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Another relevant issue faced by couples on the care front is being able to stay together. Numerous stories have been circulated in today’s media relating to elderly people that are now living out their final years apart, but a viable alternative is home care. Choosing to have a carer in the family home when both adults require care is also comparable, if not in most circumstances, more cost effective than two places in a care home.

Mrs. McCready, who lives in Sevenoaks, Kent decided to employ a carer to live in her home to help her 94-year old husband, after he returned from hospital following a hip operation and developing MRSA. He was in need of two people to lift his body weight; and being unable to cope alone 24hour help was an immediate necessity. For Mrs. McCready it is very much a shared care option as she takes over in the afternoons and in the evenings, and being able to stay together far outweighs any of the alternatives.

A care home was never on the radar as Mrs. McCready believes that ‘you never really know all that goes on’ and at home her husband is able to be given the care and attention that he needs in an instant by a live in Carer who stays for approximately two weeks at a time, giving personal care and also housekeeping help – one to one flexible care that Mrs. McCready believes, a care home would just not be able to deliver.

Mrs. McCready, comments: “It’s important to take time out when you are caring for your loved ones and having a helping hand has enabled me to spend time outside of the family home and have time for myself. This is a necessity, as we all need to recharge our batteries, whether it’s helping out on the school run and picking up the grandchildren, taking a yoga class or attending a birthday party. I did explore the care home route, and the costs are on a par with care in one’s own home, but there is no substitute for a carer who lives in with the family. Put simply, it’s a more personal option and I have complete peace of mind knowing that my husband is well-cared for at all times.”

Celia Hoare, Residential Live-in Care Manager at Consultus Care and Nursing Agency, comments: “Being prepared to have a carer or nurse in your own home will obviously mean a big change for most people, but the advantages are clear. The benefits stretch further than bespoke one to one assistance, as familiar and comforting life events, for example, greeting the postman, or friends and family popping in for tea, all remain as they were before. With a care home the elderly person is not only uprooted into a different environment, but the day-to-day make-up of life changes, and this can all too often have negative effects on the elderly person’s emotional well-being.”

Kevin May, Consultus’ Registered Manager adds: “A company like ours can continue helping as each client’s needs change. Most of our clients use carers but if a husband or wife develops a major health problem, or one comes home from hospital needing specialist care for a while, we have qualified nurses to make sure they can still both stay home together. Knowing we can carry on helping no matter what happens is hugely reassuring for people deciding what care route to take”.

The five-point plan on making the most of nursing and care at home…

· Ensure carers in your family home have personal space with access to basic amenities for example cooking and laundry – being comfortable in someone else’s home is obviously a major factor in a successful working relationship
· Be open – talk about any day-to-day living issues that you might have with your agency including any pet hates, before the home carer arrives. Any sensitive issues can then be relayed to agency staff and this will help to generate a positive and comfortable working relationship
· Be clear about the house rules right from the start and your expectations
· Prepare a list of favourite activities and meals – so that the new carer has an opportunity to get a head start
· Enjoy the experience and get to know each other. We find that carers working in the elderly clients home often stay firm friends with the families they work with, even after a short-term stay. In some cases the carer has become part of the family, and they can be a wonderful source of companionship

For further information on Consultus Care and Nursing Agency, a live-in nursing and live-in care specialist, please contact Celia Hoare on 01732 355 231 or visit www.consultuscare.com.

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