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Looking for a Carer - advice please! - Carers UK Forum

Looking for a Carer - advice please!

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi there,

I'm new to the forum (and caring!) so by way of introducing myself my name's Kate and I live in Leeds.

I am about to move up my disabled mother and sister from our family home in Lincolnshire to Leeds. My mum is 63 and is morbidly obese - she has very limited mobility due to persistent cellulitis in her legs and also has low level heart issues and diabetes. My sister is 32 and has cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. She has lived at home with my parents all her life and is unable to work. My nana (mum's mum) and dad passed away last year so now is the right time to be moving them up to Leeds, as they are becoming isolated as myself, my young brother and sister all live away. So they will be moving into a 2 bedroom bungalow in Leeds, a 20-30 minute journey away from my husband and I.

I debated long and hard about whether to move them into their own bungalow or into sheltered accommodation. My mum is very keen to try and keep her independence so we are trying this route for now. My main issue is that I am going to need a carer to visit them regularly - probably at least once a day Mon to Fri - because my Mum's health has deteriorated so much since losing my dad she is struggling to look after herself, let alone my sister.

They can both walk short distances, feed themselves, entertain themselves, etc, so it would really just be a carer who could come in once a day to:

- do housework and any random house jobs that need doing - i.e. taking the bins out, changing lightbulbs, etc
- help them get washed/dressed if needed (my sister can't bathe herself properly and I know my Mum has begun to struggle with washing her hair)
- help them prepare meals

I may also need them to take and drive them to doctors appointments, etc, as I'm not sure how much longer my Mum will keep driving. The plan is for her to take the car up with her to Leeds, but she is already becoming more anxious and panic-y just driving around the town she currently lives in, so I'm concerned having to learn a new area - even if it's smaller than where she is now! - will be too overwhelming for her and she will just stop. Unfortunately because of her weight and mobility she won't be able to use local buses.

I'm aware of agencies and the work they do as we had them briefly with my dad last year, but ideally I would like the same person (or max two people) to be their carer(s), so they get into a comfortable routine, they can slowly gain their trust, and also someone who would be willing to just sit down and have a cup of tea with my Mum, and engage with my sister, and whom they could contact urgently if I was unavailable. A friend, really!

How would you look for private carers like this? Do I advertise, and where do I advertise? Are there websites or resources I can use to find someone? Could I approach an agency about having the same carer? Do you recommend any good agencies that would do this?

Any help would be gratefully appreciated and sorry for the long essay post!

thanks, Kate
Hello Kate and welcome and I hope the move goes well. :)
YOu say you are looking for private Carers......I think the Local Authority in the new area may be able to give you some advice and/or recommendations locally (whether you are self funding or not) so I recommend you contact the relevant Adult Services department way before the move. Just a good starting point for you, ok?
Please also feel free to contact the professional advisors here by email or phone. I am only a forum member not a pro........the Advice Line can give you assistance and or signpost you to further related information.
Another quick thought....in some areas Age Uk keep a list of local recommended tradespeople ...might be useful?
Does your mum and sister with CP get all the NHS/SS funding they are entitled to?

Surely, given their substantial health problems, they are entitled to a degree of 'free' care, etc etc.

For privately funded care (or maybe funded via Direct Payments??), you could start with the local private care agencies, and talk through the care needs with the manager. In my (well off) commuter town, there are two, and my friend has used one for her dad, and had good carers, and I have used the other one for my MIL and also had good carers.

not sure about the cleaning/housekeeping aspects - would that not be a cleaner??

I do hope it all works out well for both of them, and for you.

this is a sad thing to say, but of course, you will need to 'look ahead' as well, for as and when your mum gets older, or more disabled. And, even sadder, what will happen to your sister with CP when and as your mum can no longer look after her, and, indeed, when she has died.

In the meantime though, I do hope that the move is successful, and you can get them settled in well, and look forward to an enjoyable Christmas with them both close by.
Hi Lisa
Leeds City Council Homepage
www.leeds.gov.uk/
"Leeds City Council - Official local authority website for Leeds providing information on local services.

It's just as much of a 'luck of the draw' when it comes to good Care Companies in Leeds as it is everywhere else. It's unlikely that you would be promised the same carers every visit but they should allocate the same people to attend often. You can ask for domestic care visits for housekeeping and meal prep as well as personal Care for hairwashing, showering and so on. I found the local Social services to be good, the Occupational therapist team provided some very helpful equipment and the continence clinic provided Tenna Lady pads on prescription.
Carers won't get up ladders to change light bulbs and I never asked any to drive Mum anywhere, so I don't know about that one. Given Mum's condition you will find that the SS team recommend hoisting if she becomes unable to weight bear and that of course means 2 carers at a time.
The 'call in for a cuppa' visit is called a sitting service. In my area of Leeds I arranged home visits from Mother's Union, Home Communion, Good Neighbour's scheme and a lady from the library brought my mum books. There are also luncheon clubs and activities around who will fetch someone from their home. My mum also had a 'treasure' of a cleaner.
You just have to start looking to see what's available and see how it would fit in with Mum and your sister. None of it's easy, however you should get as much support together as possible.
All the best
Elaine
I would do internet research on certain career types that you would be interested in. I would do a Google Search on the types of careers that you would want to do and get started with that. I would look into home health care agencies and get information regarding that aspect since you are very interested in that. I would also look into getting your EIN number as a freelancer for doing the home health care and you can also go through an agency as well. I hope this helps. Good luck to you.
matteo_1508 wrote:I would do internet research on certain career types that you would be interested in. I would do a Google Search on the types of careers that you would want to do and get started with that. I would look into home health care agencies and get information regarding that aspect since you are very interested in that. I would also look into getting your EIN number as a freelancer for doing the home health care and you can also go through an agency as well. I hope this helps. Good luck to you.
Matteo - Kate is looking to hire/employ a Carer to assist her Mum and Sister, not looking for a CAREER in the caring profession.
Hi Kate
Probably the type of carer you after is best found by word of mouth as you aren't meant to poach agency staff and LA will only give you agency staff and not individuals.
I've done a private job and found it by word of mouth. Similarly I've employed a couple of private carers found by personal contacts and by chance really.
If you look for local recommendations try the websites Streetlife of Gum Tree. Bear in mind this is doing it rather blind so consider verifying the recommendations and get them DBS checked. Also bear in mind you will be liable for pension etc if you employ someone officially.
Having tried all sorts myself I would suggest putting feelers out for a good agency recommendation and at the same time keep your eyes open for someone private but this may well take longer.
May I just be slightly cynical, or alarmist, or whatever one calls it, but I would say that before any carer takes on your mum and sister, whether from an agency or not, that you remove all moveable valuables from the house, such as jewelry, antiques, whatever, and anything very precious or expensive, just in case they get nicked or broken etc, and of course don't leave lots of cash around, and take into safekeeping all documents like passports, national health cards, etc etc.

This is not, I hope, being too cynical, but only the general precautions one would take about any strangers coming into your house and onto your property. I'm sure 99.999% of care-workers are totally honest etc etc, but 'just in case' they are not.

Sorry if that sounds horrid and insulting!