Common myths and misconceptions about home care
You may already have ideas about what home care is like, and with so much information out there, it can be difficult to sort fact from fiction.
That’s why we’re here. We’ll take you through some of the most common myths and misconceptions around home care for elderly parents. Myths like:
- The elderly aren’t safe enough staying put at home
- Professional home care is going to break the bank
- There’s only one perfect kind of carer
- Home care doesn’t suit those with dementia
And perhaps the biggest of all: that home care means going it alone. With live-in care, a carer will move in to provide round-the-clock care. And with Elder, you’ll have someone on your doorstep in as little as 24 hours.
Myth 1: The elderly aren’t safe enough staying put at home
With a few fixes, the home your elderly parent loves can be just as safe a place for them as a specialised care home.
You may, for example, think about improving:
- Accessibility by installing stair lifts, bathroom rails and ramps
- Security by improving the locks on front and back doors
- Soundproofing by adding seals around the doors and windows
- Lighting by cutting back hedges blocking windows and adding light sensors
Before you make any changes, just remember to chat to your loved one about it. You don’t want to switch things up and take them by surprise.
Myth 2: Home care means going it alone
Just because your loved one isn’t in a care home doesn’t mean you’re on your own.
You can ask professional home carers to come and help you out. There are those who will visit from time to time, and offer to help with the most pressing needs your elderly parent has. This is known as domiciliary care. And then there are those who stay with your loved one, and offer their support night and day. This is known as live-in care.
Whichever you choose, they’ll be there to look after everything from everyday tasks – like changing lightbulbs and preparing meals – to more important ones, like managing prescriptions. Costs for domiciliary care will vary depending on the amount of attention your loved one needs, which is why live-in care can often prove more cost-effective. With Elder, it’s easy to find a live-in carer to suit your loved one’s care requirements.
Myth 3: Professional home care is going to break the bank
It’s true that the costs of home care can start to add up, but it is not quite as black and white as you might think.
There are lots of subsidies out there to help make things a little easier on you. Speak to social services or you local council, and they’ll give your loved one a variety of assessments to suss out their care needs and financial means.
There are a variety of different types of support which you may be eligible for, including:
- Local authority funding: Your local government may agree to subsidise individual needs – such as rehabilitative services or home adaptations – or, in rare cases, provide full funding.
- Direct payments: These are government contributions you can use to independently arrange your loved one’s care. You’ll get between £50 and £600 a month.
- NHS continuing healthcare: This offers full financing for any services which take place outside the hospital. Those with severe needs in two priority areas will qualify.
There are also means-tested benefits, including personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance, but the application process is a little different to the above. You can find out more about this in our Cost of Care guide.
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Myth 4: There’s only one perfect kind of care
Truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect carer. Only the carer who’s perfect for you.
Of course, it’s important to find a highly qualified home carer, one with the expertise required to do all the technical bits, like offering medical support. But it’s just as important they’re able to connect with your loved one on a deeper level – and eventually become all but a member of the family.
The best agencies know every carer brings something different to the table, and will match you up with someone who shares your loved one’s interests. With the right carer, your loved one will get the most out of whatever it is they love: whether it’s gardening, cooking or building a machine to bring about the apocalypse.
Myth 5: Home care doesn’t suit those with dementia
If your elderly parent has been diagnosed with dementia, you may think your only option is to put them in residential care.
But many people live in their own home with early to mid-stage dementia for many years. In fact, it can often be far better for their condition: they’re surrounded by familiar sights and sensations that keep them engaged and stave off confusion. This, plus the constant support and conversation of home care, is a powerful reason to stay put.
You may, of course, want to make some adjustments to the home to prevent confusion. On top of the suggestions we’ve made further up the page, you might want to cover reflective surfaces, label drawers and cupboards and introduce more colour to distinguish toilets from tiles, walls from floors and so on.
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