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Understanding the options in elder care

As family members or friends get older, they may need more support than you’re able to provide. Making the decision to get help can be an emotional time, so it’s important that you understand the different elderly care options your parent has. Working together to choose support based on their needs, condition and personality could make them happier and more comfortable.

There are a number of options for care at home and in homes for those who are making their own arrangements. We look at some of the most popular choices.

Home care

Home care gives your loved one the support they need to help them to stay in their own home. A carer will visit the house to help them with tasks they’re no longer unable to carry out alone.

Your home care choices are tailored to suit your parent’s needs, so they can choose the level of care they receive. Whether they need help carrying out household chores or personal support with dressing, bathing and medicine, care can be arranged to them.

Having a carer visit the house can also provide your loved one with a sense of companionship, which can be nice for them if they live alone. A home carer can also be used to step in when family is unavailable to help.

Day care

As a particularly popular option for those recovering from surgery or a debilitating illness, day care will allow your loved one to recover while making friends and socialising with others. Your relative will visit a care home during the day but will not live there permanently.

During your relative’s time in day care, the carers will make sure they attempt a manageable amount of exercise and eat a balanced diet, while allowing them to get the rest they need.

Short-stay or respite care

Short-stay residential care, commonly also referred to as respite care, is an option that gives your loved one the opportunity to stay in a care home temporarily. People often use short-stay care to give full time carers a break.

If you look after your family member, short-stay care is a great option if you’re planning to take a holiday and are worried about leaving them alone. Also if you fall ill and need some time to recover, respite care can be used to make sure your loved one can still receive the level of support they need.

It can also be used as a trial for moving your loved one into a residential care home, and will give them the opportunity to get a feel for the home and whether they’ll be happy there. They can normally stay in temporary residential care for anywhere between a couple of days to six weeks.

Residential care

If your relative moves into a residential care home, the costs will cover their accommodation, on-site nurses and 24-hour personal care. Elderly people regularly choose to move into a care home when they’re struggling to cope at home without help, as care home life allows residents to enjoy an improved quality of life without having to worry about coping on their own.

Although residential care involves moving away from home, most homes encourage residents to bring personal items to help them settle in, and some even allow residents to bring their pets with them.

Moving into residential care such as Tanglewood Care Homes also gives your loved one the opportunity to make new friends. Many care homes have groups and clubs for their residents where they can meet people with common interests and carry out the activities and hobbies they enjoy.

Residential nursing

If you think your loved one would be most comfortable moving into a care home but they have more demanding needs, it might be worth considering a residential nursing home. Your parent would receive 24-hour personal support from specialist nurses in a nursing home while being able to enjoy the company of other residents.

Caring for different conditions such as dementia

Most care homes cater for specific conditions that may need a higher level of care. Conditions such as dementia, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s can be debilitating and disorientating for your loved one, so it’s vital that they receive special care to help them live the rest of their life as untroubled as possible.


Some care homes specialise in providing specialist end-of-life care for people with terminal illnesses. End-of-life care homes, also referred to as palliative care, provide residents with both physical and emotional support.

The specialist carers and nurses within a palliative care home will make sure that your relatives’s physical, psychological and social needs are met while taking into consideration any spiritual and religious needs they have.

The staff will always be there to provide emotional support and psychological care as well as relief from any physical sickness.

Choosing the right elderly care

It’s important to consider the best choice for your family member and, if they are able to, make a joint decision on the support they receive as they grow older. It can be an emotional and stressful time, but considering all your options and where your loved one will be comfortable while receiving the care they need.

If you’d like to know more about choosing the right care at home and away, take a look at our wide range of articles looking at this issue.

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