HOme care or care home?
Home care or care home?
Everyone relies on their social network and as we grow older we need them even more. The ability to talk to neighbours over the garden fence or go to church and maintain contact with friends is vital.
For these reasons, most older people in the UK wish to remain living at home within their community (scie.org.uk). The thought of having to move from an area they have happily lived in for many years, in a house shared with family, can be distressing.
Home care versus care homes
To retain well-being and quality of life, we believe that all efforts to remain at home are best for older people. With the support of home care services, many people are choosing to live at home for longer (scie.org.uk) – it can be more economical and helps a person to maintain their dignity and sense of control as they age.
What are the differences between home care services and a residential care home?
Living in your home
- Living in familiar comfort with your lifetime of collected belongings and memories.
- In a care home, you have to downsize to live in just one room.
- A cat or dog is part of your family and a beloved friend.
- Most care homes do not accept pets.
- Home care is adapted to your needs and can be rearranged at short notice.
- A care home is a full, ‘always on’ service. You still pay for what you don’t need.
What you choose to eat
- If you want to eat beans on hot buttered toast at 9 pm at night, your carer will make this for you – how you like it.
- Care home meals are structured and are only available at meal times with less choice available.
- With home care, your carer is there only for you.
- In a care home, there are many other people to attend to and you don’t receive the same attention.
Independence and dignity
- Staying in your own home allows you to retain control over your life without having your independence or dignity taken away.
- Living in a care home takes away much of your privacy and people do become institutionalised.
- A carer will drive you in their car to either see friends, go to church or go shopping and offer companionship when you need it.
- Living in a care home can feel isolated: away from your friends with little opportunity to go out and there may be a possibility that you don’t like the other residents.
Support for the future on your terms
By gradually introducing home care and increasing it over time, then you can maintain control over growing older and also, know that you have support for unforeseen events or if you become ill. It’s a gentle way to integrate care on your terms, rather than the shock of a new environment and life change.
Most of the clients at Treetops, will tell you that starting home care early was the best choice they made and helped them live at home for longer.
Brenda is 89 and lives alone since her husband died five years ago. Her daughter, Maria, lives in London and wanted to know that her mother was well cared for. So, whilst Brenda was still reasonably fit and well, Maria arranged for Treetops carers to visit three times a week to help with shopping, cleaning and also for peace of mind, to let Maria know that her mother was safe.
After two years, Maria increased the care to a daily call to make sure that her mother was taking her increasing medication but also to run her mother to church and to see friends.
Last year, Brenda had a fall resulting in a brief stay in hospital. Had she not already had an ongoing care service at home, then it would not have been possible for her mother to return home as quickly and for this, Maria was grateful as it made an emotional situation so much more manageable.
Treetops carers now visit twice a day to help Brenda dress, prepare meals for the day and to take care of housework. In the last twelve months, they have also helped her with rehabilitation, which gradually increased to gentle walks every day to regain her mobility. Maria believes that her mother may not have healed so quickly if she hadn’t had this daily one-on-one care.
Maria commented that after the fall, her mother became depressed and lost interest in going out. But, with the support of her carers helping her to maintain contact both with friends and the church, she made significant progress and is now her old self again.
The cost comparison between a residential care home and home care services.
As the cost of care homes increases, remaining at home can be the most cost-effective solution. More local authority funding can be available for home care, as a property is not considered in means-testing – unlike for a residential care home (June 2017).
A care home will on average cost from £600 up to £1,500 per week – depending on the level of needs and exclusivity.
Home care, for three visits per day, is an average of £460 per week – depending on additional mileage and weekends.
If care needs increase or there becomes a need for more than one carer at a time, a residential care home becomes more economical but this doesn’t factor in the emotional benefits of remaining at home.
What are the differences between home care, care homes and nursing homes?
Home care services are when a qualified carer comes to your home to support you living at home. They can cover specialist conditions and illnesses such as Parkinson’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis and palliative care. All carers are specially trained.
A care home is staffed 24 hours a day with qualified care assistants but the home does not need nursing requirements. Care homes are not able to meet the demands of someone who needs specialist care for dementia.
Nursing homes provide the same service as a residential care home with qualified care assistants but who are supervised by registered nurses and are equipped to provide care for specialist conditions and illnesses. Some nursing homes offer specialist care for dementia, with specially trained staff.