Home care for the elderly - what is it?
The majority of older people would prefer to live independently in their own homes but unfortunately this is not always possible. For those who need support and assistance with their day-to-day lives, home care is a solution that enables them to remain safely in their own familiar surroundings.
Care at home
In home care can encompass a wide range of services. Most basically in domiciliary care, a care worker visits the elderly person for a predetermined time each day in order to carry out certain tasks such as assisting with personal care or administering medication. This can be sufficient to enable the care recipient to remain in their own home when their care needs increase, but is not suitable for everyone. For people who are at risk of falls, for example, employing a live in caregiver is a preferable option.
It is well known in elderly care, and particularly dementia care, that a familiar environment is helpful in many ways. People who need Alzheimer’s care can often become confused if they are moved into a care home, particularly a large one with many different care staff. Staying in their own home and continuing with familiar routines is much more reassuring to someone with Alzheimer’s disease. In dementia care it is also important for the care recipient to be familiar with their carers and private twenty four hour care can 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 administer care to people in their own property, living in means that the same carer provides 24/7 care. Some carers live in all the time but others work on a rota pattern with another carer, sometimes two weeks on and two weeks off or three days on, four off. This provides far better continuity which is very important, especially in Alzheimer’s care.
One of the major drivers behind many an individual’s decision to go into residential care is loneliness, but with a residential 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, elderly care from a carer who lives in can include cooking, housework and support in all aspects of daily life.
If the recipient has a pet the carer will often also be able to help to look after them so that the elderly person does not have to give the animal up for re-homing.
Independent living in their own home means that the elderly person stays in the community they know and can be supported in maintaining relationships with friends and in continuing with activities they enjoy. Sometimes a carer will be able to drive the care recipient for visits or accompany them to church, the hairdresser or clubs they like to attend so 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 a great deal of 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 has to become 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 continue normally.
For couples who want to stay together, the cost of living 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 husband and wife might have to be separated if they need different levels of care and are forced to go into a care home.
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.
Not everyone has the room or facilities to house a care worker. The carer will need a room of their own and will probably want a television and internet access. All forms of care for the elderly can be costly, but sometimes living in care can be state funded with direct payments and personal budgets.
The care worker will need 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 a problem than if it is privately arranged, since cover for holidays or sickness can be organised as necessary.
Providers of private live in care
Care is needed for elderly people with a wide range of conditions including dementia, heart disease, stroke, 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 wide pool of carers, providers can organise replacement carers to cover holidays or sickness and may be able to choose a carer who has similar interests to the care recipient to ensure that they get on well.
In addition to organising 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.