Question: Dear Luise: I have heard that there is an alternative to putting someone in a nursing home that it involves providing home care. I have a parent that is going to need some kind of specialized care soon and I’m trying to look into what our options are. Have you heard about this kind of thing? Thanks, Marcy
Answer: Dear Marcy: It used to be the only way to go. When I was growing up in Michigan, there were County Poor Farms for aging people without families, but they were the exception, not the rule. Often when I visited friends, there was an aging grandparent in residence. Each family found a way to take care of their own. Much later, my Dad lived with me when he was in his 80s and 90s.
I personally know of one family that recently provided home care. Their Mom lived alone and eventually needed bathing, feeding, entertainment and supervision. They hired a practical nurse to live in five days a week. On the weekend, she took two days off and the three of them rotated staying with their Mom and attending to her needs.
It wasn’t easy and it often wasn’t fun. There was some money available but I think in most states, if you are in the US, there is similar care that can be had for those unable to pay. Don’t quote me, because it may be Federal aid, not State aid, or a combination of both.
I went to the memorial service when the lady I refer to above passed on. Her three grown children were all so glad that they listened to her request to stay in her own home. It was really touching to see how at peace they all were. And the caregiver had become part of the family, too.
I know there are situations where highly specialized medical care has to be given within the structure of an institution, and there are also cases where dementia requires confinement in a locked facility, so the circumstances you are facing need to be carefully assessed. Your Mom’s doctor can give you some advice, and so can the Internet and your local Senior Services Agency. It’s well worth researching before you make your final decision. Blessings, Luise