Do I need to go into a care home? : A guide to Elderly Care

This is the first and most important question: do you actually need to go into a home? If you require a moderate amount of care, such as help with cooking or your laundry then you can apply for care at home via your social services department. They have a range of services on offer which are aimed at ensuring that people remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Our help at home section contains more information about this.

This is not a criticism of care homes: rather it is recognition of that fact that most people would prefer to stay in their own home, surrounded by all the things they know and treasure. So if you are finding it difficult to manage things at home then this is one option. Another option is to move in with a member of your family or ‘downsize’ to a house nearer to them. If your present home is becoming too much for you then another option is to move into sheltered housing or assisted living. These are types of accommodation which allow you to remain independent but with help on hand if you need. There is also the added bonus of having other people around you.

These are discussed further in our other options to a care home section. But these can be expensive options and may cost more than a care home.

Finding it difficult to cope

What it comes down to is whether your home is too much for you to manage or you have an illness or disability that requires specialist care. If you have Alzheimer’s disease then this will progress to the extent that you will require 24 hour care. Your family may have been caring for you but have reached a point where they are either no longer able to do so. They may feel that it is in your best interests to receive professional care in surroundings which are adapted to your needs. There is also the fact that you would have other people for company and a range of activities to take part in.

We know that this is a very difficult decision for relatives to make and one that causes a great deal of guilt. Even if you know that your parent or relative is unable to cope it is still difficult to let go. We all like to remember someone as they were and it is hard to accept that they might have changed. But choosing a care home means that you are acting in their best interests. You are choosing somewhere which can provide the level of care and quality of life your parent or relative needs.

What is a care home like?

It is very easy to make assumptions about something you are not familiar with. We all have an image of a care home as a place which is institutionalised and impersonal but they generally aren’t like that. In many ways they can give you a new lease of life. Many homes adopt a ‘home from home’ approach in that they try and replicate the type of things you have in your own home. For example, they may let you bring your own furniture or even your pet.

They can provide a range of social activities; arrange trips out to places and visits from hairdressers and other people.

A care home is a place which provides personal and nursing care on a 24 hour basis, as well as living accommodation.

Once you have decided to go into a care home the next decision is what type of home?

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