In-Home Care – is it a viable alternative to a nursing home?

Posted on August 24, 2016 by ey3admin in , ,

While nursing homes offer numerous advantages for the support needs of the frail, the elderly and the terminally ill in terms of expertise and availability of help twenty fours hours per day, it is not always the best option for each person, and in home care should be considered as an alternative first. The decision to stay at home versus the move to a formal care facility is a personal one - each case should be considered individually, as what is right for one person can be very wrong for another.

Another Option - Home Care Services

For many people, home is the place where they feel safest and most comfortable, and this can translate to increased responsiveness to therapy due to the lessened stresses of in home care as opposed to nursing homes. In home care can be either short-term or long term, depending on the needs of the person, which adds flexibility as opposed to a nursing home where care is standardised and rather independent of individual needs.

Services can include numerous professionals including nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and any other workers, depending on the need of the patient. Some of the services offers can involve planned meals, day services with activities and staff on hand to assist, care and daily check-ups for those that needs extra support.

There are many options for those who are simply elderly and require help with small tasks, but aren't severely ill and don't require constant monitoring. Many elderly people will find that living in an assisted living complex is beneficial to both their social, emotional and physical well-being. Residents of these complexes receive help with simple tasks like doing groceries and laundry, but are fully independent otherwise. The complexes usually house other seniors, who are also independent, meaning that the seniors tend to live quite active social lives as well.

Aging in Place retirement communities are very similar to assisted living complexes, but with the benefit of nursing care and the option to move from one housing option (independent unit)  to another (hostel or nursing home) depending on changing medical needs.

Benefits of In Home Care

The main benefit of this type of support is that care is delivered to the place where the patient feels the safest and most relaxed, the home.

It also means they can continue their social activities and maintain friends - both of which they may have had for many years. The care provided in your own home is usually personalised and one-on-one and also encourages the person to maintain his or her independence, leading to increased self-esteem.

In addition, home care can be more affordable than other kinds, providing a large cost to benefit ratio for the senior citizen's well-being.

Disadvantages of In Home Care

There are some circumstances, however, where home care isn't ideal and can actually be detrimental to the well-being of either the person or the caregivers and family. Home care can no longer be suitable when a person needs specialised facilities, that aren't present in the home and can be far too costly and cumbersome to install.

Due to the distance from professional medical care, emergencies that occur in the home are more difficult to handle than ones that would occur in a nursing home, and can lead to additional stress on the caregivers. If the person is living with family, the home doesn't offer as many benefits in terms of privacy and independence. The main burden of in home care usually falls upon the family, and family caregivers can struggle and burn-out if they don't have additional support. Also, many family members may be afraid of, or unable to cope emotionally with having a severely disabled or terminally ill person in the house.


The time may come when a Nursing Home is the best option to ensure a persons safety and well being - but home care should always be considered as the first option - because of the numerous benefits to staying at home. Individual needs will determine what sort of care is best for each person. If in doubt engage a professional to help determine which is the best care option for you.

Filed under: Aged Care, Home Care, Nursing Home