The face of care for the elderly as we know it has been changing rapidly over the last decade. Traditional care or residential homes, once the only option available to many people needing more help than could be offered by family members, has begun to undergo a rather quiet revolution. But like most revolutions this one is becoming louder, stronger and demanding to have its own voice. The name of this revolution is live-in-care, and the evidence of the benefits of a live-in carer are irrefutable.
COVID and Care
Let us be in no doubt however that, whilst this revolution has been quietly simmering in the background for a number of years, the events of the last 24 months have certainly helped to add their weight to the arguments. There is an ever increasing body of evidence that clearly indicates that in the pursuit of the best place for quality of life for the elderly is in fact their own homes. Nursing homes and care homes, once the only real option available use a model of care that is at best inflexible and institutionalised. Carers, despite their best efforts are not able to provide a life for their residents that is safe, dignified or much of the time even happy.
The pandemic has exposed many of the flaws in the care system in its current state. It has laid bare the shocking failings that the approach we currently take towards out elderly population has. Of course the pandemic alone is not entirely responsible for the shocking shortfalls that have taken place over the last couple of years. Brexit has seen some huge changes in staffing for adult social care. In 2019/2020 the staff turnover rate in adult care was staggering with a 30.4% of people leaving their positions, the equivalent of 430,000 people. With so many of the individuals filling the voids in the care system coming from abroad, it isn’t difficult to surmise that this is a situation that is only likely to get worse.
Statistics on live in care
The Live in Care Hub, a not-for-profit organisation have commissioned a new report. The report uses proprietary research and published data from the world-renowned Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), a collaboration between the London School of Economics and the University of Kent. Analysis of the report clearly indicates that elderly people are healthier, and safer, when cared for by professional carers in their own homes.
The current UK Government and their predecessors have identified that the approach of “home-first” and “personalised care” should be the priority moving forward. Now the Live-in Care Hub are calling on them to put their money where their mouth is, reach into the coffers and ensure that local councils and social workers are able to offer the person-centred care that they have been talking about. It is time that serious consideration be given to care at home for those individuals who find themselves needing the assistance of care services.
The way forward
Going back to the Live-in Care Hub’s report, it contains some startling statistics that shine the light on what should almost certainly be the way forward for the care sector. If we want to ensure that our elderly are offered the quality of life that they so rightly deserve in their twilight years, then it is worth delving deeper. The report found that 39% of those in residential care homes never actually leave their home, when compared to the 14% with professional live-in carers who do this statistic gives a great deal to ponder about. Life shouldn’t end when someone becomes elderly, opportunities to enjoy life should not simply vanish.
Regardless of illness, fragility or even proximity to end of life, the elderly have shown that they still want to enjoy a quality of life that they have worked hard for, and rightly so. Of those individuals with live-in care an incredible 97% are able to enjoy many of the things that they enjoy and value whilst 98% of that same group reported that the care, they received in-home allowed them to have a better quality of life.
Making changes for the better
Sadly, this is not a picture that is echoed across the board for the elderly. The report also found that 5% of those in residential care and 11% of those in nursing homes believe that they don’t do anything or value or that they can enjoy with their time. Quite frankly these are statistics that are unacceptable. If the small change in the way in which we look at the care provisions in place for our elderly people can have such a significant difference, then it is inconceivable that we should not ensure that this is the majority approach for everyone. Each and everyone of the elderly people in the UK deserves to have their voice heard when it comes to the care provisions that are available to them. If there is a way, and there is, that means that they can live longer and happier lives then we should grasp it with both hands.
Extensive studies, funded by groups such as Alzheimer’s UK has been undertaken to understand why people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s cope better the longer, they stay in the familiar surroundings of their own homes. With the help of an in-home carer they are able to maintain a more mobile lifestyle for longer and this of course includes visiting those places outside the home that offer a sense of the familiar. Live-in care is a viable solution to long term care for many of the elderly, offering them a quality of life that gives them greater freedom, whilst still keeping their best interests firmly under consideration. Live-in care is not simply about offering a better quality of life to those elderly who are in good health, but to the majority.
View or download our Better At Home Report here.