Clients come to Christies Care needing help with a wide range of different conditions – from dementia to a severe physical disability (either acquired or congenital). Our clients may need full personal care and help with all movement, or they may just want the companionship and reassurance of someone else being there.
Many of our clients do not have a single serious disabling condition. They want and need a full-time housekeeper and companion because as they get more elderly, they have a gradual loss in ability to live comfortably without help, and may have become increasingly isolated and lonely (especially if family is too far away to visit frequently).
A live-in companion means that our client has somebody around the house, all the time. Somebody to be there, in case of accident or illness; someone to keep on top of the housework and to cook appetizing meals; someone to talk to, to take their client out to see friends (or to help entertain visiting friends); someone to take their client to church, the cinema, or out for a pub lunch.
A live-in companion stops our client’s family from worrying.
Our client’s family know that their parent(s) is safe, is not neglecting themself, and is not getting lonely (and loneliness, according to the NHS, can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and well-being).
And when someone inevitably, gets more frail and needs actual care as well as companionship, our live-in carers are all trained to help with caring tasks, such as helping with medication, helping their client wash, dress and get around; and helping with other personal care. So our client keeps the carers they know and like, whatever their condition.
What does it cost? Live-in companionship care is always at the lower end of our price range (which we typically quote at between £900 and £1,300 a week).
Fidelity Cranbrook is an example of the advantages of an attentive companion making it possible for someone to stay in her own home with her garden and dog, in the same village that she had lived in since she married.
Widowed at 66, she lived in a village with sons and other relations in easy reach. Only when she approached 90 did anyone start to get anxious about her driving, her memory and a gradual increase in mild hallucinations.
The tipping point, when her relations realised that they had to ‘do something’, was when both her sons were going to be away for three weeks at the same time. No-one else was close enough to come and check that she was OK, or to help in the middle of the night.
After those three weeks, her sons agreed that they had had their first three weeks without worry for two years. So the live-in carers continued to stay with her. Fidelity Cranbrook was upset and resisted. Why? Because she wanted her children to live-in with her, not a stranger.
So a live-in carer was introduced.
But within a short time she did accept the carers, grew very fond of them and they had happy times together.
Yet her independent streak always made her offer to cook the meals and make the beds (even when this was beyond her).
At first, she would take her carers for a drive, show them the countryside, give them lunch at a selection of local pubs. Within 18 months, it was clear that she must stop driving, so the car key was moved into a drawer and she moved to the passenger seat. She still goes out to concerts, does some gardening and visits her sons, nephew and grandchildren, every day.