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Elderly home care: What you need to know

It can be challenging when your elderly loved ones are no longer able to do everything on their own. Explore home care options, support, and tips for caregivers.

June 28, 2023

Happy elderly holding hands with relative

When an elderly loved one is no longer able to do everything that they used to for themselves, it can be very difficult for everyone involved. The older person may be unwilling to lose their independence and it’s always very worrying for family and friends when it becomes clear that things need to change in order for their loved one’s needs to be fully met.

If it’s decided that your elderly relative or friend should remain at home for the time being and have assistance there, it can be a challenge to decide whether it’s something that needs professional help or whether loved ones can take on the caring roles required.

In this article, we look at various options for elder care at home, what support there is available from the authorities and some tips for family members or friends taking on a caring role, perhaps for the first time.  

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Elderly care options at home

There are a range of different types of elder care that can be provided in the individual’s home and it might be that a combination of these could be the best solution for your older loved one at this point. Many elderly people can feel very vulnerable at times of change, so it’s important to discuss these options sensitively to try and find a way forward that everyone can agree on.

There could be any number of reasons why your older loved one might have care needs that have changed. They may have become ill or been diagnosed with a health condition that means they need more care. Perhaps they are returning home after a hospital stay or have experienced a fall or an accident that has changed things. It could be that they are increasingly frail and are simply unable to manage daily tasks that they used to be able to do easily.

Some of the elderly care at home options include:

  • Family or friends dropping in regularly to help with tasks
  • Professional carers making home visits
  • Live-in care, where a carer moves into the home to provide the necessary care
  • Respite care, where the family or friends provide most care, but occasionally professionals will take over these duties to give the unpaid carers some respite

You can find out more about the different types of home care for elderly people.

Arranging a care needs assessment

The first thing to do is ensure that your loved one’s needs are properly assessed, so that you can ensure that whatever assistance is given is right for their specific situation. Your local authority is responsible for carrying out a free care needs assessment when requested. You can request this online or by calling your local authority’s social care team.

The idea of a care needs assessment can be very concerning for someone who is used to being very independent and looking after themselves. However, the assessment is not going to recommend that your elderly loved one needs to go into a home if that’s not what they actually require. The care needs assessment may enable you to access support such as helping with home modifications, as well as looking at the level of home care needed for daily living.

Family or friends providing unpaid elder care

Granddaughter making elderly happy

It may be the case that your older loved one doesn’t need professional care at this stage, and there are family and friends who are able to step in and take over some of the caring responsibilities that are needed. This might be things such as household chores, cooking, shopping, gardening and cleaning. They might help the older person with taking their medication, as well as taking them to appointments and any other ad-hoc tasks.

There may also be personal care needed, such as if your elderly relative or friend is unable to get themselves up, washed and dressed without help, or can’t go to the bathroom on their own.

While there are millions of unpaid carers in the UK, it’s important that carers get the support they need too, in order to avoid burnout and look after their own physical and mental health. Caring for someone can be very challenging, so it’s important to know that you’re not alone and you can also request a carer’s assessment from your local authority. This can open the door to support such as respite care, referrals to local support groups, practical help with caring and even provision of equipment to help with the care you are providing, if appropriate.

If you are spending at least 35 hours a week and meet the other eligibility criteria, you may be able to claim carer’s allowance, which is a benefit payment to help carers with the support they are providing.

Find out more about the support available for family members that are caring for the elderly.

Professional homecare for elderly

If your elderly loved one needs some professional homecare, as well as the support of family and friends, or perhaps if there are no family members living close enough to provide the regular care needed, it can be a daunting prospect for everyone. How do you even know where to start?

The care needs assessment is likely to have provided guidance about the type of care at home that might be needed, so that will help give a starting point for finding a care provider who can meet these requirements.

You might find it useful to read our article on where to begin when looking for home care.

It’s important that everyone is happy with the choice of carer(s), so making sure that everyone involved gets a voice in the discussion over home care is essential.

If your older loved one isn’t keen on the idea of a ‘stranger’ taking on some of their caring responsibilities, it might be that meeting them for a cup of tea and chat beforehand will help so that they don’t feel like a stranger anymore.

providing care for elderly mother

A personal alarm system for peace of mind when you’re not there

While a personal alarm system isn’t there to replace a carer, it can bring real peace of mind to both the older person and their loved ones and carers. With a straightforward and wearable alarm, that sends an alert with just one press of the button, it can be very reassuring for those times when the older adult is on their own.

At TakingCare, our range of alarms and devices come with a wide range of features, so that there is something that suits every individual and their circumstances. If you’d like to find out more about our products and find the best option for your older loved one, get in touch with our team by calling 0800 085 7371 or browse our personal alarms.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

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