When the time comes to consider elderly care, understanding all the different options can appear overwhelming.
The first question to answer is ‘Where do you want your loved one to receive care?’ This decision about location is fundamental and will steer you towards the very best choice.
Here we explore the two basic options: care in the home or care at a residential home.
And we share some of the many benefits of staying in the familiar surroundings of the family home.
What’s the Difference Between Home Care and a Care Home?
Home care allows people to remain in the comfort of their own home rather than having to move out.
Instead, professional home carers make regular visits to help with everyday tasks such as getting in and out of bed, washing, shopping, cooking and cleaning. Alongside these basics, they can also provide invaluable friendship and emotional support.
Live-in carers help people who need round-the-clock care and company, and specially trained carers are available for people with dementia.
Sometimes referred to as domiciliary care or home help, it’s a great option for people who want flexibility. There’s no long-term commitment and arrangements can be adapted as specific needs change.
Home care services are provided by local authorities, private agencies and highly skilled self-employed carers like those registered with Holm.
All care homes offer residential accommodation and personal care. Residents swap their own home for a private bedroom in a shared space with communal lounge and dining areas.
Run by private companies, local authorities or voluntary organisations, these homes offer different levels of care from basic to specialist:
- Residential homes for everyday personal care needs such as washing, dressing, medication and going to the toilet. Many take residents out on day trips and provide communal activities.
- Nursing homes have qualified nurses among their staff for essential medical needs.
- Dementia care homes have staff qualified and experienced in looking after those with dementia.
- Dual-registered care homes who operate as both care and nursing homes. This allows residents who may initially only need basic care but later require nursing care to stay at the same home with no disruption.
Each option offers a different level of support. Selecting which one is the best fit for your loved one depends on individual social and health needs, personal preference, budget and geography.
One thing is clear here: surveys show that the majority of people would prefer to stay in their own home.
And it’s not difficult to understand why. Here are five reasons why choosing home care instead of a care home may be a better route for your family.
1. Enjoy Physical and Mental Wellbeing
We all know there’s no place like home. The familiarity, comfort and peace of mind it brings are hard to beat. This has a direct impact on day-to-day wellbeing, especially for elderly people who’ll be spending most of their time there.
There’s well-documented evidence that old age can create feelings of loneliness and even depression. And this can be exacerbated at a residential home.
Receiving expert care at home can contribute significantly to increased self-esteem and happiness, which in turn affects overall physical health.
2. Remain Independent
When you have a home carer, they only do what you need them to do. If you’re still able to cook your own meals, and indeed relish your time in the kitchen, you can easily keep whipping up culinary masterpieces.
And as your needs change, your carer can tailor what package of help they offer. You’ll enjoy flexibility along with independence.
In a care home, your days become more institutionalised with set mealtimes and a gradual erosion of this precious independence.
Indeed, one study showed that people who move into residential homes slowly lose the ability to complete many daily activities compared to elderly people who remain at home.
3. Have More Control
This sustained independence leads to keeping control over day-to-day life. You can set your own rules in your own home and your familiar routine needn’t change.
Want to host a family meal to celebrate an important occasion? Leave the prep to the others and you can take centre stage at your dining table.
Want to invite a friend round in the evening? They’re welcome at any time at your home, unlike a care home which may impose set visiting times.
Want to keep taking your dog for their slow, steady walk to the park? Your pet can stay by your side when you choose home care.
Want a quiet day on the sofa reading or watching TV? Being at home means you don’t have to stay cooped up in your care home bedroom.
This control really comes into play for people with dementia. When they stay at home, surrounded by important memories, confusion and anxiety can decrease.
4. Save Money
A dedicated home carer is likely to be much cheaper than paying for full-time residential care. Care homes cost an average of £600 a week, increasing to £800 a week for a nursing home
Meanwhile you can expect to pay significantly less for professional home care, unless you need a live-in carer which will require more funding. For example, you could get a package of 14 hours care a week for around £210.
With a home carer, you’re not paying for anything that you don’t need. You tailor the service to your own personal needs and avoid unnecessary expense.
5. Stay Within A Community
For many elderly people, their community is central to their lifestyle. Their neighbours are friends, their family is nearby and their local shops are a social hub.
A home carer allows them to keep in close touch with all the important people in their life, attend long-standing local groups and feel like their contribution to their area is still important.
What Are the Disadvantages of Home Care?
Home care has many great benefits but it isn’t the perfect solution for everyone.
For those who need round-the-clock care or have complex health needs, residential care may be preferable to having a 24-hour carer moving into their home.
Others may prefer the idea of having company all day and would revel in the social aspect of being in a residential home.
It can also be difficult to find reliable carers who can visit consistently. The upheaval and uncertainty of an ever-changing supply of support workers can cause confusion. Choose Holm and you can select the same carer for every visit, quickly building a relationship based on trust and companionship.
Convinced that home care will be ideal for you or your loved one? Holm’s introductory service makes it quick and easy to find the best personal care assistants in Greater Manchester.