What are your options?
It’s no longer a matter of a simple choice between a care home if your parents need skilled help and home care assistance if they just need a little support – both home care and care homes can now cover almost any need.
Home care can cover the basics, like meal delivery, errands and help with cleaning and personal care. But it’s also possible to have skilled nursing at home, even around the clock.
A middle option would be sheltered housing, where residents have their own flat or house but still enjoy some shared space. Levels of care vary, as do the costs.
Finally there are care homes, which provide 24-hour support either with or without nursing. Your parents can get as much help with daily tasks as they need, as well as enjoy activities and meals with the other residents. But other than their rooms, all facilities are shared, so privacy and independence are limited.
What does it all cost?
Based on figures from PayingForCare and the Money Advice Service, this is what a year’s worth of care looks like:
- 2 hours of home care daily: £9,500
- 8 hours of home care daily: £38,000
- Sheltered housing: starting at £8,500
- Care home: £28,500
- Care home with nursing: £37,000
Costs vary a lot depending on where you live. For example, the average hourly rate for home care in London and the South East is nearly £14 per hour, while in the North East it’s closer to £11.
The bigger picture
While money is an inescapable factor, it’s far from being the only factor to consider – your parent’s own wishes are going to play a major role. Many people prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. But if your parent is feeling isolated at home, they may very well prefer the more social atmosphere of sheltered housing or a care home. So have that conversation with them to see where your parents stand.
While personal preference is important, so is safety. If dementia or other health conditions mean your parents are vulnerable to falls, kitchen accidents or getting lost, then a nursing home is probably unavoidable.
Making a final decision
Before committing to a choice, do a little boots-on-the-ground research. Visit local care homes for a tour. Check out the transportation links – could your family and your parent’s friends visit easily?
If you’re considering home care, call your local council to find out what kind of help their social services team can offer. Can someone come in to look at modifying your home or your parent’s home to make life easier? Can you interview potential carers to make sure they’re a good fit for your parent?
It’s smart to keep options open until you learn the specifics. With your parent’s wellbeing and your own peace of mind on the line, we think it’s a decision that’s worth as much time as you can give it.