How to care for elderly in their own homes
Home care for elderly in their own homes is care and support provided to an older person, in the place they love most. They may require help at different times of the day with tasks of daily life. Or they may be isolated and experiencing loneliness, or unable to live as independently as they used to. If your loved one is living with a condition, like dementia or Parkinson’s that is impacting their independence and ability to live well, home care is recommended. It enables your loved one to stay in the comfort and familiarity of their much-loved home with all the care they need.
Here we explain all you need to know about types of home care services and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of service. If you are caring for the elderly in their own home and you are struggling to cope, we explain how families can arrange home care, outlining considerations and steps to take.
WHAT IS ELDERLY HOME CARE?
When considering help for the elderly living in their own homes there are two different service options. What is best for you and your loved one will depend on their care needs and preferences.
Domiciliary care (hourly care)
Domiciliary care, sometimes referred to as hourly care is provided to people living in their own homes who require additional support with day-to-day life. A visiting carer will come at certain times of the day to support with household tasks, personal care or preparing and cooking meals. They will also aim to help with any other activity that maintains independence and quality of life, whilst allowing a family carer to have a much-needed break.
Typically, domiciliary care agencies can arrange for a carer to visit you once, twice or three or more times a day from 15 minutes to an hour depending on your care and support needs.
Live-in care is when a carer lives with your loved one in their home providing 24-hour, one-to-one care, support and companionship. It is likely that they may have already received domiciliary home care, but due to changing circumstances and needs, may now feel that you need to consider a more long-term arrangement.
Live-in care is typically considered alongside the alternative of receiving care in a residential and/or nursing home setting. Home care can be provided on a permanent basis or as a respite care service. This is a short-term arrangement, typically for a two-week period to afford a family carer a break.
Residential/Nursing Care Homes
The other alternative to home care is to receive care in a residential care home or nursing home. For many years, the default care option for a person requiring long term care has been to move into a residential or nursing home care setting. Typically, a move into a care home involves selling the much-loved family home to fund the care home fees. A care home is a building specifically designed to care for a number of residents, usually between 60-80 individuals who will be cared for on a designated unit according to their care needs. Personal care, specialist care, meal provision and activities will be provided by carers and nurses who are on a rota to provide care around the clock to residents.
BENEFITS OF HOME CARE FOR THE ELDERLY
Most people would prefer to stay at home with the care they need as opposed to moving into a residential care home. The disruption caused from a move at any time in life can be stressful. As we get older moving from a much-loved home can cause unnecessary stress, upset and anxiety, especially if you are living with a condition like dementia or need nurse-led care at home.
There are many benefits of caring for the elderly in their own home:
- One-to-one care cannot be provided in a care home.
- Complex and specialist needs can be supported in the familiarity of home
- Your loved one can stay in their precious home, within their own community
- Living at home enables greater levels of independence and you are not stuck with set care home routines
- As a family you have more peace of mind knowing that you loved one is safe in their own home
- If you are cared for at home, there is a reduced risk of falling and lower rates of infection and hospital admissions
- Staying at home with the care you need has been the safest type of care during the Covid-19 pandemic
- The costs of care in a high-quality care home can be significant
- Your do not need to sell your much-loved home to pay for care home fees
- You can keep a beloved pet if you receive home care – this is not possible in a care home.
HOME CARE CONSIDERATIONS
Once you have decided that you wish for your loved one to receive care and support in their own home and not move into a care home, there will be things you need to consider. There are different considerations depending on whether you decide to have help for the elderly living at home from a visiting / domiciliary carer or to have a live-in carer.
Live-in care considerations
With this type of home care services, all that is required is a spare room for the carer to have their own space during breaks and to sleep. A TV for their relaxation and internet access is required so they are able to complete the paperwork required to manage your loved one’s care. The carer will cook their daily meals and eat the same food, with them if they wish.
The carer will need to have a two-hour break in any 24-hour period, which many clients usually find works best when they are resting in the afternoon. If care and support is required during this period, many will have family visit to cover this break, or an hourly care provider to cover this.
24-hour live in care costs are typically in line with a care home, and sometimes less. The weekly cost of receiving quality, award-winning care in a care home can range from £1,600 to £2,000 per week, depending on the level of care provided and the room you choose in the home. If you are a couple, live in care really is a cost-effective option. In a care home you would be charged double for two bedrooms. With live in care there is only a nominal live in care cost if two people receive care at the same address.
With live in care, you have the added value of being able to keep your family home and the fee you pay for your care is purely for the quality support you receive and not the room and board of a residential home.
There may also be help for elderly living at home through healthcare funding or support from your local authority.
Domiciliary care considerations
Visiting carers will typically only spend 15-30 minutes with you when they come to your loved one’s home. They will have several other clients they have to visit in the day, so care tasks may feel rushed. Generally, there is insufficient time for companionship or a strong relationship to be formed. Family members may still need to be involved in providing care depending on a person’s needs at other times throughout the day. You may also need to provide cover if a carer is sick or there is an unexpected absence
Domiciliary care is not suitable for someone living with high needs, as there is limited time for quality complex care to be provided. Co-ordination of visits from other healthcare professionals is the responsibility of you or your family.
Domiciliary care is charged at an hourly rate and will be paid directly to the domiciliary care agency. It is usually paid on either a weekly or monthly basis depending on the arrangement you have with the agency. Hourly rates for the cost of care range from anything from £15 to £30 per hour, depending where in the country you receive your care.
If overnight care is required the hourly rate is typically more, as it is for bank holidays, so it is prudent to consider the cost of care over a longer period, for example the cost over a year. Overnight care will start at £100 – £120 per night.
Depending on your loved one’s needs and financial circumstances there may be funding available from your local authority, referred to as social care funding.
HOME CARE CONSIDERATIONS
It is important when considering caring for the elderly in their own home, that you think about what type of service the provider offers.
You may decide that you would like to use a home care agency to find you a suitable carer. These agencies will introduce a carer to you and you pay the one-off charge to them for that service. Typically, that is the end of their involvement in the arrangement. Families are then required to supervise, manage and organise all aspects of the care for their loved one, which for most is time consuming, frustrating and sometimes unmanageable. Most people who require long term care will need a team of two carers to provide the support they need. This means you will be responsible for managing a rota, paying the carer and organising sickness and holiday cover as well as directing the care. Carers introduced through an introductory agency are self-employed and have not necessarily had any training before being placed with a client.
The other option is to choose a provider who offers a fully managed service. All the worries of managing the carer are simply taken away. The provider will offer a dedicated Care Manager who will manage the service local to you. They will supervise and support the carer to deliver the care your loved one needs, whilst supporting the family. The service will be closely monitored with care plans regularly reviewed. It is likely they will have 24/7 back up in the case of emergencies. They will pay the carer and manage a rota to ensure you are never left without cover should a carer fall sick. Most fully managed services employ their care teams, which provides the reassurance you need about the quality of care being by a dedicated and engaged professional carer. Many families we support feel that a fully managed service provides much-needed peace of mind.
WHAT HOME CARE SERVICES DO WE PROVIDE?
At The Good Care Group, we have been providing high-quality live-in care services across England and Scotland for over 10 years. Our regulated and fully managed home care services can be provided in the following ways:
- 24-hour live-in care for when around-the-clock care is needed to ensure a person can continue to live well in their own home.
- Respite care can provide a family carer with a much-needed break from caring for a loved one, or can be used as an opportunity to see what live-in care involves and whether it is right for you and your family.
- Temporary or short-term live in care following hospital discharge or for those needing post-operative rehabilitation or stroke care.
- Complex home care of medical and specialist conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis can be supported with 24 hour home care – there is no need to go into a care home to receive this level of care.
- End-of-life palliative care which ensures a person’s needs and preferences are met until the very end of their life.
ARRANGING CARE AT HOME
Once you have decided care at home is right for you and your loved one – we are here to help. We will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your loved one’s needs. This covers not just their care needs, but how they wish to live their life. The assessment informs the care plan which will be created by an expert care manager, guided by clinical experts. The plan of care guides our professional care team to deliver the highest quality care to your loved one.
TALK TO US ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HOME CARE SERVICES
Find out more about how we can help your loved one to live well in the comfort of their home – call our friendly experts.