Caring in the home is where an elderly or disabled individual chooses to stay at home and either care for themselves, or be cared for by a professional home-care provider. Caring in the home consists of self-support, professional care and assistance, and a home that is equipped to sustain living in the home (e.g. a home-care bed to facilitate proper care).
The growing trend towards care at home
With today’s National Health Service bursting at the seams and UK authorities keen to move on as many so-called ‘bed-blockers’ as possible, the demand for elderly and disabled care outside of the NHS is well on the rise. However, with care home fees averaging £740/week in UK nursing homes, professionally provided care is becoming less and less attractive for the majority of families seeking care for an elderly or disabled relative.
So, with the NHS seeking to find alternative care for elderly patients, and care home fees proving to be unaffordable for many, the increase in home care has seen a significant boost in popularity. On top of this, the UK Government is a huge advocate of independent living and sees this push as a vital part to easing our over-crowded hospitals.
The two types of care in the home
There are two types of care at home: domiciliary care and independent living.
Domiciliary care is used where a disabled or elderly person is unable to sustain living at home without significant carer support. A carer visits the person in their own home and helps with any daily activities the person cannot safely manage on their own. Examples include: getting dressed; cleaning around the house; and going to the toilet. This type of care is a paid service provided by a professional company. There are over 4000 domiciliary-care/home-care providers in the UK regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Living independently is where an elderly or disabled person lives alone in their home which is adapted to meet their requirements. To live independently, the person must be able to perform basic functions by themselves (e.g. access the toilet, eat and drink, and move around the home with the support of assistive equipment). A vital part of living independently is the reliance on family and friends to be there in the case of emergency or just for support now and again. There are three key components to independent living: support from family and friends; access to professional assistance; and a suitable and properly equipped home.
Support to stay at home
When a person gets older or their condition deteriorates, it is usually in the interest of both themselves and their family and friends to stay at home for as long as possible. There are many charities, associations and support groups out there who will provide guidance and help for those seeking to keep themselves, or a relative in their care, at home. The web has provided a platform for organisations like these to display information that is readily available and easily accessible to everyone. Online communities have been set up to provide an area where people can ask questions, read advice from professionals and share their thoughts with people in a similar situation.
Visit the ‘Longer at Home’ HealthUnlocked Online Community
Local authorities will often provide a support service and nearly every council website has a section that provide information for local elderly and disabled residents who wish to stay at home. See an example on Croydon Council’s website, click here.