Whenever we talk about senior citizens, two terms that are synonymous with them are nursing homes and homecare. Many seniors want to live out their final years at home. They call it “aging in place”. Most loved ones make the choice of having their parents at home with them but are not able to give them the attention they require.
Back then, nursing homes were considered too expensive and a luxury only a few people were able to afford. Homecare was an option that was cheaper but lacked the care and facilities provided at a nursing home.
Nowadays, both these care options for the elderly cost almost the same, depending on the type of facilities bought at the nursing home and the type of care needed at home.
Let’s see what differentiate both these elderly care options:
• Access to Care
One of the best facilities offered at a nursing home is that seniors have immediate medical access. Say a senior citizen has developed a severe problem in their knee and now require knee surgery for it. After the surgery, they will be moved to the rehab wing, where they will recuperate with extra help. Once recovered, they can move back to their own room.
Senior citizens don’t like change. Those who are in the initial stage of dementia, balk on the change more, which makes it difficult for them to settle down. For others, who are not restricted by mobility or such problems, are a little bit open to the change and even embrace it happily.
• Access to Care
Depending on how much care and assistance the elderly requires, homecare can include everything from grooming to preparing meals, bathing, taking medication, etc. Then there are the occupational and physical therapists, who are required on a regular basis to maintain the elder’s quality of life. There are a world of options available and a program can be created just for them.
If the senior citizen is living alone, it can become difficult for them to take care of things such as house maintenance, cleaning, laundry, gardening, etc. Most important of all, safety becomes very important and they might suffer from falls. This is where homecare comes in handy because they have someone helping them throughout the day.
Today, a nursing home is a cheaper option than homecare.
At an average, homecare costs $20 to $21/hour. On the other hand, per day cost of a nursing home is $221.
This makes the homecare cost total to around $172,800/year and nursing home cost $80,000/year.
Elderly Lifespan in Home vs. Nursing Homes
According to a study published on the lifespan of elders in the journal “The Gerontologist”, Volume 56, Issue 2, elders opting for homecare live longer than those opting for nursing homes by 1.5%.
The study recorder 1,291 participants who were distributed in nursing homes and homecare. Their life expectancy was measured for 1 year 9 months based on inpatient visits, emergency department, acute care costs and death.
After a year, it was recorded that those in-homecare participants had a life expectancy of 77.7% as compared to the 76.2% in nursing homes. However, the emergency department and hospital visits were substantially high in homecare participants.
This shows that while homecare elders do live longer, they are more vulnerable to health scares because they do not have immediate access to health care. While both options provide equal benefits, it depends on the elder’s physical condition that determines which care option will be best for them.