As your loved ones age, you may be questioning what’s best for them in terms of their health and safety—especially if they begin to develop a disability or memory-related condition that makes it unsafe for them to remain alone at home. At this point, you and your family have to decide whether it’s best for your loved one to age in place with home care or to move into a nursing home.
Of course, everyone’s care needs are different. Some individuals may thrive in an assisted living facility, while others may prefer to remain in familiar surroundings. The guide below discusses the advantages and disadvantages of home care vs. a nursing home so you can make an educated decision about what’s best for your loved one.
Does home care seem like the best fit for your loved one? LightSpring Home Care delivers world-class in-home care services. Contact us today to learn how our caregivers can help your loved one thrive at home.
Home Care Services
In-home care services help your loved one feel comfortable and safe at home, which typically includes assistance with personal care and housekeeping tasks. The level of assistance for each client varies based on their physical and cognitive ability—home health aides (HHAs) can help with anything from buttoning a shirt and styling hair to continuous mobility assistance. With home care, a huge advantage is that services can be easily tailored to each client.
Home care services often include:
- Grooming, bathing, and using the bathroom
- Mobility assistance and safety supervision
- Meal planning, preparation, and feeding assistance
- Light housekeeping (dusting, vacuuming, etc.)
- Companion care (enjoying hobbies, transportation, etc.)
How Much Does Home Care Cost?
Home care costs vary depending on where you live and what kind of services you need. In New Jersey, for example, home health aides (HHA) cost between $29 and $33 per hour. A standard 44 hours of care per week will cost between $1,276 and $1,452 per week or between $66,352 and $75,504 per year. While in Eastern Pennsylvania, 44 hours per week of in-home care from an HHA may cost around $28 per hour, which comes to about $1,234 per week or $64,168 per year.
Home Care Pros and Cons
Home care has many advantages over nursing homes, but there are also a few pain points to consider before you make a final decision.
There are many advantages of in-home care for your loved one, the biggest being their ability to remain at home. For many, home is a place that feels comfortable and secure. It’s full of good memories, and it’s easily accessible to friends and family. How your loved one feels about their surroundings affects their mental and emotional health, so aging in place can keep them healthier for longer.
Additionally, the care model of one caregiver caring for one person at a time allows for more holistic, focused care customized to your loved one’s needs. For instance, rather than a standardized diet from a cafeteria, you and your caregiver can prepare meals together. This interaction provides enrichment, a sense of purpose, and customized nutrition.
Home care also empowers seniors to retain their independence, privacy, and dignity. Since care takes place in the home, they can dress and bathe in their own space, eat and engage in hobbies whenever they feel like it, and remain connected to their community. They also retain control over things like how warm or cold their space is kept, which prevents feelings of helplessness or anxiety.
Depending on what your loved one needs, home care is also often more affordable than nursing home care. Since in-home care also allows for a more personal connection with the caregiver—which is known to improve a person’s mental and emotional health—this option may be more cost-effective and better for your loved one.
A possible disadvantage to home care is that your loved one may require medical care, which isn’t something that a home health aide can provide. However, home health care and nursing care can provide medical care, but this can be much more expensive than non-medical personal care services. You can offset the cost of medical home care by scheduling just a few hours of private-duty nursing per week and scheduling an HHA for the rest of the time.
Nursing Home Services
As the name suggests, nursing home services take place in a residential facility, such as an assisted living community or rehabilitation center. These facilities are staffed by multidisciplinary teams of nurses and HHAs who are responsible for ensuring their residents are clean, comfortable, receiving appropriate medication, and getting appropriate nutrition. Many of these facilities also have regular activities and enrichment programs for residents to enjoy.
How Much Do Nursing Homes Cost?
Throughout the United States, the average annual cost of living in a nursing home is $90,000, which breaks down to around $7,500 per month. This is approximately $15,000 to $30,000 more per year than 44 hours per week of in-home care.
Nursing Home Pros and Cons
As with any service, some nursing homes are better than others, and many offer different services depending on where they’re located and what their community needs most. Though there are general pros and cons to nursing home care, it’s also important to research specific facilities and what they offer.
In a nursing home facility, your loved one has access to medical and personal care 24/7. Residents’ conditions are monitored to address changes and avoid emergencies, which helps keep your loved one safe and healthy. This same principle applies to meeting their dietary needs.
Nursing homes are also secure facilities with guidelines in place to keep memory care residents from wandering or leaving the center.
Many of the disadvantages of nursing homes are related to a person’s mental and emotional well-being. Moving away from home—and possibly from friends and family—can have a negative impact on your loved one’s emotional state. They may feel isolated, lonely, and become depressed.
Seniors in nursing homes also frequently lose the majority of their independence. They have little control over things like what they eat or which activities are available to them. If they require bathing assistance, their showers are often scheduled according to the facility caregivers’ availability.
Additionally, nursing homes have many residents to care for, so your loved one won’t get the same personalized attention from caregivers in a facility as they would during in-home care. Since nursing home costs are typically much higher than the cost of home care, you may actually be paying more for your loved one to receive standardized, less personal care.
Why Home Care is Often Better Than a Nursing Home
The greatest benefit to home care over a nursing home is that home care empowers your loved one to age in place. This not only allows them to remain in familiar surroundings but also exercise personal freedoms such as setting their own schedule and remaining a part of their local community.
Additionally, aging in place is good for a person’s mental and emotional health because they can continue to enjoy their favorite activities in the comfort and security of home.
Get Started With Home Care Today From LightSpring Home Care
At LightSpring Home Care, our goal is to help you or your loved one retain your independence at home. Our caregivers are fully insured and experienced in providing assistance with everything from meal prep and light housekeeping to 24-hour safety supervision.
For holistic home care delivered with compassion and respect, contact LightSpring Home Care today.