Many families and friends face a difficult dilemma when it is clear when a loved one needs more care and support. On the one hand getting access to more care is not difficult but making the right decision is the tricky bit. There are so many factors to consider!
The obvious option that first comes to mind is to move into a residential care home. This may be suitable for some who find it difficult to live independently in their own homes. This could perhaps be due to mobility issues, dementia, mental health problems or other health factors such as needing more specialist nursing care.
This may be an option - but it can be a very expensive one. It does also mean a loss of independence, and not being able to live in your own private space that you may cherish and be familiar with.
But there are possibly more attractive options - especially to those who have lesser care needs (at least to start with), who may want to retain their independence, or for instance couples where only one person really needs more care and support.
You can access a complete scale of care in your own home package to suit your needs and which can be changed over time. Remember that this decision is ultimately yours only and shouldn’t be unduly influenced by the opinions of family or friends. If you need impartial and more professional advice, speak to your own doctor, NHS advisor or social worker, as they will be able to look at the situation objectively - with only your care needs in mind.
The main advantages of having a high-quality care agency providing the necessary care in your own home are firstly that the level of care you need is completely flexible – you determine what you ideally need, and you only pay for that time – not full time as in a residential care home. You also remain independent, and you can gain access to additional financial support such as Personal Independent Payments or Attendance Allowance to help pay for this care from your selected agency.
As your health and needs may change over time – you can still remain independent by having a live in carer being resident in your house – even up to providing 24 hour, 7 days a week care and support if that is needed.
Selecting the right home care agency is obviously an important process. Make sure you choose a reputable agency, with good or excellent client reviews, and at least a Critical Care Commission (CQC rating) of Good overall. Make you sure meet the Care Manager responsible for preparing your care package and ensure that you have a say in the selection of the carer or carers that you want.
It is important that you and your family have the chance to ask as many questions as possible of the agency that you are interested in – make sure that they really understand what you are looking for and need.