The Home Care vs. Non-Home Care Dilemma
My mother-in-law and I had a great 30 minute conversation about receiving home care versus other alternatives (like assisted living, group homes, and buy-in CCRC’s) when I was visiting over the holidays.
It started off as a conversation about the costs associated with different types of care, and quickly evolved into a more philosophical discussion about a person’s right to choose their own healthcare services. I think it’s a great topic that many people have their own opinions on. It’s my hope to hear what readers think of this.
Having worked for an assisted living provider, I saw the positive aspects of this type of healthcare service. Meals are made every day, your laundry is done for you (I would LOVE this), and you’re around other people. However, I do recognize that for some people Assisted Living is sometimes more expensive than receiving care in your own home, and that it can significantly drain your financial resources.
This is where our conversation started. Is it right for someone to spend their resources more quickly than someone else, and potentially then need to rely on state or federal resources because of their decision? My mother-in-law was trying to understand why the government wanted to have a say in the discussion. She and I both agree that if you have the resources to pay for your care in perpetuity, it really shouldn’t matter what anyone else says – friends, family, or government. If you are the type of person who loves being around other people, and you have the resources to receive care in every way possible without the assistance of your state or federal government, shouldn’t you be able to choose a setting that pleases you?
On the other end of the spectrum are those individuals who have absolutely no personal resources. They rely 100% on their friends, family, and government for their care. In this situation, I personally understand why the government may wish to become involved. Who’s to say that someone can’t receive just as high quality of care at home as opposed to a skilled nursing or assisted living property. As more and more people reach the point in life where they need additional services and care, the need to provide this care at reasonable prices becomes more and more important. I do, however, wonder if anyone has investigated whether there are certain people who do better in a group setting as opposed to receiving services in their home, alone, with only one other person around them. Some people do better on their own, with help, in their own home. They may not feel the need to be around other people, or are content with family and friends visiting them on occasion. However, I also know that there are people who naturally do better when they are around a group of people. If they aren’t with groups they may begin to experience a depression of sorts, which we all know has a negative impact on health and well being. Could it be possible that it actually may be more affordable for some people to be outside of their home receiving care?
Stuck between these two groups are the people who have some financial resources, but not enough to sustain more costly care forever. My grandmother was in this category, and at Sunrise we would see this from time to time. It’s a race between having enough money to stay and your health declining until you pass away. It’s a tough situation, and it was always painful to see families go through it. My family was no exception. You may have enough money for a year or two in a non-home care setting, but you may ultimately run out of your own funds and require state assistance. Because of that, should you be required to prove that you aren’t spending your personal resources frivolously? The same argument about socialization in the previous, no resources, situation may still ring true.
So, what do you think? Should someone be able to choose the type of care they are to receive, and where they receive it? Does the government have a right to an opinion as well?