We are reminded in the news, that there is a growing concern over the lack of government funding of social care for elderly people www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38286145
With a lack of funding, fewer people get help either in Care homes or in their own homes for daily tasks such as washing, dressing shopping etc. Elders are admitted to hospital simply because of a lack of support in their community and then they are not able to return home due to lack of support in their home.
Even if elders want to live in their own home and do not want to go into a Care home, it becomes more difficult for them to make such a choice; finding themselves with a £1000 weekly care-home bill – because the support is not there to help them stay in their own home – maybe for want of a simple and easy service – such as a lift to the shops, finding suitable care support or simply moving the dustbin on the refuse collection day.
Often the choice of where we live is made for us because of circumstances, say, following a hospital admission, when there is not enough support for us to stay at home: the only alternative may often only be discharge to a Care home. This means that elders have to pay for their care, which is generally not funded by taxes. Often an easier and cheaper option is for some people to pay for a little ‘extra help’ in their own home that enables them to live comfortably, and often for much longer in their own community.
Sadly, in situations where funding is unavailable from the government due to home ownership, this will incur the sale of a home to recompense the local authority and result in an unsettling experience.
Deciding upon a Care home or care at home.
Both options have their advantages and their disadvantages such as:
The average cost of a:
Nursing home (i.e. where nursing care is provided) in the South east of England it costs around £897 per week or £42,644 per year.
Residential care home (care is provided but no nurses) the average cost is £727 a week or £37,000 per year.
Live-in carer is from around £700 a week, but we may be able to live comfortably and adjust this as needed to use fewer hours of support.
Paying for care at home by the hour varies and is around £15 per hour – i.e. £11,000 per year if you have a carer for 14 hours a week. So, depending on your needs the care at your house could work out a cheaper option for you as you can hire the care as per your own needs. You can choose how much help is provided.
2. Choice of domestic care
We can choose to receive domestic assistance and/or help with personal care.
If we choose to live in our own home then we are familiar with our home, surroundings and neighbourhood, this will give us moral and psychological advantages, and motivation that may make us more comfortable and often therefore to extend our lives.
In our own home, we can live independently without communal restrictions. We can:
Keep our own routine in our own home where there may be some restriction on this in a care home.
Choose our own food and/or have food made from our own kitchen
Control the cost of amenities – in a care home, the cost generally covers all the amenities and food as well as the care.
5. Personal carer
In our own home, the care will be employed by us, for us and not shared with other residents as they are in a care home.
6. Standards of Homes (Care Quality Commission inspection of care)
It has been reported in the news that some care homes do not maintain proper hygiene, cleanliness, healthy food, open space, social activity, proper medications, first aid, garden space, etc. which prompt us to think twice before opting to social and private care homes. Equally, we can rely upon the inspection routines and the CQC to check the care.
Our pets are not usually allowed in Care homes and this could be a huge wrench to find a new place for them and we will no doubt feel the loss if this is important to us.
8. Own possessions
In a Care home there is limited space for our own possessions. We therefore have to choose carefully what we can keep. This makes it very difficult to say ‘goodbye’ to precious possessions with memories attached to them.
Naturally, all these arguments go each way. Often as we age, we like and need to shed the responsibilities and liabilities associated with home maintenance, cooking, shopping, pets, choosing carers, and all the responsibilities associated with all of the costs that keep us tied to our own homes.
Cecilia Trueman is a part of ILA (Independent Living Advisers) which helps elders live in their own homes independently and happily and helps them choose in their own time when and where they need to move into a Care home. She has a lifetime of experience in working in homes, managing the care for people who wish to live in their house and has worked for independent companies to review the best options of living. Now she devotes her time in assisting elders to stay in their own home for as long as possible should they wish to do so. For more information about home care assistance and care at home support provided by ILA visit website www.ila.life
 Figures from WHICH! – September 2017 - www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/financing-care/financing-a-care-home/381597-care-home-fees
 Money advice Service – October 2017 - www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/care-home-or-home-care