A client's perspective

My name is Enid and I have been having support from Home Instead for over 3 years now. When my daughter first suggested that I might need a bit of support in the home I told her not to be so silly that I could manage perfectly well. Of course I wasn’t managing at all. The house I loved to keep clean was covered in dust as I wasn’t able to do this anymore; I shut the doors to all the other rooms and just kept the rooms I was using as clean and tidy as I could. Sometimes I wouldn’t have a shower because I was frightened of slipping so my personal hygiene was a bit hit and miss! Because I took a lot longer to do the things I used to, I would wear the same clothes for days on end so I didn’t have to bend down to the washing machine so much. The same with my bedding, because I was struggling to change, wash them and put them back on they would stay on there until I had built up the energy to do it, which in some cases could be months.

I was frustrated with myself and would try to hide the fact that I wasn’t managing so well on my own. My daughter obviously picked up on the fact that I wasn’t keeping myself or the house as clean as I used to and as she has a young family and works full time I didn’t want to burden her with my problems.

My daughter looked on the internet and asked around and the name Home Instead Senior Care kept popping up. The people that she spoke to praised the company and the care they were or had been receiving.

The thought of having someone come into my home to help me shower and clean absolutely mortified me! I am a very private person so the thought of being naked in front of a total stranger filled me with dread. The thing is I really needed the help but was too proud to accept it.

When I had a fall in the kitchen one day while I was trying to do my washing this was the final straw for my daughter. She said she had contacted Home Instead and explained my situation to them and they were more than happy to send out their manager to come and see me and have a chat about what sort of help I might need.

Reluctantly I agreed and Simon came out to see me. He immediately put me at ease and explained that they match their CAREGivers to their clients based on background, hobbies and interests. He asked me about my life and what I enjoyed doing and I told him that I used to love to paint and draw but was unable to do this anymore due to the arthritis in my shoulders. He asked me what support I would need and I explained that I was having trouble in the shower and keeping my house clean. He then asked me if I would like to go out during these visits shopping or to art exhibitions and I was happily surprised that a company like this existed. He asked me how many visits I would like each week and explained that they do a minimum of 2 hours per visit which would give me plenty of time to do the things needed.

We agreed to start with 2 visits per week for 2 hours each time for help in the shower and some housework.

When Simon brought Miranda in to introduce her to me we started chatting right away and she put me at ease and wasn’t pushy or loud. When Simon left Miranda and I sat and chatted for ages. We had a cup of tea and she asked me if I would like to have a shower. She could see that I was reluctant and told me that this didn’t have to happen today if I didn’t want it to. This immediately made me feel better and I told her that it would be nice to have clean sheets as I hadn’t changed my bed for a while.

Miranda asked me where everything was and found a clean set of sheets and changed the bed for me. She put the dirty ones in the washing machine and made me some lunch which I have to say was lovely.

Miranda put the sheets out to dry and I told her my daughter would bring them in when she visited later. She ran the hoover round and polished for me. In those 2 hours she had managed to make me feel better without me even noticing!!

When Miranda came back 2 days later she asked me if I would like to have a shower today. I still felt a bit unsure so I said maybe we could do that next time. She didn’t force the issue and for that I was grateful. She asked me if I would like her to start cleaning some of the other rooms and I told her that would be lovely. She did a really good job of this and I made her a cup of tea and gave her some cake and we sat and chatted while we drank our tea together.

After a few weeks I did relent and Miranda supported me while I had a shower. It was so nice having someone in the bathroom with me while I showered. I can’t believe how much confidence it gave me.

Over the next few months we got to know each other really well and I looked forward to Miranda coming in each week. One day she told me that there was an art exhibition on locally and would I like to go along and have a look. I ummed and arred a bit but finally agreed to go. Miranda picked me up in her car and we drove to the exhibition.

I felt confident with Miranda by my side and we had a lovely time out.

Because I was having a good time I thought I might increase my weekly visits to 3 days per week and make them longer at 4 hours so we could go out and do the things I used to love doing before confining myself to my house.

I was introduced to another CAREGiver Mary who came on the day that Miranda was unable to come. Mary again was lovely and seemed to know what I liked and didn’t like before I had even said anything.

I had Miranda on a Monday and Friday and Mary came in on a Wednesday. My home became my home again, I was more inclined to go out when I was invited as I was nice and clean and my clothes were clean and pressed.

One day I was invited to a close friends daughter’s wedding, I knew my daughter was busy that day so I thought I might chance my luck and see if Home Instead could help. I spoke to the office they were very helpful and they informed me that Mary was free that day and would be more than happy to take me.

Mary came and helped me with my shower and dressing and then we spent a lovely day in Cambridge at the wedding and I was able to catch up with my old friends. Mary made sure I got home safely and came in to make sure everything was ok. Without her help I would never have even dreamed of saying yes to go to the wedding, but Mary gave me the confidence to go along and reunite with my friends.

After all the doubts I had in the beginning, Miranda and Mary are now part of the family and I couldn’t do without them. My faith has been restored and I now shower regularly, have nice clothes to wear and my house is like a new pin!! The main thing for me though is having someone I trust and have confidence in to make sure I am safe and active. Thank you Home Instead for giving me my life back.

A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home