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3 Questions About Assisted Living vs. Home Care

"Should I put my mom or dad in assisted living?" People who meet Jeff Hill are always asking him this question.

Jeff operates Home Care Assistance in Greater Phoenix, Arizona, so he gets all the "aging parent" questions.

Jeff usually responds with, “it depends,” and from there, he starts an open conversation about assisted and independent living communities, home care and how to evaluate each option.

Here are three key questions he asks to help people evaluate their parent’s long-term care options.

1. The Grocery Store Question

"I ask the son or daughter that I’m speaking with to close their eyes and picture themselves standing in line at the grocery store and picking out 12 random people I ask them how they would feel knowing that tomorrow they will have to live with those people," says Jeff.

"This usually sparks a negative reaction and the response that there is no way they would want to live with strangers. I share that this is often the same response most seniors have when they are placed into a community. This brings the reality of moving mom or dad into perspective."

2. The Prescription Dose Question

Has your parent received a prescription from the doctor? Did the doctor start your parent on a low dose or a high dose?

The typical response is that yes, they have received a prescription from their doctor, and it was a low dose that will step up until they determine the proper dosage. This analogy can be applied to home care. "I tell the son or daughter to think of home care like a low dosage that can start slow and then increase in hours as needs evolve," says Jeff.

If things are not working out at home, then moving into a community is likely the best option. Even if moving a senior loved one to a community is the best solution, starting with in-home care will provide the family more time to get all the affairs in order and visit local communities to ensure the best fit. Another advantage is that if the community they have chosen has a waiting list, they can stay at home with a caregiver until space becomes available.

3. The 10x Question

If the parent moves into a community that has a ratio of one caregiver per ten residents, a common ratio, you can expect your loved one to receive six minutes of assistance per hour from the caregiver. With in-home care, clients will get one-one-one attention from their caregiver every hour they are hired to be there. Which is greater, six minutes, or sixty?

In conclusion, there is no easy answer when it comes to the best long-term care option for your loved one, but the right solution becomes much clearer when the pros and cons of both options are objectively reviewed using the questions above.

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