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How do I arrange home care for myself or a family member?

As we get older, it’s only natural that some daily tasks start to feel a little overwhelming. Some elderly people will remain fit and energetic well into old age. However, for most of us, aches and pains, difficulty moving, or health problems make life much harder than it should be. Some help around the home could be invaluable, but how do you go about sourcing it?

When you need a helping hand

Home care comes in all shapes and sizes, so it’s vital to understand what your loved one’s needs are. Perhaps you have an elderly parent who is living alone and is struggling to cope with some of the household tasks or is maybe feeling lonely following the death of a spouse? If this is the case, then simple companion care may be all that’s needed. Companion care can be arranged without the need for involving your local council or social services department.

Arranging a needs assessment

If you or your loved one need more intensive help, such as help with bathing and dressing, then your first port of call should be your local council. Anyone can apply for a needs assessment, which is undertaken entirely free of charge.

Someone from social services will visit you or your loved one to assess health needs to determine what level of help is required. Social services will also inspect the home to see what adjustments are necessary for the way of alterations. Following the needs assessment, you will be presented with a care plan, outlining the type of help that is required.

Will my loved one be entitled to free care?

Everyone’s care needs are different. The care plan provided by your loved one’s local council will show what their particular circumstances require. If free assistance is available, then this will be made clear in the care plan. In many cases, depending upon your or your loved one’s financial circumstances, some degree of financial help may be available. The needs assessment will ascertain whether or not you or loved one can afford to make a financial contribution.

Do I have to choose council-run services?

Your local authority may provide care services, or you can choose a separate care provider if you prefer. If you or your loved one are entitled to a financial contribution from the local council, you are at liberty to spend the allocated funds on a private carer at home. Bear in mind that council-run services are under extreme pressure. If you would prefer the same carer to attend on every visit, it is often better to seek out alternative care options.

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.

What type of care is available?

You can source care services for just about all needs. If you need to find a caregiver who specialises in dementia care, or you’re actively seeking someone experienced in elderly care, there are plenty of options available. The care needs assessment will give you an excellent indication as to the level of care required, so you can use this information to inform your choices.

In some instances, the caregiver may only be needed for a few hours a week. These few hours may cover lending a hand with heavy housework, helping with shopping and even preparing a few meals to ease the daily burden on your loved one. However, some elderly people require more hands-on care, in which case you should seek out 24/7 live-in home care solutions.

A live-in carer is always on hand, at any hour of the day or night, so you or your loved one will never be left entirely alone. This is the perfect option for anyone who needs a great deal of help and assistance in their daily life. Although some lonely elderly people also enjoy having constant companionship too, even if they don’t need personal care at present.

Should I go it alone, or use an agency?

When sourcing a caregiver, you have two options. You can hire someone privately, or you can choose to use the services of an agency. Most families prefer to go through an agency. The hard work of checking references, undertaking DBS checks and going through CVs is done for you. And in many instances, the agency will either arrange payment of the caregiver on your behalf or will offer you sample contracts and perhaps offer a payroll service too.

You may save a little money by going through the hiring process yourself. However, it is essential to note that this can become quite time-consuming. Additionally, most reputable agencies offer training courses to their candidates. If your chosen caregiver is ill or unable to attend, an agency will source a replacement as quickly as possible. You or your loved one will not need to worry about being left without a carer.

When you choose a caregiver through a reputable agency, you’ll find that there is always someone on hand to deal with any problems that arise. This can be particularly helpful when your care needs are complex. In the end, it all comes down to personal choice and convenience.

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0333 150 2350

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