home help for elderly
Care

Home help: A complete guide to this essential service

7 min read

As we get older, a little bit of home help often goes a long way.

People worry about asking for help at home as they don’t want to be labelled as being unable to look after themselves.

But this shouldn’t be the case.

Let’s have a look at what home help includes and how it can support you or your loved one.

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

  • Home help refers to support with regular household tasks like preparing meals, cleaning and food shopping. 
  • It can also be a great source of companionship and social interaction for elderly people living alone.
  • Home help is not the same as home care, and those involved won’t necessarily be able to support nursing or care tasks.
What is home help?

What is home help?

It’s a service that you pay for where someone comes to help you with tasks around your home. 

Such tasks include but aren’t limited to:

  • Running errands eg. collecting prescriptions from the pharmacy
  • Shopping at the supermarket
  • Laundry and housework 
  • Preparing meals 
  • Companionship and socialising
  • Organisation and tidying 
home help for elderly

What is home help not?

It’s important to note that it is not the same as having a hired cleaner or housekeeper.

Home help providers work specifically with older people and those with additional needs. 

By helping around the house, the service enables them to maintain their independence at home. 

Home help can be used alone or alongside other care at home services, depending on your loved ones level of need.

old people home help

Home help Vs home care

These types of support service come under the bracket of home care visits

This is because you receive help in your own home, rather than a residential facility. 

Some providers offer home help as part of their home care packages. So you can get help with tasks like washing and dressing as well as household help or companionship. 

But not all home help providers are trained to support nursing or medical tasks like administering medication or personal care.

 

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When you need a professional

These types of task must be performed by a domiciliary care professional. There’s more here on what is domiciliary care.

As some care agencies distinguish between household tasks and care tasks, be clear about the level of help you need. 

Stay flexible

The level of care may change over time, in which case you would book more hours or request a different care support package.

This could range from a few hours a day or week, multiple daily visits or full-time live-in care. 

If you’re not sure what help you need now, a care needs assessment by the local council may be a useful starting point.

How much does home help cost?

The average cost of in the UK is £15 an hour.

This number could change depending on where you live in the UK. 

Unlike home care, help at home does not come under the remit of the council if you have had a care needs assessment. 

You will have to fund these costs yourself. 

Talk to providers to understand their costs and find something that works for you.

Home help Vs home care

Who can receive help in their home?

This service is for older people who need a bit of help around the house with everyday tasks. 

Needing help as you age is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed about or resistant to. 

Older people are more likely to receive support due to reduced mobility, as well as confidence in their abilities. 

And while they are living independently at home, some tasks can become tricky to do alone.

Such help with physical tasks could prevent a fall or other type of injury or incident. 

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Independence for longer

Domestic help allows older people to live independently at home for longer. 

In fact, staying in the comfort and familiar surroundings of your own home as you age is a great option for getting older.

Other care needs may arise, and they can be supported accordingly, as and when care is needed.  

This support can be given at home by dedicated live in care teams, meaning you don’t have to move to a care home and incur care home costs.

Who can receive help in their home?

Who provides home help?

In previous generations, support would be provided by the family member responsible for the care of elderly relatives.

But times have changed a lot, and some people can no longer dedicate this time to unpaid care roles.

Younger generations may struggle to juggle their own lives with care for elderly parents, due to the demands of work or young families. 

There is an answer

Services can be hired from external sources such as care agencies or self employed professionals. 

These outsourced providers are experienced, professional and available to suit your needs exactly.

Questions to ask a home help...and they may ask you

There are countless questions you might want to ask when you’re searching for support, or home care services.

Let’s take a look at the most important ones, theme by theme.

Experience in home help

  • How long have you been providing these services?
  • What have you supported other clients with in the past?
  • Can you provide references from previous clients?
  • Are there any special services that you’re trained to provide?
Who provides home help?

Type of home help

  • What tasks are you able to support me with?
  • Are you happy to spend time chatting? 
  • Can you help me with X condition…?
  • How many times can you visit a week?
  • Will I see the same carer every time?

Security and finance

  • Will you have a key to my house?
  • How much will it cost an hour?
  • Are you insured?
  • Can you break down the costs?
  • How often will I be billed?
home help

Questions that may be asked of you

Don’t forget that this is a two-way street and the home help may have some questions for you – to ensure they can meet your needs.

Their questions will likely be broken down into the following themes.

Mobility and ability

  • Are you struggling with tasks around the house?
  • Why are you seeking home help?
  • Are you able to answer the door?
  • Is there anything you can’t do at home?
  • Are you struggling with tasks around the house?
home help for elderly

Medical questions and wellbeing

  • Do you have any complex care needs or a medical diagnosis?
  • Are there times when you feel lonely? 
  • Do you need help with personal care?
  • Have you had a carer in the past?

General questions

  • Do you have any pets?
  • Are you living alone? 
  • Are any family members living close by?
  • Do you want to be independent at home?
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