Need help finding care?
In a variety of situations, helping your elderly parent remain in their home by hiring caregivers may be a better option than assisted living. Commonly, elderly parents voice a strong desire to stay at home because it is where they feel most comfortable. Home ownership, competent household management, sound financial assets, and a willingness to hire in-home care may justify aging in place instead of moving to assisted living. In-home care can play a paramount role in your parents' future happiness, therefore, it's up to you to evaluate their mental and physical capacities to live somewhat independently.
Ask yourself these questions to see if it's worth trying in-home care.
- Does your parent demonstrate a steadfast resolve to remain at home?
- Does your parent own their home and possess financial means to support ongoing household expenses?
- Is your parent willing to hire caregivers to lend a hand?
- Does your parent feel safe when they are at home alone, including at night time?
- Does your parent drive or have access to public transportation to get to and from appointments and regular errands?
- Is your parent able to move around safely within the home, and are they able to make home modifications to reinforce their safety?
- Does your parent welcome family, neighbors and friends for social visits and allow others to "check-up" on them?
- Does your parent take initiative to join social activities, volunteer, and participate in community events to avoid isolation?
- Does your parent have the financial means to hire a caregiver to assist with activities of daily living, including personal care?
- Does your parent prove to be capable of managing the household bills and home maintenance?
- Does your parent accept that a family member or another responsible party may need to assist or oversee in-home care?
- Does your parent take care of their healthcare needs, including going to doctor visits and taking medications properly?
- Does your parent prepare and eat well balanced meals and maintain adequate nutrition?
- Does your parent think clearly and generally use good judgement to make sound day to day household decisions?
- Does your parent value the independence of living on their own or cherish living with their spouse at home?
- Does your parent accept responsibility of caring for their spouse; if so, are they willing to hire additional help to relieve the burden of caregiving?
- Does your parent maintain a clean and tidy environment or are they able to hire assistance to manage housekeeping, laundry, and other domestic tasks?
- Is your parent capable of arranging adult day care should it be needed to supplement in-home care?
- Is your parent able and willing to access an emergency medical alert system should it be needed?
- Is your parent able to find caregivers, either home care agency employees or independently hired employees, in the area where they live?
Aging in place is not always practical for numerous reasons. Health problems, safety issues, isolation, inability to afford full-time professional caregivers, lack of a primary caregiver, and/or financial strain of home ownership are all viable reasons to consider assisted living rather than in-home care. Furthermore, assisted living may offer unique features that can positively influence your decision. Daily meals prepared by professional chefs, 24 hour supervision and security, onsite transportation, and a multitude of in-house social activities may be very desirable to your loved one.
Ask yourself these questions to debate moving to assisted living.
- Is your parent feeling lonely, abandoned, or isolated?
- Does your parent feel afraid at night or experience anxiety when they are alone at home?
- Does your parent enjoy the companionship of others, such as sharing meals in a common dining area?
- Does your parent experience difficulty getting around the home safely due to stairs, narrow doorways, or restricted bathroom spaces?
- Is your parent's health deteriorating due to poor medication compliance or limited access to medical care?
- Does your parent have nutritional deficiencies that are likely attributed to lack of daily prepared, well-balanced meals and snacks?
- Does your parent need considerable assistance with activities of daily living (ADLS) and becoming progressively dependent upon outside help?
- Does your parent have trouble arranging transportation for errands, shopping, and appointments?
- Does your parent find delight in joining group activities such as arts and crafts, games, movies, music, book clubs and garden clubs?
- Does your parent require or gain peace of mind through the security of 24-hour access to an emergency response system?
- Does your parent value staying fit though regular exercise and enjoy participation in wellness classes or physical therapy?
- Does your parent take pleasure in going on regular group trips to concerts, the theatre, museums, sporting events and other cultural activities?
- Does your parent find it hard to manage household responsibilities including bill paying, home maintenance, and housekeeping?
- Does your parent pose a harmful fall risk that requires serious fall precautions and constant supervision?
- Does your parent present a safety risk due to forgetfulness or confusion resulting in potential accidents in the home?
- Does your parent protest or refuse to hire in-home care because of distrust or suspicion of outsiders coming in to the home?
- Does your parent need extensive in-home caregivers (greater than 8 hours daily) that is becoming a financial burden?
- Does your parent suffer with Alzheimer's that has advanced to frequent wandering, getting lost, or potentially harming themselves?
- Does your parent lack a family member or a responsible person to serve as a primary caregiver to oversee in-home care needs?
- Is your parent overwhelmed with the burden of caring for their spouse and unable to manage this responsibility without substantial assistance?
About the Author
Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 43 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.