Last Updated: August 8, 2019
Home care can be a great option for aging parents with little to no needs, but when a senior becomes more fragile and frail, the limitations of relying on one individual to provide care can become obvious.
Learn more about how to assist your parents or senior loved ones when home care is not enough.
Home Care: Is It Enough for Your Senior Loved One?
When seniors who live alone first begin to need assistance around the house, it’s natural for their loved ones to address the needs by hiring a home care aide to visit periodically – it’s the path of least resistance. Often, the senior doesn’t want to move, so hiring an aide or caregiver solves this problem.
For many families, it’s alright at first. Home care is often sufficient for seniors with lower needs – those who could use someone to check-in on them and do some housekeeping.
But for seniors who need assistance with day to day personal activities like going to the bathroom, it can be inadequate for these four reasons:
1. Difficulty finding a home care aide.
Families that are initially satisfied with home care often begin to find it problematic for reasons beyond cost. Matching the senior with an appropriate, trustworthy caregiver can be extremely challenging. Sometimes families will try many caregivers until they find one who seems right, but when that caregiver leaves for another job, the whole process of finding the right match begins anew.
2. Expenses of home care.
As seniors age, their needs often increase. A home care regimen that initially started as four hours per day can progress to, say, four hours per day, every day of the week. Then, eventually, a live-in aide will be required. Somewhere along the way, assisted living becomes a more affordable solution.
3. Gaps in care.
Families who find a long-serving home care aide will, like any other employee, sometimes have to miss work when sick. Unlike at assisted living, where there are a whole staff and team when a caregiver has to call-in and miss a visit, the senior is usually out of luck for that day. This can be problematic for obvious reasons, especially when there are no loved ones or relatives to fill the gaps in care.
4. Potential for isolation.
Seniors who rely exclusively on a home care aide may also begin to suffer the detrimental effects of isolation, especially if they don’t have many visitors. Whereas seniors who live at an assisted living community have someone to chat with any time they like, a senior relying on home care may have little opportunities for in-person companionship aside from the caregiver.
Home care can be a good gap measure when a senior begins to need assistance, but its price and numerous practical difficulties mean that it is rarely a suitable long-term option for seniors with high care needs.