Aging in Place as an Alternative to Nursing Homes
It's a fact of life that as people age, their ability to care for themselves is likely to diminish. According to the Institute for Aging, 40% of men and 54% of women age 85 or older have trouble performing at least one critical activity of daily living (ADL) such as walking, dressing, or feeding themselves. This is especially true for people suffering from serious illness and medical complexity.
Seniors with physical or cognitive difficulties often require home care. In decades past, a nursing home would have been the only option, but today seniors and their families have more choices than ever when it comes to aging in place.
The Nursing Home Alternative
There are approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States housing more than 1.2 million seniors. While nursing homes are capable of providing around-the clock-care and skilled nursing services, they're often forced to do so at the expense of personalized care. Complications may arise when your loved one is just another face in the crowd.
Assisted living facilities are a close cousin to the nursing home. An assisted living facility is more appropriate for seniors who are able to carry out some ADLs but still need minor assistance from time to time. Assisted living is one step closer to independent living.
A Shifting National Perspective
Over the past two decades, our national perspective has shifted away from the long-term care model and towards living arrangements that support seniors who wish to age in place in their own home.
A number of federal programs have been created to support seniors who prefer community-based living. Among them are the PACE program, which uses Medicare money to help people age in place, and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which uses Medicaid dollars to divert people away from nursing facilities and back to the community. These programs are augmented by state and local programs designed to help those who need home care.
Because community-based living has become the dominant trend across the United States, most nursing homes will employ a discharge planner whose job it is to help your loved one find a way to live safely at home.
The Benefits of Aging In Place
Community-based living isn't just a function of an overburdened, for-profit nursing home industry. It's an alternative that provides seniors with the highest level of psychosocial well-being possible. There are incredible benefits to aging in place, surrounded by a familiar environment and the people that you love.
Some benefits of utilizing around the clock home care include:
Comparable services to a nursing facility
Better overall health
Decreased instances of geriatric depression
A wider range of personal choice
Setting up quality home care isn't as hard as it seems. If you live in the Boston, Massachusetts area, the professionals at Senior Helpers can help you set up the care that your loved one needs to ensure comfortable and safe aging in place. Contact us today to learn more.