What is your view regarding family caring for the elderly, including the need for safety, privacy, independence and professional help?
Immediate family (assuming they have close knit relationships) should consider taking care of each other as a first option. If finances absolutely won’t allow, or if medical need is so great that it won’t allow, other options should be considered.
My view is that family should absolutely care for the elderly. All of the things listed--safety, privacy, independence and pro help, are all best met when the elderly patient is in the home of a family member.
Far too often, nursing homes are run-down, ill-managed and downright disgusting. They are staffed with people that barely make minimum wage and that have little to no compassion or concern for their patients. These places are breeding grounds for infection and the elderly person oftentimes gets sick and dies merely as a result from being exposed to deadly germs (pnuemonia, staph infections).
I realize that it is sometimes difficult for families to keep their elderly in their care, but everyone should consider how they'd like to be cared for and treated in their old age and then pass that courtesy on to those we should respect the most.
Family caring for the elderly is a social phenomena that has evolved in a positive way over the last few decades. It is no longer a priority to "put the elderly in a nursing home" because of so many options available to assist the family with care of the elderly. As far as independence, many elderly are living in retirement homes, with assisted living to help them with their day to day living, as family visits frequently and add their support. If the elderly choose to stay in their own home, or live with their offspring, there are many agencies that can send a caregiver to assist at home. The need for independence is encouraged to give the elderly a sense of dignity. There are many families who choose to care for their elderly relatives themselves. This is a great sacrifice that is admired, but one must be careful to also care for themselves and their own family. Caregiver burn-out is possible and doesn't do anyone good and elderly feel like they are a burden. There are many agencies that can assist in all these tough decisions, as safety, privacy, and professional help are all considered. A common problem that also may occur is when siblings cannot agree on the best care for their parents, so it is strongly recommended that all get on the same page before approaching the elderly relative with a care plan.