A Guide to Elderly Care Options
When considering elderly relatives it can be more challenging to know when getting a carer may be an appropriate decision, since your loved one may report to you that they are coping well, despite actually struggling. Care for an elderly relative can be a difficult conversation to have as they may think they are being a burden and try to convince you that they are managing ok. That is why quite often a carer is brought in after a significant incidence such as a fall or an occurrence where they have put themselves at risk.
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When to consider elderly live-in care
Here we look closer at when is an appropriate time to consider elderly live-in care. Live-in care services vary depending on individual needs. For situations where a loved one may have an obvious need for care, such as postoperative care that is usually short-term, it can be easier to know when to look for a carer.
So, when should you start looking? This is often dependent on each unique situation but it is advised that you should start looking for a carer when you are noticing that your loved one is not coping well by themselves. This can be gradual, for instance it may start with your loved one struggling to be able to keep up with housework and grocery shopping. You can therefore hire a carer who helps at the start with just these tasks but who may gradually progress to other duties as other problems transpire.
Someone may need live-in care when they are struggling to manage independently at home. They may be having difficulties with a variety of different tasks or activities due to a loss of mobility or a decline in their thinking speed and problem-solving skills.
Your loved one may be more likely to need a live-in carer as they get older. Elderly live-in carers can help with a variety of tasks around the house, support the elderly person with attending appointments, and provide companionship to those who may have lost someone close to them.
Live-in carers can help with morning and evening routines, with mobility issues, they can help manage medication and support the person to eat a balanced and healthy diet. They also offer guidance and a level of security for those people suffering with dementia and who may be more at risk of a fall or confusion.
The point at which someone needs live-in care is often when things become noticeable to a loved one because generally elderly people do not ask for a live-in carer. It can be helpful for you to notice if there has been a physical or cognitive decline in your loved one and keep an eye on how they are managing day to day. If you suspect they are having some trouble then it is a good idea to have a conversation with your loved one to consider a live-in home help.
These are some signs that a carer may be appropriate:
- Physical wellbeing deteriorates, walking is difficult and doing tasks around the house is a struggle.
- An increase in falls
- A lack of motivation and signs of depression
- Missing appointments and/or not taking medication correctly
- Disorientation and getting lost
- Changes to eating and drinking behaviour
- An unclean appearance/poor hygiene
- Loss of socialising
Live-in care generally refers to a carer who lives in the home of the person being cared for. They can offer different types of care packages and these can range from short-term to long-term care. Short-term live-in care is usually offered post operatively, as respite care or when recovering from an illness. This may be for a few weeks to a few months.
You will likely arrange the level of care per day depending on the needs of the person but usually, the same carer is able to offer all of the short-term care, since it is only temporary.
For long-term care, when a live-in carer is required for an unlimited amount of time, often until the person passes away or moves to a residential care home, carers rotate between one or two people. This is because although a carer has time during the day for resting and taking breaks, they will also need to take time away from the home to see their own family or just to take a longer break. Consistency amongst carers is important as it can be reassuring for not only you but also your loved one who may have built up a friendship with their carer and would perhaps feel more uncomfortable having a new carer come into their home.
In the UK, anyone with concerns about an elderly relative is entitled to ask for a Care Needs Assessment. Your local authority is obliged to carry this out for you, regardless of whether your relative will be self-funding or entitled to social services funding. Sometimes this can take place within a couple of weeks, other times in can take up to six weeks, depending on your local authority. It is a very good idea to be present during a care needs assessment, so you can have some input in the process.
Discussing care options with an elderly relative
Discussing elder care options with a relative is important since you want them to feel included in their own elderly care. They may voice certain preferences and you can work together to figure out the best options for them.
Try to plan the conversation beforehand so that you know what points you need to discuss and who you think should be present at the meeting. Be prepared that they may be resistant to having care so it can be important for you to help them understand the reasons why you think it might be time to get them some support.
It is also good to discuss elderly care options with your loved one in anticipation of care since this can remove some of the uncertainties that can arise later on when the decision needs to be made.
You can help them look at care for the elderly options and the different elderly services that are available to them, such as the type of care required, the location in which the care will be received and the level of input. Make sure that you listen to what they want and also to consider any concerns they have, such as money worries or fear of losing their independence. Be patient and remember to stay calm and positive throughout these conversations.
Costs of live-in and home care
The cost of live-in care depends on the level of care needs required. Costs can be around £900 per week for a single person or around £1300 for a couple. However, more specialist care such as dementia care or spinal care can be more expensive. Costs will also depend on the location in which you live and whether you choose to find an independent carer or if you use a Care Agency.
The BBC has an excellent Care Calculator which will give you an indication of average care costs in your area.
There are various ways to pay for care costs and you may be eligible to receive support with payments, following an assessment by your local council. You can find out more on our elderly live-in care FAQ page.
What does a carer do?
A carer offers many different services ranging from helping with personal care, hygiene and support with washing. Personal care services can help your loved one to feel clean and groomed which can help them to feel like themselves and is important for mental wellbeing. Caring for the elderly often involves helping with household chores, such as with hoovering, cooking and laundry.
They can also provide support with mobility and with getting out the house by offering transport services or by accompanying your loved one to their destination. A carer can help motivate your loved one to engage with activities they enjoy and to ensure that they are getting some sort of exercise, where possible.
They can help with bills and letter writing, as well as support your loved one with answering the telephone, which can be a great help if your loved one is hard of hearing. They can help with managing medication and also with ensuring your loved one attends any medical appointments.
Live-in care vs Care home
Live-in care is often preferable for the person receiving the care as they can stay within the comforts of their own home. This can be a safe environment for them, and they are able to stay connected with local services, friends and their community. Care at home is usually one-to-one, offering more tailored and personalised care which your loved one can benefit from. If your loved one is somewhat independent and able to engage in daily activities then a live-in carer can support them to do so in a safe and supported manner. Sometimes a residential care home is a good option, particularly if your loved one is in the late stages of dementia or if they have complex medical needs that are better managed by a nursing team. Your loved one may also not have enough space in their home to allow for a live-in carer to live there as the carer will need to have their private bedroom as well as access to bathroom facilities.
Finding a care service
If you think that home help for an elderly relative is the best option at this time then you may wish to find a Care Agency who can help provide you with trusted carers that will match the needs of the care required for your loved one. Look for Agencies that have good reviews and who understand what you are looking for. It can be worth having a look at various websites that discuss home help for the elderly or calling up local Agencies to get a better idea about what it is that they provide and whether it sounds suitable for your loved one
How we can help
At The Live in Care Company we make the procedure of arranging live in care hassle-free and straightforward especially when you are seeking help for an elderly relative and we are happy to go through all of the care options with you.
Our team will be happy to speak to you and will take the time help you to understand your options fully before matching you with a wonderful live-in carer.