For many senior citizens, the emerging opportunities to receive in-home care as they age are welcomed. Many seniors fear being placed in nursing homes after reaching a point where they can no longer live independently, and they view in-home care as a better option than nursing homes or hospitals. And while senior home care services fit well with the medical needs of many senior citizens, there can be prohibitive disadvantages as well.
Home Modifications and In-Home Senior Care Services
Assisted living facilities usually offer accessibility options and can reduce the need for modifications to be completed on the senior citizen’s residence. Most homes, however, whether owned by the senior or belonging to a family member, are not equipped to meet the accessibility needs of aging citizens who struggle with mobility or have medical problems.
Modifications can be costly, and many seniors resist or outright reject the need to make necessary or helpful modifications. They might insist, for example, on their ability to climb the stairs to the front door on their own, claiming there is no need to install an accessibility ramp.
As a result of being unable to afford or unwilling to complete home modifications, those receiving help at home senior care may be at greater risk for injuries resulting from falls in parts of the house which may be difficult to navigate. Occasionally, more serious complications of health problems stemming from a failure to modify living facilities can occur.
Another disadvantage of senior home care services is that deficiencies in caregivers can occur. First of all, it’s easy for family caregivers to become burnt out or struggle with the emotional implications of caring for a family member with health problems. Full-time caregivers often lack the emotional support they need and may be at a loss for how to care for some of a senior citizen’s emotional and physical needs. This can result in frustration and a sense of helplessness and guilt for both parties.
Hired caregivers, on the other hand, can also reflect the disadvantages of in-home senior care. The staff at assisted living or nursing home facilities is usually large enough to make up for deficiencies in a single staff member. This is often not the case when in-home care is utilized, where a hired caregiver’s lack of ability may severely affect the senior citizen.
Often, the hired caregiver’s deficiency is not in doing his or her job, but in the hours that the caregiver is absent from the home. This places heavy responsibility on family members, who may be ill-equipped for the duties of assisting the senior citizen, to provide care during the hired caregiver’s off hours.
Emergencies and Senior Home Care
A final, major disadvantage to receiving at home senior care is the lack of resources and medical options available during an emergency. Senior citizens at an assisted living facility have access to a larger support staff with medical training and resources in case of a medical emergency; whereas those receiving in home care may not always be in the best hands.
In addition to possible caregiver deficiencies, whether familiar or hired, seniors may also be at risk during emergencies due to a lack of emergency medical equipment. When the only option is to call for emergency medical help and wait for it to arrive, senior citizens may suffer more serious health complications than if their medical problem was attended to immediately.
For many senior citizens with few health problems, these disadvantages are not of primary concern, making senior in-home care a viable option. For others, mobility and health issues make considering these disadvantages a pressing issue. Senior citizens and family members should look carefully into these and other potential problems before choosing the care option that is right for them. Since each person is unique, with different priorities and physical or emotional concerns, this decision should be made with the individual’s needs in mind.