Long Term Benefits of Elderly Live-in Care
What is live-in care?
Elderly live-in care means that the person being cared for has a competent and trained carer living with them at all times, within their own home. This allows for the person being cared for to remain within the comfort of their own home with their possessions, pets, local amenities, and any family or friends that may live locally. A live-in carer can help them live well at home and is often the preferred choice.
A live-in carer differs from a 24-hour carer in that a live-in carer cohabits with the person they are caring for but they do not provide around the clock care due to the fact that they also need to have time off from their care duties and they will need to be allowed a minimum of 8-hours of sleep per night. A live-in carer becomes a companion for clients that they live with since there is a continuity of care that fosters a trusting bond. A 24-hour care package, on the other hand, often involves different carers who take it in turns to do shift work and care for someone around the clock, both in the day and at night.
Live-in carers can provide a variety of support for the client, depending on the level of care and particular types of care required. The advantage of a live-in carer is that the carer can provide support to the client on a tailored basis and they can learn about which areas of the client’s life that the client needs support with. Some of the common duties and activities for which live-in carers provide support include providing personal care, assisting with getting to appointments and social events, and doing the cleaning, laundry, and cooking.
By opting for elderly live-in care, your loved one is able to remain in the familiar, safe environment of their own home. This can be really important to someone who is active within their community and can help maintain those social connections. Staying home means that a person will also not need to adapt to a new environment or leave their belongings behind and all of the upheavals that entails. It can be a challenging time for your loved one already, in terms of accepting that they need care. By moving them out of their home to a residential care home can make it feel like they are losing their independence even more. Sometimes live-in care is a great transitionary option from no-care to a residential care home, as it can help ease the process over time. So if you are considering a care home as an end goal for your loved one, you may find that live-in care is a good place to start.
Staying at home also allows for pets to remain within the care of your loved one. Pet duties can be supported by a live-in carer so as to ensure their wellbeing is not compromised. It can be a difficult time to be separated from pets when having to move to a care home, so live-in care at home can help avoid these difficult emotional losses.
Live-in care almost always works out more cost-effective for couples than moving them to a care home, so this can be a great option if you have elderly parents who would both benefit from remaining together and having support from a carer.
A full-time carer can offer companionship but this is often slightly disrupted by carers having to change shifts often, which can result in the loss of continuity of care. With a live-in carer, there is less switching between carers and usually one carer will work for a few weeks at a time. This allows for the client and carer to create a better bond, which can offer more benefits in terms of the companionship role of a carer. By having a carer that comes into the home of your loved one, you will feel reassured that they have a familiar, friendly face to help them each day. In a care home, a number of different people will care for your loved one so it may seem like there are more opportunities for companionship, which can sometimes be the case. However, quite often there is a fast turnover of staff who are not able to offer one-to-one support for a resident and get to know them. Additionally, the friends that your loved one can make in a care home may not seem the same to them as those that live in their community. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, which can worsen physical and mental wellbeing.
Maintaining relationships with family
One of the reasons why you might like to opt for a live-in carer is that you are able to be closer to your loved one. The person being cared for can remain within the home that they and you are familiar with and you are free to keep the visiting routine that works for them and you. In a care home, there may be more restrictions on visiting hours and journey times may be extended. By keeping the same contact with your loved it will ensure that they do not feel that they have lost touch with the people they care about and that care about them.
Private live-in care can ease pressure on you and other relatives from taking on the role of being your loved one’s carer. This can help maintain healthy relationships within the family and keep the pressure off family members having to make sacrifices in their own lives to care for an individual, which can make your loved one feel like a burden.
Live-in care can be as flexible as required. This means that you can have a carer who manages a variety of different care requirements from helping someone with complex needs to being a companion for your loved one. The care can also be adapted if the needs of the individual changes overtime. For instance, following an operation, someone may need more support in the early stages and less support as they recuperate and gain more independence. A live-in care package would be able to support the needs of the person throughout their recovery and take a step back when the person finds they are able to do certain tasks again. It might also be that the reverse happens. If we think about Alzheimer’s Disease, this is a progressive disease that will cause an individual to lose the ability to independently manage daily tasks overtime. A live-in carer will be observant and aware of the capability of the individual and adjust their input so as to ensure the person is kept safe and supported. The carer can communicate with family members and medical professionals to update them on the changes to care needs.
How does age impact health and wellbeing?
People in the world today are on average living longer than ever before in history. We are therefore seeing more age-related health difficulties across populations, such as dementia, hearing loss and frailty. As our bodies grow older, we change biologically but we also change psychologically and socially. The impact of ageing on health and wellbeing can be negative in some ways and positive in other ways. The negative aspects of ageing refer to the decline in our physical capabilities such that we may feel less able to do things that we used to. Chronic health conditions can cause people to retreat into their homes and go out of the house less, resulting in more social isolation.
In addition, retirement and the possible loss of friends or family can contribute to further isolation. Loneliness is a significant cause of mental health in the elderly, it can increase the risk of poor sleep, reduce motivation, increase the risk for depression and lead to more physical health problems, which in turn will all have an impact on isolation. Older people do not suddenly stop needing social support and they will value having friends and family nearby. Positive aspects of older age include having more time to partake in hobbies and to see family and friends. Older adulthood has also shown to lead to an increase in wisdom and it can often bring with it a happier outlook on life.
What factors are most important for wellbeing in older age?
The factors impacting the wellbeing of the elderly are varied, but in general, having support of some kind can see a great deal of positive change for an older person who is struggling mentally or physically. Support can be in the form of family, friends or carers who can prevent older people from struggling with their condition alone.
For instance, someone with mobility difficulties may have trouble keeping their home clean, with cooking and they may struggle to use transport. This can lead them to feel embarrassed about their homes, eat an unhealthy diet of fast foods and be unable to travel outside the house often, causing them to become more socially isolated and poorer in health. Having help with tasks like cleaning the house, cooking, and being driven to destinations, can improve psychological, physical and social wellbeing.
What is the best way to care for the elderly?
There is no one best way to care for all elderly people, this should be tailored for each individual to support them with what they need help with most. Many elderly people are capable of being independent in the majority of their activities of daily living, but they may be getting more fatigued which can lead to a downward spiral. A carer should take a holistic view of the elderly person’s life and consider not just their immediate and obvious physical needs but also their social, environmental and psychological needs. Elderly live-in care should not aim to take away independence but should lead to someone being supported in their everyday life so that quality of life is improved and wellbeing is optimised. Caring for the elderly should be about the individual and it can be difficult to start to introduce care into an elderly person’s life, so this should be done collaboratively, where possible.
What do the elderly need the most?
Elderly needs include ensuring personal care needs are managed, such as washing, grooming and dressing. Anyone who has been ill and has not showered for a few days or has been sat in the same clothes for too long knows how a fresh pair of clothes or a warm shower can help them feel better. This is no different for the elderly, but they may need support with ensuring this is done regularly.
Elderly health can decline so mobility may be limited, and mobility is an important need for people of all ages. Mobility limitations can restrict a good quality of life by reducing the ability to leave the house or engage in activities. Mobility aids in the form of wheelchairs, handrails and canes may be required to help improve mobility. A carer can support the elderly person with these mobility aids, and they may need time adjusting to the use of them. Transportation can be crucial to an elderly person as it can mean they are able to get out the house to visit the shops, community events or to see family and friends. It may also be something as important as attending medical appointments.
Nutrition is another elderly need since every person needs proper nutrition to stay healthy and have enough energy to engage in everyday life. This also includes proper hydration.
Elderly mental health is a necessary focus for many. Life can change once we retire and our mental health can take a hit if we lose people around us or lose the ability to do things we once used to do. Therefore, the elderly need to have people around them in the form of family, friends and/or carers to help them keep socially active.
Mental benefits of elderly live-in care
Mental health in the elderly can be helped by live-in care since a carer can provide companionship, motivation and support with engaging in activities and also be a means of reducing anxiety. Stress can increase if an elderly person struggles to manage their daily tasks by themselves without support. Simple tasks that younger people may not have difficulty with can present as a problem for elderly people, such as getting dressed, finding the bathroom at night or ensuring they turn off the oven. More complicated tasks can also be stressful such as trying to pay the bills and talking to customer services over the phone, since some people may struggle to hear or understand over the phone. A live-in carer can be someone that the elderly person trusts and builds companionship with, whilst also supporting them and keeping them safe. A live-in carer can improve morale and motivation by being someone the elderly person can look forward to doing things with and having someone who can help them in public, should they need support.
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In this article, we discuss the long term benefits of live-in care. If you are considering elderly live-in care, this guide can answer some important questions you may have.