No-one likes the idea of bundling their much-loved elders into a care home, but following a diagnosis of major illness, or a sudden stroke or heart attack, most older people do need care of some kind.
Although family often provide fantastic, round-the-clock care for parents and older relatives, it can place a huge amount of pressure on younger members as they juggle full-time jobs, young families, and their own needs, alongside the needs of the person they care for.
The choices we’re usually presented with, as far as help with personal care is concerned, are either home care assistants or a residential care home. Most areas have a number of care homes in the locality that can be checked out; there will also be several local home care companies too.
While it is well known that the costs of care can be very high, up to a point, home care tends to be a little less expensive. However, there are additional benefits and cons to each option, and in the interests of providing you with useful information, we thought we would take a brief look at these.
Why choose home care?
Home care has some real advantages, especially for older people who do not need 24/7 attention. The most advantageous part of home care is that the person gets to stay in their own home. Most of us become quite attached to the homes we have made over the years, and leaving it because our care needs are too great, can cause a huge amount of upheaval.
In addition, a person who has a much-loved pet will, in most cases, be able to keep them with them, and life can continue much as it was before the illness or event took place.
Being at home also means family and friends have easier access for casual visits, so the person may feel less isolated than if they go to live somewhere unfamiliar with many people whom they do not know, and whom they will not necessarily get along with.
On the other hand, however, home carers visit a certain number of times per day, depending on the agreed care package. These visits may be quite short, especially if the person’s needs are not particularly intensive. For this reason, it is important to ensure if someone intends to stay at home, that they have a network of friends and relatives who will visit, otherwise isolation can set in, and their lives can be very dull.
All-in-all, if the person is relatively active and mobile, spends time with others from outside their home, perhaps visits a day care centre or other activity-led group for additional stimulation, and is likely to be happier at home, home care is a great option.
Why choose a residential care home?
Residential care homes can be pricey, and placing a relative in one can cause family guilt and sadness, but they do have some advantages.
For example, because staff are available around the clock, care homes are great for those residents who have complex needs, or who are considered to be more at risk than others. For example, someone with moderate dementia who is very mobile may be at risk of falls or of wandering, so if they live in a residential home, they are more likely to be safer for longer.
In addition, many care homes include stimulating activities – in groups, or singly – and these can include therapies, such as Singing for the Brain, as well as just fun times with fellow residents, such as musical bingo.
Although other residents tend to be a ‘mixed bag’ of people and personalities, if the right care home is chosen by the person and their family, those people will most likely provide company and stimulation throughout the day. Although isolation is possible, where a person does not feel comfortable in the company of other residents, it is usually less likely than if they had stayed at home.
Which is best, care home or home care?
No-one but you, your loved one, and your family, can say which option will work best. Both take a certain amount of additional attention to ensure the person’s happiness and contentment with the choice. For example, they may enjoy the visits from different care workers at home, or the stimulation of different people and personalities in a care home, but family will still be very important company, no matter what.
You can find some useful information on this page, and if you are interested in learning about the home care provided by Sahan Cares, please get in touch on 020 8848 1380 or follow Sahan Cares on Twitter for more information about home care.