According to a report by Demos1, many people fear being placed in a care home during old age. With reasons including social isolation, loss of independence and separation from pets and belongings, it is easy to understand why a relative would not wish to enter a care home environment.
So, if you have a relative who needs daily living assistance that is beyond what you can provide, and they are afraid of being eventually placed in a care home, what can you do?
The short answer is you can bring the care directly to your parent. Here’s our guide to how you can do it.
Start the conversation
Begin by listing out what is important to your relative in their everyday life – not what their illness restricts them from doing. This could include things like:
- Being able to do their own shopping
- Deciding when, and what, they want to eat
- Participating in clubs and activities
- Having the garden for the grandchildren to play in
- Being able to take their dog for a walk
- Watching what they want on the television
- Contact with friends and relatives
Once you’ve established what is important, you can then move on to the next step.
Deciding what they need help with
By taking into account what’s important, you can move on to discussing and agreeing which tasks have become difficult to do. To make the conversation positive, you could use the phrase “What would you like help with?” rather than “What do you find difficult?”. From here you can to establish some specifics such as:
- Someone to accompany them when shopping
- Help getting dressed or bathing
- Help with remembering medication
- Clearing out litter trays / feeding pets
- Someone to tackle heavier housework or gardening
- Liaison with doctors and other medical staff
It is possible during this conversation that you will be able to find some ‘quick fixes’ in the form of independent living products, some of which can be funded by your GP. The Red Cross has a good selection here: https://giftshop.redcross.org.uk/category/independent-living-products. To find out which costs you may be able to receive help with – including the cost of care – our free guide to funding will help: https://www.helpd.co.uk/funding-sources/.
Decide on the frequency of care
One of the big benefits of selecting a carer to visit your parent in their home, is that you are not tied to a set amount of time per visit. This means that visits aren’t rushed. Whether your relative needs someone to drop in every day for an hour, or they have complex requirements which mean that they need someone who can live-in, you’ll be able to create a plan that works for your parent. A great starting point is to have a look at the profiles of some of our carers which detail the services they can offer: https://www.helpd.co.uk/find-now/
What is a live-in carer?
A live-in carer does exactly what their title describes – they live in the home of the person that they are caring for, making sure that their needs are attended to and providing a very important sense of companionship and reassurance.
Even if your relative doesn’t initially require live-in care, it is worth considering this as a longer-term option. Looking at the services available and the associated costs now is a valuable exercise for the future.
For people with specialist needs, there are also live-in carers who provide services including peg feeding and ventilator management, so even those with more complex requirements shouldn’t feel put off exploring live-in care as an option. Visit www.helpd.co.uk/services/ to find out more.
Selecting your carer
As well as vital screening and reference checks, it is extremely important to make sure that you, and your relative, take the time to interview potential candidates. Before you meet a potential carer, ask your relative what attributes they are looking for – do they want someone who is chatty and informal or quiet and polite? Are they looking for some companionship from their carer or would they prefer them to maintain a professional distance?
Don’t be afraid to ask for a follow up meeting and don’t feel pressurised into making an immediate decision. Allow yourself some time to gradually work through the process – a good carer won’t be offended if you ask for some time to consider.
Measuring the outcome
Once you’ve selected a carer, it’s just the start of the process – care is not simply a transaction. Have a clear line of communication with your relative and the carer so that you can make sure everything is going as expected. Alongside checking in on the task-based aspect of the job, it is worth regularly reviewing three areas that are essential to wellbeing:
- Independence – does your relative feel that they are managing to retain some of their independence by remaining at home?
- Choice – is the carer supporting your relative in making their own decisions?
- Confidence – does your relative feel more confident about being at home and able to look after themselves with the help of the carer?
When carers are brought into a family home, it offers reassurance for all parties and a greater sense of wellbeing for the person receiving care. Knowing they can remain in their own home, amongst people and possessions that are familiar to them, can be enormously comforting at a time of uncertain health or when coming to terms with life-limiting conditions.
We hope this guide provides you with a useful first-step into bringing care directly to your parent. If you’d like to ask us any questions, please get in touch on 0118 4492373.
At Helpd, we provide a dedicated online introductory service that puts you in control of your care, based on yours, or your relative’s needs. To find out more about what we do, visit www.helpd.co.uk