Why Home Care is the Best Option for Elderly Couples26th February 2019
Causing disruption with changing accommodation, or being separated at a late stage in life can do more harm than good.
It is well-established that the UK’s ageing population has led to a rise in instances of dementia and other complex, long-term health conditions. This, in turn, has increased hospital admissions and placed pressure on NHS resources. It has also meant that a growing number of families have had to consider turning to care homes.
With that being said, for elderly couples, there are a number of disadvantages associated with care homes, including a lack of personal independence and the threat of being separated at a late stage in life. In this article, we explore why this can do more harm than good, and why home care agencies often provide a superior solution.
It is important to state that there are certain instances where care homes can be a necessary option. After all, home care cannot usually be provided around the clock, which means those with the most complex needs may otherwise find themselves lacking the support and care they need at certain times of the day.
Nevertheless, when home care from professional adult care providers is a viable alternative, it is usually a preferable one; especially when dealing with elderly couples. In particular, it avoids the possibility of separating elderly couples at a late stage in their life, which can cause severe emotional distress.
A high-profile example of this, which made the news in 2017, occurred when an elderly couple – who had been married for 69 years – were sent to different care homes. This happened after one of the pair underwent a health assessment and it was determined that he needed to be moved to a different facility to treat his dementia.
“I read with personal outrage reports of cases where the results of the operation of the system is that people [who] have been together for 30, 40 or maybe 50 years are separated in their final years,” a senior judge said that same year, ruling that such decisions to separate couples were often inhumane and risked causing unnecessary deaths.
Aside from the ability to avoid separating elderly couples, there are also numerous other advantages associated with the provision of home care by professional care agencies like Abbots Care, as opposed to hospitalisation or placing couples in care homes. In most cases, these reasons centre on a desire to minimise disruption.
As the Money Advice Service points out, a major benefit of home care is the ability for an elderly couple to retain their social links and continue to enjoy active relationships with their friends and family. This is good for their overall happiness and quality of life, but also beneficial for mental health reasons as well.
There are also benefits in terms of personal independence and overall dignity. For example, an elderly couple and their loved ones are able to retain control over the amount of care they receive, when they receive it, how often they receive it, and which adult care providers they actually turn to for that care. It also allows the elderly couples to remain in familiar surroundings, which can be hugely beneficial, especially with dementia patients.
Finally, there are some financial considerations, which can also make home care a superior option for elderly couples. In particular, unlike with support from a care home, the value of an elderly couple’s home will not be taken into account when calculating how much they will need to contribute towards the cost of their home care.
The Final Word
People are living longer than ever, and while that is a good thing, it has led to a rise in the number of people living with complex health conditions, including dementia, which require long-term care. This often leads to a straight decision between home care, offered by adult care agencies, or moving people into a care home.
It is sometimes necessary to move people into a care home, so they can receive specialist, round-the-clock care. However, wherever there is a genuine choice, the home care option tends to be preferable. This eliminates the risk of an elderly couple being separated, leading to emotional damage, and also minimises disruption more generally.
Abbots Care is a home care provider, serving residents of the Dorset and Hertfordshire regions. We are accredited by the Care Quality Commission and the UK Home Care Association, and are able to offer both adult and respite care, as well as care for people with physical or learning disabilities, and specialist dementia care.