Although in-home care is the oldest form of care it is to often over looked as a viable option. In today’s fast paced, institutionally focused, society most families considering elder care are being pushed to the idea of assisted living facilities. As these facilities are large and often receive government funding they have substantially greater pull. This wealth of resources helps them to generate and spread vast bits of information regarding information that further supports their institutional view of “proper” care in the geriatric field. Now, this is not to say that assisted living facilities are not at times a necessity. Clearly there are situations where individuals require such a high level of to round-the-clock, medical assistance and care that it would not be feasible or safe to provide it to them in-home. With that said before choosing to move your loved one to an assisted living facilities there are several factors that should be consider.
1. Momentary: It is a common misconception that in-home care is not affordable. In reality it is often much more cost effective as compared to live-in facilities. Without the cost of maintaining a large facility and keeping a mandated number of staff, in-home care facilities have a much smaller overhead. They can further cut the cost to their clients my personalizing the amount of time spent with each individual client. This customizability allows in-home providers to hire staff as needed and to pay staff based on services provided rather then a set rate. Beyond the simply upfront momentary consideration individuals should consider their estates. Most assisted living facilities will accept Medicaid to off set the cost of care and this fact often prompts people to believe it is the more affordable choice. However, be warned that should the cost of your care exceeds Medicaid a lien can be placed on personal property, such as a home, in order to off set the additional costs. When you choose in-home care cost of service is provided up front. This transparency in cost provides you the ability to budget effectively and avoid the “surprise” cost often associated with nursing homes.
3. Mental Health:Being removed from one’s owns home can be traumatic for any person at any age. Where as most of us will cope and readjust such a large change the effect of such a life-altering event is sometimes reversible in the elderly. The unfortunate fact is that age makes us much more venerable to mental disorders. As our brain ages it starts to loose elasticity. We come rigid in our thought process and behaviors and as such our ability to readjust and overcome situational changes diminishes. A study in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association found that 35% of nursing home patients developed moderate to serve depression. In comparison, another study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine found that only a little under 11% of in-home care patients report feelings of depression.
2. Physical Health: Whether is it a weakened immune system due to failing mental health or the close quarters between residents, outbreaks of infectious disease are a regular concern faced by nursing homes. Even in facilities that have plans in place to prevent illness in their patients, studies have indicated that nursing home residents have a much hire risk of developing infectious diseases. Of the most prevalent infectious disease found in nursing homes are pneumonia, influenza, skin infections and UTI. Nursing home residents are at risk of exposure to a number of other disease butthe above-mentioned currently rank in the top five most prominent diseases found in nursing homes. These diseases in the general population are typically not life threating however, in the geriatric population they can and often are life threatening. Pneumonia and influenza alone killed approximately 544 individuals in every 100,000 over the age of 74 in 2013. In-home care in comparison allows for a greater control over the client’s environment and therefore a better ability to limit the exposure to infectious diseases.
4. Personal Individual Care: When you choose an in-home care provider you are also choosing individual personal care. The caregiver providing assistance to your loved one only responsibility is to them directly. It is no secret that nursing homes are notoriously understaffed and Federal law has done little to help ensure greater care. The minimum staffing regulations are so low that if a facilities just meets the Federal minimum each resident will only receive 20 minutes a day of personal care. Lack of staff is not the only pressing concern when discussing the limited care available within nursing homes. Nursing homes see one of the highest overturn in staff of any other care field. One study found that more than 50% of nursing home staff leave the facility within the first year of hiring. This lack of staff and regular overturn leads to a community of employees with less vested interest and/or understanding in their clients emotional and physical well-being, unlike the personal attention provided by in-home care providers.
5. For Dignity’s Sake: Most of us find it difficult admit to our weaknesses. It is often hard to ask for help, even when the need is blatant. The struggle to accept the passing of time and the limits it places on our life style is shared by all. Why should we not want our loved ones to find comfort and peace-of-mind in their golden years? In-home care can provide just that. Whereas live-in facilities remove individuals from their communities, in-home care allows individuals to remain in their own home and continue to be a part of their community. In-home care providers give their clients the ability to attend mass at their local churches, meet with friends, shop in familiar stores and continue on with their daily life with confidence. By assisting their clients and allowing them to continue their lives in their own personal space in-home care helps foster both mental and physical well being which supports over all health and happiness.
If it has become clear that you or someone you love requires assistance, it is important to carefully weigh your options. In-home care may not be suitable in every situation. However, after reviewing the prevalent pitfalls in nursing homes it is easy to see why in-home is truly an excellent alternative. The most important thing to consider when choosing in-home care is your care provider. There are many choices available when it comes to choosing the right fit but remember they not all created equal. Interview your provider, ask pressing questions that apply to your specific concerns, make sure you are satisfied with your in-home staff, most importantly remember you always have a choice. If you would like further information about how in-home care can benefit you or a loved one please do not hesitate to contact us at NY-Caregivers.