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

smiling grandma

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 with some balance issues, forgets her medication, and gets injured easily. You don't know if she should live alone, but she can’t move in with you. 

You may worry Grandma may have to move to a retirement or 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. 

In-Home Care

assistant to seniors

Grandma wants to stay at home, but has a hard time doing simple tasks. In her case, hiring an in-home specialist is a great solution.  Someone comes into her home and assists her with everything from cooking to bathing. Before you hire someone for in-home care, 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 caretaker 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 that 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 caretakers. Furthermore, the wrong specialist can neglect or abuse your senior loved one.
  • Hired help is expensive. The average cost of an in-home care specialist 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 caretakers can feel burnout. To save money, some family members assume the caretaker role out of love. However, the balance of work, errands, and caregiving can be emotionally exhausting.

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

Medical Alert Systems

medical alert system necklace

Is Grandma healthy enough to live alone without a caregiver? She may be, but as she gets older, she becomes more prone to accidents. Falls within the home are the leading cause of fatal injury for older Americans.

In this case, medical alert systems are the best option. With fall sensors and quick 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 an alert system eases Grandma’s worries. Help is only the 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. Even when you invest in a medical alert system, the cost is around $350-800 per year. In contrast, an in-home specialist averages $20,000. With a medical alert system, you save thousands.

Cons

  • Most have lengthy contracts. Many medical alert service providers, like Life Alert®, require at least a two-year commitment. Luckily, Alert1 doesn’t force you into long-term contracts.
  • They’re responsive, not preventive. Medical alert devices can’t physically stop falls. Although the alert responders will immediately 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 system is ideal if Grandma can perform basic living skills by herself. Aging in place feels effortless when she can choose from home systems and mobile GPS accessories. She doesn't have to give up her independent lifestyle. If you worry about occasional accidents, medical alert systems are great to support Grandma.

The Best Choice: Happiness

old couple smiling. medical alert system

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.  Aging in place is 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 age in place. 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

Comments

1:56 PM on September 29, 2016 Lynn Tran
My grandma said she wouldn't wear hers cuz it was so ugly. I didn't know I could change the lanyard! Maybe I can convince her now :)
5:37 PM on September 29, 2016 Nancy Phillis
My dad just had hip surgery. We are getting him a mobile medical alert so he can use it now AND when he gets better.
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