A few times our family has been in the situation where we’ve had to consider whether getting live-in help or taking an elderly relative to a live-in care home was the best option. It’s hard to see a relative struggling to get through the day but it’s equally difficult to become their live-in carer yourself more so if you have a family of your own to take care of or health issues of your own.
It’s not always the family that decides. Where an individual has all their faculties they may themselves feel that they and their family would be benefited by some form of assistance.
What are the Options?
Two of the most common choices are live-in care or moving into a residential home. This is a hard decision to make by no means but sometimes a necessary one.
Care at Home
Allows for More Independence
Home care services enable the individual to live with a high degree of independence. These also give individuals and their family complete peace of mind knowing that they are in safe hands.
The other key advantage is that they’d be able to stay in their own home for longer and keep in touch with friends while remaining active in their local community. This was a great option for my grandma. As a very strong-minded independent lady, having someone come to her home to help was ideal. For her, it was comforting to be in familiar surroundings where she had built up so many wonderful memories.
Pets Can Stay
Many individuals have pets. In-home help means not having to give them up. Bonds with pets can be strong. Pets quickly become part of the family so keeping them means the transition to care at home is less traumatic for all involved. For dog owners, it can be hard to get their pets that much needed daily walk. Options here would include asking a family member, neighbour or company like BorrowmyDoggy to walk them.
Flexibility in Care
Care at home is great as it is pretty flexible. The amount of assistance is tailored to individual needs. Carers can either visit daily or provide live-in care. This reduces the worry not only for those being cared for but also for family and friends. We initially started with daily assistance and my grandma had a personal alarm. As she deteriorated we moved on to live-in help.
What We Did
We arranged this type of care through an agency. Their staff were carefully vetted and absences were covered as required. The staff had to be registered and meet certain standards, as set by national regulators.
This option was less expensive than a care home although that wasn’t why it was our first choice. It was more about the freedom it gave my grandma and reassurance it gave the family that she was in good hands.
When You Need Help Deciding
For us, the priority was keeping my grandma in an environment she felt safe and comfortable in but at the same time ensuring it was safe to do so. In some cases, staying at home isn’t a viable option no matter how much you want it to be.
It’s not always an easy decision to make on your own on your own. Quite often family members may disagree and sometimes an external assessment such as the one I found on the Promedica24 website can help make the decision easier. There is also a contact number on their site should you prefer to talk to someone. Remember, it helps not to rush the decision and take advice from others that are not emotionally involved.
When Care Homes are the Best Option
In some instances, this may be a more suitable and realistic option. Where all round help is essential, care homes can be the best way forward unless they can manage with a live-in carer.
In our experience, we sometimes found that care at home staff were not always the same individuals due to sickness, holidays or when understaffed. On occasion, carers were held back by the previous client visited.
A residential option with a large team of staff can mean a greater consistency of care, increase safety and plenty of members of staff. In most cases, residents can personalise their room with familiar items from home to make the transition easier and give a more homely feel. Regular meals are provided so there is no need to worry about nutritional intake or them leaving the gas on (my gran had done whilst she had daily care at home which prompted us to step this up to live in care).
Something that people fail to remember is how lonely some people can get. The great thing about care homes is that they give the residents the opportunity to socialise with others of a similar age, and, often, to participate in outings and other organised activities. Socialising with others can bring various health benefits.
My mother volunteers at a centre for the elderly weekly. It can be their main form of contact with others in some instances. These places are not always easy for people to reach highlighting the fact that care homes can in some cases be a more desirable option. Not only could the living environment potentially be better in terms of warmth, safety and cleanliness, but, if medication needs to be supervised, this is also taken care of by the home.
The choice for elderly care may be restricted by what services and homes are available in each area. Where we have a choice, it’s worth carefully weighing up the
various options before deciding what kind of elderly care is best for you or your relative.
Have you considered daily home care, live-in care or care home services for a relative or yourself?
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