Is extra care right for you or your parent?

Talking to your loved ones about needing extra care at home can be difficult to discuss.

If you have noticed they are finding it difficult to get up and down the stairs, are struggling or forgetting to cook or forgo getting dressed, it might be time to discuss extra care.

It's important to always approach conversations with understanding, empathy and an open-mind. Always respect their wishes and beliefs, and listen to their concerns.

Where possible, it’s beneficial to start talking about extra care early, so you can be in a position to action any decisions made and prevent the need for any more serious measures. Below are some ways to start talking about extra care with loved ones:

Ask questions about their daily routine

You could start by asking them questions about their daily routine to find out how they feel about their capabilities or struggles. Some questions could include:

  • How are they at managing the garden or housework?
  • Are they finding walking a strenuous activity?
  • What kind of meals are they cooking throughout the day?
  • Are they up to date with their medication?
  • Is getting dressed becoming more of a challenge?
  • Is getting in and out of the shower or bath a challenge? (Do they feel like they would benefit from some modifications?)
  • Are they struggling to get around the house?

Is extra care the right choice?

Understanding the different housing options for older people can be a difficult task, but the first place to start is to get a care needs assessment, which can be arranged with your local council. It’s free and will allow you to find out what support is needed and how you can arrange it.

However, it might be that an alternative service can help instead of extra care. For example:

Getting help with cleaning

If cleaning is becoming more than a chore think about particular tasks that they are struggling with. Is it vacuuming, mopping the floors, dusting, taking out the rubbish or making and changing the bed? Thinking about things specifically will help when you want to work out the cost and timings of employing a cleaner.

Getting support with shopping

If it is getting help with shopping, most supermarkets allow you shop online and deliver for a small charge. However, many people like to go out to the shops, which has shown beneficial in reducing loneliness and keeping mobile.

Age UK offers a number of different types of shopping services including escorted services for older people who need extra assistance in getting to and around supermarkets. Royal Voluntary Service also have a getting out and about service where their volunteer drivers can help with transport to get to the local shops.

Getting help preparing meals

If food preparation and cooking is becoming too much, there are a number of different options available. You can ask your local council if there is a lunch club they could attend.

Depending on eligibility, they could qualify for a meals on wheels service.

Or there is always the option to use food delivery services including Nourish Fit Food, Wiltshire Farm Foods or Gourmade, who provide freshly prepared meals to your door.

Battling to look after the garden

Can’t see the wood through the trees? You can now pop into your local DIY store who can provide you with information about tools that can be used to make gardening easier.

The charity Thrive also provides information on “gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.”

You can also use Age UK’s website to see if there is a gardening service in your local area

Plus, GoodGym are another organisation who could help; they provide support to older people by completing ‘missions’ that can enhance and improve older people’s lives, including tasks like gardening.

Adapting the house to make things easier

Home adaptations can include having a stair lift fitted, adding a banister, getting a wet room or installing a walk in shower, lowering kitchen worktops, or fitting ramps or grab rails. The local council can do a home assessment via social services to work out what adaptations would be beneficial and may pay up to £1000 for each adaptation.

If cost is still a factor, you can apply for grants - take at look at organisations like Independence at Home, Disabled Living Foundation, Foundations or Friends of the Elderly for more information.

Support with personal care

If they need help with personal care, provisions like our Care at Home service provide support in the comfort of their own home, assisting with daily routines, including dressing, medication, toileting and mobility.

Age UK also offer personal care at home and you can find other organisations and read reviews on Home Care, or find services through your local council website.

It’s all about support

It’s difficult for anyone to ask for help. Being reassuring and supportive of your loved ones and understanding their needs, can help them to remain independent in their own home for longer, as well as giving them a better standard of living.

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