finding extra help for my elderly mother

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Hello. My first post. Thanks for any advice you can offer. My mum is in her 80s, widowed and living alone, in a sheltered flat. She has an independent private helper/friend each weekday morning. I help her several times a week (but have a small child, so am a bit limited in what I can do) and she also has some support from my sister. That is no longer enough, as she becomes increasingly unsteady on her feet, has more falls and loses her confidence. She has no discernible dementia, just physical frailty: arthritis, poor balance, loss of hearing. We need to find another kind and practical person to supplement the support she has from us, but she's very reluctant to employ an agency (not had great experience with these I'm afraid.. no continuity, some bad time keeping, some deeply indifferent 'care'). Can anyone advise on how we search for a lovely person .. needs to be local and flexible too. An impossible ask?! Thanks and sorry for long post
Have you tried Age UK? They used to collect my dad to visit the day centre once a week. It got him out of the house, gave him time with others doing activities, reading or having a chat, hot meal and snacks. They even had a little shop with toiletries, sweets, birthday cards etc. It gave him things to tell me about and I knew he was safe and cared for.

Also try WRVS. Like Age Uk they have befrienders and different things happening in different regions. Dad got on really well with his befriender who popped in for tea and a chat and sometimes took him out for a drive, trip to the shops etc.

Local churches often have activities and befrienders too.
Hope this helps.
Jx
Hi Jane,
Welcome. Presumably the helper/friend isn't able or willing to do any more? If you find somebody local, who is willing and able, be careful of employment laws. It's worth putting 'employed or self employed' into google to see the information available. If you 'employ someone', then you have to comply with all sorts of payments etc and contend with holidays, entitlements, PAYE and so on. If they are self employed there is a different set of rules. It's less hassle to engage an agency. Their workers should be checked and insured and trained. Not all Care companies are wonderful and you seem to have had a bad experience, but some are good.
Does Mum have equipment in her flat to help her get around? Rails, high toilet seat, walking frame etc. You need an occupational therapist to assess her needs and equipment will be supplies 'on loan'. You might be able to call an OT or maybe her GP can refer her. Has Mum got a personal alarm?
Would write more but late and I've had a long day with my Mum today.
Elaine
Thanks to you both for your suggestions. It's late, so I'll just leave a brief reply. We haven't tried the volunteer befriender route (though I did suggest it after my dad died 3 years ago).. mum a little sceptical then, as all she wanted was her husband back and anyone else, especially anyone New, was not going to help . I may revisit that possibility, though I fear it is now practical help (dressing, meals, bathroom) that she needs and not so much company. She does have a pendant alarm, which has been a lifesaver when she's fallen. I hadn't thought about the tax/ national insurance and other formalities of employing someone. Her existing helper is self employed and can't do more hours on a regular basis as she too has school-age children. She's offered to be on standby, but I think mum needs someone every tea-time. If we do try an agency, I'd love to read some user reviews (our local authority has a massive list of approved care agencies, so it's hard to know where to begin)... but I haven't come across such a thing as a guide to good care agencies..? Anyway, NOT a brief reply. I'll take another look at your advice tomorrow. Thanks so much for taking the time, especially as you have your own responsibilities x
I've experienced all the agency problems that you have plus a multitude more! I'm starting on saturday with a new agency so everything crossed.

http://www.cqc.org.uk/search/services/s ... ome%3A3675

Alternatively
Ring your local Council adult social services and ask for either SS funded tem or self funding team. Explain the difficulties you have encountered with current agency and ask them for recommendations in your local area.
thanks Henrietta I'll try going back to the local authority. Mum is in denial that she needs any extra help - mainly because she hopes that we'll fill in the gaps ourselves (her children and existing carer) - but this is not possible as I don't live locally and her friend/carer has a young family herself. thanks for taking the trouble to post. Hope you get your agency woes sorted too x