Is this the right way to run one of the leading countries in the world – on a volunteer system that saves money at the expense of family life?
It was Liz Kendall, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, who recently highlighted the apparently precarious position of the care system in the UK. There are, she claimed, over six million unpaid family carers in Britain today, one in five of whom provide more than 50 hours care a week for their loved ones.
“These unsung heroes save the taxpayer billions of pounds yet often get precious little support in return”, she said.
“Families, friends and neighbours need a decent care system to back up their efforts to look after elderly people, but the reality is our care system is in crisis and has been pushed to the brink of collapse,” claims Liz Kendall.
When it is your aging parents, relatives or yourself who, in growing older, are in need of more care and attention, on a day-to-day basis, the most worrying question is “How do we cope?”
In a situation when the care system itself cannot properly give that care and attention, when, all too often, the elderly are left alone for long periods of time, when visits from carers too often last just 15 minutes, there must be a better solution.
The first solution considered is often a residential care home with all the apparent security which this option offers. But again recent experience has shown this is not always the case. Care homes close, their elderly patients, who have already endured a move away from their own home, in these cases face yet another upheaval. Friendships made while in the home are split asunder and too often clients are left feeling bewildered and insecure.
How much better then is the option of staying in one’s own home? Yes, we can hear you say, but that was the reason for moving out in the first place, that coping alone had become impossible.
So, instead of moving out, get someone else to move in, a professional carer with the right experience. But how can this be financed?
For some, there is the option of local authority financing. Unfortunately, there seems to be major differences in the way in which local authorities apply the regulations about assets and financing.
But what about those whose finances and assets take them out of the assistance criteria? How do the growing number of middle class elderly ensure the level of comfort and security they need while minimising the costs.
Parents maybe able to fund the cost out of their own resources, from either, savings, income, pensions or life insurance payment.
There are options available from specialised insurance companies which can offer either a care provision plan for a one-off payment providing a monthly income. Parents can also take out what is effectively a loan against the value of their home, while they continue to live in it.
Either way, then reality of being able to stay in their own home while having the security of live-in support can become a reality.
The Graham Agency is and has been for 26 years consistently committed to providing the highest standards of personal service to clients who are in need of carers and companions for the elderly.
We have long recognised the importance and value of aged parents and relatives remaining in the security and comfort of their own homes instead of having to re-locate to a residential home with all the upheaval which that can entail. We also feel that remaining in control of one’s own destiny, retaining privacy while ensuring companionship provides the essential dignity of life to which we are all entitled.
We pride ourselves on our ethos of ensuring the staff we recruit, understand the special issues involved in caring for the elderly matching personalities, individual skills and experience. We see our role as acting as both catalyst and link to establish a rapport between clients and carer/companion that gives the greatest satisfaction, companionship, care and support.
The Graham Agency – matching clients and prospective staff through a personal, understanding service.