Home Care For The Elderly – Pros And Cons

It is extremely difficult to watch parents and other elderly loved ones reach a time in their life when they need help to carry out regular daily tasks.

When you are young, your parents look after you, they tend to your every need and keep you safe. Then, as you become older and they age, the tables turn. You have to look after them, you have to help them with daily activities, and you have to discuss issues with them that pertain to their care.

It’s important to realise that any type of care for the elderly has to be the elderly person’s decision, but many elderly people would much prefer to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Of course, that’s not the same for everyone, as some elderly people openly choose to go into a care home, having their needs met 24/7, and meeting other people their own age for companionship. 

It’s a personal choice, but it’s a difficult one nonetheless.

If your loved one needs help and assistance, either with their medical daily needs or with their daily tasks, it’s important to sit down and discuss all options with your loved one. One particular option which is likely to crop up is called domiciliary care. 

The term itself can be confusing, so let’s delve a little deeper and find out more. 

What is Domiciliary Care?

Domiciliary care is another name for care at home. It basically means that your loved one remains in their own home and they have someone visiting the home to give them the care and attention they need, whatever level that may be.

For many, this is the preferred option. It helps an elderly person to retain their independence and to remain in their home surroundings. It also means that their family and friends can continue to visit them whenever they want, maintaining a high quality standard of life.

Domiciliary care involves a high qualified and experienced carer visiting your loved one’s home and giving one on one personal care and attention. This can be anything from half an hour every day, to a few hours spread over the course of a week, or even as far as someone staying overnight in the home. It really depends upon your loved one’s needs and what is best for them. 

In some cases, an elderly person will choose to have a live-in carer. This still falls within the domiciliary care bracket but means that someone stays in the home with your loved one around the clock, giving you and them peace of mind that they are looked after and all their needs are met. In this case, the carer becomes a companion, a friend, and someone who brightens your loved ones days!

This type of care, whether live-in or out, means that an elderly person can stay at home, in their own familiar surroundings, but they can have the support they need with any activities they struggle with. This could be household chores and tasks, it could be dressing or bathing, administering medication, it could even be shopping and helping to cook meals. Any activity which an elderly person needs support with in order to maintain their quality of life is covered within the domiciliary care bracket.

Peace of Mind For All 

It can be extremely difficult when an elderly loved one requires help and assistance but you simply can’t give it. This can be for a range of different reasons, but the most common is that you have daily responsibilities that you can’t avoid, such as work or looking after a young family. It’s very common for guilt to set in, and that can start to cause a problem between your loved one and you. 

At times like this, everyone should be happy and spending time together. When these sorts of guilt-related problems creep in, all of that is ruined. 

For this reason, domiciliary care is the preferred option for many. 

It gives a huge amount of peace of mind for everyone involved. Your loved one will feel secure. The know that their carer will be visiting at a specific time, on a specific day. If they have a live-in carer, they will feel safe and secure with that person, and that person will also provide a huge sense of companionship for them too. It will be as though they have a new friend!

As your loved one feels safe and secure, you also feel the same. You can be relieved that they’re looked after and that any problem they have is taken care of. You don’t have to worry or feel guilty about the fact that you can’t be there all the time, and when you do visit, you can focus on spending quality time together and creating memories that you’ll all look back on fondly. 

Of course, the social element of domiciliary care is just as important as the rest. Elderly people need to feel safe but they also need that social connection to fight off potential loneliness and feelings of isolation. For that reason, choosing your loved one’s carer carefully is important. It needs to be someone they can get along well with, someone who shares their sense of humour and someone they can connect with. Of course, the final decision also has to be down to your loved one. 

High quality domiciliary cares are trained in physical care, mental care, as well as emotional support too. 

Put simply, everyone feels more at ease knowing that everything is taken care of, and your loved one will feel the safest of all. For you, as a family member or close friend, the potential guilt of not being able to be there all the time, will disappear. 

Is Domiciliary Care For Everyone?

Of course, it’s important to assess whether domiciliary care is right for your loved one. This is a discussion you must have together and the final decision is your loved one’s. You have to respect the choice they make. Unless there is a serious mental health issue which stops your loved one making sensible decisions for themselves, this isn’t something you can change once they have made their choice. Remember, this is their life, and they have the power to choose what is best for them. 

However, domiciliary care is a good choice for most people. It is suitable for any elderly person who simply wants to stay in their home, whether they have medical issues or they simply need help with daily activities. It means that any medical treatment they need can be administered at home (within reason) by a medically trained carer. 

If medical treatment is required, a care plan will need to be drawn up beforehand, to ensure that everything is covered and timings are correct. The type of medical care which can be covered by domiciliary care includes disabilities, dementia, medication administration, etc. 

For the majority of elderly people who choose domiciliary care, this will be about daily activities which they struggle with. For instance, cooking a meal, going shopping, getting in and out of the bath, getting dressed, perhaps washing themselves, etc. All of this links in with the companionship element too. 

When setting up domiciliary care, it’s important to be honest about your loved one’s needs. This will help the carer you choose know what needs to be done and when. You should also sit down and talk to your loved one about how often they need a carer to attend the home. Would they feel safer if someone was there all the time? Do they only want the carer to call by once every couple of days? Do they have needs which mean a carer needs to call at a specified time every day? By having this information to hand, you and your loved one can come to an idea of their needs and that information will help the carer to know what is expected of them.

Be Sure to Discuss All Options

Whilst there is no denying that domiciliary care is a great option for most people, it’s not the only option. Before choosing a route forwards, it’s vital to do your research together and look at every option there is. Many options will be immediately pushed off the table, an that’s fine. If your loved one doesn’t even want to consider a particular option, that’s completely their choice and they’re entitled to that.

If you both find the idea of domiciliary care intriguing, do a little more research and delve into it deeper. By doing this you can find the best arrangement for your loved one, something you’re both happy with. 

Of course, if this is the final choice, you then need to find the best carer for your loved one’s needs. Remember, this needs to be a person they get along well with, and it might take time to settle on the final choice. Be patient – it’s a choice worth taking time to get right!