Elderly Care at Home: What Are the Alternatives to a Care Home?

A recent poll by YouGov revealed that out of 2,000 people
surveyed, only 1 percent were happy with the idea of going into a care

This shows how much negativity there is surrounding the subject of
residential care homes, made worse by the horror stories so frequently
talked about in the media.

Most people assume that a care home is where they will ultimately end
up, but in fact, there are a wide variety of alternatives when it comes
to care for the elderly.

When a loved one reaches the point in their lives that they need 24
hour care to ensure their safety and well-being, the options are split
between in home elderly care, and the alternatives which require the care recipient to move out of their home and familiar surroundings.

In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing live-in care.

They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay
independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time

Moving in with Family

Amalgamating two households is one of the most popular choices,
although usually it is the older person who moves in with grown-up
children and their families. Depending on the family, this can be a good
option, but obviously it’s not for everyone.

If you decide to go down this route, you need to have very clear
guidelines about private space, mealtimes, how bills are split and house
rules. It is likely that at some point the grown-up child will become
the caregiver, so it’s important that all parties are comfortable with
the prospect.

A good suggestion is to try the arrangement for at least one or two
months before making a definite commitment. That way, if things don’t
work out, the elderly parent still has control of his or her own home, giving everyone the chance to come to a different arrangement.

Sheltered Housing

With sheltered housing the elderly person either buys or rents a
small apartment in a dedicated block, which is overseen by a warden who
usually lives on site. Residents are equipped with personal alarms so
that they can notify the warden if they are ill or have an accident.
This set up allows independent living but with the advantage of knowing
that someone is available if necessary, and there is usually a communal
lounge or garden so that residents can socialise with each other.

Some sheltered housing schemes provide extra care for those who need it, but this depends on your local authority.

Retirement Villages

Developments exclusively for retired people are becoming increasingly
popular as more and more elderly people decide to downsize from their
larger homes. Retirement villages are specifically designed for older
people and are usually sited close to town centres or within easy reach
of shops. Apartments can be bought or rented and, as with sheltered
housing, there are communal areas where residents can gather to
socialise or have their meals.

On-site wardens are on hand in case of emergencies and the villages
are set up to provide care for those who need it as an added extra.
Popular on the continent, in the US and Australia, the concept of
retirement villages is beginning to take off in this country.

Home Sharing

With rising property prices, the idea of home sharing is gaining in
popularity. The elderly person offers a room within their house for a
live-in carer, although actual care work is generally basic, such as a
little gardening, shopping or cleaning. The carer benefits from either
free housing or nominal rent, whilst the elderly person receives
companionship and some help around the house.


Charities are springing up which organise volunteer support for
elderly people in their own homes. The volunteer will visit the elderly
person for a friendly chat and a little help with shopping trips or
excursions. This can be a valuable way of providing companionship and
relieving boredom, but volunteers will not normally assist with personal
care and the help that they provide is fairly limited.

Home Care

Home care can be
provided by local authorities or private companies and can be tailored
to the individual’s needs. The caregiver can be employed for a single
visit a week to help with shopping or for several hours a day to provide
more intensive support. Local authority support tends to be much more
simple, and visits may be arranged to perform basic tasks.

Private care offers far more choice than other options, and hours can
be increased as the elderly person’s needs become greater. In-home care
allows the person to maintain a level of independent living within
their own home, which many people prefer.

Live-in Care

An increasingly popular form of elderly care
at home is to employ a live-in carer. Private live-in care is the
perfect solution when a loved one wants to stay in his or her own home
but needs 24/7 care.

Surrounded by familiar possessions in their own home, the elderly
person is looked after by a dedicated live-in carer who can help with
every aspect of daily life, including personal care.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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