We are so pleased to introduce our guest bloggers, Loretta and Julie, from Home and Company – a fantastic home care services company based in Brighton. Over the next two weeks Loretta and Julie will be talking about the different care options available. Over to Loretta and Julie…

There is a huge spectrum of choice in the world of home-help and care, and no one-size fits all. As our needs change, so the help we need changes over time. We’ve been helping a number of people recently with choosing what’s next, so here is our summary of the options. This week’s blog focuses on care in your own home:

Getting started

Often the first stage is getting some help at home. It might be as simple as having a cleaner for the first time. It might be a bit more involved than that, perhaps a home-help individual or organisation that can help with shopping, cooking, and other jobs around the house like laundry and changing the bed linen. You might need help with washing and dressing. It might be that what you really want is someone to go out with for an outing and a coffee, in which case you will need your helper to have a car.

If you make an arrangement directly with an individual it may well cost you less, although if you are their only source of work you may need to employ them officially. This includes responsibility for tax, national insurance, pension contributions as well as dealing with any difficulties about how well they are working for you.  If you use a home-help or home care organisation it is likely to cost you more, although you will have the benefit that they deal with the employment side of things, will be able to arrange cover in case of sickness or holidays, and handle the bills with you so that you don’t have to have a direct financial relationship with your helper. If you are speaking with home-help or home care companies make sure you ask if they can ensure you have the same person each time and can guarantee they arrive at the times you have asked for.

Very little is paid for by the local authority these days. If you have assets or savings of more than £23,250 then you will need to pay personally for any help at home. If you’re over 65 years and need help and support at home you may be able to get the Attendance Allowance which is not means tested so it’s definitely worth applying for. You can print off the form from here or phone the helpline on 0345 605 6055.

Staying put

If you are staying at home it might be worth thinking about making some adjustments to your property. Some small aids and adaptations could make your home much easier to live in. Simple things like long-handled shoehorns and grabbers can make dressing much quicker. Raisers can make beds and chairs much easier to get in and out of. Kettle tippers can be the difference between making a cup of tea and not bothering. Grab rails are great for getting in and out of the front door. Other adaptations might be required on a more grand-scale, like having a ramp installed or re-fitting a shower and toilet downstairs. Age UK has a great website with information on adapting your home and Brighton and Hove has some excellent mobility centres which stock a range of equipment. Door intercom systems, secure locks, security lights, burglar alarms, carelink alarms, fire and smoke detectors may also help give peace of mind if you are living independently.

If you feel you need a significant amount of care and want to remain in your own home then having a live-in carer is another option. Again, you can employ your own live-in carer directly or use an agency to help you find and employ someone. Many of the agencies work on a rota system whereby you may have a live-in carer for two weeks who is then replaced with another carer for two weeks, and so on. You will need to have a property with a spare bedroom for the carer.

Case study:

Mr & Mrs D were suddenly plunged into crisis. Mrs D, carer for her husband in his 90’s, broke her hip and was whisked into hospital. The paramedics were aware that Mr D couldn’t be left and so he went along for the ride, but by the following day the hospital were trying to find somewhere for him to stay whilst Mrs D recovered. Their son asked Home & Company to find a live-in carer at short notice to prevent Mr D being placed in a care home, knowing that Mrs D would be back home within a number of weeks. By the following day a very experienced live-in carer was put in place for an initial four weeks. Three months on, Mrs D is back at home, and the family have made the live-in position permanent as a way of Mr & Mrs D remaining in their own home. It’s worth noting that the house is a good size so everyone can have their own space!

Live-in care doesn’t have to be permanent. It can also be a great way to provide intensive care in the short term following illness or discharge from hospital. Funding live-in care can be a concern for people. There are financial advisors who are specially accredited to work with older people through the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) and can help with equity release and other appropriate schemes. Look up your local SOLLA advisor at www.societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk or call 0333 2020 454.

Next week’s blog will focus on care outside your own home so keep an eye out for the next post from Loretta and Julie.


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