How care supports the whole family

Our recent survey of family carers showed the impact of caring for an ageing relative on their own wellbeing.

The UK is dependent on an army of exhausted family carers who step in to support a parent or other family member, putting these people under intense personal pressure and emotional strain.

A recent example comes from our office in Northwich, Cheshire where a family was put under pressure when the father, Eric aged 90, became unwell following a water infection and went ‘off his legs.’

Eric lives with his wife who is very frail and found himself unable to get round the house or up the stairs to bed.

In the immediate aftermath of his deterioration in health, his daughters, Beth and Fiona, stepped in to help. But they had little idea what they would be taking on and how it would completely take over their lives.

Beth lives around a mile from her parents and doesn’t work so took on the main caring responsibilities, with her sister Fiona (who works full time) providing support as and when she could.

For six weeks the sisters tried to cope but they admit that they were floundering. One of them had to be with Eric first thing in the morning and there for all meal times, as well as in between, with up to seven visits a day – it just wasn’t sustainable.

Help came when the district nurse visited for an assessment. They could immediately see the pressure the family was under and suggested getting support from a home care company.

The family did their research and found Home Instead Northwich & Knutsford. After an initial care consultation a home care plan providing two Care Professionals (called a ‘double-up’ visit) four times a day was put in place.

Through a clever app, care visits are monitored and the family can see a brief report on each visit which really helps to put Beth and Fiona’s minds at rest.

Beth now pops in to visit most days but is able to spend quality time with her parents rather than being a hands on carer when she’s with them.

Commenting on the care support the family is receiving, Beth said, “Home Instead go above and beyond and we are really grateful for that.

“In large part, having home care support has given my sister and I our lives back – although with ageing parents it’s never going to be how it was.

“The way I see it, Home Instead have put their hand out and I’m now standing again.”

*The names of clients and family members have been changed to protect their anonymity.