Old age comes to all of us, yet it’s not something we like to think about.
However, when you watch someone you care about enter into old age and start to suffer from its effects, it’s hard to turn your head anymore.
Old age affects different people in different ways. For some, it doesn’t play a huge role and they remain extremely mobile and independent for a long time. Others find it difficult to fulfil their daily household tasks and require a little help. Other people struggle far more with mobility and other issues, therefore requiring them to have regular help, or to consider other care options, such as moving into residential care.
If you ask the majority of elderly people what they would prefer, most would tell you that they want to stay in their own home. Of course this isn’t the same for everyone, but most people prefer to retain their independence and be around their own surroundings. This can be difficult if your loved one is struggling with self-care or household chores.
Of course, in an ideal world you would love to be there to help your loved one with whatever they need, but that may not be an option for you. If you’re working, you have a young family, or you have other responsibilities, you might not be able to go and visit your loved one every single day, or perhaps multiple times per day. This can place a strain on your relationship in so many ways, because your loved ones needs you, they may feel guilty about it, you feel guilty for not having the time, and you’re worried about them too.
There are several options you can look into. For instance, you could arrange for a carer to visit your loved one on a set number of days per week, or daily, at set times. You could also look at a live-in carer arrangement. This means the carer would live in the house with your loved one, so you have total peace of mind that there is someone there, should they need help and assistance.
Of course, whatever is decided has to be the wish of your loved one. You can’t make decisions for them – they have to be informed, give their opinion, and the final decision is up to them. Just because they have reached the point of old age does not mean that they are unable to make their own choices (unless there is a severe mental degeneration issue going on), and of course, they should always retain their dignity.
If you’re not sure whether or not in home care is right for your loved one. It’s important to think about the pros and cons in detail. Having that knowledge to hand will allow you to discuss your options with your loved one and come to the best solution together.
Home Care For The Elderly – Pros
Your Loved One Stays in Their Own Surroundings
The first and main point is that your loved one remains in their own home, surrounded by their belongings, their memories, and everything that makes the particular place their home. This is the single biggest reason why many elderly people decide to have home care in their own homes, because they simply don’t want to be somewhere that isn’t their home.
Sure, for some living in a residential home is the best choice and something which turns out to be a good decision, but this doesn’t fit everyone. Even elderly people who do decide to go into a residential home often lament the fact that they have to move out of their own home, and leave behind the years of memories they have built up in those four walls. With home care in this manner, they can stay in their home and retain their comfort factor.
Your Loved One Retains Their Independence
Another major reason for home care is that your loved one will remain as independent as possible. Even if they have live in care and the carer is doing a lot of things for them, the very fact that they’re in their own home will help them feel more independent. This can be a major factor in terms of boosting their self-esteem and keeping them mentally active.
Even the fact that they can get up and potter into the kitchen and perhaps make themselves a cup of tea is a major thing for someone who is struggling with other aspects of life. So anything they can do for themselves, in their own home, will help them to remain active and independent.
They Remain Near Their Neighbours
Most elderly people end up being very good friends with their neighbours, especially if they’ve all lived on the same street for many years. When your loved one chooses home care in their own home, they stay close to these people. Having an active social life is vital for cognitive function and mood, so being close to neighbours who they can have a cup of tea with or just wave at from the kitchen window is a good thing.
Of course, from a family point of view, this is also reassuring, because you know there are people close by.
You Can Visit as Often as You Like And Enjoy Your Time Together
When your loved one has home care, you can visit and enjoy your time together, without having to rush around and do the tasks that your loved one can’t manage. This ensures that you build memories that last forever and you get to spend time together that keeps your bond close and fresh.
You Can Tailor Home Care to Their Needs
When your loved one chooses to stay in their home and have home carers visiting or living with them, you can tailor their care options to their specific needs. If they only need someone to visit a few times per week to help out with certain tasks, you can arrange that. If they need someone to visit daily, or even more than once per day, that can be arranged. If they need someone there all the time, e.g. a live in carer, you can arrange for that to occur too.
In addition, you can have modifications made to their home to make life easier, such as a stairlift, railing on the bath or in the shower, etc.
Home Care For The Elderly – Cons
Home Care Can be Costly
Any type of elderly care costs money, so you need to ensure that you choose carefully in terms of budget and of course, making the final decision based on what your loved one wants. If your loved one needs a live-in carer, this can be costly, so you need to think carefully and explore your options together.
Your Loved One Might Not Want a Live in Carer
If your loved one needs extra help and requires a live in carer, you might find it difficult to convince them that they actually do need this. They might not want to share their home with someone they barely know! In that case, finding the right carer is going to take a lot of time and patience. You need to find someone who your loved one gets along with well, someone who shares the same sense of humour, and of course, someone who is experienced in the kinds of needs that your loved one has.
Making Home Adjustments Takes Time And Can be Costly
If your loved one insists on staying at home, you may need to make changes to the house to ensure their safety and for their ease of use. This includes rails, perhaps a stairlift, etc. This takes time, costs money, and can be difficult depending upon the type of house your loved one has. Again, you may run into resistance because your loved one may not want these modifications make to their home. A difficult conversation will therefore need to be had, helping your loved one see that if they want to stay at home and be healthy and safe, these things need to be put in place.
Home care for the elderly within their own home, regardless of which type you go for, has pros and cons in both directions. It may come to the point where residential care is required in the end, but this is something you will need to explore with your loved one if and when the time comes. You might also want to be the one providing the care, but you simply don’t have the time. In that case, you have guilt to deal with.
Nobody said that watching a loved one grow old was easy, but it’s important to face the reality together and make important decisions together too. The wishes of your loved one must and should always come first, and you should discuss everything in detail, coming to a decision and plan which suits their needs, and ensures that you have optimum peace of mind too.