Elderly care homes alternatives and for’s & against’s

Eldery care homes alternatives

Elderly care homes alternatives– the low down!

Our own M.D.has (as a visitor) witnessed first-hand what it’s like to reside as a “Live- in” in a residential care home.

His own mother was resident in one for over a year. John does not want to sound like a hypocrite, or biased, pointing out that the decision to place his mother into residential care was taken entirely by his dad. Dad felt he could no longer cope with looking after mum at home. She was suffering with dementia. It was from these observations and experiences, the concept of Team Home Help was born.

elderly care homes alternatives
At home the place to be

Elderly care homes alternatives – first impression

John recalls: – The first time I entered the care home in which mother was residing I observed around some 20 residents, mainly ladies seated in armchairs, scattered around the large living room area.

All appeared to have a rather zombie- like appearance. Mainly semi sleeping, with their heads slumped to one side- lifeless shells of a real person. He observed some left unattended with saliva running down the corners of their mouth, many with stained blouses/shirts from food spillage.

Bizarrely the TV was on in the background with nobody, either watching, or listening. In fact during the whole time his mum was in there, never once did he witness anyone watching the TV! A useless piece of decoration to placate visiting relatives.

Sadly, he also observed the inmates (as he describe them) hour after hour, just sitting there. Many staring rather vacantly into blank space; those who were awake- that is.

The level of personal time dedicated by staff for each guest was virtually zero. Occasionally he saw the odd guest hauled to their feet to visit the toilet. This was virtually the only time they were “actually spoken to”. Even then is seemed to follow a script, with the usual pre rehearsed words such as “darling” or come on “Violet” time to go the toilet”.

Then back to their armchair and once more left to their own devices. Often there were uneaten dinners left on personal trolleys with nobody particularly interested, whether they ate it or not.

It appeared these rather sad looking people appesred one step from deaths-door! Perhaps left alone, as they are too ill, and beyond interaction with others and the carers. Elderly care homes alternatives there are a few!

Elderly care homes: staff

Some of the carers seemed quite pleasant, mostly spoke poor English, and appeared rushed off their feet. In conclusion a poor ratio of inmates to carers.

Many of the residential carer workers he got to know quite well. Indeed he regularly met them on his way into the building, often they were gathered outside having a chat and a cigarette. Nothing wrong with that, but they seemed somewhat ambivalent to the plight of the inmates.

Each guest was treated as a “unit” rather like an “empty shell” and not an individual with a past. So in conclusion, residential care without adequate staffing can be likened to a living death.

Being myself a curious person I decided to approach some of the inmates to see what I could get out of them-if anything!

After establishing their name, and who they were, we moved on to their past. I learned a lot about them, and they responded well. They perked up, stopped slumping in their chair, and showed me they were still very lucid. Most important they begin to smile! Going back to the time when they first met their husband/wife, wartime London, the blitz, etc. Even recalling some humorous and risqué behaviour they got up to.

On a couple of occasions a voluntary entertainment group arrived, and presented a cabaret show depicting time gone-by singing all the old songs from the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s- what a transformation!  They started tapping their feet, singing to the music, reawakening memories of their youth, and happy times.

It occurred to me this is what’s needed, instead of some useless television in the background.

Indeed, this is the kind of therapy needed all of the time. But sadly these visits were a rarity.

To add insult to injury, very sadly, due to mums confused state many of her personal possessions and jewellery went astray.

Residential elderly care -a better solution?

Elderly Care homes alternatives.

From our observations  Yes -there must be a better way.

In my honest opinion (with some assistance) 95% of these people could, with some support still be living in their own home, and in familiar surroundings. Albeit- due to confusions they may not even be aware it’s their own home.  Nevertheless-that’s where they should be. A care institution, is to be frank, often used by relatives as a dumping ground for an old person. Free of the burden and responsibility, comforted by reminding themselves it is the best place for them!

Elderly care homes alternatives-

simple continue living in their own home

Why not? (if affordable) an individual 1-1 carer must be a better option. Instead of being treated as a unit in an institution, patiently having to wait their turn. Why not, instead, enjoy being attended to, by a person solely dedicated to them. Perhaps to share the stories of their past, look through old photo albums- together, play a bit of music they like, be their friend, and dependable supporter.

I asked myself really-why were they placed  here in the first place?  Was it medical, physical or what?  I am sure in most cases it was not their choice. More likely the decision was taken by relatives.

From our research the costs for residential  care is as much as £1000.00 per week. Due to a complex system, some people receive partial funding, and others with higher financial resources have to self-fund. Once the funds have dwindled due to high costs for home visits-(which is where the cycle usually begins) the next phase (2) is often moved to a care home and then the residential dwelling is used as a lodged asset to fund it. The need to move on to phase two is often due to a worsening condition brought about by falls/tumbles due to periods of the day when the individual being left alone-when the home visits carers were not there with them.Elderly care homes: says “NO”

Our strong view is that the individual who  opted  earlier to engage  a live- in carer to  would perhaps never had to move on to phase 2.mainly due to their condition remaining stable-no falls or tumbles! Thus in most cases avoiding the need to ever go into a care home.

This is why we formed Team Home Help to deliver this level of individual home care assistance.

Elderly care-cost comparison.

 As we mentioned earlier:-

Residential care cost £900 + per week

Home visits,           £2-£500 per week

Agency carers       £800+per week. (Live-in)

TeamHomeHelp    £400+per week.

Our focus is delivering high quality live-in home help but more afordable.

We have devised a slightly different approach which reduces these formidable costs, delivers same, or better levels of care. Thus making live in care more affordable to the masses.

How can we reduce these cost? Answer: introduce carers from within the EU where wages are lower. At the same time cut out the profits of agencies and care homes. Let the individual employ them directly. By doing this we can bring costs down for a live-in carer to around £400.00 per week.

How has it worked out so far? Very well indeed, the calibre of applicant has been high, mostly University educated, some medically trained, high level of intellect, cultured, most enjoy the theatre, playing the piano, and havent lost the ancient art of reading books! On the other hand and in many ways more important, we seek out a kind sympathetic and empathic disposition. Many of our best carers previously worked in factories, supermarkets, etc.

Many of them offer to work (unrealistically and discouraged) 7 days per week without a break. Their main motive seems to be a wish to live in the UK to learn more about our country, and to improve their language skills. Indeed they do have more attractive choices to work in Germany, where there is a huge demand for this service, the pay is higher, and geographically much easier, when wishing to return home to visit family and friends. Indeed for many, it’s only a short car journey home.

So, what’s the downside you may ask? Mainly its linguistics especially in the early days. The younger generation speaks more or less flawless English but by and large, they don’t want to do this kind of work. Or they are short term and very picky-near to London etc. we feel for them it’s more of a holiday, with free board and lodgings. But they do speak much better English than the older generation.

Our older carers are more dedicated, and less fussy, but some struggle with linguistics in the early days. Having lived behind the “iron curtain” and raised in the cold war era,its not surprising. Denied freedom of travel, discouraged from learning English, only Russian as a second language- was encouraged. They endured a tough suppressed life style. However most of them did learn English-self-taught but of course it’s been dormant and untried in a western environment.

Basically they know all the words, but our accents throw them a bit. However those families who have given them a chance all reported, they adapted well and picked up the lingo quickly. Thus far none of our carers have ever been sent home due to language problems. Basically, they are bright and intelligent.

But for a few days and I mean only a few days, there are sometimes teething problems. Especially where the host family inadvertently uses colloquial terms such as: “Crikey my leg is giving me a bit of “GIP” today”! But to be fair, keep in mind you are paying them around half of the price of an English agency, who ironically, also often employ foreign carers.My dad had drop in carers, and he was always complaining he couldn’t understand a word they were saying.

So, if you want totally fluent English from day one-we struggle a bit. Alternative-800 quid per week and you might still get a foreign carer. Perhaps with lower educational standard so they will never improve. All we say is give them a bit of time. Plus usually the daily routine involves chores which are not related to language skills.

Elderly care homes a form of hidden euthanasia as the Pope once described it.

One question which often arises is “what if there is an emergency and they can’t make themselves clear”. We provide a written script covering all hypothetical scenarios to cover this eventuality. Moreover, if tuey are Czech or Slovak John’s wife “Libby” whon s born in Prague can take over any conversation of this nature.

Elderly care homes a sad outcome for any of our old folks. therre are out there viable elderly care home

Are there ever any situations where elderly people need to be hospitalised or taken into care.

John says… Yes, there is. My dad when close to his last days was hospitalised and I observed in there some dementia patients totally out of control. Many needed someone to attend to them 24/7. One gentleman with dementia, was forever wandering around picking up a heavy fire extinguisher and brandishing it about in a dangerous manner. Throwing it around the corridors and no sooner had they calmed him down he was off again. The time out of a nurse’s day to deal with this was immeasurable. I recall another female patient who was forever launching into a mad tirade of abuse at a nurse, using some of the worst languages I had ever heard. Totally out of control and impossible to calm down. Others were forever falling out of bed- literally every few minutes. The demands on nurses here were intolerable, they literally could not take their eye off them for a second. But of course they did not have the time.

I can honestly say having witnessed the scenarios described above there is a compelling case for tethering a patient for their own safety, or a sedative. I understand why it was used previously as there simply was no other way. These cases were unmanageable. But of course this practise was banned on the grounds of cruelty, human rights, and preserving their dignity. Very noble, but it’s the nurses who have to deal with these impossible cases. Equally, I saw cases in care homes where inmates were violent, and needed watching over all the time. Sadly, these people were beyond a live in carer, a cosy chat and sharing images from an old scrapbook.

elderly care homes.

Are you considering a placement for an elderly family member? We ask you to first, at least consider the option of a live in carer-it works!


How many of our elderly folk could have avoided some of these scenarios if they were looked after better at an earlier stage. Possibly avoiding those falls and tumbles which often precipitates heart attacks and weakening of their physical abilities after returning home post-hospitalisation. My own dad’s body was battered by these falls, and each time he came out of hospital his condition had deteriorated.

Elderly care homes -a poor option in our view.

John Babbage Team Home Help  www.teamhomehelp.co.uk