More than two thirds of Brits aged 65 and over would prefer to stay at home with a visiting carer, rather than move in with their family or into a care home, new research shows.
A poll of more than 2,000 over-65s found that 70% want to live as independently as possible in their own homes, citing the importance of feeling safe there (64%) and finding comfort in their own surroundings (60%).
In fact, more than one in five (21%) claim leaving their home behind would be as traumatic as a bereavement; and over one in 10 (11%) worry that their family would stop visiting them if they left their home, the study by Home Instead Senior Care found.
These findings have been made despite the fact that more than a quarter (29%) of over 65s feel lonely and 49% spend eight hours per day alone.
But of those respondents with a carer, almost all (99%) claim they have had a positive impact on their life, with nearly half (46%) stating that it means they see a friend every day.
Home Instead CEO Martin Jones said: “Companionship is a powerful resource for a person’s wellbeing – it speaks for itself when almost half of those asked feel that their visiting carer means they are seeing a friend every day. As we age, and may lose the ability to do certain things that we once could, it’s important to offer positive reinforcements and support to allow a person to live as independently as they can.
“Many of the people we support simply want company and conversation. We believe that in-home care can offer a fresh start, offering new opportunities and friendships. Most importantly it empowers our clients to live their way, in their own home.”
In most cases, technology means older people can maintain connections with the outside world, Home Instead said.
Over half (65%) of the survey respondents said they are staying connected by reaching out to family or friends more than once a week, while one in four do so daily. However, resilient Brits do not want to put all the emotional support on their loved ones, with 93% saying that “not being a burden” is important to them.
Yet the impact of regular companionship cannot be overstated. Nine in 10 Brits over-65 stated that having regular companionship helps older people stay mentally and physically healthy for longer, with improvements to mood, energy levels and motivation all widely recognised as key benefits by half of respondents.
And it’s not just older people living alone who can benefit. It can be just as difficult having a partner with an age-related condition, with over half (53%) such respondents admitting it makes them feel more isolated.
When respondents with a carer were asked which benefits it has brought to their life, they stated that the assistance has helped them to stay living in their own home for longer (66%), while 57% said it’s allowed them to maintain their independence.