What alternatives are there to care homes?
Updated: Jul 15
Care homes remain one of the more popular forms of round-the-clock care available to the elderly in the UK. However, they’re not for everyone. The vast majority of people would prefer to stay in their own home given the choice, whilst others need different levels of care that aren’t always suitable to a care home environment.
With the number of individuals with complex care needs projected to increase significantly over the next two decades according to Age UK, the care home sector is going to be placed under stress now more than ever before. And so there’s a need, therefore, to be aware of the different options available should the need arise.
At Country Cousins we have compiled a guide, showing you some of the best alternatives to care homes, as well as what services and care we can offer you.
Live-in care is one of the most popular alternatives to care homes. There are a number of benefits to receiving live-in care, including:
· You can stay around your family and those you love in an environment that’s familiar and comfortable to you
· If you have a beloved pet, you can keep them in your own home whereas a care home may have rules against keeping pets
· If you have a routine, you can stick to it. There’s no pressure to follow a set schedule, so you can maintain a level of independence not afforded in a care home
· You can take advantage of personalised levels of care, bespoke to your needs
· You can eat what you want as and when you want
· Most importantly however, you can focus on you, knowing that your carer is there for you when needed. You can still watch your favourite TV shows when you want, do your own gardening or any household tasks you enjoy whilst safe in the knowledge that your carer is on hand to do the things you’re less able to do
As a live-in care agency, naturally, we believe that live-in care offers the best levels of support possible. Getting used to a new environment can be difficult and stressful. In your own home, you’re already comfortable and relaxed in your own environment and your carer can work with and around you and your needs.
We do however appreciate that live-in care, like care home care, isn’t always the best option for everyone, which is why we have also looked at a few other alternatives…
Moving in with family or friends
If you, a friend or family member has the capacity to house a relative with additional care needs, then this is an option also worth considering. There are a number of benefits to moving in with family or friends:
· You’re around the people you’re comfortable with and they’ll be the ones providing the care needed
· You still maintain a level of independence, just in someone else’s home. You may need to adapt to their schedule slightly, but on the whole, you will have more freedom then you might do in a care home
· Generally, this is one of the cheapest care options as the only true ongoing costs will be that of running an extended household, such as increased food and utility bills
When it comes to moving in with family though, there are some key questions that should be discussed openly and honestly beforehand with everyone involved, for example:
· What level of care is needed, and can this realistically be provided on a long-term basis?
· Will the home need to be adapted in any way? For example, will there need to be mobility supports put in place?
· How might your new living arrangement affect any bills, such as Council Tax or utility bills?
· Is there an expectation that rent, food or other bills will be shared?
· Sometimes one of the hardest, but arguably most important questions to ask yourself, is that does everyone involved (pets included!) get along with each other or will the arrangement cause undue stress and concern?
· And finally, what happens if the arrangement doesn’t work? You should still be open to the possibility that you will need to find alternative care arrangements such as live-in care in your own home or within a care home.
Retirement villages are developments that have been created specifically with those past retirement ages in mind. They provide an opportunity to downsize from larger homes and to be amongst peers, all whilst remaining within close proximity to local amenities and town centres.
There is often a choice of accommodation that can be bought or rented out, with shared communal areas where residents can gather together and socialise. Support is also normally on hand within the village too in case of any emergencies, with areas dedicated to basic care needs should they be required.
Retirement villages lend themselves to those looking to retire quietly who may not need regular care provision, however the facilities and cost of retirement villages can vary considerably and so we’d always advocate further research if this is an option that appeals to you.
Sheltered housing is similar to a retirement village in that it allows those of post retirement age to purchase or rent a small apartment in a dedicated, shared block. These apartments are overseen by a warden who usually lives on or around the site. Residents are then equipped with a personal alarm so the warden can be notified if they’ve fallen ill or had an accident.
Sheltered Housing allows residents to still maintain their independence, but safe in the knowledge that someone is there for them if they need it.
There are usually communal areas that can be used to socialise or gardens that can be used in nice weather to get some fresh air. Some schemes do also provide additional care packages, but again as with retirement villages, we’d advocate further research into sheltered housing options near you if this is an option that appeals to you.
How can Country Cousins help you?
Here at Country Cousins, we’re dedicated to providing the best live-in care to our clients. Our dedicated Cousins will provide reassuring continuity, with all the comforts of home, where life can go on with as normal. Our Cousins know that a client’s home is his or her domain and that their job is to make home life fit every changing need. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you or contact us on 0808 196 0715.