As you get older and you watch your parents grow older you start to think about how they will cope with their day to day living. We are all living longer and in many cases if lucky our parents may live well into their 80s or 90s. Most elderly people would choose to live in their own home and stay independent but sadly sometimes that isn’t always possible. Here at Walk in Showers and Baths Ltd we do try to help the elderly keep their independence for longer by installing elderly friendly bathrooms. But being able to clean and keep your hygiene up to scratch is just one part of the issue. Every elderly person is an individual and each has different needs and will cope differently.
Having watched my late father reach 83 and then die I remember the worries and concerns I had for him and at times just didn’t know what to do for the best. I had to learn about the home care services for the elderly and work out what was best for him. He was a proud man and was pretty much independent right up to his last year. He had gone through chemotherapy for lung cancer on his own but after than he needed a bit of help with washing so I looked into home care services where a carer came round once a day and helped him wash and shave. The week before he died he was in hospital as we just couldn’t cope, he hated it. The hospice was full and it was only the day before he died the hospice took him in. This makes me sad as I know he hated his lack of care at the local hospital, but I didn’t know what else to do. If I had known he had days to live I wouldn’t have taken him to the hospital. I shall live with this guilty feeling for the rest of my life. But I won’t make the same mistake when it comes to my mother’s last days. She will not be put in hospital and I will do my best to keep her in her home until the very end. This is of course if she doesn’t need any specialist care due to suffering from Dementia, Parkinson’s or anything else which needs specialist care. So to be even more prepared I have decided to research the care system in the UK and see what is on offer for all eventualities.
What different types of care is available?
Residential care refers to long-term care given to people at residential care homes where they reside in a care home and get meal cooked and general personal care. This type of care is for people that struggle to cope at home with getting themselves dressed, washing and cooking. When round the clock care is not possible from family or in-house carers, residential care seems to be the only option.
Nursing care is where there needs to be a qualified nurse available 24 hours a day perhaps to give injections or medicine. This can be provided at home but also at nursing homes or some residential care homes. Like a residential home, a nursing home will offer accommodation, meals
and personal care also have qualified nurses 24/7.
Respite or Short Stay Care
Respite or short stay care is when a person goes into a nursing or residential home care home for up to four weeks to give carers a break. Sometimes they are used for people who are recovering from an illness or operation as a sort of half way house before they go back to their own home.
Dementia care is generally offered in nursing homes or residential care homes which offer nursing and some may offer specialist dementia care. Sadly Dementia and Alzheimer’s is one of the most common reasons why people need some form of nursing care
Specialist Care and Learning Disabilities
If you need more specialist care for conditions like Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease you will need a more supervised environment with specialist care.
Palliative care is for those who are terminally ill which is what hospices offer. There are some care homes which offer palliative care services where they will come out to your home and help with the control of pain and symptoms. Generally this is a specialist approach where there are family members and carers agree to a plan and delivery of care.
Cost of Care Homes
How much does residential care cost? Far too much! The cost of residential care depends on where you live and what type of care you need. If you need nursing care with a nurse on duty 24 hours the cost will be higher. Most people are expected to pay towards the cost of their accommodation and care from their income or capital. Your local authority will do a financial assessment. If you have over £23,250 in capital you will have to pay the full cost of your care. Owning your own home is classed as capital unless you have other close relatives living there.
Source: Laing & Buisson Care of Older People, UK Market Report 2013/14.
How to choose the best elderly care services?
Ideally you want to find a care home or facility which is close to home so any family members can visit. Ask around for recommendations or do some investigation work. Use the internet to search for ‘elderly care services’ or ‘elderly home care services’ in your area and then look for reviews and visit homes.
It can be a stressful time for all concerned so get family members together and work out the best plan of action. Ideally if the family can take on the care then this should be your priority. If family members haven’t spoken in years, this could be a great time to put your differences behind and work together to ensure your elderly relatives live out their last days in a happy and dignified way. Every person is entitled to that. Remember if we are lucky, we will all reach old age and may need the same care and help from our own children. So if we are able, I believe helping our elderly relatives as best as we physically can is setting a good example for our own children and grandchildren to see, which hopefully means they will be their for you in your time of need.