65 Briarwood Circle Worcester, MA 01606

In-Home versus Nursing Home Care

When loved ones become frail and can no longer live on their own, many families find themselves confronted with an important decision.  Should they take their loved one into their home, or would a skilled nursing facility be better able to care for their aging parent?  The decision is completely personal, and each situation has its own unique set of circumstances.  Below are some questions you may wish to consider before making such a choice.

  1. If your loved one is ambulatory, is your flooring trouble-free to walk on?  Is your living room ensemble easy to get on and off of?  Are the doorways and walk areas easily passable? Are kitchen items within reach?  Is it possible to place handrails in different rooms (if necessary)?
  2. Can your loved one stay alone while you are out or at work?  If so, are the utilities operating properly?  Is the lighting too dim?  Do you have functioning smoke detectors?  Is the phone within easy reach?  Are the numbers easy to see?  Are electrical cords securely out of the way?  Is there an exit strategy in case of emergencies?
  3. If your loved one is in a wheelchair, is your home able to accommodate its size?  Are the corridors wide enough?  Are the pathways unobstructed?  Is there easy-access to the bathroom?  Does your front doorway have potential for a ramp?
  4. Should your loved one need 24-hour care, will you be hiring a caregiver?  If so, is the person trustworthy? Can this individual lift your loved one should the need arise?  How many hours per week will you require this worker?  Does the person feel comfortable assisting with bathroom duties?  Is he or she competent to help with medication/s?  What type of training does the person have?  Does he or she have references?

In-home, 24-hour care can be an overwhelming undertaking.  Sometimes family members possess neither the proper accommodations nor medical expertise to care for a chronically ill relative and must considerably adapt their environment.  If the choice is made to take in a parent or loved one under these set of circumstances, it is very important to implement a respite schedule for the primary caregiver (as burnout is possible).  On the other hand, if the decision is made to choose a nursing home, it is equally important to ensure that your loved one maintains an ongoing outside support system.  The nursing home resident still needs to know that he or she has the love and support of family and friends; visits are very important.

Decisions concerning in-home versus nursing home care are rarely made with ease.  However, with open dialogue, practicality, and compassion, the choice neither need be overly difficult.