Types of Care Service

Whether you are looking for a care service for yourself or for a loved one, it is important that you know what type of care you need.

It may have been suggested that you need a care home, perhaps you have had an accident or are starting to need more help to get through your daily tasks. Although for some people this may be the case, it is not always the right solution. There are alternative options that could suit you better so make sure to do your research so you know exactly what is best for you.

These options may be:

Home adaptations

There are a number of simple changes you can make to your home in order to make life easier and more comfortable for you.

Accessing your home

If there are steps up to your front door consider adding in a ramp or handrails. Outdoor lighting can also be a great addition for better visibility when it is dark.

Answering the door

If getting to the front door is difficult for you, there are a number of options you can consider. You could have an intercom system installed that lets you speak to visitors who are at the door and control who is let in, or you could get a police-approved key safe that holds your house key in a secure box by the front door. This is a really good option if you want to give someone the ability to let themselves in e.g. friends, relatives or carers.

Getting up and moving around your home

If you find it hard to stand up from a chair or get into bed, there are powered riser-recliner chairs you can get plus specialist beds that lower you to sit or lie down and raise you into a position where it’s easier to stand. Having hoists installed next to your chair or bed is also an option to help pull yourself up or ease yourself down.

It is important to have a well lit home so you can see where you’re going. Motion sensor lights are a good option as they can turn on automatically when you enter or move around a room.

Making door frames wider or reversing the way your doors open can make it easier for you to move around your home, especially if you use a wheelchair. A stairlift or even an additional handrail can make getting up and down the stairs much easier.

Help in the bathroom

If you need help in the bathroom there are a number of adaptations you can make. Hands-free toilets offer automated washing and drying functions, if you have a bath you could install a battery-powered bath lift that will assist you in getting in and out of the bath or you could opt for a side-opening bath that will allow you to step into your bath rather than climbing over the edge. Alternatively you could swap your bath for a walk-in style shower and install a shower seat to help with stability and give yourself a place to rest if needed.

If you are worried about overfilling the bath or sink, you can get a flood detector that sends an alert to a monitoring centre if the water starts to overflow. An alternative could be to simply get a special safety plug that ensures the water only reaches a certain level to avoid overflow.

Help in the kitchen

Consider how you use your kitchen and what adjustments would make things easier for you. Some suggestions would be cupboards with pull-out shelves so you can easily reach everything, having a wheelchair accessible sink installed if necessary, a sturdy trolley to help you move food and drinks between rooms, or a perching stool to support you whilst you carry out tasks standing up.

Some smaller appliances that could make things easier for you in the kitchen could be an assistive tin, bottle and jar opener, a kettle tipper, a spike board which lets you cut or peel vegetables one-handed, high-rimmed plates and two-handled cups.

If you’re concerned about falls and safety, you could get a personal alarm that has a button you push that calls the 24-hour Emergency Resolution Centre for help if you have an accident while you are alone. Remote control plugs and lights are also a good idea so you don’t need to worry about bending down to switch plugs on and off.

Help managing your medication

Dosette boxers are a really useful way to arrange your medication for the week or month and can help you keep track of when you need to take it. You could also get a medication dispenser that sounds an alarm and dispenses your medication when you need to take it.


Homecare, also known as domiciliary care can be arranged through your local council or through a private agency. Care staff will travel to the homes of people who need assistance, so it is ideal for someone who wants to stay living in their own home but still needs support with daily tasks. This person may be older, disabled or managing an illness.

The kinds of services available to help you in your own home include:

  • getting in and out of bed
  • bathing and washing
  • getting dressed and undressed
  • going to the toilet
  • preparing meals
  • cleaning
  • fitting equipment and adaptations to your home, such as stairlifts and bath seats going to a day centre
  • Homecare is one of the more flexible options as it offers differing levels of care with no long-term commitment.

Companionship care

If you or a loved one is lonely or could potentially become lonely, companionship care is a great option. It aims to reduce or prevent loneliness in an older person by providing them with some company for several hours a day or even just a few hours a week. So if you are still able to live independently and do not want to go into a care home but simply want some company, this could be the ideal option for you.

Loneliness is a big problem that affects hundreds of people across the UK. It can lead to depression, poor mental health and wellbeing and make existing illnesses and conditions worse. Having somebody to talk to and go on outings with can have a huge impact on someone’s outlook on life and help them feel valued and supported.

Live-in care

Live-in care is when a care worker comes to live in the home of the person they are looking after to support them with anything that they need. This is a really good option for someone who needs assistance and companionship throughout the day and night and has the extra space to accommodate another person living with them.

Live-in care may not be for everyone and it has a number of pros and cons. One of the main benefits of this type of care however, is it allows you to stay in the comfort of your own home and retain as much of your independence as possible whilst receiving as much care as you need. Remaining in a familiar environment is very beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing, and by staying in your own home you remain a part of your community, close to friends, family and neighbours.

It is important that you choose a care worker who you will get along with well as you will be spending a lot of time together. It is crucial to make sure all checks are carried out properly and completed before you let this person or people come and live in your home. You should also consider any extra costs this decision may require, as it is important that your house is in good shape and is a comfortable place for your care worker to live. They will need their own room that is in good condition and any renovation will be an extra cost.

Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing is suitable for people who can live independently most of the time but just need some occasional support. Some common features of sheltered housing include:

  • help from a warden who you can call in an emergency
  • 24-hour emergency alarm systems
  • communal areas and facilities like gardens, lounges and laundry services social activities and events

Meals, personal care and help with household duties are not normally provided.

The features and levels of support on offer vary depending on the scheme you choose. Before you make a decision, make sure you understand what services are available with each scheme, how much it will cost, if there is a service charge and how much this is. and if there are any rules that could affect you, such as no pets allowed.

Sheltered housing can be provided by your local council or can be arranged privately.

Extra care housing

Also known as assisted living, very sheltered housing or retirement villages, offers more support than sheltered housing. You live in your own flat or bungalow but staff are available up to 24 hours per day to support you with whatever you need. Some common features of extra care housing include:

  • meals provided
  • personal care like washing, dressing, going to the toilet, taking medication etc.
  • domestic support like shopping, doing laundry etc.
  • as well as some communal areas like lounges and cafes too.
  • help from a warden who you can call in an emergency
  • 24-hour emergency alarm systems
  • communal lounges and cafes
  • social activities and events

It is not compulsory to receive care and assistance when you first move in as you can sign up to it later. The level of support can also be increased whenever you need.

Close care housing

Close care housing is where sheltered accommodation is linked to or on the same site as a care home. This is an ideal arrangement for couples who have different needs but do not want to be separated. The partner who requires more support can live in the care home and have the full range of assistance that they need, while the other partner can live independently on the grounds but still see their partner as much as they want.

Close care housing is also a great option for someone who wants to remain as independent as possible for as long as they can, but is aware that they will need more help in the future. Whilst they are living in independent accommodation on the site they can form friendships with other residents and staff, so when the time comes for them to move into the care home the transition will be much smoother.

Useful links

Care Quality Commission - Service Types

NHS - Care services, equipment and care homes

Age UK - Personal care at home services 

Age UK - Housing options

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