Bespoke Care - What It Really Means

Bespoke Care – Tailored to Meet Individual Outcomes

A Case Study - Ken and Horace


When we first started supporting Ken, we met a gentleman who lived alone in his home of 52 years, content in his muddled confusion – he was able to complete basic, familiar routines however these were beginning to fade from his recall and capability.  Ken had had a diagnosis of dementia and had a slightly ‘dodgy knee’ but otherwise kept quite well.  Ken’s two children had reluctantly concluded they would need to move their father to a care home in the next 6 months as they felt he was not coping at home.  Understandably they were extremely concerned about their father’s inevitable wrench from his much loved home with all its memories, however they were most worried about their dad parting with the family’s much loved pet, Horace.  

Horace, is Ken’s beloved tortoise and has been the family’s focus since he first arrived as a 5th birthday present for the oldest child.  Every winter the family would come to gether and Horace would be carefully packed away for hibernation, then tentatively woken by all the family in spring.  Horace’s awakening became such a family event that the children would return from university, from jobs abroad and then bring their own children to the hosue all so they could be be together to wake Horace.  Each year, their faithful pet would sleepily raise his head and open his eyes – indeed the rhythm of the family revolved around Horace, together they marked the seasons and years all with their much loved tortoise.

When Ken’s wife gently passed away at home Horace had been part of the family’s bedside vigil, indeed it was Horace who passed the resulting lonely years with Ken.  What would the children do about Horace if they put their father in a home, how would he cope without Horace to care for each day.  Horace had become the centre of Ken’s world and this loomed large in their minds.

While making a depressing round of possible care homes, a neighbour mentioned the home care she had heard provided by Home Instead Exeter and East Devon.  She explained they could visit Ken at home and help in to remain independent…. the rest they say is history.  

Ken and Horace have been cared for by Home Instead for over two years during which time Ken’s care has increased slowly from four visits each week.  In that time Ken’s quality of life has increased from a muddled, confused existence to an engaged, content, dignified and happy life.  We have supported Ken with his meal planning and preparation, shopping and cleaning.  He has clean clothes each morning and fresh vegetables with his lunch everyday, he looks forward to fish and chips on Friday and loves attending church on Sunday.  All this happens with the support of his Home Instead CAREGivers who have become like family.  

Horace is well cared for too; indeed he is part of the Ken’s Care Plan.  Each lunchtime we spend time with Ken searching for Horace in the garden, we ensure his water is topped up and we support Ken to feed him small titbits of lettuce, carrot peelings etc.  As is their tradition, this spring all the family gathered round for Horace’s Spring Awakening – and guess who joined them…. All four of Ken’s Home Instead CAREGivers – because to Ken and his family we are family.  In their words – who else would Horace want to see first when he woke up!

Of course, while this story is heart-warming and sentimental, it tells a family’s very real dilemma of caring for an ageing parent.  Determined to do the right thing for their father, this family found the right care, at the right time enabling both Ken and Horace to remain at home independent, happy and content for a longer period of time.

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