elderly carer
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Elderly carer: How to find the care you need

5 min read

Employing an elderly carer is one of the ways you or your loved one can stay independent at home for longer.

There are many types of elderly care, from home help to complex condition-led care.

The type of elderly carer that you employ will depend on your day to day needs at home and any medical needs you have.

In this article we explain the different types of elderly home care and how to organise it.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Elderly carers are people who come to your home to provide care. 
  • Home care enables independence and allows people to stay in the familiarity of their own home knowing that they are safe and cared for. 
  • Regular visits from a carer can also be essential in preventing social isolation and loneliness in older people.

What is an elderly carer?

An elderly carer is someone who cares for older people who may have a variety of health and care needs.

These needs can range from companionship care and home help to more complex health care that could require 24 hour support.

This type of elderly care is called home care.

The carer makes regular visits to the home of the elderly person in order to help them with whatever they require. 

Needs may change regularly or stay the same. 

If needs are changing more frequently and becoming more complex, a higher degree of care may be needed. 

Let’s look at the different levels of home care that you can organise.

Home help

At the most basic level of elderly care, home help can support you with domestic tasks around the house and non medical needs.

Companion care

This is a type of elderly carer who can support tasks around the home as well as helping you with social integration. 

They may stop round for a cup of tea and a chat every day and check to have everything you need. 

Read more here on companion care.

Home care visits

A professional home carer has a level of training that allows them to support you physically with your condition or care needs. 

They may help you with elements of personal care such as using the bathroom or helping you get ready for bed. 

Home carers are trained to notice any changes to your condition and provide the right support.

Home care visits are a great solution for many individuals who want to maintain their independence but do need help on a daily basis.

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Waking nights care

An elderly care professional is present and on duty in your home while you sleep to help you during the night. 

This is the best support option for those who wake several times in the night to use the bathroom or similar. 

Others may wake at regular intervals to change position due to an injury or to receive medication. 

More here on carers who sleep overnight.

24 hour live in care

Live-in care is as close to a care home or supported living arrangement as possible without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

You will receive 24-hour care, as you need it, in a familiar place with regular carers who are on hand to support you round the clock.

care for elderly

What can an elderly carer do for your loved one?

Elderly carers are compassionate, kind people who can provide a range of care services. 

What they can do for you all depends on the level of care requirements and what kind of elderly carer you employ. 

As we read earlier, some elderly carers can help with general tasks while some offer more complex, condition-lead caring. 

Supporting the family

Elderly carers can play a huge role in older people’s lives, especially if their families live far away. 

They are on hand to prevent accidents at home and can provide support for any problems that arise. 

Plus carers are a lifeline for social interaction and engagement that can be essential for wellbeing and general contentment.

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When should you seek help?

If you or your loved one struggles with anything at home, it may be the right time to explore elderly carer options. 

Start researching elderly home care options if:

  • You or a loved one struggles with any aspect of the daily routine. For example getting dressed or moving around the house
  • You don’t want to move into a care home 
  • Your home could be adapted to make it safer for you to live in

Staying independent

We all want to remain as independent as possible as we get older. Sometimes we are reluctant to ask for help because we worry that we will lose our independence by relying on others.

But in fact home care usually has the opposite effect. 

The assistance of a home carer will support independence and allow you or your loved one to stay in the comfort of their own home for longer.

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How to find an elderly carer for your loved one

There are two ways to find and organise elderly care for your loved one.

  • Through a home care agency or provider
  • By employing your own carer

Agency elderly carer

Home care agencies provide trained carers and organise them to visit you on a regular basis at home. 

While they may come at the same time every day, there may be a number of different carers that you don’t always recognise. 

Start looking for care home care agencies in your local area by

Your first step is normally contacting the social services department in your local council

If you have a care plan they may provide some assistance in organising care. 

If you are unsure what is a care plan, then read more in our detailed guide.

Regulation of care providers

The Care Quality Commision (CQC) requires all care agencies to be registered with them, and they can provide information and reports on an agency. 

When you’re ready to find a home care agency then use the Sweet Pea personalised care matching service. 

It’s easy, just enter your care needs and we’ll find available carers in your area.

Private elderly carer

If you would prefer to employ your own carer you will have to find a private or self employed carer.

This means they are not attached to an agency or company. 

When choosing a elderly carer over a home care agency, make sure you have considered all of the pros and cons of each. 

General pros of choosing a private elderly carer

  • You can choose and hire the person you think is the most appropriate person 
  • You have full oversight of the care provided
  • A self employed carer can sometimes be a cheaper option

General downside of choosing a private elderly carer

  • Can be tricky to find a suitable carer
  • Self employed carers are not regulated by the CQC
  • Private carers may not have received the same level of training 
  • Interviews, background checks and references are your responsibility 
  • You may not have the knowledge and experience to vet their work 
  • You are responsible for direct payments 
  • Liability for job-related accidents in your home
Care at home

Find the care you need

There is a wide variety of care available to assist families during life’s later years.

If you need more information you might like to read our guides on personal care or what is domiciliary care.

If your loved one is living with dementia you can also find additional care guides on our dedicated dementia care section.