It’s one of the most common questions that adult children who are worried about their elderly parents face, yet where do you turn for advice? The elderly care sector is surprisingly full of jargon which can be bewildering when you are already facing difficult decisions. The first set of jargon you’ll come across relates to the different types of residential care available. So, if you’ve found yourself wondering ‘does mum need a care home or a nursing home?’ or ‘what type of residential care does dad need?’ then this article will explain it and leave you feeling more confident.
The different types of residential care available vary according to the amount of support they provide. Generally they can be viewed on a scale where ‘sheltered accommodation’ is at one end of the scale and ‘nursing care’ is at the other.
With sheltered accommodation, there is support available to residents, but it is limited. Residents typically have their own self-enclosed flat with bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen area. On the wider site there may be a manager available to help with arranging basic support, but fundamentally, sheltered accommodation requires a fair degree of independence.
The amount of support available in different sheltered accommodation facilities varies. A step up from this is ‘close care’. This brings the individual the benefits of remaining as independent as possible, whilst being able to access the wider services of a care home.
For example, Rossiter House offers close care whereby residents have their own apartments but can make use of the catering and additional services of the Eastleigh home on the same site. They can cook for themselves or head over to the catered dining room. They can also make use of the social activities available and hairdressing services. If residents require it, external carers can be used.
The next option is residential care. Residential homes are suited to those who need support with the tasks of daily living (such as bathing, dressing and eating), but don’t require a Registered Nurse. Here, caring and empathic care assistants help an individual to live a fulfilling but safe life, day to day, in a home-from-home environment.
The most highly supported residential care is nursing care. Here, as well as qualified care assistants, there are also Registered Nurses providing care to residents. This type of care is similar to residential care in terms of being as close to a home-feel as possible, but is more suited to those with complex needs. For example, nursing care is suited to those who have suffered a stroke, or have conditions such as Parkinson’s.
As would be expected, the costs of residential care typically increases in line with increases in the amount of specialised care needed.
While the above system of care homes represents the progression of care, it ignores some specific but important care types. Also worth considering, in individual cases, are specialist dementia care homes and palliative residential care.
A dementia care home offers specialist care to provide a safe, warm and nurturing environment using specially-trained carers. With specialist aspects to the care offered, such as phased lighting and reminiscence therapy, dementia care helps to alleviate and manage confusion and memory difficulties.
Palliative care is specialist nursing care for those with a terminal illness, ensuring that their end-of-life needs are catered for in a compassionate and supportive way, for both the individual and their family.
Unsurprisingly, it can therefore be tricky to know which type of care is appropriate for your elderly relative. You may also wonder what happens if a loved one needs different care as time goes on.
The primary consideration should be the needs of the individual right now. At this point, it is also worth considering whether potential residential facilities offer more than one type of care, so that should care needs become greater in the future, they can be met.
If you intend to fully fund care privately, then it may be enough to simply visit some homes and speak to the staff. They will be able to ask the right questions to determine the right level of care.
However, you could also consider a care needs assessment from your local authority. At the assessment, experienced experts, such as occupational therapists, will assess the needs of your loved one. They will then make care recommendations which can help you decide whether to bring in additional support at home, or whether residential care is needed and which type would be most appropriate.
If you decide that a residential care home is the most suitable way of providing for the care needs of your family member then you will want to look at various different homes in your local area.
There are many different things to consider when choosing a care home. In addition, it is worth considering whether there is the possibility to increase the care provided within the same setting, or within the same group of homes. If you anticipate that your loved one may need to move to nursing or specialist dementia care in the future, then the transition can be made easier if it is within the same home, or organisation.
For example, at Eastleigh, we provide the full range of care across our North Devon and Somerset sites, with some varied care within the same settings. This ensures that our residents always receive the tailored care that they need and which is appropriate.
If you have a care needs assessment completed then the council should be willing to offer you help and advice. You can also speak to your GP, Citizens Advice, or Age UK. If you are in North Devon or the Somerset area, then please do feel free to get in touch with us on 01769 573166. We’ll be happy to show you, and discuss with you, the different types of residential care that we have.