Generally, as we get older, some of us will struggle to manage our daily tasks, especially when living alone. We will get tired more easily and lose mobility so that we cannot go out to do the food shop, or jump in the car to run some errands. You may even begin to struggle with personal care, this is the time when you need to look into home care or even assisted living with 24-hour care.
What is the difference?
Care Homes are designated homes where the elderly can live together and get 24/7 care from Care Assistants, with regular visits from district nurses and doctors. Care Homes are a great way for the elderly to make friendships, and to be with people all day every day - if they wish. All meals are cooked for you within the home, your laundry is taken care of and generally, there are activities or entertainment throughout the day.
Home Care is generally for those who are able to live more independently and have more mobility with daily tasks, but need assistance a few hours a day with laundry, cleaning, cooking and also companionship. This doesn't give you access to a carer at all hours of the day in case you would need medical assistance, however, you are able to live within your own home where you feel comfortable.
My relative has dementia, where is the right place for them?
It can be hard to know when the time is right for a person with dementia to move into a care home and who should make this decision if the person cannot make it themselves. In some cases, the person with dementia will be able to decide for themselves whether or not they need to move into a care home. If this is the case, then they should make their own decision – and be offered any help they need to do so.
A person with dementia will need more care and support as their condition progresses, and there may come a time when they will need to move into full-time or residential care.
You should ask yourself, first and foremost, what is in the best interests of the person. If you feel you can no longer provide the care that the person needs to help them to live well, then it may be better for them to move somewhere where professional care staff can do this. Similarly, if the person cannot live independently anymore – for example, cannot care for themselves or stay safe – then it might be the right time to think about alternative care.
Other care options to consider
Respite care (sometimes referred to as short-break or replacement care) is one option and could be the first step toward longer-term residential care. Respite care is temporary care for the person with dementia that aims to give the carer a break, as well as giving both the carer and the person with dementia some time away from each other.