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Home Care or Nursing Home: Which Option Is Best for Your Aging Loved One?

Home Care or Nursing Home: Which Option Is Best for Your Aging Loved One?

When your parents graduate to the final stages of their earthly journey, they may require a bit more help than they did in their younger years. Naturally, you want to care for them as they cared for you, but you can’t watch them around the clock. You will have two options: home care or a nursing home. In this article, we will cover the pros and cons of each and how to determine which one will provide the best results for your parent’s situation.

At-Home Care

Home care services send someone to spend time with and care for your loved one based on their unique needs. Services can include transportation, medication management, physical therapy, cooking, cleaning, hygiene, and memory care. You can have someone check in once or twice a week for a couple of hours, or you can have someone on-site around the clock.


At-home care costs less at roughly $3,813 a month, which covers about 44 hours a week. It also offers flexibility, and it can work as a great transition to care for people who don’t need (or want) a lot of help. Most importantly, at-home care allows your parent to maintain a level of independence and stay in the home they worked hard to earn, where they feel most comfortable.


You usually only get one person caring for your parent with at-home care services, not a team. Quality also varies greatly based on the services and the specific nurse. Also, even the best nurses can’t provide a complete social experience.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes provide a complete care experience that surrounds your parent with peers their age in an environment that caters to the unique needs of seniors. Most nursing homes include larger, handicap-accessible facilities, no stairs, and specialized safety features. Nursing homes also have a team of professionals on-site for everyday medical needs as well as emergencies.


Nursing homes give your loved one quick access to a team of medical professionals that cover all potential needs from mental health to heart conditions, and they design the facilities for optimal accessibility and safety. Your parent will also have the ability to socialize with people their age and participate in activities and field trips.


Nursing homes tend to cost more than at-home care at an estimated $6,844.00 per month. But, more importantly, many seniors simply don’t want to move to a nursing home for fear of losing their independence.

Choosing Between Home Care and Nursing Home

Your parent deserves input in their care and living situation. If you discuss their options with them and make them part of the conversation, they may feel more comfortable about the transition to the next stage of life if you give them some autonomy. At-home care and nursing homes offer very similar services, especially if you get round-the-clock at-home care, so you can’t really go wrong either way. Provide a wide range of options for both types of services and go over them together, but let your parent make the final decision.

Many people choose to transition slowly, starting with at-home care once a week and increasing to round-the-clock at-home care as the need develops. Next, you can talk about a change to a nursing home. Encourage the nursing home option if your parent lives in an inaccessible home or does not get enough social interaction.