Daniel Pike, co-founder of SuperCarers.com explains the different types of home care, the costs and the benefits.

1. What is home care for the elderly?

Home care for the elderly is any form of care, be it for companionship or medical reasons, that is provided to an elderly person in their own home. Home care is often considered the most desirable and effective option for older people and their families. It provides an alternative to moving into a residential or nursing home. Home care also has many advantages, including maintaining their independence, increasing quality of life, financial savings and more.

2. Part-Time Home Care vs. Live-In Care

Home care can be provided on a part-time basis or full-time via live-in carers. If you use part-time care this may involve a carer being with you for a certain number of hours throughout the day and carers may visit you over several shifts. Alternatively, you may choose live-in care, where the carer lives with you and can provide care 24/7. You will typically have a team of carers, where each will work for several weeks at a time before changing whilst the other takes time off.

3. Levels of Care – companionship, personal care, specialist, end of life

Broadly speaking, there are four categories of home care available.

Home help and companionship
This provides assistance with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, shopping, and transportation. Most importantly, the carer offers you companionship, so you have stimulation, someone to talk to, and someone with whom to do activities.

Personal care
This includes all of the above but also provides assistance with personal care, including bathing, shaving, oral care, toileting, and dressing. They can even assist with mobility, including moving and handling transfers, as well as diet management and assisting with medications.

Specialist care
A specialist carer provides a specialist service depending on your needs. It lets you carry on living your own independent life, whilst ensuring your personal and medical need are met.

This could include:
• Dementia care
• Parkinson’s disease care
• Stroke care
• Learning disability care
• Physical disability care

End of life care
Palliative care is care for terminally ill patients who are in the last months or years of their life. End of life care aims to allow people to live as well as possible until they die, and to die with dignity. Those providing care should take the patient’s wishes into consideration when designing the care plan and support their family and other people who are important to them during this time.

4. Benefits of Home Care

One of the greatest benefits is that it allows you to stay in your own home in familiar and comfortable surroundings, meaning you can remain with your spouse or partner, pets, friends and neighbours. This also allows you to maintain more independence as you can get up when you want, eat when you want, and go out where and when you want. This can drastically increase your quality of life and improve your overall health can well-being.

5. Costs and Funding

Home care is often much cheaper than nursing care, especially if part-time. One of the main benefits is that the value of your home isn’t considered when calculating what funding you’re entitled to from your local authority. A nursing home costs on average at least £41,080 a year, whereas live-in care costs an average of £30,000 a year (£600-£1,000 a week). The amount you’re entitled to is calculated via a free support and needs assessment from your local authority.

The thresholds for funding care from the local authority are as follows:
• Less than £14,000 – your local authority pays for care
• Between £14,000 and £23,350 – you must contribute
• Over £23,350 – you must pay in full

6. How to Find Care?

Finding the right help can be challenging. You want to hire a carer who will be patient, empathetic, and passionate for the job, but also one who will have a personality that will complement your parent’s. Shared interests are also important when trying to find someone who can look after a parent.

You can find full-time carers through an agency or you can employ a carer directly as an ‘individual employer. As an individual employer it’s important that you have employer’s liability insurance and where necessary are registered with the HMRC. Full-time carers can also be introduced to clients by an introductory organisation, such as SuperCarers, or they could be self-employed and may work for multiple clients.