“People treasure the past,” says TrinityCarer, John Mackay. “Being surrounded by your memories as you age, means you can still have a connection to the life you have had, and that is really important.”

Wanting to stay connected to our past as we age, is borne out in the research* too, which clearly shows that 97% of us would prefer to remain at home, rather than move into residential care as we get older. Staying close to family, friends, and communities that have been built up over a lifetime not only means staying connected but also allows more autonomy over our life. It means we can keep our beloved pets and avoid the stress and upheaval of packing up and moving into what can be a more institutional and regimented way of life in a care home.

And yet many people believe there is no choice but to move out of home and into residential care and there seems to be a lot of confusion around the options. Clearly, staying in your own home with all the support you need is not only preferable from an emotional point of view but it can also be the preferable option financially too. This is because stay at home care needs can be worked out on an hourly basis, making them completely flexible and designed to fit around both your needs – and your budget.

This is very different to a care home, where the costs are set and inflexible and of course where you can often feel lost in the care home routine. So, when you’re faced with weighing up your care needs, it’s important to look at all the options. You can stay at home with someone popping in to check you’ve taken your medication, run you to an appointment or help you out of bed in the mornings and equally if you need someone to live-in, providing one-on-one round the clock care, stay at home care is as much a viable option as moving into a home.

Carefully looking into how you pay for your care will also highlight all your options. The common understanding is that you will definitely need to pay for your care by the sale of your house but in some cases, your home may not be included in the means test to decide whether or not you are eligible for local council funding. This is especially true if you are a couple living at home, or you have another dependent family member living with you. In these cases, your home cannot be included as an asset.

If your care needs are more health care based, you could also be eligible for a little known NHS funding scheme, called, Continuing Healthcare Funding or CHC, as it is known, and you could decide to use this to stay at home. You could also be eligible for the government’s Attendance Allowance, available to anyone aged over 65 years, who has needed care with essential daily tasks for longer than six months.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s vital to realise that packing up your life-long home and moving into a residential care does not always have to be the answer. It’s important to explore all the options and by appointing an expert financial planner, who can help you both navigate the system and your finances might be a good idea. Just make sure they’re regulated by the Financial Services Authority and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked.

At Trinity Homecare, we’re passionate about supporting your at-home independence and we firmly believe there is always a genuine alternative to rest home care. So, if you’re weighing up your care options, and you’re thinking you might like to stay at home, then give one of our team a call. We’d love to hear from you.

*A nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults (aged 18-75) was surveyed by One Poll in July 2014.