Elderly Care at Home: How do I Find Elderly Care?
With as many as one-in-three care homes deemed inadequate or requiring improvement, it’s no wonder that many elderly people are reluctant to see them as a viable alternative to remaining in their own homes. Local authorities are overstretched, and the elderly care sector is suffering as a result. A rapidly growing elderly population means that the issue is something we urgently need to address.
There are plenty of care homes and nursing homes that offer additional support from skilled nursing staff, but this can be an unattractive option for many families. You want your loved one to be well cared for and treated as an individual, but far too many institutional homes are unable to guarantee this level of care. Many seniors also struggle with the loss of their independence and see the choice to live in their own home as an important aspect of maintaining their self-respect and dignity.
Sheltered housing can be a good option if your loved one needs to downsize from a property that is too large for their needs. Sheltered housing can be bought or rented, and offers a small and manageable home on a dedicated site with other elderly people and usually a warden in residence to assist in the event of problems or accidents. Residents have an alarm system that they can use to summon help if necessary, and there is often a communal area where everyone can meet for social events.
An increasingly popular option is for the elderly person to remain in their own home, with support from a caregiver. This can vary from a little assistance with housework a couple of times a week, to a daily visit offering help with cooking, shopping and personal care such as bathing, dressing and toileting.
Local authorities or private agencies can provide home care. The local authority is obliged to offer a free home assessment to any elderly person who requests it, in order to calculate the level of care required. A care plan is then drawn up detailing any financial assistance available from local government funding. However, this funding does not have to be spent on local authority care services. If your loved one qualifies for financial aid, they are free to spend it on private care if they so choose. You can also request a revised assessment in the case of any change in circumstances.
Local authority care is oversubscribed, meaning that caregivers can only perform the most basic tasks. They are often only able to spend a short period in your loved one’s home, so there is no opportunity to build any kind of relationship with the caregiver. Personnel also changes frequently, which can be confusing if your loved one suffers from any memory problems.
Private care, on the other hand, offers a tailor-made approach, and your elderly relative would typically be assigned just one or two individuals, the consistency of care allowing a friendship to form. A good care agency will spend time finding out your loved one’s likes, dislikes and even their hobbies and pastimes, so that they can ensure a good match between care recipient and caregiver.
Mikis’ care story
In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing Elder live-in care. They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time.
Your loved one may eventually need more help than a daily carer can provide, so many agencies now offer private live-in care. In some cases, people choose this option when their loved one comes to live with them and they need assistance, such as when the family is going on holiday. Live-in care can be tailored to suit your loved one’s individual circumstances, whether for a respite period or as a more permanent option.
A live-in carer becomes an extra family member, a friend and a confidant, who is available at all times of the day and night providing 24/7 care. The caregiver can arrange prescriptions, give medication, prepare meals, take your loved one to social events, play games and spend time allowing your loved one to reminisce. Many agencies can provide staff who specialise in dementia care and Alzheimer’s care, which can require deep reserves of patience and understanding.
Questions to Ask
Your first discussions should be with your elderly loved one and other close family members to talk through the available options. Every family is unique and what works for one may be unsuitable for another, so it’s important to find out what will suit you before putting any care plan into place.
You will need to work out a budget to ascertain how much money is available, and it’s a good idea to put a Power of Attorney in place so that you can maintain control of finances. Spend time discussing the care options with providers and perhaps ask if you can have a trial period to check that your elderly relative is happy with the arrangement. Any reputable agency will accommodate this and spend time making sure that the caregiver is carefully matched to your loved one to ensure a harmonious and friendly relationship.
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Arranging live-in care for your loved one will enable them to continue living independently in their own home where they feel safe and comfortable, but with the added security of all the help and companionship they need twenty-four hours a day.
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