Frank and Mary: Needed help at home

Frank and Mary: Needed help at home

Frank and Mary are in their 80s and needed some help at home.

Frank and Mary live at the home they have had for over 40 years. Mary has always done most of the housework and shopping and likes doing it. Over the past few years she has become able to do less than before. Frank’s eyesight is getting poorer and he is not able to drive now. Apart from that he is keeping well and feels he is active for his age.

Both Mary and Frank felt they didn’t need any help at home. Their family had suggested asking about help and they had seen posters in the Health Centre. But they thought services like that were the sort of thing other people needed and deserved.

Mary got unwell and felt very tired. Their family were round more, which was great. One day, when Mary was better, they had a conversation about what sort of help had been useful over the past few weeks and what Mary and Frank would find helpful on a more regular basis.

The next time they were at the Health Centre Mary and Frank brought home one of the leaflets and phoned. Someone from the Social Work Department came to see them and things moved from there.

  • Being able to stay at home in their own house and close to their friends and their community for as long as they could.
  • Feeling more on top of the house and garden – not worrying about the places they can’t reach or knowing it isn’t clean enough.
  • Not running out of things because they haven’t been able to get to the shops.
  • Seeing friends – keeping in touch with the people they know now and ideally getting back in touch with people they have lost contact with.
  • Not having to ask their family to help. Spending time talking to family when they come instead of someone coming to do our housework.

Someone came out to talk over the welfare benefits they could be entitled to. She helped them fill in forms and this lead to both Mary and Frank getting extra money each week.

Frank and Mary used the extra money they now have to pay for

  • Getting an electrician to put in some more lights and move sockets, to make it easier and brighter around the house.
  • Getting someone to do the gardening.
  • An ironing service which several neighbours also use.
  • Taxis when they were  going out in the evenings.
  • Trains and taxis to go and visits friends who live a distance away.
  • They organise these things themselves and pay the bills as they arise.

The social worker also reminded them about a home repairs service that is run from a voluntary organisation and provides a low-cost service for older people. They are using that for some extra odd jobs around the house to make life easier.

Their daughter got them sorted with on-line shopping from a big supermarket. They like this for bigger and heavier items, but they wanted to keep in touch with the local shops because that is part of what they like about living in their area. Mary talked to some of the staff there and asked if they could deliver to her. Now she goes shopping like before and someone at one of the shops picks up things from the others and brings them round later that day.

They use a home care service for a few hours each week. They thought about this and decided they want a service which will do a wide range of tasks and can bring in care workers with more skills if either Mary or Frank is unwell and needs help with more personal things like getting washed and dressed in the future.

The Council could arrange a service for them, but they would have to change to a different service if they needed more support later. So Mark and Frank have opted for an individual care budget to get the support from the service they want.

  • Don’t think that the help and services are for other older people but not for you. Read the leaflets and think if any of this could be useful for you.
  • They had been thinking for a while about what could help them stay at home. With hindsight, they realised they probably should have asked for help a bit earlier. But the good aspect was that they had time to think about it and talk to their family and hear their ideas, so they knew what they wanted.  That made it easier when they were talking about it with the social worker.
  • Think about all the ordinary services that are there for everyone. They hadn’t thought about getting shopping delivered and the help you can book when you travel by train, for example.
  • Don’t feel bad about the public services spending this much money on you. We felt that way and then the social worker told us how much it would cost for one of us to be in hospital or a nursing home. Getting a bit more support now is saving money in the future if it avoids that or delays it.

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