Home care or care home: What’s the right decision?

Written by Ranger Home Care
13 November 2023

Being faced with the choice of live-in care or a care home is a daunting prospect. The sense of responsibility that you making the right choice either for your loved one or yourself can feel overwhelming. With one you are trusting a stranger in your home. With the other you are having to leave the life and home you know and love and settle into a new routine, a new environment, and potentially lose your sense of freedom.

So how do you choose?

Understanding the difference

Before thinking about the benefits of each, let’s get the basics sorted.

What is the difference between live-in care and a care home?

Live-in care involves a caregiver providing a tailored care service in a person’s own home. This could range from companionship and meal preparation to more intensive medical needs.

In comparison, a care home is a residential or nursing setting where the elderly or vulnerable reside.

Care homes are community environments, with various activities for the residents, a structured daily routine, set meals and care given when the staff are able too.

So, how do you decide between home care or care home for you or your loved one? Comparing the benefits of each is a good place to start, and we focus primarily on the benefits for the elderly, as they are often the ones weighing up these two options.

The benefits of home care

Being able to stay at home

Staying in their own home allows them to be surrounded by personal memories and belongings. This is likely to provide a higher level of emotional comfort and stability, which is invaluable to emotional well-being.

The familiarity of the home setting can be especially beneficial for those with cognitive impairments. With dementia, for example, consistency and known surroundings are crucial in decreasing distress and confusion.

Studies in the US have also found that keeping elderly people in their own home reduces doctors appointments by up to 25%.

Visitors – loved ones and friends can visit any time of day. There is no restriction on visiting hours or length of visiting time. Including the option for overnight stays.

Flexibility of care

Live-in care services need to be able to adapt to the individual’s existing lifestyle. They can be customised to fit their personal schedule, dietary preferences, and social habits.

Care plans are not restrictive but guidelines to ensure the care is meeting pre-agreed goals. A care plan is only a basis and can be adjusted as needed, whether it’s changing a bedtime, a meal at the last minute or attending a social event.

Care can be increased or decreased as required.

At Ranger Home Care we work with the multi-disciplinary team to ensure that you receive the same standard of support from your GP, District Nurse, and Community Physio as you would in a Nursing home.

All equipment that is in a Nursing home can be provided in the community. For example, if a person requires a hoist we can ensure the correct hoist is installed and all staff are fully trained.

We can manage stomas, PEG feeding, and catheters in someone’s own home.

Value

With live-in care, you’re not paying for living space or unused services. Instead, you pay for the care that’s needed plus the additional benefits of companionship and support. As such, it’s often seen as a much more cost-effective option for many people compared to a care home.

You also get to choose your carer so you are cared for by people you like.

Promotes independence

Maintaining independence is vital when it comes to the well-being of an elderly person. Live-in home care supports the autonomy of the individual but provides security, safety and companionship. All while enabling them to maintain control over their life, from mealtimes to bedtime and adding in a holiday if they fancy it.

Care homes need to have a structured routine to ensure everyone gets the care they need, so it can be hard to provide personalised one-to-one attention, especially in large, busy care homes.

The benefits of a care home

Social interaction

Care homes are lively places where residents can enjoy a social lifestyle, packed with various activities and events. They have regular opportunities to join in and connect with others.

This chance to make friends and be around other people is important for their emotional and mental well-being, and it helps reduce the loneliness and isolation they might feel if they were living by themselves.

Constant care

In care homes, a nurse is always on hand to help with any urgent medical issue, you don’t have to wait for a District Nurse.  

Peace of mind for families

Knowing that their loved one is in a safe place, with professional staff and an emergency system in place, provides immense relief to families. Families can visit their loved ones without the pressure of being the primary caregivers, which can improve the quality of their visits and overall relationships.

This peace of mind can be particularly important for families who live far away or have commitments that make regular visiting a challenge.

Facilities

Deciding between live-in care or moving to a care home isn’t straightforward. It involves weighing up the level of care needed against the potential benefits of each option. If your loved one highly values their independence and has a strong attachment to their home, live-in care could be the way to go.

On the other hand, if they’re isolated in their own home, without many friends, they may enjoy the daily interaction that a care home can offer. It’s also important to think about the long term. Live-in home care can offer a little more flexibility as carers can adapt to an individual’s changing needs. On the other hand, it can be distressing for someone having to move from a residential care home to a nursing home, for example, if they require more support.

Navigating the pros and cons

Deciding between home care or care home isn’t straightforward. It involves weighing up the level of care needed against the potential benefits of each option. If your loved one highly values their independence and has a strong attachment to their home, live-in care could be the way to go.

On the other hand, if they’re isolated in their own home, without many friends, they may enjoy the daily interaction that a care home can offer.

It’s also important to think about the long term. Live-in home care can offer a little more flexibility as carers can adapt to an individual’s changing needs. On the other hand, it can be distressing for someone having to move from a residential care home to a nursing home, for example, if they require more support.

Cost Implications

When moving to a care home, many people are faced with having to sell their family home to cover the costs.

Live-in care enables the family to maintain ownership of a valuable (and often, sentimental,) asset.

Other considerations

In your own home, you can choose what you want to eat and when.

With no need to pack your life into a single room, with live-in care you can choose your own clothes each day.

And you decide when you want to socialise and when you don’t.

It’s also important to consider the implications of splitting up a couple. Sometimes a partner needs care and the other partner is still independent. Live in care ensures the partner who requires care, remains at home with their lifelong partner.

Here to help with professional home care

Making the decision between live-in care or a care home is deeply personal. It’s not just about the care needs but about your loved one’s happiness and quality of life. At Ranger Home Care, we understand the weight of this decision.

For those who are leaning toward the personal touch of home care, we’re here to help. We offer compassionate, professional live-in care services tailored to your loved one’s unique needs. We are always happy to talk through the options. If anything worries you such as how to manage the food shopping or the gardener we have a concierge service who can ensure that all the little extras are completed to give you peace of mind.

Call us on 01252 850040 or email natalie@rangerhomecare.com and we’ll talk you through what we provide and any questions you may have.

Read some of our client stories

Steven’s story: Living with dementia

Steven’s story: Living with dementia

Steven’s a successful car dealer and entrepreneur developed dementia in his 60’s. This had a profound effect on his busy hectic life. His desire to remain at home and continue as much of his normal routine, including visiting the pub…

Ross’s story: Living with cerebral palsy

Ross’s story: Living with cerebral palsy

Living with cerebral palsy, Ross was unable to independently complete daily tasks before he had live-in care.

Live-in care enabled him to regain his independence without being limited by his physical constraints.

Evelyn’s story: Caring for someone with dementia

Evelyn’s story: Caring for someone with dementia

Living with dementia could have denied Evelyn of her many loves, but having a live in carer gives her the freedom to continue enjoying her interests, such as retaining her well-kept garden and staying with her dog.