In recent times it would seem that the media is full of disturbing stories detailing appalling levels of care for the elderly. A recent Panorama programme for the BBC reported on the terrible mistreatment an elderly lady suffering from Alzheimer’s received at the hands of carers in her care home.
Or the story of a woman who claimed her husband, who suffered from dementia, was given 106 different carers by her local authority in the space of just one year. Or the recent Which? report based on a week spent investigating care levels in four residential and nursing homes. Their findings raised concerns over poorly skilled staff, inadequate food and lack of activity for residents amongst other things.
We are all aware that budgets are tight and social care for the elderly is no exception to these cost cutting measures. A recent Age UK report concludes that Government funding will drop by 4.5% in real terms for 2012. Figures obtained by the Labour Party, based on Freedom of Information requests from 121 local councils, indicate that people in England getting council-funded care has fallen by 11% in the last two years.
It is little wonder then that the elderly and those with vulnerable loved ones are looking to the choices available to them in their latter years.
Sheltered housing is one option, normally smaller self-contained residencies offering some communal facilities and a scheme manager or warden on site. Extra care housing - more suitable for those with long term conditions - still offers independent living but with additional amenities. These facilities are generally in high demand with substantial waiting lists and there is normally a rent or mortgage to pay in addition to an annual service charge.
For many the care home system is the most suitable solution to their needs, offering security and care. Depending on a person’s abilities and health a residential care home may be a good option. These homes provide personal care for their residents and are regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Nursing homes offer the same type of service but with on-site nursing care available.
If considering a care home take time to observe the welcome you receive, how staff and existing residents interact, the cleanliness and presentation of the accommodation and facilities and whether there are activity schedules for example. These are all valuable indicators of the ethos of the care facility you are considering.
For many however the ideal option is to remain in their own home for as long as possible, where they are at their most secure and comfortable, with care support at their door. Home Instead Senior Care is an award winning care organisation, each operation being independently owned and managed by people dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for older people in their local community.
It is our fundamental aim to offer a carefully tailored care package for each client, taking into account their individual needs and providing as much or as little extra help as needed to enable them to remain in their own home. Services range from companionship to light domestic cleaning, to personal care, trips to the shops, the garden centre or even for afternoon tea.
At Home Instead we take the time to get to know our clients, their families and their history so that we can offer the best solution for their needs.
We conduct regular quality assurance home visits to ensure that clients and their families are satisfied with the care they receive and any changes to their needs are carefully managed. We take our responsibilities very seriously and we are independently regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Whichever choice of support you decide upon it is important to be fully aware of the many choices available to you so that you can make the correct decision for your particular circumstances. You should always research your choices carefully; useful information is available on the Alzheimer’s Society, NHS UK, Age UK and Direct.Gov websites, because care whether it is for yourself or a loved one is a very personal choice.
Anitra Camargo is Director of Home Instead Senior Care covering the Windsor, Egham, Staines, Runnymede, Addlestone and Feltham areas. Contact her on 01784 477854 or 01753 613046. www.homeinstead.co.uk.