Getting older: it happens to all of us, no matter how hard we try to fight it. While many seniors elect to move into a community geared towards older adults or assisted living facilities, others insist upon remaining in their own home.
Unfortunately, some of those folks who want to stay in their home are not adequately equipped to handle the challenges of living alone at their age. There can be several reasons for this, including diseases affecting physical, mental or emotional systems of the body.
When this occurs, it can be very tough on the child who must decide regarding how to proceed. One of the options includes full-time caregiving in the senior’s own home. Here are some suggestions to help people struggling to decide whether their parent needs 24 hour home care.
Should You Take Care of Your Parent or Use Full-Time Home Care?
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) estimates that nearly 90% of people age 50 or greater would prefer to stay in their own home. For most adult children faced with the reality of an aging parent who requires additional living assistance, the instant reaction is that they will take that responsibility on themselves. This can be especially true when the alternative is an unfamiliar, distant institution, since very few people want to let someone else look after their parent.
Assisted living can be expensive, and you may worry that your parent will not have the same opportunities to live their life as they did in the outside world. Naturally, many adult children will do what they can to make sure this does not happen, even going to extremes that may negatively affect not only their lives, but also the life of the loved one.
Adult children who take on the responsibility of becoming a full-time caregiver by either moving their parent into their home or moving into their parents’ home are often faced with a different set of financial ramifications that can last well beyond their period of caregiving. Many have found they must opt out of the workplace and struggle to reintegrate.
Additionally, nearly 2/3 of caregivers are middle-aged women who also have their own children at home, so the focus cannot always be on their senior parent. This can be especially tough if the adult child is a single parent.
If you do decide to take on this responsibility, make sure you can handle the duties that will be required of you. However, if you decide you need assistance, many full-time home care agencies and individuals will work closely with you and your senior parent to create a daily schedule/plan that mimics their current one, thereby minimizing potential disruptions and confusion. For adults who require additional medical care, this can be a great option and can reassure you that your parents are getting everything they need when they need it, even if you cannot be there all the time to help them.
Cost of Senior Home Care
The cost of senior home care varies, depending on the needs of the individual, the level of intensity of the care and the extent of the medical care required. In some circumstances, your parent may not need assistance except at night, which will be less expensive than if round-the-clock care with medical assistance is needed.
As best as possible, try not to think of cost as prohibitive in this situation. Many seniors will not need full-time care, or you can split care responsibilities with a professional caregiver. If money is an issue and your parent is stubborn about remaining in their own home, many home care agencies and individuals will work with you to develop a plan of care that fits your budget.
When Is Home Care Not the Best Option?
By 2050, an estimated 27 million seniors will be using paid long-term care services. Generally, full-time home care is expensive, but for those who can afford it, it can be an excellent option.
It allows adult children to continue working, rather than uprooting their lives to take care of their parent, and it allows seniors to continue living in their own home with a familiar routine and assistance with difficult tasks. However, for those who cannot afford the high prices, it may be difficult to justify the cost when less expensive options, like assisted living facilities, are available.
Another situation where 24-hour home care may not be the best solution is when your parent is suffering from advanced symptoms related to dementia or Alzheimer’s. When your parent develops either of these diseases, it can be frightening and confusing to figure out the best path forward. Both are progressive diseases, so the initial stages can be much easier than the later stages.
Regardless, it is likely that your parent will need full-time care throughout the rest of their life, which is typically best handled by professionals. Most caregivers will meet with you and your parent multiple times to get a full medical and family history. This can create a plan of care that is best suited to your parent, including activities, medical care, meals and exercise. Having this in place, along with knowing your parent is in the hands of an experienced caregiver, can provide you with the peace of mind you need to know they will live their best life in their waning years.