“To each their own” — a widely used phrase often used to placate an argument or justify a highly contested choice, can most certainly be used in the ‘Age in Place vs. Assisted Living Facilities’ debate. Most have strong feelings about how they want to spend their golden years, and are quick to shut down the positive aspects of the other side, in fear that it will jeopardize their own belief system and plans for their own future.
The truth is, both later-in-life living situations have benefits that can greatly improve your ability to live your best life. These benefits should maybe not be so highly contested and opinionated,but instead, be points of conversation and self reflection. If families are able to discuss different care options and create productive spaces for decision making instead of letting ‘grandma demand she stay in her home because she won’t hear of anything else,’ everyone would benefit. Most importantly, these critical conversations need to happen early and happen before true action is needed; once mom has fallen is not the best time to make long-term care decisions because emotions are high and life is probably already out of whack and unstable.
And, make no mistake, this conversation isn’t about choosing the family’s favorite place to order pizza, this decision is one of life’s most difficult decisions — it will affect not only the person who needs a long-term care plan, but it will affect the family caregivers and their patterns of life. Consulting professionals and involving ‘outsiders’ into the conversation is a great way to gain neutral perspectives and data. Those professionals could be doctors, assisted facility consultants, in-home care companies, or community members that have had to make similar decisions. Involving different voices in this difficult decision, at the beginning, is a helpful and productive way to ensure you have a broad spectrum of information and data to consider.
Because everyone is unique, and their health and caregiver situation is much like those one-of-a-kind snowflakes, there are no proven formulas to determine the best course of action. It’s important to consider the following factors when deciding if aging in place, or the alternative, aging in an assisted living facility, is the best choice.
- Physical Health: Should you need emergency care, is someone nearby to help? If you have an extended hospital stay is there someone nearby to help you come home and recover? If you are active and healthy, this factor won’t play into the decision as much, but if you suffer from a degenerative or an ongoing medical issue, this factor is very important and will often dictate the final outcome.
- Mental Health: While the physical body might be healthy, one’s mental health can decline with age. Forgetfulness and memory loss being at the forefront of this factor, but also to be considered is loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
- Home Maintenance & Everyday Tasks: Maintaining a house is both labor-intensive and costly and if there is a lack of resources to sustain the necessary tasks a house requires, this factor can quickly tip the scales one way or the other. Everyday tasks such as preparing meals, personal hygiene, and other chores can be a costly investment if help is needed in completing those.
These three factors are just the tipping point of a long list of other considerations when making the best decision for your aging loved one. Medications, nutrition, transportation, and security are a few other factors that need consideration.
The majority of seniors, either by necessity or by choice, are aging in place- living out their life in their homes. Burlington Health Care, located in Burlington, KY, is here to help. Carrying a wide selection of home medical supplies and mobility aids, Burlington Health Care supports the needs of those who are aging in place.