Is home care a good option?

Many elderly people needing care would prefer to stay in their own home for as long as possible. How practical is this and is care at home a good solution?

As we grow older, we may naturally reach a point where we can no longer fully care for ourselves without additional help and support. At such a time, a difficult decision is faced regarding the best and most appropriate way to obtain the care needed in order to maintain a desirable quality of life.

Research by the charity Age UK reveals that the majority of people wish to remain in their own homes, living independently for as long as possible, but many people still consider relocation to a residential nursing or care home as the only option for full time care in later years. Yet moving to unfamiliar surroundings can be a difficult transition.

When it comes to end-of-life-care, two thirds of people want to die at home [DoH 2013] but only 18 per cent of them achieve this wish, according to the Office for National Statistics.

When choosing a care provider, it is important to first consider solutions that enable you to remain in your own home. Care at home can provide a viable alternative to some residential care options in many cases. Quality live-in care is entirely possible even if you have specialist care requirements, with costs typically comparable to those associated with residential care.

Individual needs
Fully tailored to the needs of the individual, live-in care offers significant benefits, allowing people to continue to live independently in the comfort and security of familiar surroundings, enjoy their favourite activities and remain part of their local community.

A live-in carer lives with the person needing care in their home and is on hand to provide support and companionship whenever needed. A fully-trained and professional live-in carer can provide a wide range of services including personal and specialist care, assistance with household duties such as making meals, cleaning, laundry and shopping and helping people to enjoy social trips and visits, hobbies and interests.

One-to-one live-in care for older people is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to obtaining residence in a care home as it avoids the need for upheaval. If you or someone you know needs help and wants to stay in their own home for longer, it could be a good option and certainly one worth exploring.

For more information on how to choose the right home care agency, see below.

Choosing home care

  • Before you go ahead and appoint an agency privately, find out if you are entitled to help from your local council. Contact your local social services department and ask them to assess your care needs to see if they will contribute towards the cost.
  • When searching for a care home agency, do your homework and make sure you carry out a couple of key background checks. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all independent homecare agencies in England. It conducts regular inspections of care agencies’ premises and interviews those using the agency to make sure that suitable standards are being met. It looks at whether the services are safe, caring, effective and responsive. Visit the Care Quality Commission’s website to check that the agency you have in mind has met the required standards at http://www.cqc.org.uk
  • Check that the care agency is registered with the United Kingdom Homecare Association, which has a facility to search for a care agency in your area – visit http://www.ukhca.co.uk/findcare/ and enter your postcode for a full list of local care agencies. You can also find homecare services at http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Care-at-home/LocationSearch/1833

Ask the agency:

  • If all of its carers undergo a criminal record disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (in England and Wales) or Disclosure Scotland (in Scotland) or Access NI (in Northern Ireland).
  • If you can contact them outside of normal office hours or in an emergency.
  • What happens if the regular carer is off sick or on holiday.