Home care for the elderly – What is it?
Live-in care enables the elderly to live in their own homes whilst retaining their independence and receiving one-to-one support and assistance with their day-to-day lives.
Research has proven that the majority of older people would prefer to live independently in their own homes. Unfortunately, there are many times when this doesn’t happen and loved ones end up moved from familiar surrounds to be placed in residential care homes. This is very often due to a lack of knowledge about the options that are available when it comes to care for the elderly.
For those who need support and assistance with their day-to-day lives, live-in home care is a solution that enables them to remain safely in familiar surroundings.
Care at home
In-home care can encompass a broad range of services. Domiciliary care consists of a carer visiting at a predetermined time each day and carrying out certain tasks, such as assisting with personal care or administering medication.
Visiting care at home enables your loved one to remain in their own home when their care needs increase, but is not suitable for everyone. For example, for people who are at risk of falls, or who need help at night, employing a live-in caregiver is an option. The knowledge that there is a trained, vetted carer providing 24/7 support and companionship provides you with peace of mind.
It’s well-known in elderly care, and particularly in dementia care, that living in a familiar environment is helpful in many ways. The elderly can often become confused if they are moved into a care home where they need to learn and adapt to a new space and many different carers.
For someone living with Alzheimer’s disease, or even just frailty, staying in their own home and continuing with familiar routines is much more reassuring. In dementia care, it is also important for the care recipient to be as familiar as possible with their carers. Private 24-hour care can also reduce stress and provide the ideal solution to their care needs.
Advantages of live-in home care
Unlike in some domiciliary care situations where different carers are sent to provide care to people in their property, live-in care means that the same carer provides 24/7 one-on-one care.
In some cases, there will be two live-in carers, but a consistent rota pattern ensures for continuity, which is essential, especially with Alzheimer’s care.
One of the primary drivers behind an individual’s decision to go into residential care is loneliness, but with a one-on-one carer, the care recipient has the benefit of companionship, as well as having their care needs met.
In addition to helping with personal care tasks, such as washing and dressing, a live-in carer can assist with cooking, housework and provide domestic support in all aspects of daily life. If the recipient has a pet, the carer can also help with the care to avoid rehoming.
Independently living in their own home means that the elderly person can remain in an environment they know and receive support in maintaining relationships with friends and in continuing with activities they enjoy.
A carer can also provide other duties, such as chauffeuring or accompanying them to church or the clubs they like to attend. This ensures that their routines and way of life continue, despite needing extra care.
Private care from a carer who lives with the elderly person can also provide reassurance to family members who might otherwise have worried about their relative being left alone in the home.
If the elderly person is at risk of falling or has dementia and is likely to compromise their safety by leaving the cooker on, for example, they may not be safe at home unless someone is with them. Knowing that there is someone available to help with any problems that might arise can provide peace of mind for the care recipient, as well as their family.
Family relationships can sometimes suffer when a family member becomes a full-time carer for an elderly person. Having a live-in carer can reduce the pressure of this responsibility and allow the family relationship to function normally.
For couples who want to stay together, the cost of live-in care can be less than that of residential care. A further advantage is that they can continue to live together in their own home, whereas a couple might have to be separated if they require different levels of care and are forced to go into a care home.
Dulcie’s care story
Dulcie and her family explain why they decided to opt for live-in care, as well as go through some of the top benefits.
Not everyone has the space or facilities to house a care worker. The carer will need a room of their own with basic amenities provided. All forms of care for the elderly can be costly, but live-in care can often be state-funded with direct payments and personal budgets.
The care worker will require holidays and breaks, so the continuity of care may be interrupted by some extent. If the live-in care is provided by a managed service, this is less of an issue than a private arrangement, since cover for holidays or sickness can be arranged as necessary.
Providers of private live in care
Providers of private live-in care are appropriate for elderly people with a broad range of conditions including dementia, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Providers ensure that their staff receive appropriate training for coping with these and other conditions. They also carry out extensive background checks on their live-in carers.
Since they are likely to have a vast pool of carers, providers can organise replacement carers to cover holidays or sickness and may be able to choose a carer who shares common interests.
In addition to arranging care for your relative, the company can provide support for both the client and the carer with a team on-call in case any problems should arise.
Home care: the questions you need to ask
If you are looking for in-home care for yourself or a relative, there are a number of important questions to ask potential providers of care at home before you make a decision about which one is most suitable for you or your loved one.
Home care: what are the costs?
The costs of home care to an individual can vary widely and are dependent on many different factors. These include the type of care needed, how many hours a week you need a caregiver to be present, your own financial situation, where in the UK you live and whether you are eligible for any assistance with your care fees.
Home care or nursing home: what's the difference?
Deciding whether your needs can be met by care at home or whether you need to go into a nursing home is an issue faced by many older people.
Home care: how does it work?
Home care works in many different ways. Each person’s case is different with unique preferences, physical needs and life experiences, and care at home should be as tailored as possible to the individual’s requirements.