Is Home Care An Option?

  • Can the person’s basic needs be met in the available space?
  • The house must be large enough to accommodate things like a lift-chair, walker, wheelchair, bedside toilet, etc.
  • All rooms should be on one level. Necessary modifications should be made in advance to ensure the space is safe and comfortable – (ramps at entryways, handrails, bathroom modifications, etc.
  • Someone must be available and willing to give medications at appropriate times, prepare meals, assist with personal care, and provide transportation and companionship.

When should a family seek an alternative to home care?

  • When the primary caregiver must maintain employment or otherwise be away from the house for many hours each day.
  • If personal or family limitations are likely to prevent a positive shared living experience -(limited time for care giving chores, lack of financial resources, young children still at home, etc.).
  • When a primary caregiver lacks the physical or emotional strength to manage care needs.
  • If the physical layout of the home is unsuitable to meet the basic needs of the patient --(stairs, small doorways, unsuitable bathroom, etc).
  • Most important, when the PWP simply prefers to live in a formal care facility rather than reside with family members.

Ten things no one tells you in advance

  • Your freedom to “come and go” on short notice may be sacrificed.
  • Care giving takes time and attention away from other family members who may act out in unanticipated ways.
  • Children in your home may need to be quieter.
  • Older children and teens sometimes become kinder, more thoughtful family members as a result of having an older relative in the home.
  • You may feel obligated to use your personal funds to care for your loved one.
  • On the other hand, caring for someone at home is much less expensive than the alternatives.
  • Friends and family members can be critical or offer unwelcome advice.
  • You will often be awakened during the night.
  • Instead of feeling grateful, the person you care for may be unpleasant or resentful.
  • Despite the burden of care giving, the relationship between you and your care recipient often becomes stronger over time.


Want to Learn More?

Print this checklist:
Evaluating Assisted Living Facilities

Request a free copy of this NPF manual:
Caring and Coping

Caregiving content reviewed by: Susan Imke, RN, MS, Family Nurse Practitioner, Senior Health Solutions

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