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Elderly parents

General Assistant for Elderly Parents?

21 replies

Obvs92 · 25/09/2023 17:19

Until 4 years ago my mum (70) did everything at home whilst my dad worked full time. He then retired and they planned to enjoy their retirement. Sadly COVID happened and then my mum got cancer, followed by COVID. Dad took on everything - cooking, cleaning, household admin - as well as all mum's medical admin and personal care. He has had to learn how to do all this as he has never been involved in household stuff before.

She is now cancer free but unfortunately a changed person. The disease and the treatment have left her physically frail (she is wheelchair bound), frequently incontinent and very confused. We have been trying to get to the bottom of the confusion and suspect she has some form of dementia on top of everything else. Four years on we still feel in a daily battle.

I'm doing as much as I can for them but distance is an issue and we also have a disabled child. They also don't make it easy as they don't want to make any major adaptions to their lives out of expectation / blind faith that her health and capabilities will improve. Mum is terrified that we might put her in care (we've repeatedly told her we aren't thinking about that). Dad is exhausted, depressed and frequently loses his rag. This is not the retirement that they envisaged for themselves.

They can afford to buy in help and I think what they is a general assistant come PA come dogs-body to do whatever it is that dad can't on any given day. Sometimes this might be doing the shopping, another day sorting out a problem with the plumbing / heating / broadband (or other household admin) or other occasions it would be being a companion for mum whilst dad goes for a well-earned round of golf. What this isn't is a carer in the sense of nursing care. Dad would continue to do the vast majority of mum's care. They have a very large house and would be in a position to offer the person private accomodation as part of the deal (own bedroom, bathroom, mini kitchen) - although no overnight care would be expected.

My question is: does this type of job exist? An elderly PA come companion? If yes, any tips of where to find one?

All ideas gratefully received.

OP posts:
PermanentTemporary · 25/09/2023 17:24

I would talk to local care agencies? Round where I am there is a local newssheet that turned into a website and it covers everything you can think of, it would take job ads for this sort of thing. Maybe also The Lady if it's still going??

PermanentTemporary · 25/09/2023 17:29

Went to have a look - this is The Lady jobs board. At least gives an idea of what these sorts of jobs look like.

the lady

olderbutwiser · 25/09/2023 17:29

Definitely speak to local care agencies; there are also agencies offering lower level befriending/companion help on an hourly basis.

If you go through an agency the extra you will be paying is there to cover referencing/dbs checks etc to ensure the person is suitable and safe and properly trained; to provide a viable contract; to provide insurance; to provide short term cover for when the main person is unavailable or to find a replacement who ticks all the boxes. Worth thinking about whether this is good value.

gracielooloo · 25/09/2023 21:36

We have this sort of thing for my MIL and she’s brilliant. She takes her out for a coffee and social occasions, takes her to appointments, does a bit of housework, meal prep. There’s no personal care either.
She works 5 hours/day, Mon-Fri and we pay her around £17 per hour.

Obvs92 · 26/09/2023 04:19

Sounds similar to what we need. How did you fins this person please @gracielooloo?

OP posts:
JamieJ93 · 26/09/2023 04:53

Yes this job does exist.
I was a senior carer for years and fancied a change so I did live in care, self employed but through an agency.
You could either employ somebody yourself ( this can be so much cheaper) or you can ask an agency to step in - although much more expensive ( I was on 700 p/w and that was on "standard rate") however, through an agency the employee/carer MUST have qualifications + 12 month prior care, DBS, references ETC.
Hope this helps x

Beninthesortingoffice · 26/09/2023 05:34

My dad had homeinstead who are a national agency but don't just do care.

You could start with a few hours a day to see how it goes.

Also, don't rule out getting someone else to do personal care. Even if your dad can, it doesn't mean his (and your mum's) life wouldn't be easier if someone else did.

Beninthesortingoffice · 26/09/2023 05:40

Or give AgeUK a call for advice their factsheets are a good start.

Or your council can't recommend a care agency but they might give you a list of local ones.

Get your dad on the carers register at the GP. It'll get him an annual health check I think plus priority for vaccines etc

FinallyHere · 26/09/2023 07:42

We had good experiences with agencies. Not a cheap solution but very good at finding the right people.

They also worked on rotation, so we had a pool of three or four regulars who each stayed for a fortnight at a time.

This covered their holidays and recovery time and avoided some of the irritations of living in such close proximity to people.

Agree with PP suggesting that you find someone prepared to do personal care so that there is not issue, they do what ever is required and can be flexible.


countrygirl99 · 26/09/2023 07:49

A friend used Home Instead for someone to take her dad out for a walk/coffee/just sit and chat fir a couple . If necessary they did an extra hour here and there to sort admin, help him order birthday and Christmas presents etc.

PlantBasedMuffin · 26/09/2023 07:49

My Mum is in this situation but is fiercely independent and wants to stay in her own home. Some of these suggestions might help your parents as these are things that have really helped my mum:

  • Tesco order twice a week.
  • Newspapers delivered daily.
  • LaundryHeap collect laundry and delivery it back, clean and folded.
  • Cleaner once a week.
  • Lloyd Loom commode that fits in with the rest of the furniture.
  • Daily WhatsApp call with me to catch up and pay her bills online.

Mum was resistant to ALL of these things, but loves them all now.
Hairyfairy01 · 26/09/2023 07:53

Maybe an agency like 'helping hands'?

Beckafett · 26/09/2023 07:56

It does exist, I worked for a housing association in Yorkshire who provided this service to non residents; what area are you in as I can try and see if others so the same to signpost. Your contract that way is with them including holiday cover and I must say the people who did this role were some of my favourite people and I wished my mum and dad lived in Yorkshire.

gracielooloo · 26/09/2023 21:50

Sorry @Obvs92, have just seen this now.
’Our lady’ was/is a friend of a friend who had previously worked for the local council as a home carer so pretty much through word of mouth. She’s absolutely fab with MIL, incredibly patient, some mornings they just have a blether and MIL describes her as ‘her ray of sunshine’, I never get that!😆
She’s actually looking for an afternoon client but I’d bet you’re not in North East Scotland!

piscofrisco · 26/09/2023 21:53

Check out Carem. It's a website that private carers register on and you can engage them directly.
There are lots of care agencies that do live in care-but it's expensive and probably more than you need currently.

Muchtoomuchtodo · 26/09/2023 21:54

This sounds more than a PA type role, but doable for a live in carer. They often change person every 2 weeks but if you could find 2 or 3 people to rotate and get to know your parents, their routines, likes and dislikes etc then it could work well.

I would approach some care companies like Home Instead

dearanon · 26/09/2023 21:56

I think care agencies to give your dad a break.

I have seen how broken spouses are taking on the care of their loved one before we were instructed to step in.

Jennalong · 26/09/2023 21:56

Around here it's called a befriender . It allows the carer to get out for a few hours .
They provide no medical care or toileting but will sit and chat , maybe do a jigsaw , help with a craft etc , or whatever is enjoyable to the person , maybe make a cup of tea , give biscuits / snack if ready prepared .

TroysMammy · 26/09/2023 22:03

I know someone who does live in care, sadly his client passed away after a long illness. Carers also came twice a day for showering and bedtime but he would feed and medicate his client, take out for exercise, do light household duties e.g. Clients laundry and ironing. I think he was employed through Helping Hands.

Obvs92 · 27/09/2023 18:57

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. It feels like it will be easier to get support for the Personal Care than the life admin. Dad has managed to get their landline disconnected this week by applying to move to fill fibre without a digital voice packag😖He's just struggling with brain space. Sounds like he and I should focus on the admin and hand mum's daily care over to a carer. Thanks again everyone.

OP posts:
TakeMe2Insanity · 27/09/2023 19:01

An elderly friend of my mum’s (when my mum was not elderly) organised what she phrased as a nanny for herself. Someone to do the tasks overseen by a grown up child (overseas i think).

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