Alternatives to a Care Home
What are the alternatives to care homes?
You and your loved one now have all sorts of other options to explore – including home care, living with family and sheltered housing.
But there’s no alternative more popular than live-in care, which offers your elderly relative round-the-clock support in the comfort of their own home. We’re the UK’s leading specialist, and we can have a live-in carer on your doorstep in as little as 24 hours.
Why look for an alternative to residential care homes?
A home isn’t just a place to put your head down at night.
A home is the odds and ends you collect over the years, and the memories you make along the way. A home is the support network you build around you, and the laughs you have as new friendships grow. A home is the freedom to live life the way you choose, and the sense of identity it gives you every day.
A care home for the elderly just isn’t a home. So let’s take a closer look at some of the other choices open to your loved one, and explore which suits them best.
How does live-in care work?
Live-in care brings round-the-clock care into your loved one’s own home. Simple as that.
Unlike residential care homes, there’s no need to move, so your relative is able to stay close to family and friends. And they can keep to a schedule of their choosing, as well as build a relationship with a carer who will come to feel like family. For your loved one, it’s just a new friend about the house. For you, it’s peace of mind that they’re safe and sound.
From personal care to changing light bulbs, live-in carers will support your loved one with tasks big or small. They’re highly qualified to support physical, medical and behavioural issues, and we handpick all of ours to make sure they’re the perfect match for your loved one.
Live-in care is a good choice if…
- Your loved one wants to stay put, in the home they cherish
- They’re attached to their own way of doing things
- They need one-to-one, 24-hour care from an experienced professional
Live-in care might not be ideal if…
- Your loved one doesn’t have a spare room – a pull-out sofa won’t quite cut it!
How does home care work?
Home care is care in the home. But home carers, unlike live-in carers, typically only visit from time to time.
How often they pop in depends on the person they’re looking after. They may, for example, just do the weekly shop to keep the cupboards topped up. Or they may need to swing by day in, day out, to help with meal prep or medical needs.
Home care is much more flexible than a private care home, and the hours a carer works can be adjusted as circumstances change. Just be sure to watch costs, which are calculated on an hourly basis and can start to add up.
Some charities also now offer what’s called “befriending”. This is a variety of home care, where a volunteer will check in on your loved one to offer companionship or help around the home.
Home care is a good choice if…
- Your loved one would rather not move somewhere new
- The amount of care they need varies from week to week
- They have low-level needs (it can get expensive if not)
Home care might not be ideal if…
- Your loved one doesn’t want to work around a carer’s schedule
- They want the same carer one day to the next
- They need round-the-clock support and attention
How does living with family work?
If you have space at home, you might move your elderly relative in with you.
It’s a good way to keep a close eye on them – and a cost-effective one at that. As a primary caregiver, you’ll be able to drive them to and from their appointments, manage their meals for them and, more generally, keep them company throughout the week.
But it also means they’ll need to leave their own home behind, as well as the freedom to set their own schedule. Your family, meanwhile, will need to learn to live around the new houseguest. And you’ll need to make some decisions of your own: how to split bills, for example, and if you need additional support from an outside carer.
Of course, if their needs are more acute, you may have no choice but to consider putting them in a care home or a dementia care home.
Living with family is a good choice if…
- You and your loved one want to pay less for care
- You want to keep an eye on how they’re holding up
- You can spare the time for their care, or afford some extra help
Living with family might not be ideal if…
- You both want to stick to your own homes and schedules
- You don’t have the space or time to look after them
- Your loved one has mid to high-level needs
It's great seeing Mum smile so much
“Judith is absolutely lovely and you could see the fantastic relationship she has with my mum. My mum’s smile nearly lit up the whole house when Judith arrived.”
How does sheltered housing work?
With sheltered housing, your relative rents (or buys) an apartment in a block with on-site wardens.
As they would for a private care home, they have to leave home. But they still get to enjoy independent living and the benefits that come with it. And they get a personal alarm, which they can use to call the wardens if they have an accident – though they tend to be there for emergency support rather than constant care.
There may also be dedicated facilities nearby where they can meet other residents. But these are more usually found in retirement village – another kind of care that’s popping up more and more on this side of the Atlantic.
Sheltered housing is a good choice if…
- Your loved one wants their independence, even if it’s not in their own home
- They’re at risk of an accident and need support near at hand
- They’d like to be in a place where they can socialise with others
Living with family might not be if…
- Your loved one isn’t keen to move out or downsize
- They’re tight on cash (sheltered housing can be pricey)
- They need significant support from a qualified caregiver
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