Private Care for Elderly at Home vs Residential Care

When it comes to making decisions about the care of our elderly loved ones, the choice between private care for the elderly at home and residential care looms large. Both options offer unique advantages and challenges, and finding the right fit requires careful consideration of individual circumstances.

To help you with this decision, here we'll explore the nuances of private care at home versus residential care, shedding light on the benefits and limitations of each. Ultimately, the decision hinges on a combination of factors, including the elderly individual's needs, family dynamics, and available resources.

Private Care for the Elderly at Home

For families seeking to preserve their elderly loved one's sense of independence and familiarity, private care for the elderly at home can be a compelling choice. This option allows loved ones to remain in the comfort of their own surroundings, surrounded by cherished memories and possessions.

Here you can take a closer look at the pros and cons choosing private care at home for your elderly loved one. 

Pros of Private at Home Care

  • Personalised attention: Private caregivers provide one-on-one attention tailored to the individual's specific needs and preferences. This level of personal care fosters a strong bond between the elderly person and their caregiver. You can also choose to start with just a few hours support, scaling up to live-in carers if needed.
  • Familiar environment: Ageing in a familiar home environment can have positive effects on mental and emotional wellbeing, promoting a sense of security and stability.
  • Flexibility: Families can customise the care plan according to changing needs, adjusting schedules and services to accommodate the elderly person's evolving requirements. For example, if a family member is able to ‘cover’ a weekend, but needs carers to visit during the working week, then this can be arranged.
  • Routines: Staying at home allows people to maintain their established daily routines, which can contribute to a sense of normalcy and continuity.
  • Reduced supervision: Family members may not always be present to monitor the elderly person's care, which may be necessary with just one or two carers.

Cons of Private at Home Care

  • Limited medical assistance: While private caregivers can assist with daily activities and non-medical tasks, they may not have the expertise to manage complex medical needs.
  • Isolation: Elderly individuals who remain at home may experience social isolation, which can lead to loneliness and decreased quality of life, particularly if they have limited social interactions. Studies have shown that loneliness is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Residential Care for the Elderly

Residential care (including nursing care) offers a structured and supportive environment where elderly individuals receive comprehensive care and social interaction. Perhaps most significantly for many families, is the knowledge of carers and their ability to come up with engaging and appropriate activities and social events. 

Residential care can take the anxiety out of some of the concerns where caring for the elderly such as socialisation and on hand medical attention. 

Pros of Residential Care

  • Professional care: Residential care facilities are staffed with multiple trained professionals who can provide consistent around-the-clock care, and address complex health needs in nursing facilities.
  • Socialisation: Residents have the opportunity to engage in social activities and interact with others, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation. This removes the burden from families.
  • Peace of mind: 24/7 care ensures that your loved ones receive immediate attention in case of emergencies or health concerns. They’ll have meals catered for and you’ll be involved in care decisions.
  • Structured environment: Residential care settings offer a structured routine that includes meals, activities, and opportunities for engagement, promoting a sense of purpose.
  • Family separation: Some individuals may experience a sense of loss or distress due to physical separation from their family home and loved ones. Good homes ensure families are welcomed as part of the setting.

Cons of Residential Care

  • Adjustment period: Moving to a new environment can be challenging for some people, requiring an adjustment period to acclimate to their new home.
  • Loss of independence: Good care homes promote an individual’s independence. However, there is a sense of loss of autonomy for some people.

Balancing Individual Needs

The decision between private care for the elderly at home and residential care is deeply personal and should be based on a thorough thought process about the elderly person's needs and the family's circumstances. Here are some considerations that can help guide the decision-making process:

Healthcare needs: If the elderly person requires ongoing medical attention, especially for complex health conditions, residential nursing care may be the safer choice.

Family support: The availability of family members to provide support and assistance can influence the decision.

Social interaction: If isolation is a concern, residential care may offer a built-in community and social activities.

Safety and supervision: Assess the level of supervision required.

Financial resources: Evaluate the financial implications of both options, including costs of private caregivers, home modifications, and residential care fees.

Quality of life: Prioritise the elderly person's comfort, happiness, and overall quality of life.

The choice between private care for the elderly at home and residential care is multifaceted, with no one-size-fits-all answer. Both options offer distinct benefits and drawbacks, and the decision should reflect the individual's unique needs and family dynamics.

Many people make assumptions about what each type of care looks like. It’s always worth speaking to home care organisations, or visiting local care homes, so that you can compare the two and see which would suit your loved one best.

Book a Visit

If you’d like to visit Eastleigh Care Homes in North Devon and Somerset, we would love to welcome you. Please call us on 01769 573166 or click to contact us via our website.