When the time comes for you or a family member to make the decision of moving into a facility, vs. staying at home; facing the questions and facts are not always easy. Discussing the pros and cons of each option is helpful. Taking time to do your research, reaching out to various nursing homes, even talking with people you know who have made the decision will really help ease any anxious thoughts. In this post, we will be discussing: the differences in assisted living and nursing homes, and an in-depth look into pricing. Assessing your current situation will help you to look at each pro and con differently.
Assisted Living Facility:
Assisted Living Facilities offer a housing alternative for seniors no are no longer able to live on their own but do not need the extensive care that is provided in the nursing home. The goal of Assisted Living is to allow seniors to maintain as much independence possible while receiving some assistance in their everyday routine. Many retirement communities offer assisted living for seniors or are looking to keep their independence. With an Assisted Living Facility, you have the flexibility to adapt to your changing needs.
Pros to Assisted Living:
Assisted Living Facilities offer an extensive amount of services. Many help with transportation, daily care routine, housekeeping and laundry, even recreational activities. Often times, you will live in a 1-2 bedroom apartment. You won’t have to worry about sharing a room with someone you do not know! The pricing for assisted living is generally lower than the cost of a nursing home. You typically pay anywhere from $2,000.00 -$4,000.00 a month depending on the size of the apartment, and care that you need.
Cons to Assisted Living:
An Assisted Living Facility does not always offer the extensive medical care, on-site, that some seniors may need. If eventually, you require care for Dementia or Alzheimers, you may need to move facilities if they do not offer treatment at your location. Many times personal care is an add-on fee to the $2,000.00 - $4,000.00 a month that you would already be paying. Adjusting to a new lifestyle can be hard, for anyone. Having to assimilating group living can be very hard for many seniors. You are very used to doing things one way at your home. But, with assisted living, there are rules and regulations set in place, that you would not have if you were living at home.
Nursing Homes provide comprehensive long-term medical care to seniors with extensive health conditions. They are monitored by a fully equipped nursing staff, 24/7. They deliver the highest level of care outside of a hospital. Some nursing homes also offer an Alzheimer's and Memory Care (Dementia) Unit for residents with more extensive needs.
Pros to Nursing Homes:
The great thing about nursing homes is that they offer 24-hour supervised care. There is also a nurse on call who will be able to assist you in the event of an emergency. Dietitians are readily available to help ensure proper nutrition. You will also have access to a social network. Being able to interact with others on a daily basis, engaging in recreational activities, these activities will aid in combating depression. You will also have access specialized health care if you experience Dementia or Alzheimer's; you won’t have to move facilities!
Cons to Nursing Homes:
The decision to live, or send a loved one to a nursing home can pose potential problems that should be addressed. There is great potential for low-quality care. Nursing homes do provide immense services, many times they do not have the staff to ensure every resident obtains the quality care they deserve. Understaffing can increase the potential for more accidents. Nursing homes are costly. According to Genworth.com, many seniors are paying $222.00 dollars a day for care. You would be paying about $81,000.00 a year.
Pros to Living at Home (Aging in Place):
If moving to an assisted living facility or a nursing home doesn’t sound appealing, staying at home is a great option. With staying at home, you can hire in-home care who can be there whenever you need them. Sometimes home care costs can be reimbursed by Medicare, Veterans Aid, or other sources. Home care costs vary per state; the average cost can range anywhere from $13 / hour - $30 / hour. Living home is comfortable, and familiar. You have the ability to run on your own schedule, remain independent, and you get to sleep in your own bed! Deciding to stay at home, is a decision most seniors agree with; over 85% of people 65+ would prefer to live at home. Living at home is very possible; assess your current needs and make a plan to make your home safe and comfortable to live. Sometimes larger renovations do need to take place.
Cons to Living at Home (Aging in Place):
Living at home does appeal to a majority of people, there can also be drawbacks to living at home. The largest concern people have is the safety at the home. Fall risks are more apparent as you age if you don’t have the proper equipment it could be hours before someone is there to help you. Home maintenance can be very challenging when living on your own. It involves a certain amount of work, energy, and organization that can inflict on your ability to get things taken care of. Another serious risk is the possibility of loneliness. Maintaining social connections, getting out, attending events is very important to your overall well-being. If not, you could open a host of health problems associated with loneliness.
Below is a visual representation of the cost breakdown of different facilities from A Place for Mom. On average people spend up to $90,000.00 on year on nursing home care, $48,000.00 a year on assisted living, and $19,000.00 a year on in-home care. These are not small numbers, and should really be taken into consideration when making a decision to stay at home or move into a senior facility.
Making the decision to you or a family member to move into a nursing home/assisted living facility is very tough. There are many online resources to look into for more information regarding the transition from home to a nursing home or assisted living facility. A Place for Mom and Senior Path are great senior advisory services. Before making any decisions make sure to do extensive research on the facility, find out the patient to care provider ratio, visit each facility. Make yourself aware of the different care options available. Talk about your options extensively with family, before making a decision.