Is A Care Home Or Assisted Living More Appropriate?

Is A Care Home Or Assisted Living More Appropriate?

There are a number of signs to look out for in an elderly friend or relative that may signal to it being an appropriate time for additional care. There are many different options depending on each individual’s circumstance – including homecare (which our friends at Birchwood Care Services provide), live-in-care, assisted living or coming into a care home like ours here at Birchwood House. This article goes into detail on key triggers about when a care home may be appropriate, or when assisted living may be a better option.

There are a number of signs that additional care may be needed so it’s important to keep an eye out for these if you think a loved one may be heading in the direction of needing to go into care. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some key reasons as to why moving into either a care home or assisted living may be appropriate:

A change in health

As we age, our health can change and sometimes it can change rapidly. If this happens, and you suddenly find an elderly relative living at home needing much more support than previously, and perhaps requiring much more medication then the additional care that a care home or assisted living can provide could be a good option.

Many accidents can occur with elderly relatives, either round the house or perhaps they might suffer a nasty fall. If this happens then they may find themselves unable to cope at home. At this point, sometimes moving into a care home full time may be appropriate, but a period of respite care may be a better option, allowing a return to home once a recovery has been made. See this previous article on respite care for more information.

Verdict: This depends on the individual and the extent their health has changed. If they have seen their condition just worsening a little and they just need a bit more support then assisted living could give an excellent level of additional support whilst allowing the individual to maintain their independence. If the situation is more serious and round the clock care is needed then a care home would be the better option.

A change in circumstance

Many elderly people who live at home will rely on the support of others, not just health professionals but often a spouse, a friendly neighbour or their son or daughter. This support can sometimes be taken away – be it a spouse falling into ill health or a friendly neighbour moving away. This sort of change in circumstance can lead to real uncertainties and the loss of essential support.

Verdict: Again this comes down to the individual circumstance. If this happens and there is nobody else around to pick up and offer the required support (and there is a lot of support that’s needed) then a care home could be an excellent option, either for long-term care or for short-term respite care until a long-term solution can be found at home. If, however the support was more minimal and the individual would still be able to live by themselves then assisted living may give them more independence.

Showing signs of loneliness and depression

Living at home on your own can be tough, but if you’re at home on your own and you’re elderly and struggle to get out and about then it can be even harder. Here at Birchwood House, we have a social environment and our residents enjoy a range of activities, events and arts & craft sessions to keep them active. If a loved one is at home and starting to seem isolated then a care home could bring a real spring back in their step!

Verdict: Although assisted living also has benefits of seeing more people, this isn’t in the same way as in a care home where there is a real sense of camaraderie and community. We would therefore recommend that if there were signs of loneliness and depression to look at a care home.

Mental health

There are many mental health illnesses which can have an impact on people of all ages, but an illness like dementia is a particularly difficult one for the elderly, and their family members. If an illness like dementia deteriorates, it can mean that your loved is no longer safe living in their own home. If this is the case then a care home would be appropriate or perhaps live-in-care which offers round the clock care. We detail the difference between these here.

Verdict: In most cases in this situation a solution that offers round the clock care (such as a care home or live-in-care) is required.

There will be many more reasons why either a care home or assisted living may be appropriate, but these are, in our experience some of the key triggers. If you know someone who you think may be in a position where they may need a care home, either for long-term or short-term respite care then feel free to give our friendly team a call on 01892 863559 and we would be delighted to talk you through options.

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