What type of care is right for you?

home based care

It can be stressful and overwhelming to make decisions for or with ageing loved ones about their future living arrangements, especially if it becomes apparent that they need additional care. Should you opt for home-based care or is an assisted living setting a better idea? The answer is complex and depends a lot on the individual and their particular needs, as well as on the family and their capacity to provide ongoing care. Let’s take a closer look at both options and some of their pros and cons …

What is home-based care?

This is a care option where a lay or trained caregiver is hired to help an ageing loved one with daily living activities. The type of care provided will depend on the needs of the older person, but may include help with getting around the house, personal hygiene, transportation, meal preparation, etc. The biggest advantage of this option is that it allows the ageing person to stay in his/her home or that of a relative while receiving one-on-one care tailored to his/her needs and preferences. The spin-off is unfortunately that there is a potential for social isolation which may lead to depression, cognitive decline and health problems. Financially, home-based care may be a viable option if limited care activities are required but can become very expensive if 24/7 care is needed. It is also important to remember that ongoing family involvement is needed for hiring and managing caregivers as well as planning backup care options. Furthermore, keep in mind that modifications to the home may become necessary if, for instance, a wheelchair is needed.

And what about assisted living?

Assisted living communities are designed to feel home-like and residents usually live in their own apartments or suites with private baths and kitchenettes. Typically, a range of care options are included, varying from mostly independent living to a high level of care. Services may include meals, transportation, group activities and housekeeping. Although transitioning to a group environment is sometimes stressful, there are also many advantages, not least of which is that seniors have plenty of opportunities for social interaction with other residents. The family can also focus more on the quality of their relationship with their older loved one, rather than concentrating on care needs. They don’t need to worry about hiring, scheduling or managing caregivers. Assisted living is also a more affordable way of acquiring 24/7 care and supervision when needed. Furthermore, the level of care can be adapted as needs change over time, as the staff is already in place.

home based care

So, what is the best option for you or your loved one?

The first step in figuring out if you want home-based care or assisted living for your loved one, is to determine how much help he/she needs and to compare that with the help already available. It is important to understand the needs of your ageing family member in all areas of their life and to be realistic about how much help the family can or will provide. A good starting point is to make a list of all the activities that your loved one needs help with on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Next, make a list of how much help you, family or friends can realistically provide on an ongoing basis – remember, this is a long-term commitment, not just something you’ll do for a few weeks or months. After comparing these lists, you should have a clearer idea of the tasks that the senior requires help with and whether or not you can provide that help in a home-based setting. It is also important to keep in mind that care needs may evolve with time and to be honest with yourself about your ability to cope with increasing needs. 

The decision between home-based care and assisted living is a complex and nuanced one but at Nazareth House your ageing loved one can enjoy the benefits of assisted living, while retaining as much as possible independence and living life to the fullest. Our dedicated and compassionate staff provide the highest quality of care and treat residents with the greatest dignity and respect, making the transition so much easier.

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