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As we age there may come a time when we need some help in order to care for ourselves. Even the most independent of individuals can find themselves struggling with declining mobility or loss of eyesight, post-operative health concerns or diminishing mental acuity.

A residential nursing home may seem the obvious choice when an elderly relative declines until they are unable to adequately manage alone at home. However, there is another option which could be the answer to ensuring that our loved ones receive excellent care, but in their own home rather than having to move to a care facility; the option of employing a live-in carer.

If we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of opting for either system, it could make the choice far simpler.


Residential Nursing Home


On The Plus Side

  • Residential nursing homes offer personal care, including feeding, washing, dressing and toileting.
  • There are likely to be activities, regular outings and the opportunity for new friendships.
  • Care can be tailored from low-level needs through to more advanced care needs.
  • There will always be someone there should there be a medical emergency.

On The Negative Side

  • Many seniors have lived in their homes for a very long time and will be resistant to leaving their familiar surroundings. It can be an even harder wrench for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s because they will lose touch with the familiarity of home.
  • Reducing a lifetime’s worth of possessions into a one-room space may be far more daunting than anyone can imagine.
  • If you have to make this choice for your parent you may continue to suffer residual feelings of guilt and anxiety particularly if they are very resistant to change.
  • Your loved one may begin to exhibit resentment over being forced to make such extreme changes to their life. The strain from either side could be extremely taxing.


Employing A Live-In Carer


On The Plus Side

  • Your loved ones can remain in their own home which is less stress and upheaval.
  • They can retain their independence and continue to do any tasks they are capable of.
  • Your loved ones can continue to go to their usual social engagements and groups assisted by their carer.
  • Professional carers have the experience required to provide all the same personal care that can be received in a residential nursing home.
  • You will be assured that your loved one is safe, well-fed and has companionship – plus someone to rely upon in an emergency.

On The Negative Side

  • In addition to the cost of employing a carer, your loved one may also have to invest in equipment to help them to continue to live in their own home (for example a stair lift or ground floor bathroom).
  • It could take some adjustment for your parent/s to adapt to having stranger taking care of them.
  • It may not be appropriate forever – as their needs change, their home may become less suitable for ongoing care.


When a change in circumstances occurs, we have to ensure that we help our loved ones to make the right long-term choice for their care. If independence and remaining in their own home is of the utmost importance to them it would certainly make sense to investigate the possibility of finding the right carer to live-in to ensure excellent quality care rather than moving to a totally new environment where they may not feel comfortable or at home.