What is home care?
Home care is a broad term for various services and settings. Home care generally refers to health care or support services that allow people to receive treatment or assistance in their homes. Home care providers may be nurses, therapists, personal care aides, or homemakers. It can be short-term (acute) care or long-term (chronic) care.
Home care is often preferable to moving into a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Home care also allows people to receive personalised, around-the-clock care, which can be crucial for those who are seriously ill or elderly. In addition, home care can be considerably less expensive than other forms of long-term care.
As parents age, you may decide what to do when they can no longer live independently. You have a few options:
- Moving them in with you and your family
- Moving them into a nursing home
- Finding them community home care services
As people age, they start requiring more assistance with activities of daily living. The extant can range from help with basic needs like bathing and dressing to more involved care, such as managing medications and providing transportation. When families are unable to meet these needs, it is often necessary for the older adult to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility.
While these facilities provide necessary care, they can also be expensive and isolating. Community care programs offer a middle ground, allowing seniors to stay in their homes while receiving the necessary assistance. These programs can include in-home care services, adult daycare, or Meals on Wheels. In addition, they offer socialisation opportunities and allow seniors to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
There are several factors to consider regarding the difference between home and community care. First, home care means a person receives care in their home. In contrast, community care often occurs in group settings, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
With home care, the caregiver usually comes to the person’s house and assists with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking. In addition, community home care services can offer more socialisation opportunities and access to professional nurses and therapists.
- Flexibility in duration
Whether home or community care is the better option for seniors has long been debated. Of course, there are pros and cons, and the decision often comes down to personal preference or what is available in a given area. However, one crucial distinction people fail to consider is the duration flexibility of in-home care vs community care.
Seniors can typically choose how long they want to receive care at homecare. This choice can be an excellent option for those who are unsure about how long they will need help or who want to be able to stop and start services as required. On the other hand, community care typically has a set duration, which can disadvantage some people. Therefore, it is essential to consider both options carefully before making a decision.
- Ease and familiarity
The advantage of home care is that seniors can remain within the familiar environment and comfort of their homes. There is no change in the individual’s environment, as they stay in a friendly setting with possessions close to their hearts. These may include their favourite photo or armchair.
The senior can easily navigate the home when familiar with where each hallway leads and the location of each bedroom. One can not overstate how important a friendly environment is. When adjusting to a new setting, elderly patients with chronic diseases, such as dementia, can experience frustration.
Lack of familiarity is one of the downsides of community care. A senior admitted to a community care program often faces a long adjustment period to the new surroundings and unfamiliar staff. After becoming accustomed to the new environment and establishing a rapport with the team, the senior’s living conditions will become manageable. Home, however, offers an unrivalled level of familiarity.
- Physical activity
Seniors must engage in physical activity as part of their healthcare regimen. Home caregivers can accompany seniors on walks or transport them to fitness classes. In addition, having a caregiver nearby is usually an assurance of safety for seniors, which leads to them feeling more comfortable moving about their homes.
Exercise is also available at community home care services. Seniors can stay active through recreation activities and exercise classes throughout the week.
Home care and community care have their unique benefits. Home care allows for more personal attention and a more comfortable setting, while community care is more affordable and provides opportunities for socialization. Therefore, weighing the pros and cons is essential before deciding which is best for you or your loved one.