When we think about a loved one getting to the point that they need additional care, the discussion tends to start with who in the family might be able to assist. But with more of us stretched between family and work, family care isn't always a practical option.
So instead we focus on finding a good nursing home close by, with an uneasy sense of taking our parent or grandparent out of their home before they are really ready.
In fact there's a third option - in home care.
Most older Australians would prefer to remain at home as long as possible, both because of attachment to their homes and also to maintain connections with the areas and communities in which they live. But many are unaware of the option for in home services, either funded by the Government, or through private in home care providers.
More concerning is that older men in particular don't believe the benefits of in home care services are relevant to them, believing that receiving any form of care assistance at all is a compromise to their independence.
But in fact, in home care has been proven to assist older people in living at home longer, with a number of key benefits:
In home care helps people live independently for longer
Many older people may require assistance in only a few aspects of their life, such as with cleaning, driving or cooking. With in home care support they are able to receive help in just these areas while continuing to live at home as normal, helping them to maintain a sense of control and a greater quality of life.
In home care is more cost effective
For many older adults in home care is a more economical option, particularly for those who own their own home outright as the home doesn't need to be sold in order to access care. In addition care is provided only when it's needed, helping to reduce the weekly cost compared to an assisted living facility.
In home care offers more personalised one on one care
Because each carer has a formal agreement with the client, care can be tailored to their needs, offering truly personalised and responsive care. This is particularly the case with private in home care where a much wider range of care options is available.
There is more opportunity for family support and participation
Without the sole burden falling on them, family members find that they are able to spend time with their loved one in a more fulfilling and enjoyable way, while still being able to get involved in decisions around care if required.
In home care enhances communities
Continuing to live at home maintains interactions and relationships with friends and family, which are critical to living a full and social life.
In home care offers access to more immediate care
While a preferred care accommodation facility or nursing home may have a waiting list, in home care may be accessed more quickly. In particular private in-home care, while more expensive, may be a great stop gap solution while waiting for a Care Assessment to be completed, or space to open up in a preferred facility.