One of the most common questions we get from clients is the difference between in-home care and living in a community. There are pros and cons to both and it’s a very personal journey that hinges on the specific needs of the person or couple. We created Sunways to be an unbiased resource to help families navigate their options and make sure they are making the right decision.
Although there are many factors, we’re going to focus on 3 of them to consider and lay out some of the benefits and negatives of both in-home care and living in a community. Please note that when we refer to “in-home care” we mean having a Caregiver at the house, not a skilled nursing service (PT, OT, etc) that is covered by Medicare. With that said, lets dive in! (+ = pro, - = con)
1. LEVEL OF CARE NEEDED
Both in-home and community options can provide as little or as much care that your loved ones need…ranging with some basic help with housekeeping and preparing meals all the way up to helping daily tasks (showering, toileting, feeding).
+ Flexible: Care can range from 1 time a week for 3 or 4 hours, up to 24/7. This can be a cost savings since you only pay for the care that’s needed.
+ One-On-One Care: Caregivers are able to give One-On-One attention.
- Home Accessibility: most homes are not equipped to offer the support that’s needed like balance bars in bathrooms, doorways big enough for wheelchairs/walkers or may have carpet, stairs, etc. that create a fall risk.
+ Communities are staffed with trained professionals that meet all of your loved one’s needs. Caregivers are available 24/7 and residents receive a customized care plan and there are levels of care so you are only pay for what services are needed.
+ Couples with different needs can still live together in the same apartment and receive different levels of care.
- Nursing and care staff are shared between residents, typically with rotating schedules.
2. SOCIALIZATION & ACTIVITIES
It’s important to consider the emotional support and health of your loved one, as studies show it directly impacts their physical health. Consistent socialization can improve mood, brain health and the connection between time and space.
Plus, a variety of activities usually encourages physical movement like going to the dining room, using fine motor skills for crafting or even if it’s just sitting up and engaging.
In Home Care
+ If currently active, loved ones can continue to do the social activities and routine that they are used to with little to no changes.
- Studies show that Seniors who live alone often become isolated as they age, which affect their physical and emotional health. Usually Caregivers and family members need to step in to fill in the gaps which isn’t always an option.
+ Communities have a big emphasis on socialization with a calendar of activities for all different interests. This ranges from games, crafts and exercise to field trips and much more.
+ Community staff is trained to encourage residents to participate
EFFECT ON FAMILY & CAREGIVERS
We see first hand everyday how taxing this journey is on Caregivers. This is the most personal of all the considerations. It means taking a hard look at how these changes will affect the family members and Caregivers of your loved one.
In Home Care allows flexibility for current caregivers. That said, it’s not always possible to have all of the family/caregiver involvement that’s needed to both fill in the gaps when In Home Care is not present or monitor the staff & loved one’s progress.
A move into a Community is usually a big change for everyone, including your loved one’s family members and caregivers. It can be emotional to work through the transition and changes to everyday life. That said, knowing your loved one is in a safe environment is important and the pressure lifted from the Caregiver shoulders is immense. Communities allow visitors anytime and for residents to leave for trips and activities to keep a sense of normalcy for everyone.
If you are weighing your options or looking for recommendations to in-home Caregivers or Communities that fit your needs, reach out to us and we can help. We are a free service for families and will make sure you’re getting the right support!
Safety becomes increasingly important as your or your loved ones age. According to the U.S. Census Report, 36.7% of Sarasota County population is over the age of 65. As a Real Estate Agent, I have spotted potential hazards for senior living when viewing homes and wanted to create a simple checklist that covered basic safety tips to protect our seniors and allow them the opportunity to stay in the comfort of their own home as they age.
For free and instant download of the entire checklist please visit: https://www.juliasrq.com/seniorsafetyguide
According to the Council’ s The State of Home Safety in America™ research report, each year on average preventable injuries in the home:
• Result in nearly 20,000 deaths
• Cause nearly 21 million medical visits
• Are the fifth leading cause of death overall
• Are 2.5 times more likely to cause injury than car crashes
• Are largely preventable when home safety practices are put into action at home
Over the years, home designs have allowed for more spacious bathrooms but the most popular bathroom size is 5x8 and by the time you add in a tub, sink and toilet the actual floor space is very limited. With the bathroom being one of the most dangerous and accident prone areas in the home, there are ways that you can make the bathroom safer.
Water on porcelain or tile creates a very slippery surface and your shower/tub should be carefully considered before moving to a new place. A non-slip treatment can be applied to floors and showers, I have a great local company in Sarasota I can recommend to you, other safe measures include:
1. Add grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet.
2. Toilet height is different for everyone depending on your height. When seated your feet should be flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor.
3. Use only thin, non-slip bath-mats on the floors
4. Hot/Cold should be clearly marked to reduce the risk of getting scalded.
5. Invest in a transfer bench if needed.
6. Be sure there is adequate lighting throughout the bathroom, even with the shower curtain drawn
About the Author: Julia Clark, REALTOR at RoseBay Real Estate 941)706-8188
The Caregiver journey is something we are so passionate about here at Sunways. We see first-hand what the stress can do. Usually Caregivers are spouses, partners, family members, friends or neighbors. Approximately 34.5 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult 50 or older in the past 12 months, and around 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Being a Caregiver is extremely taxing physically, emotionally and mentally. “Caregiver Burnout” is a term used to illustrate the strain and burden they often bear. Burnout can cause changes in attitude, from positive and upbeat to negative or apathetic, as well as physical changes in levels of energy or lead to illness or disease.
As a Caregiver, it’s extremely important to seek out support to help avoid burnout. Having a safe place where you can vent, exchange ideas and get a feeling that you aren’t alone is imperative to your wellbeing. Everyone is different in the format and set-up that suits them best, and you have a few different options:
1. In-Person Support Groups
We are lucky to have a lot of options for Caregiver Support groups here is Sarasota/Manatee. No matter where you live, you can usually find them at hospitals and churches. In-person groups are great because you are able to create strong relationships with the others in the group and feel a sense of community and security, that’s hard to get otherwise. Usually there will be a group moderator to keep discussion going, and each participant has a chance to discuss their highs and lows. Some of our favorites held locally are:
A. JFCS Seniors Caregiver Support: Wednesday 10:30-12, Fridays 10:30-12
@ Fruitville Campus
B. Friendship Centers Caregiver Support Group: Thursdays 10-11:30 @ Sarasota Campus
C. Dementia Caregiving Support Group: Every 3rd Friday of the month 11-12:30
@ Parkinson Place
D. Neuro Challenge & JFCS Parkinson’s Disease Caregiver Support: 3rd Thursday of the month
1-2pm @ JFCS Fruitville Campus
2. Online Support Groups
Sometimes getting to an in-person support group isn’t possible, or a bit too invasive if you are a very private person. There are some great online support group options as well. These can be formatted in a lot of different ways: there are private Facebook groups where only members can see posts/comments, blogs that allow open comments/discussions, online forums and even email based discussion groups. Below are a few well known ones, but check out Google to find one that best suites you:
A. Family Caregiver Alliance online support group:
B. Memory People : this is a private Facebook group
C. Sandwich Generation : this is a private Facebook group
D. Reddit Caregiver Support forum : https://www.reddit.com/r/CaregiverSupport/
If you are a struggling Caregiver. please reach out to us so we can help you get the support and resources you need!
Our immune systems diminish as we age. Our bodies slow down production of immune cells like white blood cells which weaken our defenses and ability to heal. Couple that with new strains of viruses and our Seniors are left extremely susceptible to illness.
As Caregivers, we can be proactive about helping our loved ones boost their immune systems to avoid getting sick. Using some of the natural tools listed below can make a big impact on our health, but the trick is consistency over time. Start with one or two that are easy for you to integrate and create a routine so you can reap the benefits!
1. Increase Your Antioxidant Intake
Antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals…in other words, they keep our cells healthy, functioning well and decrease inflammation. All of that is critical to a strong immune system. The good news is that there are a ton of foods high in antioxidants, and most are delicious! Some foods with the highest levels are: Berries, Kale, Spinach, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Artichokes, Pecans and Ginger. Integrating one or two of these foods daily will have a great effect on boosting immunity.
2. Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is necessary for growth, development and repair of body tissue and is an important component to the function of our immune systems. Studies show that it not only prevents illness, but also shortens the duration of healing from viruses. There are a few ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin C. Foods like Bell Peppers, Strawberries, Oranges, Broccoli and Tomatoes have some of the highest levels. There are also a lot of supplements available over the counter if that is easier to work into your routine.
3. Use Essential Oils
Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years to boost immunity and treat illness. Diffusing essential oils can be a great way to clean the air of airborne germs, and allow our loved ones to get the therapeutic effects of breathing them in. Oils like Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary and Lemon have all been shown to have these great effects. Note: not all essential oils are created equal so make sure they are therapeutic grade and you trust the source they come from.
4. Get Some Sleep
Studies show that sleep deprivation suppresses our immune systems. Without the right amount of REM sleep, our bodies aren’t able to rebuild on a cellular level. We should be getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. Creating a routine can help with this like having a tea, reading and not using devices within 45 minutes of going to bed.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking more water helps flush toxins and caries oxygen to our cells which supports our immune system. Wondering if you’re drinking enough? You should be drinking ½ your body weight in ounces a day. (Ex: if you are 150 lbs, drink 75oz/day)
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.