Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has affected care home residents and staff more than most. With inadequate testing and PPE, infection rates rose quickly in UK care homes. Furthermore, elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions are already most at risk from coronavirus. Therefore, lots of people are now understandably very wary of moving into residential care. When you or your elderly loved one is struggling to stay safe and independent at home, you might feel like a care home is the only option. However, there are several alternatives to care homes in the UK. Today, we'll talk you through some of the other options with the costs and benefits of each.
Of course, there is no one single solution when it comes to care for older people. A care home could be the right option for somebody, just as an alternative could be the right option for somebody else. Make sure to do your research and investigate all the possibilities.
If You Want To Continue Living At Home
Lots of people are reluctant to move into a care home because they want to carry on living in their own home. You might want to stay close to nearby friends and family or simply surround yourself with precious memories. As long as you can receive the support you need at home, there may not be any need to move. Here are some alternatives to care homes which could allow you to continue living in your own home.
Thousands of families across the UK benefit from Lifeline alarms every year. With a Lifeline alarm system in place, the alarm user can call for help with just the touch of a button. You no longer need to worry about what would happen if you have a fall or medical emergency. This offers vital peace of mind to older people and their families. Lifeline alarms are simple to set up and easy to use, so there's no complicated installation necessary. Just take it out of the box, plug it in, and you're ready to go.
There are several different kinds of alarms available. Every Lifeline alarm gives you 24/7 support from our Emergency Response Team 365 days of the year. The standard MyAmie pendant comes with the Lifeline Personal Alarm unit. Whenever you need assistance at home, simply press the red button on the stylish pendant. You can also choose to upgrade to a Lifeline Fall Detector, which will raise the alarm automatically if the wearer has a fall. This cutting-edge device allows you to call for assistance wherever you are, whether that's at home or out and about. To find out more about any of our alarms, just give us a call or read our in-depth guide to the Lifeline alarm service.
Adapting Your Home
As well as ordering a personal alarm, you might want to make some useful adaptations to your home. This might be a daunting prospect, but it could end up being more affordable in the long run than moving into a care home.
Grab rails are one of the easiest adaptations you can make around the home. These can be very useful in lots of places, especially in the bathroom and on the stairs. They'll give you something sturdy to hold onto and help you keep your balance, preventing dangerous falls. Grab rails are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
Some bigger adaptations could include installing a stairlift, a walk-in bath or shower, or building ramps outside the front and back door. These could be a little more costly, but it's certainly worth it to make your home as safe as possible.
Domiciliary or Live-In Care
If you're struggling to complete personal care tasks like dressing, washing, or cleaning, domiciliary or live-in care could be good alternatives to care homes. With live-in care, a qualified carer will move into your home to support you 24/7. You'll normally be able to request a carer who meets your specific needs. For example, you could request a carer with access to a car or who is comfortable around animals if you have pets.
Domiciliary home care, on the other hand, involves having a carer come to visit on a regular basis. This could be as little as half an hour each week or as much as all-day visits multiple times per week. This is sometimes called respite care. It's suitable for people who need regular support but not full time. It's also a great option for those who are cared for full-time by a partner or relative because it gives the carer an opportunity to take a break and recharge.
If You Don't Mind Moving Out Of Your Home
On the other hand, your current home might no longer be a suitable place for you. You might need certain mobility aids which make it inaccessible or inconvenient, for example, or it might be too far from your support network. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you need to start looking at care homes if you don't want to. Here are some more alternatives to care homes which involve you moving out of your current home.
Move In With Relatives
If you feel apprehensive about care homes, speak to your family about it. Once they understand your concerns, you'll be able to look for a solution together. This could mean moving in with a relative or close friend in order to get the support you need. Not only will this reassure you, but it's also bound to give your loved one(s) peace of mind. This could be a very affordable route for you and your family, especially if you decide to sell your current home and put the funds towards any care expenses you might need to cover. If your loved one becomes your carer, you might also want to look into respite care from time to time.
Another alternative to care homes is sheltered housing. This is like a middle ground between living in your own home and moving into a care home. It will allow you to carry on living independently, just with a little more support in a home that's easier for you to manage. Most sheltered housing schemes also include access to an alarm system like the Lifeline24 alarm. Lots of local councils and housing associations offer sheltered housing schemes. Get in touch with your local council to see what's available where you live.
This care home alternative is a lot like sheltered housing, but with a little more support. You'll be able to receive assistance with tasks like washing and dressing, which isn't usually available in sheltered housing schemes. However, you'll still have your own space with your own front door - usually a self-contained flat. Assisted living housing is available to rent or buy, so think carefully about your financial situation before making a decision. Unlike sheltered housing, assisted living is regulated by the CQC, so be sure to look for inspection reports and ratings before you commit to anything. Age UK has more useful information on housing options for older people.
Stay Safe with Lifeline24
We hope these alternatives to care homes have been useful for you. Whether you decide to stay put in your current home or move elsewhere, you'll almost certainly benefit from a Lifeline alarm. Our life-saving system offers unbeatable peace of mind both for you and your loved ones. In an emergency, you simply need to press your Lifeline alarm button and our expert team will respond in seconds. They'll quickly assess the situation and send you the help you need without delay.
The vast majority of Lifeline alarm users are eligible for VAT exemption. This means you likely won't have to pay any VAT whatsoever on your new Lifeline alarm, giving you a considerable saving. You'll qualify for VAT exemption if you have a long-term medical condition such as arthritis or hypertension.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 14th October 2021 to reflect current information.