Most people spend their entire adult lives caring for themselves. Our sense of independence is easy to take for granted, but never easy to relinquish. This alone makes it a difficult transition for an elderly person whose needs outweigh his or her desire to remain fully independent. The process of losing independence can be more stressful and troubling when coupled with leaving a home where he or she might have lived for decades.
For some (but not all) elderly people, moving to a retirement home can be an upsetting and depressing experience. The environments they nurtured and created around themselves in their own homes are suddenly stripped away and replaced with something decidedly more institutionalized and, well, just different.
Remaining in comfortable, familiar surroundings -- be it one's own home, or the home of a relative or loved one -- can make transitions to later stages of life that much smoother.
All the familiar comforts are there. Routines that have been set in stone for years don't have to be drastically changed. Instead of being placed "away," loved ones in need of extra help can remain a present part of the family setting (or happily reclusive, whichever the case may be). The presence of a familiar face isn't necessarily dependent on a nursing-home visit made by a friend or relative.
Another reason to consider in-home elder care is the difference it can make in someone's pocketbook, as we'll discuss in the next section.