We may be living longer than ever before, but our elderly population is becoming increasingly reliant on palliative care from friends and relatives.
Whether simply through old age or as a result of a debilitating illness such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, there is an ever increasing possibility that you will be called upon to provide some level of care for an elderly relative.
This care could range from jobs around the house and fetching their shopping, to becoming a full time carer. Choosing the right level of care for your relative though, is essential to both of you. You want to ensure that they are receiving the level of care they need; but likewise you want to be able to cope and maintain some level of normality in your own life.
So how can you find the best possible care options for an elderly relative?
At home vs. residential care
The first decision you need to make is if you’re going to care or hem yourself, or enlist the help of a specialist care home. It would do well at this point to dispel the stigma attached to residential care. Placing a relative in a care home is not admitting defeat; in fact, care homes can provide the best possible level of care for your loved ones in a safe and secure environment.
If you choose to care for your relative yourself, you need to ensure you have all the help at hand you might need such as support workers, nurses, and more. You may also have to give up work to care for your relative full time, so you will need to consider the financial implications of this decision.
Speak to your relative, your family, and seek professional advice to help you make an informed decision. The choice you make here will determine the level and quality of care your elderly relative receives.
Finding the right care home
If you opt for residential care, you then have a number of other questions you will need to ask to make sure you’re receiving the right care. It’s important to evaluate the care facilities, keeping the quality of care in mind at all times. Some questions to ask when viewing potential care homes include:
Does this facility provide the specialise level of care needed?
Is it registered, fully certified, and accredited?
What facilities are there? What can your relative do to fill their day?
What care is covered in the mostly fees? Do we need to pay extra for additional facilities?
On what occasions will care fees increase?
What are the living quarters like?
What preventative care is offered?
Do the staff speak English? Can they clearly communicate with you and your relative?
Are they trained to care for your relative and their specific needs?
What are the visiting hours?
It is important to ask these, and many other questions, when researching potential care homes to ensure you’ve made the right choice. But as well as answering these questions on your visit, there are a number of things that should set alarm bells ringing.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a facility is offering care at rates considerably less than other homes, be cautious. Why can they charge so little? Are they serving sub-standard food for example? Do your research; speak to staff, residents and family members to get a rounded view before signing on the dotted line.
Choosing the right level of care for an elderly relative is an important process, and one you should take your time over. Whichever path you take, be sure you’ve explored all the options, and are confident that you’re doing what is best by them.
Swallows Meadow Court is a residential care home in Solihull, providing specialist care for Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers. To find out more about their services and facilities, visit the Solihull Care website: www.solihullcare.co.uk