You love your home. It is where you made many memories with your spouse and children. You look around at the furniture, decorations, photographs on the wall and trinkets sitting around, and you feel comfortable and safe.
If it is your hope to remain in your home as long as possible as you age, you have a lot of planning to do. Once you reach the age of 65, your chances of requiring hospitalization or medical care for a chronic or terminal illness increase substantially. Even if you believe it is better for you to remain in your home than to live your elder years in a nursing home, you should examine all your options.
Weighing the pros and cons
If you suffer an illness or injury for which you need extended care or rehabilitation, you and your physician may discuss the option of receiving that care in your own home rather than entering a long-term care facility. Research shows significant advantages to remaining in the familiar and comfortable environment of your own home, such as:
- It is less expensive than a nursing home unless you are still paying a mortgage and other expenses on your house.
- You can maintain your independence instead of having to adjust to the schedules and demands of a nursing home.
- You and your family have more flexibility regarding the type of care you receive in your home.
- Home caregivers provide you with one-on-one attention rather than dividing their time among numerous patients.
- Your family can take an active role in your care.
Unfortunately, you should also consider the disadvantages of home health care. For example, your family members may be unable to help you at home without tremendous cost to their own families, such as missing work or losing valuable time with their children.
Additionally, nursing home employees receive licenses and training under strict regulations, but this is not always so with home health care providers. If home health care options are limited in your area of Massachusetts, providers may be overworked and underpaid, placing you at risk for abuse, especially if staying at home isolates you from others.
What is best for you?
It is impossible to predict what your future holds and how long you will remain healthy enough to stay in your home. However, it is important to plan for as many contingencies as possible, and that includes ensuring you will qualify for Medicare benefits when you need them.
For answers to your questions and information about the best ways to prepare for your future, you may benefit from speaking with an estate planning attorney.