Supportive In-Home Care for Patients with Dementia: How It Differs from Nursing Home Care

As your parents age, one or both of them might suffer from a form of dementia. Usually, one parent will provide limited care to the other until it is no longer possible to do so or until the caretaker passes away. Then you have a few options for continued care for your parent(s) with dementia, which include supportive in-home care or a nursing home/facility. Here is how in-home care differs from nursing home care and why you may make the choice for your parent(s) with dementia to remain at home instead.

In-Home Care versus Nursing Facilities

In-home care covers many of your parents' basic needs while still encouraging them to remain as active and as independent as possible. Healthcare aides can provide around-the-clock services for cooking, cleaning, transportation and medication administration. The aides can also monitor your parents at night for sleeplessness and/or wandering risks. The costs for in-home care are often less than the monthly expense of nursing facility rooms and board for just one of your parents. As the needs of your parents with dementia become more demanding (or they become combative) you can look at placing one or both of them in a nursing facility.

Nursing facilities limit your parents' ability to participate in many of the daily activities that would keep their brains functional and functioning longer than if they were at home. Transportation is also frequently limited, depending on the number of staff and the facility's ability to transport residents to stores and doctor's appointments. Privacy is another concern, since most nursing facilities have two or three residents all sharing a room. Although you can get a private room at some facilities for your parents, the cost is often much more than your fixed-income parents can afford.

Patients with Dementia Do Better in Familiar Surroundings

Because a big part of dementia is memory loss, your parents may do much better remaining in their home and in familiar surroundings. Moving people with dementia into a nursing facility can trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty and encourage wandering behavior as the patient seeks out something that looks familiar to him or her. Choosing supportive in-home care means that your parents not only get to stay in their home longer with reduced care expenses, but they also get to remain in a place that is reasonably familiar and comforting to them. (Then the reasons for any wandering behavior are probably linked to a real or imagined need to get something or see somebody, which is easily remedied.) If this option sounds attractive to you, contact a representative from an establishment like Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care