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Common Misconceptions and Myths About Care

More elderly people need care in this country than ever before. News headlines frequently focus on the crisis in care, but what do you really know about care? The following misconceptions are widely held; we explain the truth below.

Myth: Elderly Care is Free

At present, if an older person is admitted to hospital they are entitled to free care while they are there. However, if an older person needs social care at home or in a residential or nursing home, this is means tested, and they may have to pay the full cost or make a contribution to the fees for the services they receive.

Anyone with over £23,250 in assets or savings, (including their home, if it is not occupied by anyone else) who needs elderly care, including dementia care, and moves into a home will probably have to pay the full fees. Similarly, if the council provides domiciliary care for your loved one, charges will apply. The criteria for these can vary between different local authorities, so it is worth checking with your local council.

Myth: All Home Care is the Same

The majority of older people are happier if they can remain in their own home, even when they need support to continue living independently. People with complex needs may find that traditional in-home care, usually a series of daily visits, is not enough to keep them safe in their own home and that they may be at risk. Others may feel they need more company than a daily domiciliary caregiver can provide.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to traditional home care, and that is live-in care. With this type of care at home, a live-in carer moves into your loved one’s house with them and provides 24/7 assistance. In addition to carrying out all the practical tasks that are needed, including taking responsibility for domestic tasks such as shopping, laundry and preparing meals, a live-in carer can offer support in many other aspects of your loved one’s daily life. This includes helping them to continue hobbies they enjoy and transporting or accompanying them out on trips.

Myth: Private Live-in Care is Only for the Wealthy

Live-in care can be a surprisingly affordable solution to providing care for your loved one 24-hours a day. If they need Alzheimer’s care you might think that they would be better off in a specialised care home, but the opposite can often be true. People living with Alzheimer’s disease, or any form of dementia, are often upset by change and moving into a new environment can increase the anxiety and confusion they feel. Private providers often have staff trained in dementia care that can support an older person with this condition to remain safely in the place they are happiest and enjoy the best possible quality of life.

For couples who need care and support, 24/7 care can be the most affordable option and also makes it possible for them to stay together, unlike an admission to many care or nursing homes would.

Colin and Dulcie’s story

Dulcie is 102-years-old and lives with her son Colin, his wife Mary, and her Carer Sarah. She has dementia and has had full-time live-in care for over two years.

We talk to the family about the challenges of finding the right care solution for a fiercely independent woman - and how the positive benefits of live-in care with Sarah has transformed all of their lives.

Myth: Care Workers are Unskilled

In fact, care workers are among some of the most skilled healthcare workers although their rates of pay often do not reflect this. Most care providers ensure their staff members are trained to carry out the tasks they are expected to do with an extensive induction training package before they even start work. They will also have opportunities to increase their skills or specialise in certain areas. You should always ask the provider what training and experience their staff have before choosing care for your loved one.

Myth: Older People Need Others to Make Their Decisions for Them

Even when someone is living with severe dementia, they may still be able to express their wishes and desires. If they aren’t able to make decisions about whether it is safe to drive or go out alone, this does not mean that someone else should decide what clothes they wear or what they eat.

Respecting dignity and individuality is at the heart of good care, so enabling your loved one to remain in their own home if they wish to is important for their quality of life. Listening to what your parents say can help in your search for the best care for them.

Myth: Elderly People Lose Interest in Life

You may have seen TV images of elderly residents sitting around a large room in a care home not doing anything or engaging with each other. This does happen, of course, although the best homes work hard to provide interesting activities for their residents. In their own homes, older people can continue the hobbies they love, from caring for a pet to gardening or painting. They may also enjoy having friends or family calling to see them and being able to offer them a cup of tea.

Continuing to live in their own home with appropriate support means that the person will have more choice to do what they want. If your loved one enjoys using the internet to keep in touch with friends or family or simply wants to choose what to watch on TV, a live-in carer can support them. If they enjoy days out, there are plenty of different places to visit, so their life can remain full and enriching with the right support.

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