For Seniors, Home Can be Better Than Assisted Living Facilities

August 6, 2012 · Print This Article

Many seniors will be faced with a decision during retirement about long-term care. Retirement and nursing homes offer around-the-clock help, but there are a number of financial and emotional considerations.

Home care, on the other hand, can offer a compromise, giving healthy seniors freedom while providing support and supervision for the partner who needs it. With a growing number of available resources, home care no longer means a burden on the healthy spouse or family members.

Staying Together in the Home
Aging couples may be looking at a situation where one spouse needs around-the-clock care while the other spouse is still fully capable of living on their own. In the past, this situation meant having to live apart, while the ill spouse moved into a nursing home and the healthy spouse remained at home. The other alternative was for a healthy spouse to also move into the same long-term care facility, but that meant sacrificing freedom, not to mention paying a hefty bill for care that wasn’t necessary.

By opting for home care instead, an ailing individual can benefit from both qualified care and the continued presence and support of his or her spouse. Meanwhile, the healthy spouse retains freedom, their household doesn’t accrue costly bills, and both partners get to continue to enjoy the comfort of their own home.

Financial Benefits of Home Care
According to the 2011 Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs, the cost of nursing homes and assisted living communities is on the rise across the U.S. while the national average for home health aides and homemakers remained relatively unchanged from the previous year. While home care ran about $19 to $21 an hour, a private room in a nursing home was about $239 a day, and assisted living was estimated to cost about $3,477 a month. Since Canada shares many economic trends with the United States, it isn’t a far stretch to say that the same cost savings should apply here too.

Spouses who still work while their partner needs long-term care face a particular problem; their salary can be counted against the ailing spouse qualifying for government care. In 2009, the CBC reported that many elderly couples in New Brunswick were resorting to divorce so that they could get the government to help with the cost of expensive nursing home care.

Emotional Support at Home
Not only is home care generally more affordable than assisted living facilities, choosing to age in place can also benefit seniors emotionally as well, balancing qualified care and independence. In the case of married seniors, it makes it easier and more affordable for couples to remain together, even if they need different stages of care.

According to a recent piece in the Province, long hospital stays can result in reduced mobility for seniors and impact their ability to return to independent living. As an added benefit, aging at home helps reduce hospital overcrowding and lessens the cost to taxpayers.

Getting Help With Home Care
Health Canada lists some of the available home care services on their website. Along with community care programs like Meals on Wheels and visitor programs, ailing seniors can get professional medical help. Services like nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, homemaking, social work and even dietician services are all available in the home.

Horizon Equity makes it possible to stay in your home even longer with a reverse mortgage that, if needed, can be taken out to cover these additional costs. The fact that you don’t pay anything until you sell your home means that you can continue living comfortably in your own home with all the medical and other services you need. Contact us today to get more information on the CHIP Home Income plan and what we can do for you.