Part One: The good news is, we’re all living longer!

How do you feel when you think of old age? Do you see your parents and worry how they will cope as they get older?

With more people enjoying a healthier lifestyle and living into their 80s, not only has life expectancy increased, but the worry of how to pay for care.

Arranging care for members of your closest family can often feel overwhelming. It often succeeds a major traumatic life event and knowing where to begin, can be difficult. People are individuals and their needs are different, so there is no set way to organising care. It is important that the services you choose are flexible and able to adapt to their changing needs. The wisest starting point is assessing their needs at that time and reviewing them regularly. We’ve used the Telegraph Money’s “Guide to Long and Short Term Care” to help you decide. LCS employs an experienced Nurse specialist who can discuss care planning needs with you.

What types of care are available?

Residential Care

These Care Homes offer accommodation, food and personal care. This is suitable for those finding it hard coping at home, and who need more around the clock attention than a carer or family member could provide. Not all these Care Homes will provide specialist help for those suffering from Dementia or other health problems.

Nursing Care

This can be given at someone’s home, or in a Nursing Home. A Nursing Home is similar to a Residential Care Home in what it provides, however qualified Nurses will also be on duty 24 hours per day.

Respite or Short-Stay Care

This is normally taken to give carers a break. The stays are usually four week periods, but may sometimes be less. It is also offered to people recovering from illness or an operation before they return to their own home.

Dementia Care

Dementia, or Dementia related conditions, are the most common reason people require Nursing care. A Nursing Home will usually offer specialist Dementia care.

Specialist Care and Learning Disabilities

Some Care Homes offer specialist care for conditions such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s and there are also specialist units for people with learning difficulties and who may require more supervision than care.

Palliative Care

These settings are better known as Hospices and specialise in end of life care of those with chronic conditions. Palliative care focuses on controlling pain and symptoms, and looks to improve your quality of life. This often involves a plan being agreed between the individual, their family and the carers.

Taking the First Step

The decision to arrange care for a loved one is never easy. Many people worry about them leaving the family home and the effect this may have on them overall. It’s important to remember that there is a good reason why you are researching additional care. You may be worrying about their safety, whether their home is secure, or whether they are eating and sleeping properly.

With the correct help and care, not only will your loved one’s quality of life increase, but the stress on the family will reduce, allowing you to spend quality time with your relative.

If you’re seriously concerned about your loved one’s mental or physical wellbeing, you can chat to their GP. Bear in mind that although the GP may not be able to discuss your relative specifically due to confidentiality, they will explain the options available and give you detials of your local authority’s adult social services department.

If you’re able, or know you will be, paying most of the fees yourself, you can go directly to Care Homes which is a quicker way to arrange the care. This allows you more freedom to choose. If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for help with care fees, the local authority can carry out a financial assessment and advise on any help available.

Choosing a Care Home

When choosing a Care Home, it is important to do your research and not be afraid to ask questions about what care and specialist services they provide. Most Care Homes are happy for you to arrange a visit and include a walk around with the opportunity for you to ask any questions you and your family may have.

Think about:

  • Location
  • First impressions
  • Accommodation
  • Grounds, garden and communal spaces
  • Staff
  • Medical care
  • Activities

Call LCS now on 0345 017 8250 to discuss your care planning needs with an experienced Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.

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