What is it like having a Live in Carer?
So many people have asked me. For me it is the best decision I ever made. My wonderful live in Carer has provided my life with new possibilities, increased freedom and choice and restored my confidence and dignity. They are fascinated that I can have a total stranger living with me. In some ways I agree with them and when it was first suggested that I consider having a Live in Carer, I thought not on my watch. Dear God I am not going have a total stranger take control of my life and tell me what to do. I am all grown up, I don’t need that.
However I started to consider the alternatives and they are not good, go into a care home – never have a stream of strangers pop in throughout the day no I don’t like the idea of that. Visiting care is even more expensive so that’s not good either.
So I began my investigations and my eyes opened it would seem many are opting for having a live-in carer as it offers privacy, dignity and the valued ability of staying in my own home amongst precious belongings and memories.
Some had of Course described dreadful experiences but I secretly knew how impossible that person could be and in truth I felt sorry for the Live in Carer. We all know that ageing is not for the week and some adjust others get angry and resentful and will take it out on the closest person around. Some had told me of the friendships they had made with their Live in Carers and how they enjoyed having a new perspective of the world.In fact they said their lives had dramatically changed and in many ways felt younger and more capable, that it was nice having someone around to reassure them and give confidence in their decision and choices. In fact many had grown very close to their Live in Carer as it is the person they intrust their lives, happiness, freedom and their health to. The overriding benefits many described far outweighed the alternative of considering going into a full time Care Home.
Kathy was introduced to me by UK Live in Care and she has been absolutely marvellous, thanks to her I get to go and visit my friends or they come and visit me and Kathy arranges Tea cakes and biscuits for us all to enjoy. What I really enjoy about Kathy is her innate sense of when I want some company and when I need to be alone. She is not intrusive she is just plain simply wonderful. She is the pair of hands I can no longer be.
When I could no longer drive I knew I had to do something, my children live far away and they are very busy I knew I couldn’t ask them for help. I did not want to go into a home and leave my own home and my independence there had to be a solution. This is when I first started looking at having a Live in Carer. I spoke to a lot of agencies and many of them were happy to take instructions over the phone. However there was one that said they insisted on visiting me at home and they were UK Live in Care. This I liked as I wanted them to know me and my home, my abilities and disabilities, my needs and my fears and I wanted to meet the people with whom I would entrust to find me a suitable person. They were wonderful women who were warm and understanding and who knew exactly how I felt as they had been in the same position but as Carers with many years of experience.
They were very honest about what I should expect and what was not on the Carers duty list. Too many times they told me that Live in Carers had been taken advantage of and been treated like slaves. This they would not tolerate and likewise they would not recommend a Carer that was not of a high standard and could not perform as expected. The relationship had to be on an equal footing where both parties would be respectful and and both expect fair conditions. I liked this attitude as it was ethical and I wanted the same treatment, fairness all round.
They told me that the HMRS states that a live in care may only be on duty for 11 hours of the day and that they must have a 3 hour break and this is when the carer can leave the premises to do some of her own shopping or meet a friend etc. If I was unable to cope alone then another form of support needed to be put in place such as visiting care.
In their experience and because Carers are genuinely kind and giving people they often stretch themselves and this has resulted in seriously affecting the health of the carer to such an extent that they are no longer able to work. This they would not tolerate. So to solve this I explained my daily routine and we managed to arrange my routine to fit into the 13 hours the carer was available. Of course the carer would always be on the premises in case of emergency apart from her three hour break. However this does not mean they work 24/7.
Although a Carer generally earns about £600.00 per week if you total the hours on site that the job demands their wages are at less than half the recommended minimum pay rate. When you consider the difference these incredible men and women make to a frail and vulnerable elderly person’s life such as myself I am incredibly grateful to these amazing people and they are to be commended.
I have not looked back since that meeting as we all knew what to expect and the boundaries that must be adhered to. Thus avoiding any misunderstandings along the way and underwriting the path going forward. Thank you UK Live in Care without you I would be in a home, awful and thank you Kathy I am forever indebted to you.!