Many years ago, the common practice was to care for older relatives at home. As parents aged, their children and their children’s children worked together to care for aging parents and grandparents.
However, nowadays, families are spread out. As children grow, they move out and start their own families. Multi-generation homes are few and far between. This separation results in the bulk of caregiving falling to just one child. Usually, aging parents move in with one son or daughter who handles the majority of the caregiving alone. It can be rewarding but exhausting for the caregiver and patient.
These are the primary triggers that may cause a family to consider nursing home care:
Senior’s health declines. Your senior may develop dementia or suffer a physical ailment that can no longer be treated independently. When a person is hospitalized under Medicare, they often go to a nursing home for rehabilitation (up to 100 days is covered by Medicare). During that time, families can decide to take the senior home or consider long-term skilled care at the nursing home.
Caregiver’s health declines. Caregivers must be physically, mentally, and emotionally able to care for someone. Their duties include making meals, housekeeping, coping with emergencies, and providing companionship. Whether a spouse, child, or someone else, the caregiver may no longer be able to offer the level of care needed.
Cost of home care. A home health aide usually costs $20 per hour. Staffing can become an issue if the senior requires 24 hour skilled care. A nursing home may cost $220 per day but includes 24 hour skilled care. Also, your senior may qualify for Medicaid benefits to offset the cost of a nursing home (or even care at home).
There are various factors to consider when deciding between nursing home care and care at home. Seniors with dementia going to a nursing home may feel confused and not understand where they are initially. Some may be dissatisfied and complain about staff, facilities, food, or routine.
However, other seniors may enjoy the bustle and activity of the nursing home. Loneliness can be a problem for seniors staying at home. Nursing homes offer activities to keep seniors engaged, including church services, shopping trips, and games.
Deciding between nursing home or care at home can be an emotionally difficult decision. Taking the time to consider these various aspects will help you and your family make the best decision possible.