Deciding on whether you or a loved one requires the benefits of a care home is often a very difficult and emotional decision. Some feel that it will take away their independence and, as a carer of a loved one, there can be a feeling of guilt when realising that you are no longer able to provide the level of care for those that you love.
Deciding on whether you or a loved one requires the benefits of a care home is often a very difficult and emotional decision. Some feel that it will take away their independence and, as a carer of a loved one, there can be a feeling of guilt when realising that you are no longer able to provide the level of care for those that you love, maybe due to the increasing demands of a debilitating illness such as Alzheimers, but it is still very difficult to let go. We all like to remember someone as they were and it is hard to accept that they might have changed. But, choosing a care home simply means you are acting in the best interests for yourself or your loved ones.
Often there is also a general misconception that “old peoples homes” are institutionalised and impersonal with no real warmth or ‘homely’ feel. Of course, there are many options to you before choosing a care home, be that sheltered housing, home care or downsizing and living with relatives and so forth. Whilst each of these options have their own merits, you have to ask, will your care needs be attended to by professional, trained carers every hour of every day, three hundred and sixty five days a year? Would these options also provide a safe, social environment for you to be part of (should you be so inclined) as well as, to name just a handful of examples – providing daily activities, tailored care plans, freshly cooked meals, cleaning and laundry? If the answer is yes, at what cost would you expect such a level of care?
At AgeCare Care Homes we pride ourselves not only on the standard of care we provide, but also the superior standard of accommodation that everyone of our residents enjoys at our residential care homes. You can see from our care philosophy that you simply cannot receive the level of service we offer in any other type of the aforementioned care options. We really do make a difference to our residents lives. To provide the same level of care at home the costs would simply be astronomical and that’s why we feel that our residential care homes are the perfect balance of care and support, in a beautiful homely environment that one will always feel comfortable in, at a competitive and manageable cost.
So now that you’ve decided that one of our residential care homes is right for you, what next? Read our guide below on where to start with care and this will put you on the first steps to becoming a resident with us.
Always remember that if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you can contact us directly and we’d be more than happy to help guide you.
First steps to take
Now that you have chosen residential care, it is always difficult to know where to start. As with most things in life, it all depends on your circumstance. Many would assume that a residential care home or care home only cater for the wealthy, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of our residents have financial support and backing from their local authority which allows them to continue to enjoy our services without the need for any significant funds of their own.
That aside, if you are a private individual with your own funds, the first question most ask is “where can I find residential care homes near me?” and the first and really only step you need make is to contact us directly, either through our website contact form or even by speaking with the care home near you. You are more than welcome to visit us at any time of day for a viewing at any of our care homes, but we do ask that you call ahead to ensure the manager of the home is available to give you a guided tour, although there is no problem if you happen to be passing through, we will always endeavour to accommodate you.
Upon your application to stay with us, our staff will need to produce a needs or care assessment. This is to evaluate the specific needs of the potential resident to ensure that our care homes can provide the care required. Residential care (such as ours) is applicable in most cases, especially if your needs are things such as help with washing, dressing or going to the toilet. Even those with dementia or more specific problems such as incontinence are still welcome at our care homes, but as with any resident, a care assessment by the manager will always take place first to ensure we can provide the exact care you need.
For those wanting further information on what a care assessment involves, it is simply a series of questions designed to ensure that our care homes and the staff there are fully capable of providing the correct personal care required by the potential resident.
The care assessment tries to be as unintrusive as possible, but clearly requires as much information about the potential resident to ensure that they will be provided and cared for correctly whilst they stay with us. Whilst the care assessment is a relaxed and gentle meeting, it does follow a general guideline of questions which is often along the lines of the following:
- Resident details such as name, address, age etc. Also, next of kin contact details as well as current Doctor and any social workers that are involved.
- Personal care and physical well-being general questions about whether the person is able to perform a selection of tasks unaided (helping us to evaluate the level of care required), such as:
- Step into a bath
- Put shoes on
- Light housework
- Go to the toilet
- Make a cup of tea
- Communication does the person use spectacles or hearing aids, are they registered blind? Are there any aids required to assist in communication (such as picture boards). Is the person able to hold a conversation (gives an understanding as to what sort of impairment may cause this breakdown in communcation – such as sensory or cognitive impairment).
- Mobility are there any problems with mobility and if so any mobility aids used?
- Personal safety and risk assessment is there a history of falls or any concerns about their personal safety when carrying out daily tasks
- Medical history as detailed as possible insight into the persons medical history, including assistance to manage continence etc.
- Current medication a list of current medication, including strengths, dosage required and frequency. You’ll also be asked if the person is able or willing to self medicate and if there have ever been problems with self medication
- Mental health are their problems with mental health or cognition (memory)
- Diet and weight are there any concerns with diet or weight of the person, are their any particular dietary requirements?
- Food and meal times does the person require assistance with feeding, are their any preferred times for meals and any particular dislikes of food?
- Religious observance is there assistance required in helping one practise their religious beliefs?
- Social interests what sort of social and independent activities does the person involve themselves in (if any)?
Once our managers have been able to properly assess a potential resident, they are then able to evaluate the care required and build a necessary care plan for the individual so that upon arrival the new resident will be able to fall into as much of a familiar routine as possible.
What to look for at a care home
When you’ve done your research and made contact with the care home you think would be suitable, you should arrange to visit the premises so you can see what is on offer.
During your visit, some questions you may want to ask (depending on what is important to you) could be:
- What services are included in the fees? (and perhaps what isn’t)
- What type of activities are on offer and who do you cater for specifically?
- Are there exercise programs in place?
- Do the residents get to go on trips outside of the home?
- What technology is on offer? (TV in rooms, telephone, internet etc.)
- Do we need to bring our own furniture?
- Are valuables allowed to be stored on site?
- What is the notice period?
- Are there any fees that are payable after I leave?
Funding the placement
There are several options available to an elderly person that is looking to reside at one of our care homes. These are:
- Privately funded where you are responsible for the full fee
- Part funded where the Local Authority pays part of the fee and the remainder (“top up”) is paid by a friend or relative
- Local authority funded where the Local Authority pays the full fee
The majority of our residents pay privately, however we are able to accept Local Authority funded places as long as the fees are met sufficiently. Our home managers will be able to assist you with applications for government funding, or you can speak to our finance team at Head Office who can give you support and advice on how to proceed. As AgeCare has been established for over forty years, we can provide detailed guidance on how to ensure you receive any entitlement you may have.
AgeCare Care Homes does not require you to take specialist financial advice prior to admittance, however, we highly recommend that you establish what your entitlements may be to avoid unnecessary delays in future funding.
If you would like financial advice on a no obligation basis, please speak to one of our home managers or directly with our Head Office. You can use our contact form to also send us a request in this regard.
Power of attorney
We fully understand and appreciate that it is never easy to think about a time when you may not be able to make your own decisions, but it can help to be prepared for such an outcome. Having a ‘power of attorney’ ensures that someone you trust is able to make decisions for you or act on your behalf should you no longer be able to (or even want to).
There are many reasons that you might require someone to do this for you in every day life, however when coming into a care environment it can help to ensure that someone is there to act or speak on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to do so independently.
AgeCare Care Homes will always act in the best interests of its residents, however families and relatives often want to provide additional support for their loved ones and with a power of attorney in place this can help ensure that your loved ones can be fully involved with your care.
Whilst we do not require anyone to have a power of attorney appointed prior to admittance, we do feel that this is an area that should be considered during the process of finding appropriate care.
Should you wish to find out more on this subject, Age UK offer a very detailed explanation on the process and requirements involved. However you can also contact us and we will endeavour to assist you.
There is a wealth of support and reading available from a multitude of renowned websites, we would suggest starting with the following:
- Age UK is the alliance of two UK charities, Age Concern and Help the Aged. It is an extensive and well known site, dedicated to the elderly, with vast amounts of information and helpful advice with regards to ageing in the 21st century.
- Alzheimer’s Society is a highly regarded charity that is devoted to “leading the fight against dementia”. It should be your first port of call for any advice regarding dementia.
- Care Quality Commission are the independent regulator of health and social care in England. They regulate all care homes that have been registered in England.
- Citizens Advice Bureaux is a free service that helps people resolve issues surrounding legal, financial and other problems which you may face whilst researching suitable care.
- Independent Age is another national charity setup to provide advice and information to ensure the elderly receive the best care and that their families and carers receive adequate support.
- Dementia Action Alliance is made up of over 40 organisations committed to transforming the quality of life of people living with dementia in the UK.
- Elderly Accommodation Counsel is a national charity that aims to help older people make informed choices about meeting their housing and care needs.
- National Council for Palliative Care looks to ensure that all those with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions receive the palliative care they need.
- NHS – Dementia the NHS gateway to their information and advice with regards to dementia.
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