As people age over time, we tend to accumulate more health problems. For some, those health issues happen earlier due to a serious illness or accident. Sometimes these problems are too much for you and/or your family to manage at home and you may need to either have professional caretakers come to your home or be admitted to a chronic care facility for medical care and/or help with personal care.
This is a much different decision as you approach the end of your life and are considering your preference for the setting where you want your death to occur. The decision is not about the medical care necessary to improve or maintain your health or the personal care that cannot be provided at home; it’s about how you and your loved ones want to experience your death.
When seeking chronic or palliative care it’s important to consider your level of comfort with the caregivers, ability to communicate well with them, and the level of care they can provide. You must consider your needs and the cleanliness of the living situation, whether it is your home or a care facility. This will apply to your family if they are making the decision.
A significant proportion of the money spent at the end-of-life goes to healthcare. If you can, compare prices and consider different options to reduce cost, especially chronic care facilities. You should choose which option is best, but try to avoid paying for more care than is necessary.
Hospitals and long-term care facilities may be needed for situations where specific treatment is necessary, but most often people with a terminal illness need only comfort care. With some accommodations, home visits, and support services, those who are approaching the end of their life can remain at home.
While many of us would prefer to die at home, only about a third actually do. Women, younger people, and minority groups are less likely to die at home. People who live further from a hospital are more likely to die at home. There are many reasons to choose to die at home.
Drawbacks to dying at home are usually related to the amount of responsibility your family must take.
Accommodations That May Be Needed
In order to make it easier for everyone when you make the decision to die at home, or “age in place,” you will need some help like that available through hospice care and/or possibly modifications to your home. Home Modifications serve two purposes: to prevent home accidents and make it easier for you to maintain your ability to move around your space as your mobility may decline.
When considering home care with support services, consider if the caregiver:
If there will be more than one caregiver working together, consider how you will manage division of labor and the social dynamics between caregivers.
Coordinate with people who are able to keep up with food supplies, pick up your medication, and ensure there are other necessary medical supplies, such as bandages, heat pads, wraps, and antibacterial cleansers.
Checklist: Questions To Consider When Choosing In-Home Care. everplans website.