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Choosing Between Nursing Homes & Home Care

Skilled Nursing

First published by the Pacific-Palisadian

It isn’t easy when an aging loved one is no longer able to care for themselves. Their vulnerability and the possibility of injury in the home creates worry and stress for everyone involved. Two of the most common options available for seniors are Home Care and Nursing Homes, each with their advantages and drawbacks to consider as you make the decision.

Nursing Homes

One of the main considerations when choosing how to provide care for your loved one is their current health situation. If they require constant supervision and medical care from a doctor or nurse, living at home will present scenarios which must be properly evaluated and addressed. 

Nursing homes provide full-time assistance for patients; but they also offer a residential setting. Meals, laundry, cleaning, medical care and therapy are just a few of the amenities of a Nursing Home. Most facilities offer private rooms and many seniors enjoy the scheduled activities and outings, with transportation provided. 


  • There are many facilities that provide advanced memory care services. They are safe alternatives for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. 
  • Nursing Homes provide a safe environment for those with severe mobility issues and memory care issues.  
  • Nursing homes are staffed with full time medical professionals to address the medical needs of your loved one. 
  • If your aging loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and is prone to wandering, the security measures taken in a nursing home can help ease your worry. 


  • If your loved one requires high-quality care, paying for a nursing home must factor into all decisions.
  • The feeling of a loss of independence can make your loved one feel ‘old’. Afterall, they are leaving their home and entering into a foreign environment.
  • The number of seniors outnumber the caregivers. 
  • The spread and control of disease, such as Covid 19, has been a continual challenge in Nursing Homes.

Home Care and Home Health Care

Home Care and Home Health Care help keep your aging loved one in their home even when they are no longer able to fully care for themselves.

According to an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) study, “nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible.” That’s where Home Care, providing non-medical services in the home, and Home Health Care, providing medical needs like nursing care and physical therapy, comes in.


  • Your aging loved one will be the only patient, meaning they have complete one-on-one attention from a caregiver or medical practitioner. 
  • You and your family have an intimate relationship when choosing the quality caregiver who will watch over your aging loved one. 
  • Several studies have shown that those who stay home, tend to be physically and mentally healthier. 
  • There is less of a disruption for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. 
  • Care can be tailored to the specific needs of your loved one. 
  • In-home care professionals can aid with shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, hygiene and other household tasks. Some agencies also offer transportation services.  
  • Skilled medical professionals, under the direction of a licensed physician, can assist with wound care, IVs, catheters, injections, medication administration and other physical needs 


  • Private homes may not be as secure as a Nursing Home if your aging loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Monitoring technologies can assist with these efforts.
  • While many insurance providers cover eligible seniors for Home Health Care, you’ll need to verify your payment options for non-medical Home Care services.

Insurance Coverage and Payment Options 

Benefits and coverages may differ between Nursing Homes and Home Care and Home Health Care services. The National Council on Aging can help determine which benefits are available to you. Medicare and Medi-Cal definitely come into play for medical services provided by Home Health Care. While Home Care services are not typically covered under Medicare, Long Term Care (LTC) insurance policies, government assistance programs and VA Benefits are all common options.

Start The Conversation With Your Loved One Now

Engage your family in a conversation about where they’d like to live as they age. It’s important to involve them in the decision-making before health concerns arise, so that a plan is in place and you are equipped to help make the best decision for your loved one.

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