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Is in-home care best option available? Jenny Wallis | Fri, Aug 06 2010 04:00 PM

Dear Jenny,

What is the benefit of moving my dad into an assisted living community instead of hiring in-home care and letting him remain at home? It seems he would prefer to stay at home, so I want to do the right thing - help!

The appeal of staying at home is strong because there is a sense of familiarity and less change. Change can sometimes be overwhelming or frightening for anyone, especially a senior. Moving to an assisted living community can be just as overwhelming due to different surroundings, but the advantages of greater social opportunities often outweigh this concern. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of both options.

Staying at home with a professional caregiver, your dad will be in his familiar surroundings and he will have minimal change in his daily routine. There are numerous agencies available that specialize in home care, but ensure they are licensed, bonded and do thorough background checks on all their staff. The downside of personal homecare is the potential for staffing issues to arise. If Dad's caregiver calls in sick, your dad might be without assistance for an extended period of time. His socialization opportunities might be limited to only his caregiver and his meal options will be homemade, but likely he'll be dining alone. The cost of a home care is often more costly than anticipated, reaching thousands of dollars a month in addition to the responsibility of household expenses and maintenance.

The advantages of an assisted living community are by far the camaraderie and socialization opportunities available to your dad. Even if your dad likes his alone time, he has that option to go to his apartment after a game of cards with the guys.

Meal preparation is off his hands since most assisted living communities have a dining room, and dining becomes a social event, not just a solitary meal.

Mental stimulation at an assisted living community is at its peak with multiple interactions with others in his generation and tailored activity programming.

Most assisted living communities encourage your dad to bring familiar furniture pieces, art work and any hobby materials with him to make his new home his own. While it may take a few weeks for a senior to adjust into their new surroundings, often the only regret is that they didn't make the move sooner.

And the costs for an assisted living community are generally a lot lower than what you would pay for just homecare. You are doing the right thing for your dad by looking at what options are out there.

If you have questions about senior care or helping an elderly loved one, contact Jenny Wallis, community marketing director at Villa Bonita Senior Living, at 619-739-4400 or by e-mail at villabonitamkg2@islllc.com.

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