Finding the right care for your loved ones is at times an overwhelming endeavor. It is difficult and time intensive evaluating the people who are actually going to interact with your loved one, finding the organization that best fits for your particular needs, and managing to negotiate a price point that’s not going to consume everything you have. Are you getting stressed out already? We understand. And we have been through this process with countless families in the greater Philadelphia region over the last 30 years. Partnering with you in this process of match-making for elderly care or special needs care is more than just our job, it is our passion. Let’s discuss some of the options available to families in this area.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities versus in home care
One of the best places to start is with an honest discussion of the various options available. The two most common solutions are nursing homes or assisted living facilities and in home care. We offer the latter (in home care) and are somewhat biased in favor of that solution. Like you might expect, the principal difference between the primary options lies in where the care actually takes place. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are generally all-in-one solutions where your elderly family member goes to live full time. Meals and lodging are provided, many organizations will have doctors and/or nurse practitioners on staff, all organizations will have a registered professional nurse available 7 days a week for at least 8 hours and will at a minimum have nursing services available to meet the needs of every resident on a full-time basis. Additionally, the facility will likely have a fairly robust administrative staff that works on things like events and medication management. Everything is provided for and as you might expect, the costs can be fairly significant depending on the quality of the particular facility. If you’re looking for a turnkey solution where money is not an object and your primary focus is to quickly and completely turn over the reins to an organization then a nursing home or assisted living facility might be the right solution for your family.
Click here to read our blog “How Do In Home Care Costs Compare to Other Types of Senior Care?” using data from a recent nationwide study.
In home care is very similar. The same general requirements for care apply to the agency providing services, but the principal difference is the setting: everything takes place in your own home (or the location of your choice). In home care also tends to be more flexible. Yes, you can get the same turnkey level of care that you might expect from a nursing home, but you’ll be able to tailor it a bit more to your family’s personal situation. You can get help with meal services, but you don’t have to. You can get help with getting around town or picking up groceries, but you don’t have to. If you need more in-depth care like medication management or total care coordination, you can get that, too. Although nursing homes cater to the individual needs of patients, they are more an all-in-one packaged deal. In home care will be completely tailored to your family’s needs. As such the pricing will vary largely depending on the nature of services you request or need.
Questions to ask when deciding between nursing homes and in home care
- What are the recreational activities and social environment like? The best solution in this case often depends on the personality of your loved one. If the individual getting care is an extrovert and you find that they’re missing the social dynamic and feeling trapped at home then a nursing home will provide a community of elderly individuals with whom they can socialize. This can bring a lot of happiness back into a loved one’s life that was perhaps missing at home where they could have felt isolated. On the contrary, if the individual getting help is more of an introvert, or if they absolutely love their home, or if they can’t imagine leaving the things they have grown so attached to over the years then in home care is likely to be a much better solution. In home caregivers can also assist with driving a loved one to social events, providing companionship, or managing a social schedule for someone who does not want to leave the familiarity of their home.
- Does the nursing home offer individualized care and how involved is the family member in tailoring that care? For example, at Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we do a detailed matching process that works with the individual getting care and all of the stakeholders to find the right person (and personality mix) to actually provide care and the right mix of services. Many organizations have a mix of people rotating through care responsibilities so continuity is something you should look into. If you’d like to learn more about how different senior care organizations match caregivers and clients, read this blog.
- What happens if the caregiver isn’t working out or if adjustments need to be made after starting? This is a really important consideration. Make sure you come to an understanding about how your feedback is going to be handled so that the little things that aren’t perfect can and will be improved right out of the gate. It is very difficult (for you and your loved one) to sign up with a facility or agency only to move shortly thereafter to a new location/solution, or for a loved one to feel as though they are stuck with caregivers who do not understand them, care for them, or make them comfortable.
- How long has the organization been in business and what is the turnover rate of its staff? While these type of metrics are important, much of this can be determined by the feeling you get when you do a face-to-face meeting. Make sure to sit down with the people providing care and trust your instincts. They need to be the right fit for your family and that is different for everybody.
- How does bathing and grooming work? Bath or shower? Going to the restroom? One of the advantages of a nursing home is that they might have walk in baths or showers that homes typically aren’t outfitted with. Depending on the type of care required this might be a nice addition.
- What does the daily routine look like? With in home care, the schedule caters to your needs. At nursing homes or assisted living facilities this may or may not be the case. Sometimes nursing homes will have less flexibility because they have to manage so many people all at once. It is likely to be less personalized and that could impact your morning or evening routine depending on your ideal schedule.
- What about food? Are snacks available? Does the menu stay the same or do they change it on a regular basis? What time of day is it available? There can be advantages and disadvantages to both nursing homes and in home care when it comes to food. Much of it depends on what you’re used to. Just be sure to ask the question and make sure the answer fits your needs.
What you can learn without asking any questions:
The state requires care providers to provide certain information to prospective customers. For example, formal complaints filed against an organization to the state must be made available as well as the state’s annual inspection report and the actions the organization has taken to correct any shortcomings discovered.
No matter what, remember that you can always change your mind if you end up in the wrong senior care situation. We offer personalized solutions from a well-equipped and experienced team. Working with kind and qualified people will take the stress out of the process. On top of that, because we utilize the comfort of your own home, our pricing is very reasonable. Good luck in your search, and please contact us if you would like to ask questions or schedule a free assessment! (Click the button below to take advantage of this offer!)