Nightingales Golden Care Clinical Lead Nurse Sally Ridley explains why supporting clients to remain in their own homes is so beneficial for their health and wellbeing.
It has been more than 80 years since Dorothy Gale clicked her sparkly red heels together and repeated one of cinemas most famous lines: ‘there’s no place like home.’ But it’s a sentiment that still resonates as deeply now as it did in 1939. And when it comes to choosing where it’s best for our loved ones to live, Dorothy had it right all those years ago. There really is no place like home.
Home is where the heart is
Our physical surroundings play an important role in creating a sense of meaning and organisation in our lives. This can be particularly valuable when aspects of our health or independence are declining.
‘Making the decision about where to live is a crucial one. Being able to continue living at home assists the older person by providing a familiar environment within which to contend with the challenges and changes to lifestyle that occur due to the aging process.’
We fill our homes with little trinkets and reminders of who we are and the life we have lived. These cues are comforting and reassuring. They can be grounding during times of anxiety or confusion. ‘Home often also remains the one stable entity in the lives of the older person when everything else is changing.’
Your home, your terms
As well as a physical space, the concept of ‘Home’ has been described as ‘the place where you feel in control.’ Losing this sense of autonomy can be a major reason why being relocated into unfamiliar surroundings can be detrimental to the wellbeing of an older person.
In communal residential settings the needs of a work environment can outweigh the ability of a person to maintain personal identity. Everything from meal times, to visiting times and medications rounds can be run on a schedule that may contribute to an increased feeling of dependence.
Receiving support at home, allows individuals to retain their independence and familiar routines with as little or as much assistance as is required. It can be flexible and adapt to changes in ability and function.
Home sweet Home
Whilst there is increasing talk in the media about alternatives to care homes. Families often fail to consider Live in care as a viable and affordable alternative. Seeing care homes as the default option when someone is struggling to live independently or they are unable to return home safely after a stay in hospital.
Its assumed to be more expensive or too much to hope for, when in reality it can
often be more affordable and offer better value for money.
At the very least we want to see more people consider it for their loved ones.