What are the Pros and Cons of Placing Parents into Home Care or a Nursing Home?

As children watch their parents age, they may worry about what will happen to them when they get older. Many of these children wonder if their parents might be better off if they were placed in a nursing home or a care facility where nurses and caregivers could help take care of them. Children who are watching the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia on their parents may be more concerned than ever about where their parents will live in the future.

What are some things to consider when making this decision?

A nursing home is a facility that offers 24-hour medical supervision, personal care, and housing for people who are unable to take care of themselves. People who are placed into a nursing home are normally at the end of their lives. If placed into a nursing home, it’s important to pick one that provides care for people with Alzheimer’s disease because certain problems are common in this type of facility.

Nursing homes are typically ranked based on the amount of care they provide and what kind of medical conditions they treat. Another factor to consider is the average cost for each person who lives in the facility. The more care that’s provided, the higher the cost will be.

Nursing Home Ownership

Nursing homes are usually privately owned by one or several individuals, corporations, or partnerships. Many times they are large facilities that can take care of people with a wide range of medical conditions. Other nursing homes may be smaller and provide more specialized care.

Pro: Offers more medical attention than you could give on your own or with outside help

Con: Not all nursing homes care for people with Alzheimer’s disease; costs can be very high; may not accept Medicaid


Care facilities offer a less expensive option to nursing homes. These facilities often operate more like a home than a hospital. People who live in care facilities receive less medical attention, and they can come and go as they please. Less-expensive homes may also be privately owned and operated by an individual or several partners or corporations.

Pro: Lower costs; people can still come and go; provides more independence for the patient

Con: Not all care facilities can accommodate people who have Alzheimer’s disease; there is less medical attention given to the patient

In Home Care Teams

In home care involves a team of professionals that work with families to provide their loved ones with full-time support. The team may be made up of a registered nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and/or a caregiver. Many families choose to find outside help with the hope of keeping their loved ones in familiar surroundings.

Pro: Can keep your loved one in familiar surroundings; allows for more personal attention; no facility costs

Con: May not meet the specific needs of your loved one; may be difficult to pay for private care; can become very expensive over time.

Medical Attention

A nursing home or care facility can give your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia extra medical attention. However, if the main goal is to avoid further memory loss, it might be best to keep your loved one in their own familiar surroundings for as long as possible.

Pro: Keeps the person with dementia in a familiar setting; doesn’t encourage further memory loss

Con: May not be able to provide the specific medical attention and care needed by people with Alzheimer’s; it may become difficult to give your loved one all of the needed care.