An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.
Help for the Elderly Living at HomeArticle by Daniel Westhead
At some point in everyone's lives, people have to grapple with arranging help for the elderly living at home. It's not an easy decision because we all want the best for our ageing parents and grandparents. Plus, there are countless options to consider, from becoming a full-time carer to organising private support.
Overwhelmed and unsure which is best? We don't blame you. The first step is understanding your options, the pros and cons of each and what financial support may be available. Keep reading as we cover all this and more.
How to care for an elderly person at home
Firstly, how do you care for an elderly person at home? The most important thing to remember is you have options. You don't need to feel guilty about your choice because everyone's situation is completely unique.
Some people prefer to care for their parents themselves, which often means quitting their jobs, moving their relative in (or moving out to be with their relative) and learning about complex medical conditions like arthritis and dementia.
This avenue can feel lonely and overwhelming, but there’s plenty of support available to soften the transition. Local authorities offer respite care, including day centres and volunteer services. Plus, you could always invest in a personal safety alarm, so you don't have to worry about your loved one while shopping, socialising or studying.
Understandably, this isn’t feasible for everyone, which is where home care services for the elderly can help. Some families arrange full-time support, whereas others only need part-time assistance. Funding often determines the frequency of visits – people who have to pay privately for care can't always afford as many hours as those who receive government allowances. That’s because financial assistance from the council is means-tested (more on this later).
Giving up your life to care for an elderly parent
If you've decided to become the main source of help for your elderly relatives, prepare for your life to change. Not necessarily for the worse – becoming a carer is incredibly life-affirming, and you'll learn amazing skills that can also be used in professional settings. However, there's inevitably an adjustment period as you take on more responsibility and settle into a new routine.
What financial support is available?
One of the most common questions we receive is – what financial support is available for carers in the UK? Luckily, there are several benefits you can claim, depending on your unique circumstances. Before tackling the forms, you must arrange a carer’s assessment with the social services department of your local council. They will decide whether you’re eligible.
If you meet the criteria, you may be entitled to the below benefits (some are paid directly to the care recipient to help cover costs):
- Carer's Allowance – the main benefit for unpaid carers
- Carer's Credit – not money, but a national insurance credit that plugs gaps in your national insurance record
- Carer's Element – an extra payment on top of Universal Credit for those that are eligible for Carer’s Allowance
- Attendance Allowance – paid directly to people of state pension age to help cover additional costs
- Personal Independence Payment – if the person you care for has a mental health condition or disability, they may be entitled to PIP
On top of this, councils often offer grants towards home adaptations and equipment, tax reductions and discounts on essential goods. We recommend contacting your local authority or Citizens Advice for more information.
The pros and cons of becoming a carer
If providing help for the elderly living at home is financially viable, you might be wondering about the pros and cons before making a decision. After all, this could be your life for the foreseeable future.
Let's start with the positives. Caring for your elderly relatives is often cheaper than hiring private help, even if you don't receive as much on benefits as you would in full-time employment. Splitting care with other family members or introducing a 24/7 monitoring system can further reduce costs by allowing you to work part-time.
For many, being the main help at home also alleviates some of the anxiety around strangers. You don't have to worry about inexperienced carers who are often time-strapped and less emotionally invested. You'll be able to provide the compassionate, high-quality care your loved one deserves.
What about the cons? As you can imagine, being responsible for someone else’s wellbeing can become exhausting, which is why it's so crucial to keep up with self-care practices. Alongside relaxing activities, like meditation and exercise, respite care can give you a much-needed break. Volunteers will look after your relative while you complete a few chores or simply wind down.
Home care services for the elderly
Now, let's move on to home care services for the elderly. There are two main types – government-funded and private. In reality, many people combine both, using whatever allowances they're entitled to and then topping the hours up with personal savings.
Government-funded care for the elderly at home
Most home care services for the elderly aren't free. However, you might be eligible for support depending on your living arrangements, savings and disabilities.
Local councils should pay towards the cost of your social care if you have less than £23,250 in savings. We know it’s not a lot, but here's some good news. This upper capital limit is rising to £100,000 from October 2025, meaning you don't have to decimate your safety net to afford life-changing assistance.
You’ll be means-tested to determine the amount of funding receive. Although we can't provide exact figures, there are three outcomes:
- The council covers most of the care costs, and you pay a small contribution
- The council covers a small part of the care costs, and you pay a larger contribution
- You pay the full amount for care
Private care for the elderly at home
If you don't qualify for any help, you'll have to cover the full costs of home care services for the elderly – at least until you fall under the savings threshold. Expect to pay a skilled professional between £15 and £30 per hour. You might be able to save money if you offer part-time or full-time lodgings as an incentive.
While this option doesn't sound great at first glance, there are benefits to paying for your own carer. You can shop around and vet agencies. Moreover, you can find specialised carers who have more experience with specific medical conditions.
Care at home isn’t an option: what’s the alternative?
It's not always possible to provide help for the elderly living at home. Eventually, many people require more thorough support to cope with age-related disorders. In these cases, you might have to explore alternative options, including assisted living and residential care.
How to find assisted living for elderly people?
Assisted living is a fantastic option for older people who still want to be independent but require a little extra assistance. Seniors are pretty much left to their own devices until they need help washing, dressing, going to the loo or taking medication. If this sounds suitable, you can search for complexes online or contact the council for more information.
What does assisted living look like? Basically, individuals have a self-contained flat (and sometimes a garden) with the same creature comforts as normal accommodation. However, carers are always on hand to help and, like digital safety pendants, support is only a button click away. Plus, there are often meal delivery, laundry and shopping services for unparalleled convenience.
What is residential care for the elderly?
Residential care is usually the last resort for families, partly because of cost and partly because people prefer to keep their loved ones close for as long as possible. Residential homes (also known as care homes) are secure but welcoming facilities that provide 24/7 support to vulnerable older adults.
Why might an elderly person need residential care? Usually, it's because they have a progressive disease that requires specialist intervention, like dementia. Most family members simply don't have the skills to handle their progressively complex physical and emotional needs.
Care homes aren't cheap, which is why people explore all other avenues first. On average, it costs around £800 a week for a care home and £1,078 a week for a nursing home. What's the difference? Nursing homes always have a qualified nurse on-site and provide a higher level of medicalised care. Care homes don't have immediate access to medical professionals in emergencies.
The government may help with some of the costs after a care needs assessment, which is similar to a carer's assessment and also means-tested.
Keep your loved ones at home for as long as possible
Of course, prolonging help and maintaining your loved one's independence for as long as possible is the ultimate goal. That's why we've created a range of easy-t-use, affordable safety alarms with awesome features like fall detection, GPS tracking and 24/7 monitoring. The user-friendly device will contact a friend, family member or trained SureSafe operator in an emergency.