What is Elder Care?
Elder care can be broken down into four main types of care:
- Residential care home
- Nursing home
- Home care
- Live-in care
It can be difficult to define elder care or elderly care as it is often called because it can include such a wide range of services.
There are many different types of elder care that are aimed at helping people who can no longer carry out all the normal activities of daily living by themselves.
Care in a residential care home
Many people view this form of elderly care as the norm for older people whose health or social care needs mean that they can no longer live independently, but it can be a very frightening prospect and most people would prefer to stay in their own home as long as possible.
Care homes have to cater for the needs of many different individuals, so some institutional rules are unavoidable. If your loved one goes into a care home they may find that they have to comply with rigid routines and mix with many other people who need varying degrees of care and support. Staff turnover in residential homes is also often quite high, resulting in your loved one having strangers looking after them and sometimes performing personal tasks, which can be uncomfortable for them.
Care in a nursing home
This is similar to a care home, but the care is overseen by registered nurses. In addition to having inflexible routines, this type of care can be expensive. If one or both your parents need care and support, they may have to face being separated, as many facilities are unable to cater for couples, particularly when their care needs are different.
Dulcie’s care story
Duclie is one of our longest serving customers. In this video her and her family talk through their decision to arrange care in the home rather than the care home.
Elderly care can be provided in a person’s own home, and this is what the majority of older people say they would prefer. Regular scheduled visits from a carer can be sufficient to enable the person to remain in their own home if they have limited care needs.
For example, a home carer could visit in the morning to help your loved one get up, washed and dressed, then return at lunchtime to assist with evening meal preparation. An evening visit could be arranged to help with undressing and going to bed.
One of the drawbacks to this type of care at home is that your loved one will have to fit in with the other visits that the carer makes. They may have to wait if the carer is delayed with another client, or they may have to make compromises such as going to bed earlier than they would like, to comply with the routine.
They may also find that they are alone for long periods during the day and throughout the night, so it is not suitable for anyone who is at risk of falling or injuring themselves, or anyone who needs supervision to keep them safe.
With live-in care your loved one has the benefit of a one-to-one carer and the comfort and familiarity of their own home. This means they have a great deal more choice in all aspects of their life while receiving the care and support they need. Living at home means that they will enjoy a much higher quality of life in a familiar place, with friends and neighbours able to visit easily.
A live-in carer will help your loved one with all the personal tasks that have become too difficult for them. If they need assistance with getting out of bed, toileting, personal hygiene and dressing this can all be provided, but they will also help with many other aspects of life. Help with taking medication correctly may be needed, or they may want the carer to accompany them to appointments or social groups.
Because the carer only has your loved one to look after, the care can be tailored specifically to their needs.
In addition to the care, a live-in carer will also carry out domestic duties that your loved one cannot manage. They will shop, prepare nutritious meals, do the laundry and some cleaning. A live-in carer will even help with pet care or gardening if this has become too difficult for your loved one.
If your loved one is living with dementia, care at home means that they do not have to face the upheaval and upset of moving into a care home. They are likely to feel much more settled and content in their own familiar environment and many care providers ensure that they have carers who are trained and experienced in dementia care. This will be addressed when the care plan is drawn up, and a suitable carer will be selected to provide the care your loved one needs.
Elderly care can be a very affordable option as well as giving your loved one the best quality of life they can have with a carer who they get to know very well. For couples, it is much less expensive than two care home places and has the added advantage of enabling them to stay together, which is likely to be difficult in a residential setting.
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