The benefits of growing old in your own home
18 March 2020
Home sweet home
It may come as little surprise that the majority of us would like to stay in our own homes for as long as possible as we get older. The Care Choice Gap Report published by Consultus Care & Nursing found that 97% of respondents said they feel most comfortable in their own home, and 71% wanted still to be living in their own home when they were 75 or older. By contrast, only 3% said they would choose to go into a care home.
The benefits of staying in your own home
While an Englishman’s home may be his castle, research suggests it is much more than that: staying in your home can help preserve your health and wellbeing, according to several reports:
- People are three times more likely to suffer a fall in a care home than in their own home – and ten times more likely to suffer a serious injury as a result (Department of Health)
- Residents in care homes are three times more likely to suffer depression than their peers who are cared for at home (Social Care Institute for Excellence)
- People who end their lives at home enjoy better quality of care in their last months than those who pass in a care home, according to a government survey (Department of Health, First national VOICES survey of bereaved people, July 2012 )
“Staying in your own home can also be hugely beneficial for people with dementia, especially in the early stages, as staying in familiar surroundings can help reduce confusion,” explains Kieron Brennan, director of All About Home Care, which provides care ranked outstanding by the Care Quality Commission for people living in Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, and which specialises in dementia care.
As well as the health benefits, there are also big financial incentives to avoiding residential care: staying in your own home can be much cheaper than moving into a care home.
Helping you to stay in your own home
As we get older, many of us may need assistance to continue living independently in our own home. This might be through home improvements – such as installing stair lifts, shower rails and non-slip flooring – or through home care, also known as domiciliary care.
“It’s worth getting expert advice to find out what measures are likely to help you enjoy the best possible quality of life for as long as possible, keeping you safe physically and mentally,” advises Kieron. “There are lots of mobility gadgets available that can greatly increase your safety and independence, and having even a small amount of care, such as help with bathing or shopping, can help to maintain dignity.”
Options for funding domiciliary care
Both home improvements and care in your home cost money. The Care Choice Gap Report warns that:
“A lack of planning means that care choices can be limited by circumstance or finances… Greater awareness of ways to fund elderly care is urgently needed, whether this is through specialist mortgages, tax incentives or savings initiatives.”
If you – or mum or dad – don’t have sufficient funds to make the necessary changes so you can carry on living safely in your own home, it may be worth exploring whether equity release (a ‘specialist mortgage’) is a potential solution.
“As more of us are living for longer, we are being approached by more people who are considering equity release to pay for age-proofing their home or domiciliary care to give them peace of mind that they can stay in the home they love, enjoying a safe, independent life,” comments Jan Johnson, director of 55+ Equity Release. “You don’t have to make any interest payments and your equity release loan is normally only repayable when you either go into a care home or pass away, so your current disposable income will still be available to help maintain your quality of life.”
If you’d like to explore whether equity release could be a solution to help you stay in your home for longer, one of our expert advisers will be happy to talk you through the options and how they relate to your personal circumstances.