In-Home Care vs. Medical Alert System: The Best for Grandma

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Updated 7/11/17 3:30pm | Grandma has finally reached the legendary status of retirement. She no longer has to work. There’s more time to hang out with friends. She is free as a bird. She can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants.

But with this new stage comes a big question: Does Grandma need in-home care? She walks slower, forgets her medication, and trips on everything. You don't know if she should live alone, but she can’t move in with you. 

You may worry that Grandma needs to live in a nursing home. Hold that thought. Although a nursing home has many benefits, it’s not your only option. In-home services exist to make aging in place easier than ever for Grandma. In this post, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each in-home option for your loved one.

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In-Home Caregiver

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Grandma wants to stay at home, but has a hard time doing simple tasks. In her case, hiring in-home assistance is a great solution. A specialist comes into her home and assists her with everything from cooking to bathing. Before you hire someone for in-home assistance, consider these aspects.

Pros

  • There's always a helping hand. You can't always be around Grandma. An in-home specialist acts as the primary caregiver on a daily basis.
  • She can have a safer home.  A specialist is trained to review Grandma’s house for safety. That way, you can make better senior safety home modifications for Grandma’s needs.
  • Grandma gets a friendly companion. Older adults who live by themselves tend to feel lonely. With someone around the house, a specialist can be both a caretaker and a friend to Grandma.

Cons

  • There’s a stranger in her home. Even if they’re a professional, it can take a while to trust non-family caregivers. Furthermore, the wrong specialist can neglect or abuse your senior loved one.
  • Hired help is expensive. The average cost of in-home assistance is around $20,000 a year. If your loved one has extensive needs, a specialist can be just as expensive as a nursing home.
  • Family caregivers can feel burnout. To save money, some family members assume this role out of love. However, the balance of work, errands, and caregiving can be emotionally exhausting.

An in-home specialist is ideal if Grandma has mobility and communication disabilities. Make sure to take time to research the best person for the job. After all, Grandma will spend a majority of time with this caregiver.

Medical Alert Systems

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Is Grandma healthy enough to live alone without a caregiver? She may be, but as she gets older, she becomes more prone to accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that falls within the home are the leading cause of fatal injury for older Americans.

In this case, medical alert systems are a great option. With fall detection and fast emergency responses, these devices give you peace of mind. Think through these aspects if you’re interested in a medical alert system.

Pros

  • She gains independence. Having a medical alert eases Grandma’s worries. Help is only a push of a button away. She doesn’t sacrifice anything for an independent lifestyle.
  • There’s more quality time. She doesn’t have to stay inside the house all the time. If she has a medical necklace or bracelet, Grandma can leave the house and hang out more often with her loved ones.
  • It’s affordable. When you invest in a medical alert system, the cost is around $350-800 per year. In contrast, an in-home caregiver averages $20,000. With a medical alert system, you save thousands.

Cons

  • Most have lengthy contracts. Many medical alert providers, like Life Alert®, require at least a two-year commitment. Here at Alert1 we don't require long-term contracts.
  • They’re responsive, not preventive. Medical alert devices can’t physically stop falls. Although the alert responders will contact your local emergency services, the arrival time varies. Anything can happen within seconds of falling.
  • Grandma is insecure about them. She might find it embarrassing to wear these devices. If she wants to be discreet, she can wear stylish options such as Alert1 medical bracelets and necklaces.

A medical alert is ideal if Grandma can perform basic living skills by herself. Aging in place feels effortless when she can choose from simple help buttons to advanced fall detection systems. She doesn't have to give up her independent lifestyle. If you worry about the occasional emergency, medical alert systems are great to support Grandma.

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Aging in Place is the Best Choice

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Aging in place lets anybody stay in the comfort of their own home. If Grandma wants to remain in her home, she shouldn’t feel ashamed for needing help.  Living independently empowering when she spends her days in a familiar environment.

Whether it’s an in-home specialist or medical alert system, both options allow her to stay home in peace. The choice comes down to what she needs most for her current situation. Regardless of the decision, aging in place will be happier and safer for Grandma. 

Sources

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

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