When looking into the different types of care available, it can be a bit confusing. Terms like ‘Nursing Home’ and ‘Retirement Home’ are sometimes used interchangeably by the general public. In reality, these places offer quite different things, often working differently and providing different levels of care.

Below are the differences between the types of homes available and what types of care are on offer at these homes so you can have a better understanding of what you (or your elderly relative) might need.

Residential Care, Dementia Care, Nursing Care, and Respite Care

What is Residential Care?

Residential Care typically describes the type of general personal care provided to someone living within a home designed for people who need support for daily tasks and basic needs like washing, eating, and mobility. This type of care is sometimes referred to as ‘personal care’ or ‘assisted living’.

People may need different levels of support throughout the day depending on their abilities. They may need help in the morning or evening – such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and personal care and taking medication. They may also need help getting around throughout the day, assistance with meals, and going to the toilet.

What is Dementia Care?

Dementia Care is the specialist care provided to people living with dementia – the symptoms of brain diseases most commonly found in elderly people that affect memory, confusion, speech, and mobility. There are different types of dementia which will require different levels of care; dementia can develop over time so more care might be needed through the stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the most common types of dementia.

People with dementia can live at home or within a care home. Some might choose to live in a Residential Care Home that specialises in Dementia Care to ensure they receive the specialist care that they need. It’s also good to know that you’ll be able to access increasing levels of care as dementia progresses without having to move home – though this is sometimes necessary to make sure your needs are met.

What is Nursing Care?

Nursing Care is medical care managed by a registered nurse, often with the support of carers also providing personal care. Nursing Care is a higher level of care, suitable for people who require regular medical treatment such as injections.

This kind of care enables people to continue to live as independently as possible outside of a hospital. Registered nurses may specialise in specific areas of medical care such as ventilator care, tracheostomy care, or brain injury care.

What is Respite Care?

Respite Care is for anyone who requires personal or Nursing Care needs and usually has these needs met at their home by family or primary carer. They’ll temporarily move into a Residential Care Home where a team of carers meet their needs to give their family/primary carer a break (or ‘respite’) from caring for them.

Retirement Home, Residential Care Home, Nursing Home, or Hospice?

What is a Retirement Home?

Retirement Homes are for elderly people who want to live alongside other elderly folks within a complex of independent flats or in an area of smaller residences (a Retirement Village). They’re ideal for people who want to maintain as much independence as possible while living in a place designed to meet the average needs of someone later in their life.

They can include more support with things like building or garden maintenance, better accessibility like stairlifts, and community organised activities like coffee mornings and bingo. While all residents live within their own self-contained residences, there may be communal areas for these activities.

While you can receive personal care services in a Retirement Home by hiring a private care worker (or through a care provider associated with the Retirement Home), not all residents will require this care and the home won’t necessarily specialise in any type of care.

What is a Residential Care Home?

Residential Care Homes provide a safe living environment for (typically elderly) people who require support for everyday living and care for any health needs.

Residential Care Homes are suitable for people who might struggle to live independently. They can offer around the clock personal care and support for things like daily bathing, cooking, getting dressed, personal hygiene, taking medicines, and using the toilet. This care is typically for elderly people who don’t require regular medical care, though they might have certain disabilities or mental illnesses that carers can support without the everyday assistance of a registered nurse.

Depending on the size of the residential home, residents can: live with their partners or spouses; participate in organised activities and events provided by the home; and enjoy amenities within the home, which can include bistros, hairdressers, and cinema rooms.

Residential Care Homes can offer a range of care services (including Nursing Care), though not all residents will have the same level of needs. The home may not specialise in any specific kind of care, and this can make them ideal for couples who have different needs but want to continue living together. Residential Care Homes can also specialise in specific types of care e.g. Dementia Care or Nursing Care.

What is a Nursing Home?

A Nursing Home is a specialist type of Residential Care Home that primarily offers Nursing Care. Nursing Homes are referred to by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as ‘care homes with nursing’.

While Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes can both offer care at all times of day and night, the main feature of a Nursing Home that makes it distinct is that at least one qualified nurse, as well as the carers, will always be there to offer medical care to residents.

This means that Nursing Homes can provide a high level of medical care to their residents and are suitable for elderly residents who have medical conditions that require ongoing treatment from nurses. Nursing Homes are typically more expensive due to this higher level of care provided.

While there are Residential Care Homes where you can receive Nursing Care (often called Duel-registered Care Homes), residents at Nursing Homes typically all require a similarly high level of medical care and have chosen to live somewhere that specialises in this type of care. Nursing Homes can offer many of the same facilities as other Residential Care Homes (such as bistros and hairdressers) but will be designed around providing for residents’ medical and accessibility needs.

Duel-registered Care Homes are great if a resident’s needs increase over time. Even if they go from only requiring personal care to needing Nursing Care – they won’t have to move home.

What is a Hospice?

A Hospice is a specialist type of Residential Care Home that focuses on end-of-life care.

Hospices exist to support people who are dying and their families to enable them to be as comfortable as possible before they pass away. On top of the personal care and Nursing Care that you’d receive at the homes above, hospices typically also offer counselling or advice services that someone might need when they’re dying – such as spiritual support or legal help.

What do Oakland Care offer?

Oakland Care have six Care Homes that all offer Residential Care, Nursing Care, Respite Care, and Dementia Care. We’re passionate about allowing all our residents to live as independently as possible while providing for all their care needs to the highest standards.

You can find out more about our homes as well as more about our mission, vision, and values. For any more information, don’t hesitate to contact us – our friendly team would love to help you.