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Is residential or live-in care better for my grown-up SEN child?

Is residential or live-in care better for my grown-up SEN child?
Date published: 17 September 2022 Author: Izzi Parsonage Categories:

There are fewer more emotive topics than that of how the future will pan out for your special needs child.

As parents of disabled children, or those with severe educational needs or mental health conditions, you want nothing more than to ensure a safe, stable home environment. One that offers the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential and living a rich, rewarding life. 

You fight for the right treatments, the right support, the funding you’re entitled to. And when it comes to finding the best possible care when you need it, you’ll fight for that, too. 

But how can you know, as your SEN child approaches adulthood, whether it’s best to keep them at home with you or to place them into residential care?

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Residential care for SEN adults

Life for parent caregivers is, quite simply, exhausting. And while caring for a young child with learning disabilities, physical impairments or additional challenges is extremely tough, it doesn’t get any easier as they grow up.

There is no shame in admitting it’s too hard. Many people in this position find that managing the often difficult or aggressive behaviours of their adult child is almost impossible once they get stronger and more determined in their actions. That’s not to say you can’t continue to cope at home, but if space is limited and there are other members of the family to consider, it might be time to explore your options. 

What can a care home offer your SEN dependent? 

Many specialist residential or nursing homes are set up to not only accommodate disabled people but also to keep them safe and secure and provide a good quality of life. With widened doors, wet rooms or flat areas to allow time spent outside. Not to mention lifting equipment such as hoists and special beds, should it be necessary. These kinds of residential services can often cater to complex conditions or neurological conditions because they are managed by medically trained staff who are in a position to properly observe and manage care. 

But it’s not all about treatment. Your son or daughter will be able to mix with others who are in a similar situation. And no matter their level of cognition or motor skill, they will usually enjoy a varied schedule of entertainment and activities to stimulate them. And where their needs allow, care teams will work with your adult child to help them transition to independent living and access the specialist services they need in the community. 

Residential care can give you the peace of mind that your adult son or daughter will have help at hand any time of the night or day. But of course, that’s still not the same as keeping them safe and sound under your roof. 

Providing live-in care for your grown-up SEN child

If you feel that the time has come to enlist more support, but you’re not ready to take the step of moving your loved one into residential care, there are other options.

Bringing a carer into your home can be a great start to accepting more help. And as lots of live-in care providers offer flexible care packages that can change over time as care needs change, you can have as much or as little help as you need at each stage. 

The idea of employing a carer to live in your home may feel strange at first but there are lots of benefits to going down this route.

Could live-in care be the right choice for your family? 

For people with special educational needs, particularly if they suffer with learning difficulties or impaired cognition, new people and places may cause distress. Enabling your adult SEN child to stay at home, in familiar surroundings, could prove less disruptive. And if their condition is progressive or life-limiting, you will be able to plan alongside your care team to provide the best quality of life, surrounded by loved ones for as long as possible. 

If you feel specialist medical care is needed, this can be more difficult in a live-in setting, but is certainly not impossible. Many live-in carers are not medically trained; that means they are unable to administer medication or injections and other medical procedures. Visits from medical specialist can be arranged as and when necessary but this would come at a cost.

That said, outside of the medical requirements, you can be pretty descriptive with what you do and don’t want your carers to get involved with. Their remit is to support with as much or as little as you like throughout everyday life. So if you particularly enjoy cooking and sharing food with your loved one, there’s no reason to stop doing that while letting your carer take over the less enjoyable aspects of personal care, perhaps.

While residential homes come fully equipped you may need to arrange for special adaptations to be made to your home to help with lifting and moving around. You should be able to get funding for any reasonable adjustments but like everything else it will take time, effort and tenacity. 

People with live-in carers often report that friends and family feel more comfortable being able to come and go as normal. Care homes are set up for visitors and welcome their residents’ loved ones with open arms, but it’s not quite the same as popping in to see someone in their own home. 

If you feel full-time care is an option that could keep your family together, read more about our live-in care services.

There is no shame in seeking extra help. Not only can it enable your child to have extra independence, it can also allow you time to take care of your own wellbeing for once.

And even better, it will mean you get to enjoy quality time with your loved one, sitting holding their hand or enjoying a favourite movie together without the worry of that growing to do list.

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