What is home care?
According to a One Poll survey, nearly three quarters of us don’t want to move into residential care in later life. While residential care does have many benefits – such as an active social calendar, a sense of community, and 24 hour care staff on site, it still won’t be the right choice for everyone.
Moving home at any age can be a huge upheaval. However in later life, when you have a home full of memories to sort through, or may find change confusion, adjusting to a new home and routine can be incredibly challenging.
This is why many older people are choosing to live their later years at home – staying in control of their daily lives while getting the additional support they need from a trusted care professionals. This support may be in the form of visiting domiciliary care, or involve someone living-in your home 24 hours a day.
What’s the main purpose of home care?
Home care services can serve many purposes, and you’ll likely find the ways it benefits you may differ to someone else’s experience. However, in the simplest terms, a home care service should allow you to put a care plan in place that not only keeps you safe and supports your wellbeing, but protects your way of life too.
Home care services help ensure someone trusted is there for you when you need them. This can offer complete peace of mind for families too, especially relatives who may not be able to help out themselves due to living too far away, or working full-time.
Essentially, think of home care as a way to hire your own dedicated personal assistant, who has the skills and knowledge to help you stay happy and healthy at home.
What’s expected of a home carer?
Elderly home care services come in all shapes and sizes – from daily care companionship visits, right through to full-time support where a dedicated carer moves into a spare room in your home.
Whatever care you choose, the support you receive should always be personalised to your needs and situation.
If choosing visiting care, you should always feel in control of the amount of time your carer spends with you – from a quick check-in visit each day to help you walk your dog or pick up groceries, to longer shifts of a 6+ hours to support a full days tasks such as washing and dressing, or getting out and about safely.
Depending on the level of care you need, any home carer should be able to help you with –
When should I consider help at home from a paid carer?
Everyone’s care journey is different – however there are certain trigger points that may indicate when you or a loved one needs a little extra support –
- Missing meals, or only eating a very small variety of prepackaged foods
- Unable to manage clutter in the home. Cupboards and surfaces may become disorganised, and food in the kitchen may often be out of date
- Struggling to keep up with bills or falling for doorstep or postal scams
- Frequently missing important appointments, such as with a GP or accountant
- No longer interested in hobbies or spending time with friends
- Changes in personal hygiene or a lack of self-care routine, for example stopping shaving or styling hair
- Becoming irritable or prone to mood swings
- Getting confused when doing familiar tasks, or stopping halfway through
- Wearing tatty or dirty clothing, or regularly dressing inappropriately for the weather
- Finding it difficult to remember to take prescription medication, or trying to order more when it’s not needed
- Experiencing frequent small injuries such as scrapes, bruises and burns when doing daily activities
Ageing doesn’t always mean feeling old, or that you see yourself any differently to when you were working full-time, raising a family, or running your household. This is why when your needs begin to change and certain tasks become more difficult, it’s only natural to want to keep doing things for yourself. Accepting help may feel like the first step towards losing control over your life.
If you’re thinking about arranging home care for a loved one it’s important to involve them in the discussion as early as possible. You should give them space to process the idea and share their own thoughts and feelings, so that you can try and come to a decision together.
We’ve spent a lot of time supporting families through these conversations, and in this section we’ve shared our guidance to help you too.
Finding the right home care for you
There are plenty of excellent carers across the UK, and many different care options that are suited to different needs. Before deciding on your care, take your time assessing what’s available to you. Consider what would enhance your life, or help you maintain as much normality as possible.
One area to think about is overnight care. If you choose live-in care, your carer will sleep in your home and offer support if something unexpected happens during the night. However, if you’re likely to need support more than three times a night you may need to consider having a second carer who can be available throughout the night.
It’s also worth thinking about additional costs. You may need to cover things like a carer’s food allowance if they are living with you full time, and fuel or public transport costs if they’re accompanying you on day trips or to appointments.
How much do home care services cost in the UK?
How much you pay for care is often dependent on the levels of care needed, and the range of daily tasks your carer will help with.
As of April 2022, the average cost of a visiting home carer was estimated to be around £20 to £30 per hour. This cost may increase on weekends or bank holidays, depending on your provider.
For live-in care, i.e when a carer moves in to provide full-time support, costs can vary between £900 to £2000 a week.
Elder provides personalised one-to-one care for £1295 a week, with no hidden costs or unwanted add-ons.
Your local social care services or NHS may be able to help with the cost of some or all of your care. Find out more below.
Why choose home care with Elder?
Whether you need a lot of support or just a little looking after, we offer flexible, cost-effective home care that can be arranged in as little as 24 hours.
Elder currently offers three types of home care service –
The aspects of care will be built around your needs, and delivered and managed by a trusted private carer from the Elder network. The independent carers we work with have an average of 5 years professional care experience, hold a recognised Care Certification and must complete a full background and DBS check.
Fantastic care, fast
Backed by an internal clinical team and smart matching technology, we’ll help you find a live-in carer who can provide quality care and support your lifestyle. And, if your needs are urgent, we’ll help you get a solution in place in 24 hours.
One of the family
We have lots of expert carers to choose from and we’ll always respect your needs and preferences. For example, if you need a carer who can speak a certain language, or cook a particular cuisine – we’ll work hard to find a carer with the right skills, and make a match you can feel good about.
We’re always here
You’ll have your own Family Support Specialist who understands your situation in detail and who can help you stay in control of your care. With a 24/7 carer helpline your carer will always be able to connect with us and feel supported too.
Simple digital care management
We believe you should always be in charge of the big decisions, which is why we’ve created our detailed care appraisal. This easy online form is the start of your Elder journey – it’s more than a list of care needs, it’s where you can tell us about your lifestyle, important moments, and family so we can get a clear picture of your needs.
Real life story: 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 – about their positive experiences of live-in care with Elder.
Frequently asked questions
The way we’re able to pass on such a competitive price is by having minimal bricks and mortar establishments. So we’re unable to arrange in-person meetings ahead of the carer arriving. However, we’ll send your family a full CV and personal introductory video so you can get an idea of the type of person we’ve selected. Once care begins, you have a trial week to be sure it’s right. If you’re not happy, your family is free to leave, no strings attached.
Yes, it’s a requirement for all carers working with us to be able to speak fluent English. If they’re not British nationals, we’ll make sure their qualifications are up to the same, rigorous standards we have in the UK.
Yes, many of our customers use support from their local authority in the form of direct payments. To claim from your local council, start by arranging a care needs assessment with them. After this your loved one’s liquid (that’s not including their property) assets will be assessed. In England, if they have less than £23,250 they’ll be eligible for government support.
We understand the importance of continuity for those living with conditions such as dementia. However, the carers we work with are only human, and do require time off. You can expect your family’s primary carer to be with you for around four weeks at a time, usually taking one or two weeks off. During this period, we’ll arrange for a respite carer to step in.
If the need is urgent, we’re able to put care in place in as little as 24-48 hours. However, usually we’d ask for longer. The more notice our team has to build up a picture of your needs, the more likely the carer is to be a good fit. If you require for care to be in place quickly, often we’ll find a carer based solely on experience and then will subsequently put the time in to find a more suitable, long-term match further down the line.
The carer will need their own bedroom to use for sleeping and as a place to relax when they are taking a break. It is best to provide a television and internet access for them since they will be spending so much time with you. The carer will prepare meals and probably eat with you, so separate dining facilities will not be needed. We’d recommend budgeting £30 per week for the carer’s food. However, if you’d like us to arrange it, we can add it to your weekly payments.
If you or your loved one likes to get out and about and they are well enough to do so, it can be a good idea to supply a car that the live-in carer can use. Having a car to use can also help with shopping trips and transport to appointments or daycare sessions, especially if you’re in an isolated area. Please bear in mind, for carers with cars we do ask for an additional fee. This is passed directly on to the carer.
There are various pieces of nursing equipment you can buy that can make care at home easier.
If you or a loved one spends a lot of time in bed or needs to change position at regular intervals, it’s worth opting for a hospital bed. In addition to raising and lowering to the optimum position for the carer to work, it will help to get into a comfortable position and sit upright for meals. Hospital beds also have side rails to use if the person is at risk of falling. Extra equipment such as pressure relief mattresses will also minimise the development of pressure sores.
Usually, the district nursing service will advise on the best specialist equipment for providing care at home. They should also be able to organise the supply of these items from NHS stores, although some items may have to be purchased privately.
If you or your family member has mobility issues, it’s worth looking into the various aids that can help – from walking aids such as Zimmer frames to the installation of a stair lift. If unable to stand, you will need a hoist so that the live-in carer can reposition when necessary. Equipment such as a mobile commode is useful for toilet and personal hygiene tasks such as showering.
A live-in carer provides companionship for you or a loved one when family members are unable to be around. They will be chosen on the basis of shared interests and hobbies, as well as for the ability to meet medical and healthcare needs.
In a typical day the carer might play games or share activities such as cooking or gardening. They can also help with getting dressed, personal hygiene and administering medication. Put simply, the carer will try to support to ensure you or a loved on can carry on doing the things you enjoy, while minimising risk.
If care is for a loved one, You will be notified of illness or a fall, or anything else that you need to be aware of and the carer will also contact health care professionals such as nurses or doctors if they need to.
No, we can arrange for temporary care and short-term care too. If you usually care for your loved one, but are going on holiday, or just need a bit of time off, live-in care is the perfect cover. Please be aware, our prices vary for those on a temporary arrangement, and we offer discounts for block booking.
The carer is on-hand to help. With their usual shift hours around 12 hours per day. So you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your loved one is safe and cared for. To provide additional peace of mind, there are many aids available to alert the carer to potential problems.
If your loved one is prone to falls and needs someone with them, a pressure mat placed beside the bed can trigger an alarm that lets the live-in carer know if the person gets up in the night. Similarly, alarms can be installed close to doors so that your loved one cannot wander off without their carer realising.