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Home-Care vs Nursing Home: What Is the Best Fit for Your Family?

An elderly woman being cared for by a kind caregiver

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


September 21, 2020

Did you know that nearly 70 percent of Americans who reach the age of 65 will, at some point in their lives, be unable to care for themselves?

If you have aging parents, it’s likely very important to you that they receive the best possible care.

Many families are faced with the same conundrum. Home-care versus nursing home: which is right for my parents?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of putting elderly parents in nursing homes, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of home care for the elderly.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Nursing Homes

When an elderly person is no longer able to care for themselves, their children might consider putting them in a nursing home. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of an old age home.

Nursing Home Benefits

Nursing homes are staffed with medical professionals around the clock. This means if your loved one requires 24/7 medical attention, they’ll always get the help they need. The staff at nursing homes can fulfill both medical and non-medical functions.

Another benefit of nursing homes is that they tend to be quite secure. If your parents have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and tend to wander, this can help ensure that they stay safe.

At a nursing home, your elderly parents will have social opportunities they might not otherwise have. Surrounded by peers in the same age group, some residents find it nice to have people their age to talk to. It’s common for people to feel more and more isolated as they get older, so this is a plus.

Nursing Home Drawbacks

Living in a nursing home is incredibly expensive, particularly for high-quality institutions. The costs of nursing homes can be financially crippling even for families that are fairly comfortable. In 2018, the average cost of a private room was $8,365, amounting to more than $100,000 per year.

Nursing homes are also problematic because they don’t allow individuals as much independence as living at home. This can lead to your elderly parents feeling old and helpless. There are often fairly rigid schedules at nursing homes, and if it might be disagreeable for individuals to have to conform to this.

Another potential con of nursing homes is the possibility of poor care. There have been a number of nightmarish stories from nursing homes over the years including abuse and neglect. While there are many above-board institutions that provide good care, it’s important to do your research ahead of time.

An additional important consideration is the fact that 42% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been linked to nursing homes. As the pandemic swept across the world, nursing homes around the country closed their doors to any and all visitors. This was particularly difficult for the families of those who passed away from the disease, as they were unable to visit them in their final moments.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Home-Care

An alternative to nursing home care is in-home care. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of elderly parents living in their own home and receiving home care.

Home-Care Benefits

One of the most obvious benefits of receiving home care is that individuals can stay in their own homes. Most elderly people would choose to remain in their own house if they had the option, and it can be difficult for them to make a big move so late in life.

Living in their own home affords elderly people the opportunity to “age in place.” They aren’t removed from their social network, their routines, and their normal surroundings. This generally leads to feeling happier and more secure, which is beneficial to mental and physical health.

Being in familiar surroundings can be especially important for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In a place they know and recognize, they can feel calmer and like they have a great sense of control. Any senior might find moving to a new place stressful, but it can be particularly unsettling for an individual with dementia.

With in-home care, your parents can maintain their own schedules. They don’t have to eat dinner or take a bath at a regimented time. Having the freedom to make one’s own decisions is a valuable aspect to anyone’s adult life.

In-home care is also much less expensive than nursing homes. You can also tailor the number of hours that your elderly parents receive care. For example, if they simply need help with some domestic tasks and don’t need extensive medical care, you may only pay for help a handful of hours a week.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are seeking alternatives to nursing homes. While the disease has spread quickly in nursing homes throughout the country, home care offers an option for your parents to socially isolate and receive the care they need.

Home-Care Drawbacks

If your parent is very social and lives alone, they’ll have fewer social opportunities at home than at a nursing home. While they will receive companionship, some seniors might enjoy having people their own age to talk to.

Occasionally older people are wary of accepting external support, as it can take away their sense of control to need outside help. In this instance, in-home care is still likely preferable to a nursing home. It’s important to take the time to talk with your parents about their concerns and find a provider they feel comfortable with.

Home-Care Vs Nursing Home: Which Is Right for Your Parents?

The home care vs nursing home question is one only you and your family can answer. Elderly care is a decision that is specific to each family.

That being said, while there are benefits of living in a nursing home, for many families the negative outweighs the positive. Home care allows elderly individuals to receive the care they need without making drastic changes to their everyday lives.

Are you considering home care for your aging parents? If so, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.