Deciding Which Care Option in Right for Older Men with Breast Cancer
Although men of all ages can have breast cancer, it is most common to receive this diagnosis after the age of 70. This means that in addition to the challenges of aging, these individuals must also learn to cope with the stress of breast cancer treatments. One area in which this can cause significant complications is an elderly individual’s living arrangements. Prior to having the condition, a particular type of living arrangement (e.g. staying at home) may have worked well. After enduring hospital stays, treatments, and the ongoing need to receive medication and assistance, it can be difficult to assess whether those original plans are still a wise choice. If you or a loved one is having trouble deciding which care option is right, learn more about the various choices available for senior men with breast cancer.
Aging in place
It is important to emphasize that seniors can live at home even after a breast cancer diagnosis and accompanying treatments. If Medicaid (or another form of funding) covers the expenses, and the individual is comfortable with the technology that can enable aging in place, this route can be an excellent choice. Elderly men who are the best candidates for this living arrangement are those who had limited health and/or mobility issues prior to the cancer diagnosis, and those who caught the breast cancer in the early stages. Additionally, if family members live nearby, and can help out around the house where needed, aging in place can be a fantastic choice. In the absence of requiring around-the-clock care or monitoring, many senior men with breast cancer can successfully stay in their homes.
Assisted living care
If mobility and/or health were a bit of a concern prior to receiving the breast cancer diagnosis, but the individual was going to try to live at home (or with minimal care), it is best to consider an assisted living facility. Currently, the CDC estimates that there are “30,000 assisted living facilities in America.” These residences provide more independence than a nursing home, but offer much-needed medical care for those who are recovering from an illness. If the tasks involved with one’s recovery from breast cancer are too much to handle solo, assisted living complexes make an excellent fit. Post-recovery, residents can choose to continue living in the same apartment or room, or they can move back to their original home.
When a man needs the highest level of care to ensure that all medical needs (cancer related and otherwise) are being met, a nursing home will be the best option. This is especially important if an individual’s health was beginning to decline prior to the cancer diagnosis. Nursing homes provide 24-hour monitored care, and ensure that all medications and treatments are administered. Although this is the most expensive care option available, it is necessary for those who are at greatest risk. Prior to applying for residence in a local nursing home, it is important to ask staff about their ability to work with those who are in the process of recovering from breast cancer.
Shifting an elderly individual’s living plan after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can cause significant emotional stress. If you are a relative who is helping a parent (or other family member) find the right accommodations, be sure to always use compassionate language, and provide support in making the best decision.