A guide to care choices in the UK
Any discussion about care needs is likely to lead to a difficult conversation. It’s an emotive topic, especially when the idea of residential care is on the table, forcing you to confront your feelings about leaving your beloved home and familiar surroundings. Ultimately, it’s important that physical and mental health are considered in tandem.
Of course for some people, residential care homes are precisely the right choice, allowing you to thrive in a busy social setting with care on hand whenever you need it. But, for those who don’t necessarily require nursing care and want to just carry on with their daily life as much as they can, there are plenty of other good care options to suit your preferences and situation.
There are a range of care options available, from retirement communities to care homes, delivered by different care providers and offering different types of care services. In this practical guide we compare the pros and cons of three important and very different types of care on offer in the UK: live-in care, domiciliary care and residential care. Our goal is to help you get a good understanding of each type of care and whether it might be the best fit for you.
What is domiciliary care?
Domiciliary care – sometimes known as dom care – offers a way to stay in your own home and continue with your usual routines and daily activities as much as possible.
Perhaps you just feel you need a little support to cook a meal once a day, to ensure you stay safe while you have a shower or to help make sure you remember to take your medication first thing in the morning.
Domiciliary care will not give you the 24/7 support that live-in care provides, but if you need someone to help with only a few specific things, this can be a cost effective alternative.
Pros and cons of domiciliary care
Allowing you to remain in your own home, domiciliary care is a flexible option for those who don’t need 24-7 care. You care team will draw up a care plan that is specific to your needs, whether that requires one, two or even more visits per day.
Tasks that can be undertaken are similar to those you would expect from a live-in carer, ranging from household tasks to medicine management and personal care. They can also support you to get in to or out of bed using a hoist where necessary.
Although domiciliary care is flexible and can offer peace of mind, your carer will visit only for their allotted times during the day and will only be able to stay for a set period of time as they’ll be supporting a number of other people.
What does domiciliary care cost?
The cost of domiciliary care will vary depending on the number and length of visits you require and your specific needs. When you contact a provider they will undertake a needs assessment to enable them to fully understand your case. They will then be able to provide a quote for the care you require.
Domiciliary care could be for you if…
Domiciliary care might be the answer if you are determined to maintain your independence at home, but you don’t need the round-the-clock support of a live-in carer. This can be a cost effective way to make sure your needs are met without having someone living in your space.
What is live-in care?
When we talk about live-in care, what we’re talking about is an arrangement where a fully trained carer comes to live with you in your own home. They will be able to help you with a wide range of activities designed to make daily life a little easier. These might be household chores such as washing and cleaning, aspects of personal care, such as bathing or dressing, as well as reminders to take medication on time and support to attend any necessary medical appointments.
As well as a broad range of tasks, live-in carers are companions for those they support, offering regular conversation, or simply someone to watch the TV with.
The pros and cons of live-in care
As with domiciliary care, live-in care allows you to live at home and maintain your independence for as long as possible, with the added bonus of know that you have someone on hand no matter what time of day or night.
With your carer living in your home, you’ve got someone on hand to help with household chores and personal care, keep you company, support you with going out and about and potentially taking on the challenges that come with conditions such as dementia or other medical conditions.
Although live-in carers aren’t medically trained and therefore can’t do things like administer injections, they can arrange visits from local healthcare professionals so you’re always covered. If you’ve suddenly fallen ill or have been diagnosed with a condition that you expect to progress over a period of time, live-in care is a great way to ensure that you can stay in familiar surroundings for as long as possible.
What does live-in care cost?
Live-in care costs range depending on the level of care you need. It may be possible to get financial assistance from your local council depending on your circumstances. Promedica24’s care packages start from £995 per week and increase to just over £1,500 per week for more advanced care. Find out more about the cost of live-in care .
Live-in care could be for you if…
You are keen to stay in your own home, but you – or other loved ones – are worried that you will not be able to look after yourself properly. You feel you’d like the peace of mind of knowing that someone is on-hand to provide 24-hour care to make sure you remember to take your medication and help you retain your independence for as long as possible.
What is residential care?
A residential care home is a place where adults over the age of 18 can live if they are unable to look after themselves safely or maintain a normal daily life in their own home. Residents could find a place in a home for a variety of reasons, such as old age, physical disability or mental health. Residential care homes differ from nursing homes in that they provide support for those people with ‘low’ care needs rather than complex medical requirements.
Pros and cons of residential care
Residential care homes are set up to provide a home from home. Residents will have their own bedroom which they are usually invited to personalise in some way. And there will usually be social areas such as lounges, dining rooms and gardens to allow residents to get to know one another and spend time in the company of others. All chores, like cooking, washing and changing the beds will be carried out by the care home’s staff, so you won’t have to worry about the housework.
Residential care homes will often specialise in a certain condition, such as dementia for instance. This means you could be surrounded by others who are in a similar situation, and the care you receive will likely be from highly trained and experienced specialist care staff. And if you need to see doctors, dentists or physiotherapists, your care home will have good links with many local healthcare professionals who are happy to pay you a visit in the home rather than having you travel to their practice.
What does residential care cost?
The cost of residential care will of course vary depending on the quality and the level of luxury of the home you select. On average, it’s reported that the cost of residential care is £704 per week. But this can be expected to rise if specialist care is required. The amount you are expected to pay towards this is means tested and will depend on your individual financial situation.
Residential care could be for you if…
Like live-in care, most residential care options mean you have support on hand – or at least close by – 24-7. Although you won’t be in your own home, you will have your own room, giving you a space to call your own. You’ll also have the option to take part in plenty of social events. If you’d like to be part of a new community of like-minded people, residential care could be for you.
Remember that if you’re not sure what would work best for you, you can always use a respite care service as a way to test the water. At Promedica24 we care for people from as little as two weeks, for all sorts of reasons.
While we specialise in live-in care, we also believe passionately in people finding care that best suits their needs. What is right for one person will almost certainly not be right for another, and only you can decide what’s right for you.