garden, or even with settling in to watch television or read a book will definitely make the days more pleasant.
Realizing When The Time Has Come for Assisted Living
While much can be done to ensure you or your loved one can remain at home with the aid of a caregiver, there are times when moving to an assisted living facility is worth considering. Here are some signs that it may be time to consider this option.
- Wandering is Beginning to Happen: While the caregiver is preparing lunch, the patient ends up leaving the home and wandering down the street. While that’s frightening enough, the fact that the patient gets lost and isn’t sure how to get back home makes things worse. At this juncture, it’s time to think about an assisted living facility.
- Lots of Aggression and Anger:
Being unable to do what you could do in the past is frustrating. Even so, increase in anger and aggression toward loved ones and at-home caregivers could mean that the time has come to think about another solution. Placement in an assisted living facility could help ease the stress and allow for treatment of the underlying causes of that anger and outbursts.
- Mobility and Other Skills Continue to Deteriorate:
There’s every chance that motor skills and mobility will continue to decrease as time goes on. If it gets to the point that even having someone live in to provide care is not enough, the only real solution is to find an assisted living facility where there’s a team who can be on hand to help.
- An Increased Need for Personal Safety:
Depending on the physical and emotional state of the patient, the day may come when a caregiver is not able to manage all the tasks associated with keeping the patient safe. At that point, assisted living makes sense. Doing so will mean that you or your loved one will remain safe from possible dangers at all times.
The Benefits of Home Care
When making a choice about at home assisted living or moving to an assisted living facility, it helps to consider the benefits associated with each option. After assessing the needs that are present, it helps to look closely at how each setting would do in terms of providing the best quality of life. With ongoing care at home, you get to enjoy the following:
- Remaining in Familiar Surroundings:
With this solution, you get to keep your things, spend time in a space that you know and love, and even feel like a part of the neighborhood for several more years. The continuity can sometimes help you adjust to aging even as you have the chance to still have guests in the space where you’ve been happy for so many years.
- Feeling More in Control of Your Life:
It’s true that doing everything that was possible in years past is no longer an option. Even so, remaining in the home and having someone come in to help does make it easier to feel in control. That’s something many people find helpful as they adjust to being older.
- Enjoying The Fruits of Your Labors:
There’s something to be said for remaining in the home where the kids were raised and that took a lot of work and sacrifice to eventually own outright. Staying in the home with the help of a caregiver makes it all the easier to relish the rewards that came from all that hard work.
Drawbacks to Remaining at Home Even With a Caregiver
While home care is often the right choice, there can be some liabilities to consider. For example, the house still needs to be maintained. That can create quite a drain on financial resources.
The neighborhood may have changed also. It’s not the way it was 30 years ago. The result is that rather than being able to remain and enjoy the neighbors, there’s quite a bit of loneliness.
While memories can be nice, they can also be harmful. If the bad memories seem to take up more of the patient’s time, living in a space that’s free of them could be a healthier alternative.
The Advantages Associated with Assisted Living
In like manner, assisted living provides a number of potential benefits that should be considered:
- Meals are Prepared:
There’s no need to engage in meal planning. That’s great for someone who never liked to cook in the first place.
- The Chance to Make New Friends:
It’s a fact that friends may pass on before we do. By entering a facility, there’s the chance to meet new people and stave off the loneliness.
- Planned Activities:
There’s usually something to do every day if you want to be involved. Those activities provide more than amusement. They can also help make the most of your remaining motor skills and keep your mind sharper.
And Potential Downsides of Assisted Living
Do look at the pros and cons of assisted living before making a decision. Will it mean not having access to your loved ones? Could the structure of such a living arrangement stifle you? Will you find it hard to make new friends? These are all points to consider closely along with all of the potential advantages.
How Do You Choose Between The Two Options?
The choice between assisted home care and moving to an assisted living facility does mean evaluating each option in light of the circumstances. For example, do consider which approach would make more sense financially. The amount of help needed must also be taken into account. The specific health issues that you or your loved one face also play a role in making the decision. Remember that the goal is to do what would provide the safest and the most supportive environment.
Making choices about whether to go with home care for yourself or a loved one, or to find the right assisted living facility isn’t always easy. At Talem Home Care - Northern Virginia, we have the resources and the experience to help you make the best decision. If you opt for home care with assistance, our team will provide ongoing support that allows you to continue enjoying your home. Should you decide that assisted living is the best approach, we can help you find a facility that provides all the benefits and features you want. Call us today at (571) 200-8778 and let’s find the solution that works best in your case.