Weighing the Options for Senior Home Care
We would like to thank Harry Cline, author of The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers and creator of NewCaregiver.org for this article.
According to some statistics, many of us eventually reach a point where we require help with daily activities. For some seniors, living alone is no longer possible. What do you do when your elderly loved one still values independence but isn’t fully self-sufficient? Luckily, there are several senior home care options available, and the Gene Arant Team sorted the key pros and cons relating to each.
By moving into a smaller and more accessible home, the aging population can maintain independence for longer. This is great news for those who want to age in place, since simply eliminating stairs and having an entryway without a threshold can keep seniors coming and going, safely and comfortably.
Before choosing this option, do some research so you can make a fully informed decision. One key factor is the local housing market, as this will help you get a better idea of what to expect when buying or selling. For example, the median home sale price in Austin is $508,000. Make a comparison with the senior’s home value, and consider whether that home is paid for to help shape your decision. Remember to factor in expenses like the down payment and closing costs, too.
Sentimental individuals may have items they aren’t ready to part with, but can’t tote to a smaller home. If that’s the case, consider renting a local storage unit. Tell your loved one that some storage centers even offer discounts to new customers. You can research the cost of local storage spaces in your city to help you find a good deal. With things safely stowed away, you and your senior will have time to mull over what to do with those belongings.
Pros: This option allows the most independence, as long as you find a senior-accessible home within your price range. Contact the Gene Arant Team for expert real estate assistance.
Cons: Depending upon your loved one’s mobility, health, and financial situation, buying a new home may not always be a feasible option.
Living with Family
Moving in with family helps your loved one feel supported and reduces the chances of loneliness or isolation. Before moving your aging parent or grandparent in with you, however, it’s crucial to ensure your home is senior-friendly. You might consider making some home modifications to allow easier accessibility. If you go this route, be sure to assess your home before moving your loved one. For instance, you might replace stairs with ramps (Lowe's sells ramps for less than $200) or lifts to improve safety and mobility.
Pros: Your loved one might enjoy the company of family and the continued ability to age safely and comfortably in place.
Cons: Home modifications aren’t cheap and you may need to hire a professional rather than trying to do all the work yourself.
Sometimes, an assisted living facility is the best option for your loved one. First, make sure your senior understands the difference between assisted living and a nursing home. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities provide a more independent lifestyle. Each adult lives in his or her own apartment-style unit and receives daily assistance with certain tasks, like cooking, cleaning, or medications.
Pros: Your loved one will enjoy a sense of independence and community while getting assistance with daily tasks or activities.
Cons: Many seniors are reluctant to leave their homes, and some facilities are quite expensive. DailyCaring notes there are several ways to pay for assisted living, like a reverse mortgage or private savings, which can complicate your decision that much more. Many families find it helpful to talk with a financial consultant to address these circumstances.
Seniors who are having trouble caring for themselves might benefit from downsizing or moving into assisted living. It’s never an easy decision, but weighing the options helps you make the right choice. Consider your loved one’s physical conditions and financial situation, and show that you value their input. After all, the goal is to make the experience less stressful, so they can enjoy their golden years with as much independence as possible.