Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Nursing home versus home care: How to decide which option suits your loved one the best

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Is it time for your loved one to start receiving care? We can help you decide what option will suit them best: nursing home versus home care.

While both options focus on the best care and health provision, the two options could not be more different from one another. While we cannot say which option is the best out of the two, we can provide you with the information you need to decide which option will suit your loved one the best.

Nursing home versus home care

Home care entails hiring a professional who can provide care in one’s own home. Nursing homes relates to a facility which specialises in providing care for elderly people who cannot live in their own home anymore.

More and more people are opting for home care nowadays due to all the benefits it can offer a person. Nursing homes are mostly considered as a last resort when all options of caring for the individual at home have been exhausted.

One of the main differences between nursing homes and home care is the financial factor. Moving into a nursing home is more expensive in the long run than as opposed to remaining at home. With a service such as Guardian Carers, for instance, you will only pay a one-off fee and your loved one gets to stay with their home carer for as long as they need. On the other hand, nursing homes will usually charge you an ongoing monthly or annual fee.

More than this, moving into a nursing home often proves to be a difficult decision to make both for the family and the care receiver. Depending on their situation, being uprooted from their home will be a distressing time for your loved one. It will prove to be even more challenging if they suffer from any cognitive illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Getting accustomed to a new and unfamiliar environment so late in life is not easy.

Supporting this point are studies and research which have shown that moving away from one’s family home may even cause a decline in health. Mortality rates in nursing homes are higher and the life expectancy of nursing home residents is between 12 to 30 months.

Probably one of the main differences between nursing homes and home care is how the care is provided. Nursing homes do not usually have the means to provide one to one care. This may happen, but only at certain intervals during the day. In a nursing home, one care assistant is in charge of supporting a certain number of residents daily. With home care, however, there is only one carer (or more) looking after your loved one. This ensures that they receive all the care and attention they need. A home carer will be able to notice any changes in your loved one’s health and well-being and prevent any accidents from happening, among others.

Choosing care for your loved one

There are so many care options nowadays that, understandably, you may feel confused or even daunted about what to choose. If it’s your loved one’s first time getting care, for instance, we do advise that you start with home care, as a way of easing them into the idea of having care. You may start by having a home carer come by a few hours per day, once per week or a couple of times per week, depending on the level of care they need.

This can be increased over time if and when the needs change. Many of our clients choose to start with a part-time home care placement and progressively move into live-in care and ultimately 24/7 live-in care. Moving into a nursing home is regarded as a last resort if your loved one’s situation can no longer be managed at home with live-in care.

One of the main benefits your loved one will get from home care is the opportunity to have a personalised care package, based on their individual needs and preferences. Our agency will find them a home carer who is experienced and can fulfil their needs, share in their interests and hobbies and be a good personality match.

Secondly, your loved one will also benefit from support with household chores. This will enable them to be more independent and focus on the things that truly matter to them. A home carer nowadays can do things such as keeping the home tidy, doing the laundry, hoovering, changing the bed linen, and cooking nutritious meals.

Lastly, having a home carer will offer you and your loved one a sense of safety and security that nursing homes cannot provide. A home carer is great to have in the home as they will be able to monitor your loved one’s health and keep you up to date. They will be able to detect any changes in their health or mood, for instance, and be able to make recommendations. In case of emergencies, they will be there to offer first aid and call the emergency services. More than this, they can make recommendations for home improvements that will make your loved one’s life better and safer.

Deciding on what option suits your loved one the best, nursing home or home care, should seem clearer for you now. We advise you to do plentiful research before making a final decision. You should consult several companies to see what they can offer your loved one and how they can improve their life in the long run.

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