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Caring For a Family Member – Things You Should Know
09/03/2020

As your loved ones age, it can be a difficult experience to go through. 

You want to ensure they have the best possible care at all times, but you have your own daily responsibilities you need to attend to at the same time, such as work, a home, children, etc. This can cause family members to feel overloaded, understandably stressed and even feeling guilty about the fact that they can’t be there for their elderly loved one as much as they want to be.

It’s important to understand that the needs of your elderly loved one have to come first when making a choice about their location. It’s also vital that their wishes are taken into account first and foremost. Remember, your loved one may have specific needs nowadays, but they are still an adult and provided they can make strong and rational decisions for themselves, their choice has to be the one which rules.

Many elderly people don’t want to go into residential care, e.g. a care home, and they have a strong desire to remain in their own home and retain their independence and comfortable surroundings. That’s entirely understandable too. However, there might be specific needs which your loved one has, and they’re not able to meet them for themselves. If you’re not able to be there all the time either, you may become worried that your loved one’s needs aren’t being met, and that their quality of life is suffering as a result.

As a result of this situation and these worries, many people choose to look into the option of in-home care for the elderly, also sometimes called domiciliary care.

What is In-Home Care For The Elderly?

In this case, your loved one stays in their own home, with their own surroundings in place, but the have a caregiver who goes into the home on a set number of days, for a set number of hours. 

This type of arrangement often involves need such as dressing, housework, grocery shopping, laundry, help with bathing, and reminding them to take their medication, however it doesn’t usually involve any type of medical care. This type of arrangement also includes companionship, which helps your loved one to stay alert, upbeat, positive, and happy when you can’t be around. 

There are various different possibilities when it comes to the type of in-home care arrangement you’ll opt for. Some elderly people require 24 hour care, whilst others only need someone to call into their home for an hour every day. There are countless other variables in-between. 

How Much Does In-Home Care For The Elderly Cost?

It is impossible to give you a firm number on the cost of in-home care for your particular elderly loved one. This is because there are the many variables we just talked about. An arrangement which covers a full 24 hour period is going to cost considerably more than someone who simply need an hour or two every day.

The cost also varies according to which care provider you choose. To give you an idea however, on average the hourly cost is between £15 – £30 per hour, with the £20 per hour being the most common rate. You can then give yourself an idea of how much this arrangement is likely to cost according to how many hours your loved one needs in terms of support.

When it comes to trying to work out the number of hours required, it’s vital that you sit down with your loved one and decide this together. At the end of the day, your loved one knows what they need and their wishes have to come first. 

Ask your loved one which tasks they would like their caregiver to help them with. Is it laundry? Doing the grocery shopping? Do they need a little help with bathing? How about getting dressed or preparing meals? Sit down and explore your options, and ask them honestly what they feel they need. 

Remember, it’s possible that your loved one may feel embarrassed about their needs and they don’t want to be open and honest with you on the first occasion. If this happens and you feel that they’re holding back a little, don’t push them. Revisit the conversation again at a later date, perhaps a few days later, and explore other options with them, e.g. asking questions such as “it might be useful for someone to help with baths, what do you think? You might feel a little more comfortable when someone is around”, and see what they say. Avoid telling them what they need, as this is just going to cause them to shut down and rebel against the entire idea. 

Retaining Independence And Confidence 

Many elderly people have a severe dislike of the idea of going into residential care and if that is your loved one, you have to take their wishes seriously and into account. Of course, if they have no choice, if they really can’t look after themselves at home and if you just don’t have the time to be in their home anymore than you already are, then residential care could be something you can explore further.

However, you should never force an unwanted solution upon your loved one. Remember, whilst you’re acting out of the deepest care and concern for your loved one, the idea of going into residential care can be extremely upsetting and concerning for an elderly person. This may come to you one day, and if you look at things in that way, how would you feel if someone was trying to make you do something that you didn’t want to do?

So, if in-home care is an option for your loved one, be it for many hours or a day or just a few, it’s something you should explore together. However, it’s also vital that you find someone who fits in with the personality of your loved one and someone they gel with. 

An in-home carer is also there to provide companionship, and it has to be someone that your loved one trusts and feels comfortable with. You might not find the right person straightaway, but it’s a search that is worthwhile.

In-home care helps your loved one retain their independence and gives them confidence. This is vital in old age, when the risk of degenerative disease, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is always there. When an elderly person is surrounded by people they love and care about, when they’re stimulated with conversation and social activities, and when they feel confident and happy in their surroundings the risks of such problems are far lower.

Whilst you can’t be around all the time, you can call in and see your loved one whenever you get the chance and this, combined with the care and companionship that their in-home caregiving is providing, helps them to live a happy and healthy life as a result. 

The fact that they are within their own home allows them to feel comfortable and in control of their life, as they always have been during their younger years. 

For you, you’ll also have the peace of mind that someone is giving your loved one the care they need and meeting their requirements. You’ll also know that your loved one is not lonely in the times when you’re not able to be there, and this can ease the guilt and upset that this type of situation can often cause.

The bottom line is that it’s never easy to watch someone you love grow old. Whilst it comes to us all, nothing can prepare you for watching someone you adore and someone who has always looked after you, become older, more frail, and perhaps unable to look after themselves in the way that they always have. 

What you can do however is find the ideal care option for your loved one, by working in collaboration with them to find a solution that fits their needs. Whilst the cost of this is always going to vary, depending upon the level and amount of care your loved one needs, in-home care is also going to be cheaper than residential care in most cases. It is also an option which most elderly people prefer, however that is something you will need to explore with your loved one, if the need arises.

It’s easy to assume that the only option for an elderly person who needs a little support is to move in with family members or move into a residential home, but this isn’t always the case; in most situations, this isn’t a solid requirement. Many elderly people find in-home care suits their needs very well and provided you can find a carer who your loved one gets along well with, someone who reflects their sense of humour and someone whom they can build up a bond of trust with, you can look forward to achieving the best solution all-around.