Winter can be a vulnerable time for the elderly but when should you consider a care home for an elderly relative and what are the options available to you
Sometimes it is better for both you and your relative if you consider a more long-term approach to care. There are many different care homes to consider and finding the right one to suit your loved one can be a daunting process. If you are seeking care home provision, there are ways to get help. Care Home Options is a Staffordshire based business which helps families find the best home for their loved ones dependent on their individual needs.
Read more about elderly care during the winter, especially at Christmas, in the Golden Oldie article featured in the latest issue of Staffordshire Living magazine.
The luxurious November/December issue is out now! Packed with ideas and inspiration for Christmas; from delicious festive food and drinks, to gift guides, home decor and more. Plus all our regular sections: Style, You, Home, Travel, Entertainment, Living and Taste filled with fabulous features and product guides for the winter season.
We spoke to owner, Helen Martin, on launching the business and how she can help:
Q: What made you decide to set up your consultancy service?
“Having spent a decade in care management and experiencing first hand people making one of the most emotional decisions they may have to face, I saw how the current system dismisses and diminishes the importance of choice. There is currently no formal support mechanism for the people making these decisions. With the increasing number of people referred to hospitals, social workers and care agencies, you can end up feeling lost in the system. Sadly with the changes to social care there is a real sense that it has become less “person centred” and more about the implementation of systems. What I looked at was the people and how to make these systems work for them. Again from personal experience, not just working within the care sector, but with friends who have had to place loved ones into care homes, I came to realise that I could use my extensive experience to help others.
“Above all other things it is easy to forget that care homes are businesses. As such they are obliged to sell you their services as they have to be profitable. I wanted something where people could come and have an impartial, independent but above all professional option not tied to one provider or home.”
Q: What is your main aim for the business?
“I’ve seen how people struggle with emotional and logistical needs. They can find themselves devoting more and more time to trying to make sense of their options. All this whilst still providing the best care they can under exceptional circumstances made me realise that there would be others who need help, guidance and support. No one should ever have to make this journey alone.
“The aim is about making people understand there are choices and understanding what their options are. We’re here to help, support, understand and simplify.”
Q: When is the right time to consider a care home?
“Usually we’re asked to consider care options after an incident or accident where it has become obvious that there is a chance of ongoing difficulties. Dementia, physical difficulties, long term injuries or simply being unable to care for themselves as well as they used to are all signs that a care option will need to be explored. You might have noticed a change in a relative, a hospital stay or doctor’s appointment may have identified a problem, if they receive in-home care and this is proving insufficient to meet their needs. It is important to remember that GP’s, hospitals and the NHS are not in a position to support long-term care needs. With the pressure that the social care system is currently under they are unable to give you more than the most cursory advice about care options.
“One of the options most commonly discussed is you looking after a loved one in their own home. It’s a very difficult and emotionally draining experience. The other option of in-home care from an agency only provides a very limited service at a time that suits them and not you. Some of the burden of care is still placed on you. A strong feeling of isolation can develop both for you as the carer and the person you are caring for and your world can shrink dramatically.
“What you may not consider is a care home or retirement community as an early option. There is a tendency for it to be looked at as a last resort where nothing could be further from the truth. The right care options do dramatically improve the quality of life not just for the recipient but for the whole family. Even if you feel that this might not be the answer immediately early preparation and laying the foundations can save a lot of rushed decision making later on. This is about making the right choice for all people concerned. A rushed decision is the wrong decision.”
Q: What do we need to look out for when choosing a care home?
“It is important to remember that when you are in the position of choosing it will be a very difficult time emotionally. Often our own needs will take precedence without us realising. You may want it to be local and convenient without looking at what it is able to offer the person who will be cared for. It is about the quality of care for the individual that suits not just location but meets the needs now and for their future well-being.
“Quality of individual care cannot be stressed highly enough. Putting aside what you may think your loved one wants and considering which of their needs will be the most crucial at a time where emotions will be overwhelming is difficult. This is where Care Home Options can help.”
Q: How many families have you helped so far in Staffordshire?
“Prior to setting up the business I’ve helped a large number of families across the UK with a variety of different care options. This is a difficult subject for a lot of people and there is a tendency for people to not want to come forward and talk about it for fear of being seen as not being able to cope. I’ve been recommended by people who know the experience and success I’ve enjoyed in providing the right help and advice.”
Visit Care Home Options or contact by freephone: 03335779011, or log on to their Facebook page @CareHomeOptions.