Care homes are an important part of care in later life. They have a positive effect on the health of seniors and are known to dramatically improve loneliness and isolation. That being said, many elderly people still don’t like the idea of going into a care home as it represents the end of their independence.

If you or a loved one needs additional support, there’s a good chance you have already discussed the possibility of residential care. But are there alternatives to moving into a care home – and if so, what are they? Keep reading to learn more.

Does your loved one need to move into a care home?

Moving into residential care is a big step. It affects the whole family – not just the person moving into care – and often comes with legal and financial obligations.

If you are unsure about what your loved one needs, contact social services to ask for a needs assessment. Someone from the local authority will get in touch, usually a social worker, and ask your loved one questions about their day-to-day life. The results will identify what sort of support they need. You can then make an informed decision about which care solution is right for your family.

What are the alternatives to moving into a care home?

Personal Alarms

Personal alarms are designed to keep elderly loved ones safe when they are on their own. If an older relative feels unwell, or they fall over and can’t get back up, they can press the panic button on their alarm to notify their emergency contacts.

Personal safety devices come with a wide range of additional features, from fall detection to geolocation, and are usually waterproof so they can be used in the bath or shower, a high-risk area for falls.

If your elderly loved one is able to take care of their personal care (i.e., wash and use the bathroom) and doesn’t need nursing care (i.e., they can get out of bed on their own), then a personal alarm is a great alternative to residential care and can help them maintain their independence.

Home monitoring

Even though home monitoring sounds quite intrusive, it’s actually very discreet and doesn’t involve installing any cameras in your home. A home monitoring system uses a network of sophisticated motion sensors to track the activity in your home so that if you ever feel unwell or suffer a fall, the system can tell right away, and alert friends and family or the emergency services.

One of the biggest advantages of a home monitoring system is they don’t require wearables. Home monitoring systems like our Care Alert actively monitor the user instead. This means elderly people who are reluctant to use a personal alarm can enjoy the same peace and security that comes with wearing one, without feeling like they’ve compromised their independence.

an elderly man in the kitchen with his loved one who is chopping vegetables

Moving in with family

In most cases, the children of elderly parents don’t want their loved one to move into residential care any more than they do. As a result, some adult children who have enough space at home, as well as the time and energy to look after their elderly parent, choose to move them into their family home.

Deciding to move an elderly parent into your home shouldn’t be rushed into. There are a number of things to consider, including space, privacy and if you can provide the ongoing support your parent needs.

Before getting started, seek independent legal advice with your elderly parent and draw up a formal agreement setting out what will happen if the arrangement ends. It might sound like an uncomfortable conversation to have with family, but having a clear plan from the outset about what will happen if, say, you and your partner divorce or your elderly parent moves into a care home, will make everything much simpler for the whole family.

In-home care

Care provided in your loved one’s home is typically arranged by your local authority or with a private service provider. It’s easily tailored to the needs of the user and can be modified at any time if their needs change.

The level of care your elderly relative receives will depend on their preferences and what they are able to do on their own. For example, some older people only need one visit a week, while others need more frequent visits to help with domestic chores and personal care.

A key advantage of in-home care is it allows your older parent to stay in their home for longer and continue their normal routine. This has multiple physical and mental health benefits, and is even known to improve sleep quality.

Those are just some of the alternatives to residential care. Better yet, these care solutions can all be used together to suit the needs of an aging parent. We provide telecare services to many families who use a combination of in-home care, personal alarms and home monitoring. Combined, they ensure elderly users always have the support they need.