January 3, 2023
One of the most delicate and stressful issues you could ever encounter as a caregiver to an elderly parent is deciding between aging in place vs. assisted living.
As much as we want to see our beloved seniors live independently for all their lives, we have to acknowledge that such a setup may not be suitable forever or for everyone. So, the sooner you prepare for the issues that may arise with your parent getting older, the better chance you have at offering them the care they need. It can even mean helping them move into an assisted living facility or a nursing home.
This article will show you the pros and cons of aging in place and how it compares to the benefits of assisted living. We will also provide a summary of how to choose between various care facilities for the elderly. Finally, we will highlight a few suggestions on how to help aging parents stay in their home arrangements for as long as possible and experience the most pleasant retirement period, free of stressful incidents.
Your parents’ home is the place where they spent many years raising their family and filling it with beautiful memories. That’s why it’s natural to see themselves there as they get older.
Among other benefits of aging in place, it’s worth highlighting that:
When it comes to disadvantages or risks associated with aging at home, keep in mind the following:
If aging in place is not a feasible option in your parent’s situation, don’t let it demoralize you. There are many alternatives to look into, such as:
Moving forward, we are going to focus on the first two most common alternatives to aging at home. It’s a frequent mistake to confuse assisted living with nursing homes, so we are going to make a clear distinction between them.
Assisted living communities help seniors who are generally active to maintain a social lifestyle. They provide assistance with specific tasks they can’t do themselves.
Leaving your own home for a facility that takes care of elderly people implies giving up on some independence and privacy. On the other hand, it can compensate by providing a safe and supportive environment where your parent will receive the physical care they need, as well as mental stimulation and companionship.
Nursing homes, properly named “skilled nursing facilities”, are there to take care of seniors who require specialized assistance — usually if they are dealing with serious health issues like neurodegenerative diseases. They usually cost more than assisted living due to the higher level of care.
Unfortunately, nursing homes have a history of improper and even abusive conditions. However, public lobbying and federal reforms have resulted in significant improvements on many levels. Nursing homes now have better-trained staff, more flexible schedules, and more engaging activities for their residents.
Having said that, you should do your research thoroughly before deciding to take your parent to any specific facility.
When referring to whose decision it is to make the call, there are two possible scenarios:
No matter who is ultimately in charge, you need to do your best in raising the topic in an honest and open manner. Avoid making assumptions about what they want for their future and don’t make any promises that you’re not sure you can fulfill.
Here are some conversation starters:
If your mother or father wants to stay in their own home, you need to evaluate the living spaces and see how to make them safer and more accessible. For example, falls are some of the most common and dangerous risks for the elderly, but there are tweaks you can make around the house as well as technology to employ to prevent them.
If you are considering moving out, make sure to visit and inspect a few facilities before making a decision.
Here are some useful resources if you want to find more information about care facilities for the elderly and the regulations in any specific U.S. state:
There are other issues to consider when deciding on a new possible home for your parents. For instance, as a middle ground between assisted and independent living, you may want to contemplate the benefits and drawbacks of having your parents move in with you. But we will tackle this topic and similar ones in the future.
For now, we hope this article can be your starting point to help you and your elderly loved one navigate and embrace change together. Remember that the choice you make is very personal to you and your parent and no one else can make that call.
Eldercare technology like elderly monitoring systems makes aging in place easier and safer, as it can help your parents with their everyday tasks. CareAlert’s AI-based elderly monitoring system, in particular, can keep a discreet eye on their surroundings and daily habits and let you, the caregiver, learn about any unusual behaviour.
Our devices are also compatible with independent living facilities. You can install a CareAlert device in your loved one’s private living space, and it can be an additional tool for you to keep in touch with them. Furthermore, it would make you feel more at ease by not having to depend entirely on the staff to provide you with information on their health and wellbeing.