A debate taking place in many homes across the country is whether a loved elderly relative should be cared for at home, or institutionalized – either temporarily, or permanently in a care facility.

Taking tea

Just under half a million people aged 65+ receive community based care and support at home, but this is on the decline with the number of households receiving home care services decreasing by 12% between 2000 and 2008 for instance.

It is estimated that of the 2 million older people with care related needs, that 800,000 do not receive any formal support and that 1.5 million people in the UK have needs that the state does not meet.  (Source of stats: AgeUK)

People who can stay at home have a number of advantages over those who are placed into care facilities, especially in terms of quality of life.  Being able to stay in your own home gives you the perception of independence, even if formal care is fairly intensive.

Having their own space, their own possessions, and a greater freedom of choice brings empowerment, and can help more elderly people thrive for longer.  Being placed in a care home can bring a faster decline as independence is removed, and dependence sets in more quickly.

What’s more, the turmoil of moving to a care facility can have a detrimental effect on many elderly people.  Leaving a home they may have lived in for years can be both upsetting and unsettling.

There is a perception in many communities that carers are hard to find, but a simple browse of recruitment sites like Hales Care or CareUK shows that there is a thriving market of carers looking for work.  Don’t let the idea that there aren’t many carers, or that those that are left are uncommitted deter you, as this is not the case.

Both situations naturally have their problems.  Home care if undertaken by professionals often costs in the region of £15 per visit, with some people needing 3-4 visits a day which soon adds up.  Institutionalization on the other hand can cost anywhere up to £1,000 per week depending on the level of care needed.

Each individual situation is different, but on the whole we feel that home care is better where it is safe, appropriate, and possible.  Social services will be happy to conduct a risk assessment on your behalf if required to help you make the best decision for your loved one.

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