How homecare can have a positive impact on your loved ones
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Homecare helps people live safely and more independently and this can have a positive impact on their physical and mental health, says Sarah Harvey, head of care at Caring Together.
The charity supports carers, providing homecare and breaks for people with a range of needs across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk.
Here she outlines how homecare – from personal care and medication support to meal preparation, shopping or enabling someone to take part in a hobby – can have a positive impact on those being cared for and their friends or family who are caring for them:
Q: How can homecare have a positive physical impact on those being cared for?
At Caring Together, we provide person-centred care. This means we will work together to help people choose the support that best suits them and their family and recognise their own individual needs. It also means we understand these needs and the care we deliver is flexible and will change over time.
Our care is provided by highly qualified, consistent carer workers on a one-to-one basis, enabling them to fully understand an individual’s needs and to help them to enjoy a familiar environment, with their own belongings and even their pets.
Person-centred homecare can improve quality of life and wellbeing for the person being cared for, which in turn supports their good physical health. Our approach is evidence based, with research proving that there is a reduction in falls due to familiar surroundings and confidence when people stay at home. There is also less of a decline in function in those with conditions such as dementia.
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Q: Are there positive mental and emotional impacts too?
As well as leading to a higher overall quality of life, homecare is clearly linked to being able to maintain good mental health and wellbeing.
Being in your own home with your own personal possessions around you, continuing to live with your partner or family and being a part of the wider community, along with the dignity and familiarity of remaining in your own home means that people can continue to be themselves.
Homecare can continue to provide and build upon familiar routines in a way that suits the individual and will not change unless a person or their family want them too. This understanding and familiarity can mean less disruption for the person being cared for and give them greater peace of mind.
Q: What other benefits are there?
Remaining in their own homes enables couples to stay together and for people to be able to keep their pets, both of which are a huge source of support, comfort and motivation.
They are able to continue to be a part of their community and go out and about when they choose, as well as to receive help from their communities, who often serve as an important network of support, along with their friends and family. Their interaction with family and friends can remain informal and take place in a way that suits them, rather than being mandated by an institution such as a residential care home.
By remaining in their own home for longer, the cost to the person will be less than alternative options such as live-in or residential care and there can be support available from the local authority to help people to pay for their care where needed.
Q: What are the positive impacts of homecare for the carer?
We know that for many people, friends or family members are an important part of providing care or support when we’re not there. This can have an impact on the carers’ own health and wellbeing and ability to cope.
By providing care in the home, carers can have a break with the knowledge that the person being cared for is safe and receiving care from a care worker that they know.
They can use this time to do what is important for them, such as run errands, have a rest, do some exercise or continue a hobby; all of these things help their own physical, emotional health, and wellbeing, meaning that they can continue to care for their loved one.
Taking a whole family approach means that the person who is caring can be involved in all aspects of the care being provided and that they are listened to and their voices are heard. They are always up to date with what is happening and contribute to a person’s care plan as people’s needs change over time.
Q: What is the impact on a couple when one person can no longer stay at home?
Research has shown both parties go through similar emotions to suffering from a bereavement. This also has an emotional impact on the wider family and friends as they also feel a sense of loss.
By providing a whole family approach to care that responds to the needs of the person being cared for and those around them, our homecare enables people to stay in their own home for longer and continue to live their life in the way that they choose.
Of course, we understand that not everyone has a friend or family member who is caring for them and it is equally as important that they receive care in their home that suits their own individual needs.