Home Care vs Residential Aged Care: What you need to know

Home care vs residential aged care

When you need some help to care for a loved one, you’re probably starting to compare home care and residential aged care options. Let’s take a look at what these mean, to help you consider which one is right for your needs. 

Professional care for seniors has changed over the years. Traditionally, ageing family members were looked after within families, by adult children or relatives. Once the caring responsibilities became more difficult, the family turned to an aged care facility for specialised care.

Now, with smaller family sizes, and more would-be carers needing to remain in the workforce for longer, we’re seeing more professional carers delivering care in the home environment. With support at hand, seniors can remain at home for longer.

So what is the difference between home care and residential aged care?

Home Care

Put simply home care involves professional carers or health professionals assisting a senior in their own home. Professional carers have a qualification and experience in senior care. Depending on a person’s eligibility, professional care may be government funded at a concession rate or could be paid for privately.

In most cases home care is provided for a few hours at a time. So, seniors would need to be safe at home and able to manage day to day tasks when a professional carer is not present.

Examples of home care include:
- Personal care assistance (help with showering and dressing)
- Meals on Wheels
- Cleaning assistance
- Shopping assistance
- Social activities
- In home rehabilitation through physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- Nursing Care
- Transport assistance

Residential Aged Care

Residential Aged Care refers to care that is provided in an aged care facility (previously referred to as nursing homes) rather than a person’s own home. Residential aged care facilities are staffed by nurses and professional carers so full-time care can be provided to an individual who may no longer be safe to remain at home. Assistance can be provided with every aspect of care including, eating, toileting, help to walk, etc. Multiple staff can assist if required and the facility has access to hoists and hospital beds which can sometimes be difficult at home.

How do you know whether home care or residential aged care is best for your situation?

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to comparing home care and residential aged care because there are many individual circumstances to consider, such as:
- What are an individual’s wishes and values?
- What type of assistance is required?
- How much assistance is required?
- Can family help?
- Eligibility for government services
- Cost of care

When is it time for someone to move into an aged care facility?

It’s different for everyone and based on a person’s wishes, safety, and care needs. Some things to consider as a guide, include:
- Are there concerns about a senior’s mobility around the home?
- Can a person’s care needs be met by services at home?
- What health issues is a person experiencing and are they expected to improve or decline?
- Are there safety concerns for a person at home which cannot be reduced by services, advice, or equipment? For example: If a senior has dementia and they were inadvertently leaving the gas stove on, this would be a concern for safety.
- Are there concerns about carer stress?

Weighing up the benefits of home care or a residential aged care facility can sometimes bring up more questions than answers. The uncertainty surrounding these choices can be stressful, given we’re often needing to consider such options because we’ve become more concerned about our own health or that of a loved one.

The key is to be informed and plan early as this will allow for more choice and control with care, rather than reacting to a situation at a stressful time.

If you are needing assistance with Home Care planning contact Nicole Dunn 0404 444 985

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