Why Care in the Home Has Transformed Later Life and Post-Hospital Support
19th May 2023
Care options have evolved considerably over recent years. In the past, families and individuals faced complex and often distressing decisions where the only viable option to provide dedicated, professional care in later life or following hospital treatment was to opt for full-time residential care.
While this may be a service some people prefer, the reality is that providing care for clients in the comfort, familiarity, and reassuring environment of their own homes can enormously impact an individual's well-being, happiness and overall health.
Innovative home care agencies can offer care in the home that is flexible, wholly person-centred, and tailored to the individuals needs, supporting their right to live independently with dignity, respect and a friendly care service to provide practical assistance and warm companionship.
The Compelling Benefits of Care in the Home
Every individual is unique, and the right care structure, pattern or services offered should be adapted according to the person's wishes – but there is a strong body of evidence suggesting that remaining at home can considerably impact healthy ageing.
Although home care isn’t only available to older adults, the disruption, loss of autonomy and feelings of helplessness linked to an unwanted move into a care home may even exacerbate symptoms of dementia, where a changed routine, social network and setting may undermine attempts to provide continuity and stability.
A journal published by The Gerontologist shows that:
- Good home environments can ‘alleviate or prevent declining health’ where help with daily activities, a relaxed setting and autonomy support well-being and better health.
- People have 'cognitive and affective ties' to their homes, where the familiarity provides reassurance and helps improve recall of objects, people and routines.
The report also found that one of the most profound needs for older adults and their families is to prevent relocation while ensuring the home is safe – something that a professional care team provides through varied services such as domiciliary care, personal care and companionship care.
How Does Care in the Home Work?
All care delivery begins with a consultation, whether a detailed discussion with family members and loved ones or a one-to-one visit with the individual in their home to discuss their needs. Care is such a personal service, so there isn't a one size fits all approach.
Guardian Angel Carers delivers home care across our network of nationwide branches, offering specialist care provided by skilled, highly trained professional CareAngels with the knowledge and experience to support people or families with complex needs or conditions, including:
- Home from hospital care
- Care for people with diabetes, Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Stroke rehabilitation care
- Palliative and end-of-life care
- Respite care to support family caregivers
- Mobility and frailty care
The needs of the individual are central to developing a bespoke care plan to address their wishes and uphold their preferences.
For example, a person may wish to have regular visiting care for several hours a week, or evening care to help with bathing, preparing a nutritious evening meal, and the assurance that a carer is on hand to help them settle down for a restful night.
More involved care needs can extend to overnight care or long-term live-in care, where carers are matched to the client to ensure they have the nature, personality and interests to provide excellent quality care on an ongoing basis.
However, many families and individuals do not realise the extent and versatility of care in the home and that organising regular or home-based care can be an alternative to residential care.
Clients receive personal attention and often build a strong rapport with their trusted carers yet receive the same level of professionalism they would expect in a more clinical care setting.
Is Home Care a Viable Alternative to Residential Care in Later Life?
We often work with families who wish to find the best possible way to look after the needs of a loved one in later life or following periods of treatment in hospital and who are relieved to have found that their relative is under no obligation to move into residential care.
Some individuals decide to live in a full-time care facility. Still, many others find the prospect of selling their home, losing the majority of their possessions and living in an unfamiliar place without their routine discomfiting.
Other factors may also be at play, such as being unable to take pets to a care home – adding to the emotions that can be so impactful for all involved.
The right option always depends on the family and the individual and what they would like to do, but professional home care for clients can be a perfect way to remain self-dependent at home and still receive the care that is so important.
Older adults and those with health conditions can face elevated risks when living alone, ranging from loneliness to forgetting to take medications or the risk of falls or needing to wait unacceptable periods for help.
Home care addresses all of these risks, providing friendship, personal care with dressing and washing, practical help with domestic cleaning to keep the home clean, and assistance with attending social activities and occasions so that, in later life, individuals do not find themselves cut off from their friends, families and communities.
How Does Live In Care Compare With a Care Home?
Live in care is a long-term service that clients often choose where they need ongoing care, outside of typical working hours, from a known carer the individual is happy having in their home. A live in carer usually sleeps on site, with their own private bedroom, and works set hours, with built-in breaks and rest.
The contrast between residential care is significant, primarily because care is delivered on the individuals own terms and tailored to their specific requirements and preferences, from cooking meals they enjoy to making sure they never forget to catch up on their favourite TV programme and ensuring family members and friends can visit whenever they wish.
Home care is an outstanding service for thousands of people. More and more families are assessing their options to ensure they or their loved one receives professional care in a way that is gentle, respectful, and delivered in the comfort of their home.
For more information about the local home care available in your area, please find your closest Guardian Angel Carers home care branch via our interactive map for full service and contact details.