My feed

to access all these features

Elderly parents

Has anyone used a ‘soft carer’ eg someone for companionship and to change bedding/ cook a meal?

52 replies

Thethingswedoforlove · 11/03/2023 12:06

My dm was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s jn October 2021. She lives with my dad who is her carer but who is starting to struggle. They are both 78. It is clear mum is deteriorating but in the stage where she still thinks she is capable. She couldn’t remember her surname when on the phone to the bank yesterday but still wants to do all the cooking and washing. Her mobility is not so good and dad is very impatient and has always been independent. Anyway I wondered whether I might be able to find someone to come in for a couple of hours most days and take her for a walk, sort out the washing/ change the bedding/ ensure she has something she wants to watch/ cook them a main meal etc. they have money. Is that sort of carer a reasonable thing to look for? Could eg be someone who has kids at school and wants some part time work - even if they couldn’t come during the holidays. What might I name the role if I were to do an advert and how would I take up references and how much should we pay? Any help recommended. I want to make this journey easy as possible for both of them. Dad is really beginning to struggle. I have a fulll tkme job and two teenage kids. I go there for one afternoon a week and do what I can but it isn’t enough. My brother isn’t currently able to help.

OP posts:
Portillo · 11/03/2023 15:25

pensionconfusion · 11/03/2023 12:17

Definitely use an agency and make sure they have all the correct checks done and training. I would say you are probably looking at around £20ph.

Much more than that I would say- even in the north

Thethingswedoforlove · 11/03/2023 15:25

This information is all so so helpful. Thank you

OP posts:
Lightuptheroom · 11/03/2023 16:38

My mum has a team through the local authority who do this as she doesn't have 'care needs' in the traditional sense but her (undiagnosed) dementia type behaviours were making impossible for my disabled dad to cope. They come in twice a day. They don't do full meals but then again my mum never did cook anything.
Definitely worth going through an agency as then all the checks have been done.
Ask around in her local area as there's often smaller agencies offering a more bespoke service.

greenacrylicpaint · 11/03/2023 16:43

not us but our elderly neighbours have an au pair type situation.

she does some housework, takes in the supermarket delivery and cooks.

drives them to dr appointments and bingo nights etc.

she lives as a lodger in their house and studies.

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor · 11/03/2023 16:53

My mum has three home helps who come in Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They do a bit of everything including taking her out if she fancies it. She advertised ,she used an agency but they were double the price and reluctant to be flexible.

helpfulperson · 11/03/2023 17:18

With my dad they had a 'cleaner' twice a week who actually spent most of the time chatting to my Dad while my Mum could do other things including going out. Alzheimers society also organised a lady who would do some household stuff like ironing but in fact her main role was to keep dad entertained. Mum couldn't leave the house but she could garden or read a book in another room

Tinner01 · 11/03/2023 17:45

Thethingswedoforlove · 11/03/2023 15:20

@turtleinthesky they are in Surrey

In Surrey? I saw an advert for someone who is a personal assistant/employs others for the elderly the other day- can I PM you? Haven’t used the service myself but she is a fairly well known acquaintance of mine!

Thethingswedoforlove · 11/03/2023 18:22

@Tinner01 yes please do PM me!

OP posts:
Valleyofthedollymix · 11/03/2023 18:23

I could have written your message a year ago as it was what I wanted for my parents. Essentially what a dutiful nearby daughter would do, but that I wasn't able/didn't want to do for myriad reasons. They had been living indepedently until then with a cleaner a couple of times a week.

A year later, DD is an wheelchair with advanced Parkinson's, my mother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers and they have a live-in carer along with an additional carer to give her a break for three hours a day. This is all through Home Instead and is obviously costing a fortune, but they wouldn't be able to live at home without it.

What I would say is that always aim for something more than you currently need because by the time you organise it/persuade them to accept it, the chances are it'll be the right level or less than you need. The good thing about starting soft (a carer for an hour in the morning and the evening) meant that they got accustomed and by the time we needed to escalate, they were more amenable. Going through an agency meant that this was something we could do through them.

Sadly once the deterioration starts, it only goes one way and it tends to accelerate.

On a positive note, previous to the live in carers my dad had ended up in hospital four times in eight months. In the five months since we've had live-in, he hasn't had to go to hospital. My life is immeasurably easier as I kept on having to drop everything to travel the two hours to help (with a teenager with her own issues at home).

Mummikub · 12/03/2023 08:09

We used home instead too, highly recommend. They were very flexible on number of days and frequency and I think charged £35ph.

PermanentTemporary · 12/03/2023 09:02

I would think you want a Companion Carer but I would think they vary a bit in what they do. I'm actually wondering about doing this work myself if I ever get to a point where I can work limited hours.

WeCome1 · 12/03/2023 09:08

I’d you google care at home you will find your local options. Many do a service called companion, and help at home, so you can choose exactly what you want. It’s a common thing ☺️

LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 12/03/2023 09:11

In Surrey try Age UK Surrey (not national Age UK) as they have a Home Help service that does exactly this kind of thing - not personal care but cleaning, companionship, taking someone shopping, whatever. Much less expensive than personal care (I think about £12-15/hour vs £25-30 for private personal care in some bits of Surrey).

turtleinthesky · 13/03/2023 12:48

@Thethingswedoforlove sorry it took so long to reply. Organisation I work for covers Bucks/Berks/Herts area. May be something similar though, if you include Personal Assistant & companionship in the search

CatNut2017 · 14/03/2023 12:53

I am looking at this concept for my parents; haven't tried them yet.

About Gubbe
Gubbe is originally from Finland - the happiest country in the world and when it comes to the elderly, we feel like we've cracked the code in terms of keeping the elderly active, happy and independent! We've already provided our services to more than thousands of happy families across Finland, Sweden and the UK.
We are a comprehensive care provider providing preventative and rehabilitating visits for the elderly and people with disabilities. We operate in Greater London and customise our services and visits based on the family’s specific needs, whether it is assisting with everyday chores, socialising, technology, going for walks, cleaning and preparing food to more demanding home care such as toileting and personal hygiene.
Gubbe's service has been proven to double the number of weekly outdoor activities.
Gubbe Visits + initial visit free of charge
Our visits are always 2-hours long so Gubbe Helper and the elderly can get to know each other well. First introduction visit is free of charge, so the elderly and the Gubbe Helper would get to know each other, align expectations and plan where to put emphasis during the upcoming visits.
Gubbe Helper
Visits are provided by the same trusted Gubbe Helper which allows for a true friendship to be developed between the pair.
Gubbe Greetings
After each visit, Gubbe Helper will send a Gubbe Greeting, which is a short report outlining what they did during the visit, how the elderly was feeling and perhaps even share a photo. This way, the relatives get updates on the visits and the well-being of their loved one.
Our hourly rate starts at £19.65, depending on the frequency of the visits. Full pricing here.

CatNut2017 · 14/03/2023 12:54
Blackcherrygateauxlatte · 16/03/2023 03:39

Last helper quit due to their personal circumstances. They did light cleaning, changed bedding, chats for only a couple of hours a week

I thought I had found the perfect replacement, but when we met in person, they wanted a minimum 4 hours a week. Relative, doesn't want to pay that much !

So they are now stuck with no help

I live several hours away

It is very frustrating !

Blackcherrygateauxlatte · 16/03/2023 03:40

Thank you, I may try gubbe

TesterPotQueen · 05/04/2023 20:42

@Thethingswedoforlove I do exactly this for an 85 year old gent. I am self employed so provide an invoice to the man's son every week via the little local agency who organise everything. The agency lady told me to invoice for £16 per hour...I'm not sure how she makes her money! I don't have DBS but I met the lady who runs the agency and we chatted for 2 hours and she was happy to recommend me. I do 12-1.30pm 2 days a week. Someone else does another 2 days and a cleaner comes on the 5th day. I have made it clear that I will never do personal care and that's fine. I chat to him, sometimes go for a walk, go to M and S to get some ready meals with him. I remind him to take his pills, make sure he has a large glass of water, make his lunch which is always a microwave job but I always prepare fresh veg. I go through the fridge and chuck out anything out of date, sometimes do some washing up or iron a few items. Mostly it's a bit of company and ensuring eating /drinking properly and trying to get him out for a bit of fresh air/stretch his legs.
I hope that helps.

user1471453601 · 05/04/2023 20:59

The lovely woman who cleans for me has mentioned she does similar things that you want for others she also cleans for.

She cared for her partners Nan before she died, and seems really comfortable with older people. She's really good with me, she seems to understand my needs somewhat better than even my family. Just small things, like never leaving anything on the floor, because I use a rollator in the the house, and she moves things others leave that about so I'm not impeded.

So, I'd either use an agency or look for a cleaner whose happy to do other carer stuff as well.

Mix56 · 05/04/2023 21:00

For info, my Mum had MS, & had a whole load of carers after Dad died
via an agency, more than one stole from her, one was a drunk...
Its a minefield

LuluBlakey1 · 05/04/2023 21:04

My aunt does- she is 92 and has a carer 6 mornings a week for half an hour early to help her shower/wash/dress. She makes her own breakfast. Two days a week she has someone at lunchtime for 45 minutes to heat up a ready meal - I think it is more for the company as she does it the other days. She also employs someone twice a week for an hour to clean and shop/change bed etc.

The cost is over £500 a month. Works out about £20 an hour I think she said.

LuluBlakey1 · 05/04/2023 21:05

Should say they come from a company and the same two come and have been trustworthy and pleasant .

QueenOfHiraeth · 05/04/2023 21:09

Home Instead here too. The lady comes in to DF 3 hours a week, does a little light cleaning, shopping, changing bedding, etc

ShinyAppleDreamingOfTheSea · 05/04/2023 21:28

My friend works as a live in carer, and depending on the client she is sent to, sometimes she just provides companionship, taking her elderly client out, chatting to them and a bit of cooking and cleaning . Other places she is full on personal care and dementia support .

I imagine if you were to contact an agency and explain what you want they would be more than happy to provide the particular help that your parents need.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.