Care Homes vs. Live-in Care: Finding the Best Option for Your Loved Ones in a Post-COVID World
As you sift through the options brought up by a search for "care homes near me," live-in care stands out as a commendable alternative.
The responsibility of providing the best care for our elderly loved ones is daunting. We'll navigate both options, emphasising the many benefits of live-in care, especially in our new post-COVID reality.
Understanding the Basics
Care Homes: Residential facilities where seniors live and receive care from a team of trained professionals, some of these professionals are Agency Staff and not employed directly by the home. They offer communal environments for interaction, activity participation, and medical support.
Live-in Care: This involves a one to one caregiver residing in the senior’s home, providing companionship, assisting with daily tasks, and delivering tailored care and support.
The Growing Appeal of Live-in Care
Personalised Attention: One caregiver focuses on one individual, ensuring custom-tailored services fitting your loved one's unique needs.
Comfort of Home: Residing in familiar surroundings is comforting, more so for those living with memory conditions like dementia. It allows you to stay in the comfort of your own home, with the memories, belongings and even pets that you are used to. Many things that you are unable to take with you to a care home.
Retained Independence: Staying at home provides an unrivalled sense of autonomy, potentially restricted in a care home. You decide when you want to wake up, have something to eat, have a cup of tea and when to go to sleep.
Flexibility: Live-in caregivers provide adaptable care, catering to your unique routines or preferences. The caregivers are there for your specific needs.
Economical in the Long Run: Considering the comprehensive offerings, Live-in care often emerges as a more cost-effective solution than many care homes.
Evaluating Care Homes
When you input "care homes near me" into a search engine, ponder the following:
Fixed Schedules: Set routines for meals, activities, visits from loved ones, and sleep might not align with individual preferences.
Standardised Care: The higher resident-to-caregiver ratio in care homes makes delivering personalised care more challenging. There is little or no one to one care provided.
Staff Turnover: Regular rotations can lead to different caregivers for residents, creating an unstable care environment. Many care homes have to use agencies to keep their staff levels up.
The COVID-19 Impact on Care Homes
The pandemic profoundly affected care homes:
Safety Concerns: With COVID-19 outbreaks reported in numerous care homes, many families became apprehensive about the safety of such communal environments for their elderly relatives.
Visitation Restrictions: To curb virus spread, many care homes limited or entirely stopped visitations. This not only distanced families but also heightened feelings of isolation among residents. This is still ongoing and seen as best practice in some care homes, especially if a resident has a confirmed case of Covid.
Operational Challenges: Staff shortages, due to illness or quarantine, strained the care homes' capacity to provide optimal care.
Emotional Toll: The combination of fear of the virus, absence of familial visits, and the general atmosphere of caution weighed heavily on the mental well-being of care home residents.
Against this backdrop, Live-in care started appearing as a safer and more personal option for many. Live-in Care was/is not widely known as a viable option to Care Homes:
Limited Exposure: With just the caregiver and the elderly individual involved, there's a significantly reduced risk of virus transmission During the Covid pandemic, many caregivers isolated with their customer allowing consistent care and support with a familiar face, in familiar surroundings.
Uninterrupted Family Interaction: Since there’s no broader community to safeguard, families could visit their loved ones more freely, adhering to general safety guidelines.
Consistent Care: Unlike care homes, where staff rotations became a challenge, Live-in care ensured a consistent care environment. Many Live-in Caregivers work can work up to 3 weeks at a time.
Looking Forward: The New Normal
The pandemic underscored the need for personalised, safe, and consistent care. While care homes are taking steps to adapt to the new reality, Live-in care offers a continuous solution that aligns naturally with people to remain in their own homes.
Tech Integration: From telehealth appointments to virtual interactions with family, live-in caregivers can leverage technology to enhance elderly individuals' lives without exposing them to external environments. Care Plans, Visits, medication and notes can be uploaded to a cloud to enable families to view these and know what is going on with their loved one on a daily basis.
Holistic Well-being: Beyond physical care, Live-in caregivers often focus on the mental and emotional well-being of seniors, essential in the post-pandemic world. Companionship, and support is what is most needed due to high numbers of isolation. Activities can be sourced specific to a senior that can be enjoyed with the Live-in Caregiver, for example going to the beach, pub, or restaurant. Or just completing a jigsaw, or watching the television together.
The choice between a care home and Live-in care is multifaceted. Though care homes have been the staple for many years, the myriad of benefits of Live-in care, particularly accentuated during the pandemic, make it an attractive option for numerous families. As you deliberate on the ideal setup for your loved ones, consider Live-in care's profound advantages, from its personal touch to the inherent safety in the comfort of home. The ultimate aim is to ensure our loved ones receive not just care but a comprehensive support system tailored to their every need. There really is a genuine alternative to the care home!
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How to find the right care for you or your relative
1. Find your local office
Bluebird Care delivers care from locally based offices, find yours to start your care journey today.
2. Get in touch with us
Fill in our call back form or give us a call to find out how we can help you.
We’ll come out to you to find out what you or your loved one needs to help stay independent at home.
4. Care team chosen & care starts
You'll be cared for by our specially trained team to support you to remain at home for as long as possible.