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Last Updated on April 28, 2022
When your loved ones are getting to the point in life where decisions need to be made about their living situation, it can be difficult to know what will work best for them. Do they want to maintain their independence and live at home as they age, or are they open to moving into a long-term care facility like a nursing home?
Both situations have their advantages and disadvantages, and every individual has unique needs and wishes that must be met. In order to help you make a more informed decision, here is a breakdown of some of the pros and cons of these two options.
Nursing home pro: Lots of social interaction
Nursing homes typically have extensive calendars of events for their residents to participate in. Since these individuals are living in this environment 24/7, they have access to the recreational spaces and activities that are occurring at the facility. Plus, they allow for frequent visits from family members.
Aging in place pro: More comfortable at home
In this scenario, caregivers and other services will go to your loved ones in their home. They get to live in a comfortable setting in an environment where they feel safe, with care still being available to them in the form of certain health care programs and visiting specialists. This allows them to maintain a level of independence if that is something they are hesitant to give up.
Nursing home pro: 24/7 staff support
Since the individual lives on the premises, there is someone who can address their needs at all times. If an emergency or injury occurs, the staff is available to assist with little to no delay. This can give the resident and their family peace of mind if they are worried about accidents happening when no one else is around at home. The benefits of a nursing home and its staff are set up to provide constant care for residents.
Aging in place pro: Technology and customizing the space
Staying at home means that the environment can be designed to suit the exact needs of the individual. For your loved ones, that could mean installing certain amenities like a chair lift or small elevator to make the whole house accessible for them. Additionally, modern technology can help the elderly family member with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and connection to emergency services. Wearable devices make it simple and efficient to contact the right party should an accident occur, or they can help doctors track the health of the patient with the use of a fitbit or similar technologies. Advancements in the medical field have made aging in place a stronger possibility now than in years past.
Nursing home con: Potential neglect or abuse
The sad reality is that the elderly are among the most vulnerable populations in our country. As a result, there are cases of neglect and abuse that can occur in nursing homes, either from the staff, other residents, or even guests. It can be extremely unnerving to find out that abuse has been occurring, and having to call elder abuse attorneys is only helpful after the fact. Though most residents have a positive experience in a nursing home, there is the potential for issues to come up.
Aging in place con: Isolation from society and care
While care is made available to someone who chooses to age in place, it is not 24/7. If an injury or emergency happens, there may be no one around to address it immediately, increasing the danger. Along the same lines, staying at home could increase the feeling of isolation, as depending upon their level of interactions, they may only see health care specialists and family members on occasion. Missing out on social events could affect their mental health in a negative way.
Weigh the benefits with the costs
Whatever decision you and your loved one come to, there are plenty of others who have chosen a similar path and it has worked well for them. The key is to determine what will suit your family member’s needs and wishes the most. Do they crave social interaction and the ability to meet others in a similar life stage? Do they want to maintain as much independence as they can going forward by staying in their home? Are they nervous about the prospect of living in a nursing home or feeling isolated at home?
Discussing these questions with your loved one could be uncomfortable, but it will be necessary to ensure that the right decision is made. Approach the topic sensitively, and research all the options beforehand so that you can weigh the pros and cons together.