If you are currently searching in the Dallas TX & Fort Worth TX area for senior in-home care, home health care, home health agency, assisted living or memory care, then this article will provide important considerations to help in deciding which is best for you. Over the past 34+ years I have spent considerable time working as a provider in all the aforementioned areas, and as a result am able to give you a good idea of the pros and cons of each.
For most, your choice boils down to cost and quality life and how each meets your individual goals & expectations. Cost advantage will be determined by your unique situation, so here are some important considerations in this regard.
When evaluating between the cost of an assisted living or memory care versus cost of senior in-home care in the Dallas TX & Fort Worth TX area, it’s good to start out by separating the two into the fixed and variable costs of each. Fixed costs are relatively stable each month with little or no variance with your health condition or activity during the month, while variable costs you will tend to have much more control over as they will vary with your monthly and health condition. Your monthly fixed costs will tend to be higher in an assisted living/memory care facility than with receiving in-home care. Higher monthly fixed costs will tend provide a cost advantage to those with more declined or declining health, as these folks are more opt to gain the fullest return on these costs. Those with good or improving health will not be able to pare back these costs if not needed, which can be especially important if a person’s financial situation declines, but their health doesn’t.
Monthly variable cost of service will naturally depend on the hourly rate paid and hours used, but more importantly the TOTAL variable cost of service will depend heavily on quality of life/health realized under each situation (senior in-home care or assisted living/memory care facility). In each situation, the hourly rate is what is paid to a caregiver in and above your monthly fixed costs in order to receive assistance with your activities of daily living. Whether in your own home or a facility, you should have the option to shop around among different home health agencies to obtain your best rate. So the variable hourly caregiver paid rate will depend upon the home health care agency you choose to work with.
Figuring out the total variable cost of what you can expect to pay a caregiver for assistance with activities of daily living as determined by your quality of life/health, is obviously a little more complicated. Let’s approach this by understanding how each of the following listed quality of life/health attributes are influenced in an at home care setting versus in a facility such as an assisted living or memory care: physiological, psychological, sociological and spiritual.
Over the past 34+ years I have seen many things influencing each one of the aforementioned quality of life attributes, but would like to focus here on just the major influences of each. For those wanting additional information on them, feel free to contact me Rick Putchio at Care Mountain 972-266-8978 or email [email protected]
Physiological health in seniors/elderly is greatly affected by exercise/activity and nutrition. I have found assisted living/memory care facilities to have an advantage in this area over in-home care for those individuals with a more outgoing personality, as they tended to take the fullest advantage of a facilities dietary and exercise programs. The less outgoing personalities tended to do better, with diet and exercise/activity, in the more private setting in a house where one on one encouragement from a home health aide is present.
During this current COVID – 19 period in-home care may have a significant, albeit temporary, physiological advantage over assisted living/memory care facilities due to the higher risk of virus exposure in a more densely congregated facility with a vulnerable population.
Psychological health in seniors/elderly is greatly affected by attitude and I have found either living situation can be an equally good influence on a positive attitude. For at home care look for a caregiver that has demonstrated through extensive experience that this is a calling in life her them. For a facility, look to see if you can find this same quality in the executive director of the facility as he/she will set the tone for everyone else on the team. A positive attitude is greatly influenced by continuous positive messaging, and you will tend to find it much more with the aforementioned caregiver and facility director attributes.
Sociological health in seniors/elderly is greatly affected by the quantity and quality of connections one maintains with society. Assisted living/memory care facilities can have a huge advantage here just out of the convenience of having this interaction with society just a few steps outside your front door. In either case though, the sociological advantage of each will be about best fit – finding a good caregiver fit or finding a good facility fit for your personality. This is why it is critical that you take steps such as interviewing caregivers to find the right fit, or visiting a facility, eating a meal there and getting to know their residents to see how well you fit in with that group of people. No matter how wonderful a caregiver or facility is, neither is the right fit for everyone. I have seen great caregiver fits get clients out to many social engagements and personality compatible residents in facilities do the same. Those with more outgoing personalities though, tend to realize much more of the sociological benefits in facilities.
One caveat during this time of COVID -19 without available vaccinations is that in-home care likely holds a significant, albeit likely temporary, sociological health advantage over living in an assisted living/memory care facility due to the social isolation from family/society dictated by an individual facility.
Spiritual health in seniors/elderly tends to be much more about personal choice within each environment (own home or assisted living/memory care) than the environment itself. An exception tends to be when moving into a facility that is owned or managed by your affiliated religious faith. In these cases, spiritual convenience of activity and daily influence make a difference.
The Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex has many outstanding senior in-home care home health agencies such as Care Mountain, as well as many outstanding assisted living and memory care facilities. It’s a matter of which option is best for you! A good place to start is with either of our two local Better Business Bureau’s: North Central Texas Better Business Bureau and the Better Business Bureau Fort Worth TX. Great quality information on home health agencies and assisted living/memory care facilities can also be found on the site of the Texas state agency that licenses each: Texas Health & Human Services Commission.