Home care is a lifeline for millions of people all over the world. Receiving professional care in the privacy and comfort of your own home can help you retain your independence and improve your quality of life in a huge variety of circumstances. Is it a good choice for you, and how can you get the most out of it?
Who might benefit from making arrangements to receive home care?
Home care is for anyone who would benefit from the assistance of someone with professional care training. For some people this is a temporary requirement, such as if you're recovering from a broken bone or an acute illness; for others, it's longer-term or lifelong. Help with daily tasks is often provided by friends and family, but this isn't the best solution for everybody. At-home carers can help you to maintain your privacy, your independence, and the types of relationships you have with the people around you. Home care often includes personal care and assistance with household tasks, but it's not limited to those things: companionship care is an important part of the job, and for some people, it's the only type of care they need.
What are the benefits of receiving care at home over other options?
The most obvious benefit of home care is that it allows you to receive the assistance you need in familiar surroundings, close to friends and family, without uprooting your life. There are other advantages too, including:
- You'll have more flexibility, as home care fits in around your life as much as possible—there's less of an external schedule imposed upon you than there would be in a care home.
- The fees you pay will only need to cover the care you need and receive, rather than the bills and wages involved in running a larger facility.
- You'll still be a part of your local community and will be able to retain the independence required to keep up with your hobbies and leave home whenever you wish.
- Visitors can come and go from your home on your schedule as they always have, and aren't confined to set visiting hours.
- Your care will be highly personalised and entirely one-on-one, from carers who are focused only on you while they're in your home.
- There's no need to be separated from your pets, which may not be the case in care homes.
How can you ensure your new care arrangements are right for you?
Start by arranging to have a needs assessment with a local home care agency. This will help you clarify what you need from a carer and ensure you're matched with someone who can offer the help most useful to you.
Be realistic about your budget. There are often local schemes available to help you pay for home care—the agency you speak to will be able to advise you on this.
If possible, choose a carer who has previously cared for someone with similar needs to your own. Always ask them about their qualifications, references and background screening checks. Arrange a trial shift before you commit to working with them, and have a clear conversation about payments and time off before anything is finalised.