Social distancing, quarantine, masks, and disinfecting surfaces—COVID-19 has placed us all in unusual circumstances these days. If you or someone you love is over the age of 65, concerns about contracting the coronavirus are even more urgent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults are at higher risk of developing serious complications, and that means families have to make tough decisions about care for their senior loved ones.
If your family member requires assistance with daily activities, then you will have to carefully consider whether they should receive care at home or in a skilled nursing facility. While this is never an easy decision, the coronavirus outbreak has made it even more difficult.
The good news is that you do have options. In this post, we will take a look at the pros and cons of home care as compared with skilled nursing facilities as you decide which is the best option for your loved one.
What You Should Know About Home Care
Home care gives senior adults the opportunity to maintain their independence at home while receiving assistance from a caregiver. Home caregivers can help your loved one with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, light housekeeping, mobility, and more.
Home care is also a great way to promote the health and security of your loved one by providing:
- Protection from the higher risk of contracting COVID-19 in a shared living space
- Personalized care from a compassionate caregiver
- Comfort in familiar surroundings
- Companionship care with a consistent caregiver
- One-on-one care and more attention
- Lower costs
In addition, home care gives seniors a greater sense of control and independence, which can improve their overall well-being. It is a great option for a wide variety of individuals who need care, whether simple or complex.
What You Should Know About Skilled Nursing Facilities
Home care is not right for everyone, however. If your family member has a complex medical condition which requires daily care of a skilled medical provider, then a skilled nursing facility may be your best option. These facilities provide 24/7 care and can provide medical oversight for people with very serious health needs, such as daily infusions.
Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to this option, especially in our current health environment. If your loved one resides in a shared living space, he or she may encounter risk factors such as:
- Shared rooms
- Shared air circulation
- Exposure to greater numbers of people
- Contact with people transferring in from hospitals or other high-risk places
- Exposure to staff members who may work in multiple facilities
- Isolation and loneliness (especially during times of social distancing, when family cannot visit).
How to Know Which Option Is Right for You
There is a lot of uncertainty and concern about the best way to protect older adults from the potential risks of the coronavirus. Those are legitimate considerations, and they deserve careful evaluation as you decide which care option is the right choice for your family.
As you consider the pros and cons, ask these questions about your loved one’s situation:
- What kind of care does my loved one need? Do they need assistance with daily activities like hygiene, meal preparation, and mobility or do they need medical intervention like injections?
- Does my family member need skilled medical care? Do they need daily care from a registered nurse?
- Would they benefit from a consistent caregiver dedicated to one-on-one care? Do they need care that provides more consistency?
- What is my loved one’s preference? Do they have a strong opinion one way or the other?
- How could they benefit from maintaining independence at home? How could living at home help improve their well-being and comfort?
- Can family members help with care? Are there family members in the area who could provide some of the care that is needed?
- What are the risk factors and benefits of each option? What immediate and long-term outcomes could be associated with home care vs. a skilled nursing facility?
No two situations are the same, and that means there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every family. As you consider the potential impacts of COVID-19 for your family member, the good news is that you have a variety of options available to provide the care your loved one needs.
If you are interested in learning more about how a home caregiver can support you or your senior family member, please contact us! We would love to talk to you and provide additional resources about the ways home care can serve your family.