A closer look at how you can provide the best care for someone at home

2 Apr 2018

As we get older, most of us would like to live independently in our own homes. The reality is that at some point most of us will need some support to make day-to-day life easier. 

Perhaps your loved one needs support with personal care – for example, getting in and out of bed, bathing, meal preparation or cleaning. And if so, there are lots of different ways to get help. While you may be able to care for them on a fairly regular basis, sometimes even the most dedicated partner needs a little help caring for a loved one. 

If this sounds familiar to you, you may find this article useful. Let’s take a closer look at how you can provide the best care for someone at home.

What support is available? 

Don’t feel you have to struggle on alone. A wide range of services is available to help you out. Depending on your circumstances you may even be legally entitled to help. Many of these are means tested. Some people are eligible for a home carer or personal assistant, to help make sure your loved one remains in their own home for as long as possible. Here are a few examples of the kind of services you could access: 

  • Getting in and out of bed 
  • Washing and bathing 
  • Meal preparation 
  • Cleaning 
  • Equipment and adaptations around the home, including stairlifts and bath seats 
  • Travel to a day centre

How do I get help? 

Whether you think you may need home adaptations or another kind of home care, arranging this can be a complex process. Usually, the first step is to have the dependent’s care needs assessed by your local authority. All you need to do is contact your local council and request a care need assessment. Get in touch with the adult social services department and explain that your loved one needs help at home, and make a request for a care assessment (it’s also known as a needs assessment). 

This is absolutely free of change, regardless of your income or how much savings you have. 

Just bear in mind that when you’re caring for someone else, they need to agree to having a care assessment. This is the case unless they don’t have to ability to make or communicate their decision.

What happens next? 

After the assessment has taken place, a care plan will be put together and agreed on by you (and the person who needs to care, if they’re able to agree). You’ll receive a copy to keep, which will detail your needs and what could help you meet them. 

Next, there will be a means test in order to establish how much you’ll need to contribute towards the care for support for your loved one. 

Making the most of technology 

Technology can also help you take care of your loved one at home. Telecare services use simple technology to keep them safe and independent. 

Personal alarms are one of the most widely used telecare solutions offered. These enable your loved one to call for help at the push of the button on a pendant or wristband. When activated, this will connect through to a call centre, and they can speak to someone who can arrange help if necessary. So if your loved one happens to feel unwell or have a fall while you’re not around, they don’t have to worry about getting to a phone.

Here are a few other telecare examples that you may want to consider:

  • Sensors that automatically detect if you’ve fallen and send an alert 
  • Sensors that detect movement when you get out of bed and turn on the lights 
  • Plug-in lights that detect movement and switch on 
  • Gas detectors that send an alert (or even shut off the gas) if an appliance is accidentally left on 
  • Devices capable of detecting seizures 
  • Plugs for the bath and sink that stop water from going above a certain level 
  • Door detectors that sense if someone has left the house on their own, or if they haven’t returned by a certain time. These can be particularly useful if your loved one has dementia. 

Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for help towards to cost of telecare solutions. A social services care assessment will be able to determine this for you. 

Remember to look after yourself 

If you’re caring for someone at home, it’s vital that you take good care of yourself, too. Your health is just as important, and you need to make sure you’re healthy and strong enough to look after your loved one. 

Want to find out more about our services? Contact us to find out:

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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