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Marie

Age at interview: 40
Brief Outline:

Marie’s mother self-funded care from age 73

Marie helps her father to arrange daily care for her mother who is living with dementia. Her parents were reluctant at first to accept help but now pay for carers from an agency. Marie feels the carers are excellent and understand her mother’s needs.

Background:

Marie, aged 40, is White-British and has two children aged 11 and 8. She has knowledge of care reviews and assessments through her professional role as a social services team leader. Marie talks about places self-funders can get help and advice.

More about me...

Marie began by helping her parents to find a cleaner and this provided a bit of companionship for her mother as well as getting them accustomed to having someone different in the house. They then found an agency which provides care for an hour a day to help Marie’s mother with washing and dressing. Marie is very pleased with their approach, the carers prompt and guide her mother to do things for herself but are not intrusive. For the first few months of using the care agency the timing of visits did not suit the family but over time they found a schedule that worked. Marie feels that the quality of the care team is excellent and will be able to continue to provide for her mother even if her needs increase.

 

Marie recommends that people approach their Local Authority for advice when they first think they might need help managing daily activities. She feels that it is a good idea to get a Needs Assessment from Social Services to gain an opinion from someone outside the family on what services are appropriate. This can help you to understand what you are entitled to (such as Attendance Allowance) that will help towards the cost of care even if you are a self-funder. Marie also suggests visiting websites such as Age UK, Citizens Advice or Alzheimer’s Society, these kind of resources offer reliable facts and some share different people’s experiences or have helplines that you can ring for support.

 

The care agency worked with Marie and her parents to provide the right care at home.

The care agency worked with Marie and her parents to provide the right care at home.

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I mean I work for [Name] County Council so I did know of some care agencies who worked in the area and we rang round a few, as I knew that my dad would be a self-funder and we spoke to a care agency who we thought we wanted to, to give a go. They came out to do an initial assessment of my mum’s needs, but myself and my dad had a lot of input into that so that they knew that it wasn’t, you know, a hands-on job, it was more prompting and encouragement, and it is only early stages at the minute so it’s just once a week for half an hour, sorry, once a day for half an hour just to help my mum to have a wash in the morning the things that she was struggling to do from the say-so of my dad really. So it’s, it was quite easy to get in place because they had capacity to do that one call a day and it’s more difficult to get a care package when it’s with more carers and there’s a lot of moving and handling involved. But my mum’s fully able to mobilise well she’s a bit slow with her walking now but inside the house she’s absolutely fine.

At first the time of the morning call wasn’t really ideal; they were struggling to get an early morning call. My mum’s always been an early riser; so they wanted to come at about nine o’clock, which really was quite late and sounds ideal for a lot of people but for my mum who usually wakes up at six o’clock that was really, really quite late for my mum. So for a few months I’d say we did have to bear with them while they got capacity to be able to come a bit earlier and now they are able to come about half past seven/eight o’clock which is better for my mum because otherwise she’ll just get dressed and then she won’t want to get undressed again to have a wash or a shower. So it’s confusing to her, the time and things like that. So that took a bit of negotiation.

 

Marie talks about the different places she went for information.

Marie talks about the different places she went for information.

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I mean the Citizens’ Advice Bureau is a good place to go if you’re concerned about whether you’re eligible for certain support as is the Department of Work & Pensions, as I’ve mentioned. the local authority in [county] also has a benefits team who, who will give you a free assessment of what benefits you’re entitled to, depending on the disability that the person has who’s, who’s looking for support. There’s different types of benefits that you can get to contribute towards if you have got to self-fund that isn’t means tested as well. So yeah, that’s something that people can look into.

So it’s worth looking for, even if you’re a self-funder it’s worth looking at these places for extra information?

Yeah, it’s, it’s always best to check to see if there is any more help that you’re entitled to. It’s like I had to persuade my dad to apply for Attendance Allowance, because he’d always been one that he’d never ever had benefits or ever applied for anything off the government all of his life, and why would he want to do that? But I explained that, “Well actually, you know, people get a lot more help and support if they’ve not got money so just because you’ve not got the” sorry “just because you’ve got the money, dad, you can still get that help and support that mum’s entitled to.” She’s still entitled to that Attendance Allowance regarding how much money they’ve got and my dad has been pleased with that because he sees that as going towards the cost of the care.

 

Marie says that it is helpful to get a needs assessment from the local council.

Marie says that it is helpful to get a needs assessment from the local council.

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I think it’s quite difficult if you don’t know anything about it. There’s, the DWP Department of Work & Pensions is a really good starting point, you can look on the website and that talks you through all the different benefits that you can get. Even if you are a self-funder your local authority can still give you guidance and you’re still entitled to an assessment of needs. So that’s quite useful for people to know that they’re not on their own and they can get help through Social Services even if they will be self-funding the care package so yeah.

 

Marie explains how a fresh pair of eyes can assess needs more clearly.

Marie explains how a fresh pair of eyes can assess needs more clearly.

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My first place would be to start with the local authority, even if you do believe that you may be a self-funder, I think someone coming in to give professional advice about assessment of their needs from an outsider’s point of view. my dad always says to me that I notice things a lot more than he does because he’s with my mum every single day and I often come in and say, you know, I’ve already noticed that, you know, mum’s not having a good day today, and he can think that actually she’s been OK and she’s not too bad but that might be because I’ve not seen her for a week and you know, she’s, she’s got a bit worse in certain aspects. So I’d say the local authority to get an assessment of care needs is a really good place to start.

 

Paying for care took the pressure off Marie’s dad.

Paying for care took the pressure off Marie’s dad.

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So is that, do you think having that has also perhaps helped your mum and dad sort of restore their relationship a little bit by having these people in instead?

Yeah, yeah, I think so, because my mum was getting quite angry with my dad for interfering and accusing her of not washing or not washing her hair when she was saying that she had washed it but it was clear to see that she hadn’t and she’d probably just thought she had. So definitely it puts that pressure off my dad so he can just carry on getting ready himself in the morning while my mum’s being sorted out and then carry on the rest of their day together without really any interruptions from anyone, yeah.

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