Challenges Faced by Many Families
It’s a universal truth that as we grow older, though our bodies become frailer, our strong sense of independence, carved out through our adult years, stubbornly refuses to diminish. For the elderly, that independence can feel like the last thing they can control, and so it’s not easy to accept the need for support.
For family members, this refusal of external help by older relatives can be stressful and exhausting. Recently, a daughter called for some advice on her parents, who are both in their 90s and beginning to struggle to live in their home and live well.
Though the particulars vary, this is a common scenario which many families find themselves in. The daughter’s parents had a range of personal health issues they were dealing with as independently as possible. The gentleman, with his own heart and breathing problems, was the main carer to his wife, who has a diagnosis of Dementia, as well as severe mobility issues. Both their children, the daughter who called, and her brother, had been visiting more and more to support them in their daily activities, staying the night with increasing frequency. Any suggestion of official support was being met with strong resistance by both parents.
In these cases, it’s important for all involved to understand and empathise with the hostility to outside care - this stems from a fear of change, of intrusion, and a stoic insistence that things are “fine as they are”. In these instances, it’s often about reframing the situation so that the help and support already received (however small) by family members is understood as the same level of help that could be extended by external care support agencies. It also helps to have specific examples of how help can benefit and what it would look like, rather than vague mentions of ‘help’ as a daunting and unquantified entity.
When we spoke to the daughter, who could not continue to support her parents in the same way anymore, there were several options we suggested:
Domiciliary care: These are regulated activities in which the caregivers are CQC registered, so that they can do personal care and medication. In the South East near East Grinstead for example prices range from £23-£26 per hour in social hours (unsocial hours are more)
Live in care: one carer lives in the house with the client (this requires a liveable spare room). The carer will have a break during the day and need to sleep at least 8 hours at night or have night cover. Prices can range from around £1000 per week.
Support: non-regulated activities where carers can not only provide regular companionship but also help with household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, shopping etc. Prices range from £18 per hour.
Care: for a minimum of 6 hours, approximately £130 per day
Care home: from around £1200 a week per person
With our advice and a greater understanding of these services, the daughter discussed these specific suggestions with her parents, emphasising the flexibility with which some could work. Knowing she had our expertise and knowledge to call on (at ILA -Independent Living Advisers), the daughter was able to help her parents come to terms with the idea of small-scale support as an option, and eventually was able to ring a local care agency with their approval.
A solution, and peace of mind - found.
For more information on support services offered by ILA visit Household Support Services for Elderly in Kent,Surrey,Sussex (www.ila.life)