When your loved one reaches an age where help is not just an option but a necessity, how do you decide if home care or a nursing home will provide a better situation? This is going to be a significant life change either way, and it can have a very positive impact on an elderly person, ensuring that they are safe and healthy. To determine which move is better in your situation–no two people are alike, after all–you may want to take a look at the pros and cons.

Home Care: Pros

One of the biggest advantages of in-home care is that the elderly person gets to stay in their house, where they feel comfortable, so the change isn’t so jarring. After living independently for decades, they may not want to lose it, and the home setting still allows them some freedom. Additionally, home care is flexible, so you can set up a plan that provides the amount of care that the person really needs; they may not need the around-the-clock care that a nursing home gives. If not, home care can be way more affordable since you only pay for the hours worked. The home care worker takes on tasks that are too difficult or dangerous, such as helping with showers, running errands, cooking meals and the like.

Nursing Home: Pros

The big advantage of a nursing home is that experienced, professional care is always just a few feet away. If a person has a medical emergency–such as a fall–workers can be there in seconds to assist. The nursing home can also take care of medications so that they are never missed. On top of that, many nursing homes provide games, entertainment and meals, and they create a living environment where the elderly can interact and enjoy each other’s company, rather than being alone.

Home Care: Cons

The con of home care is the expense. As noted, it can be cheap if used in smaller amounts, but it can get expensive if you need to hire someone to live in the home around the clock. In this way, you’re just trying to make a setting that is like a nursing home, but for just one person. A nursing home may be less expensive since the cost is spread out among all of the residents.

Nursing Home: Cons

The disadvantage of the nursing home is also the cost, though, since you have no choice but to pay for around-the-clock care. You also have to pay their rates for food and things of this nature, rather than bargain shopping. On top of that, moving can be very discouraging and depressing for the elderly. Many people have lived in their homes for 50 years or more, and they don’t want to give them up. They have all of their fond memories there, and being dropped into a neutral setting rips them away from all that they cherish. Even if a nursing home provides excellent care on a technical level, that does not mean that the elderly person is going to be happy living there.