I often receive the call from the families at a crucial decision point –the family realizes that mom or dad is not safe living home alone, but is it time to move to an Assisted Living Facility or is it best to stay at home with the help of a home care worker? The answer really depends on a number of factors, namely the 1) health and safety of your loved one, 2) his or her wishes, and 3) the financial feasibility of the best option.
Let’s back up a moment and a consider a few definitions:
Assisted Living: A group housing option that provides nursing care, medication management, prepared meals, housekeeping, and various levels of therapy and activities. Rooms may be single or shared.
In-Home Care: One-on-one assistance in your home with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, light housekeeping, eating, transportation, and companionship.
Which one is right for you?
Step 1: Understand the desires of the person who needs the care. Although you might think you know what’s best for mom or dad, so long as he or she is competent, they have the right to make their own decisions. Oftentimes even the closest families do not know their loved one’s wishes for aging care. It is important to have these difficult conversations before the need arises.
Step 2: Compare the Options and Gather Information. You can tour Assisted Living Facilities in your area and receive free in-home assessments from local home care agencies. Take advantage of these services and do not feel an obligation to make a decision right away. Gather all the facts and consider best and worst case scenarios.
Where will I receive the best, most personalized care?
Where will I be most comfortable?
Where will be best for 3, 5, or 10 years down the road should my needs become more acute?
Step 3: Think About Price
Can you realistically afford your top choice? What would happen if you live to 100 and need round the clock care? Think about whether or not you can afford the option you choose in the long run.
My take? Well, I of course am biased because I know what kind of care my caregivers provide at home! A home caries memories, warmth, familiarity, and comfort in ways an Assisted Living Facility cannot. However, home is not always the best option and there are fantastic Assisted Living Facilities in the Arlington Heights area. I would do your homework, take all the tours, ask important questions, and remember: all that glitters is not gold! Find out important information about nurse/CNA to patient ratio and observe the overall demeanor of the patients you see there. Do they look comfortable and engaged? Getting old does not equal misery and our loved ones deserve control over their choices and happiness whether they choose to age in place with home care or in an assisted living facility!