A few days before Christmas we received a phone call from a lovely gentleman, John, who wanted to enquire about our live-in care services. He explained that he his wife had passed away two months earlier and that he was now living alone.
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He had family visiting over Christmas and he knew that they were going to quiz him about his current living arrangements, being concerned about him being alone in his large rural home. John’s family had already suggested he either move somewhere smaller or accept some support to enable him to continue to live there. John explained to us that it was important for him to choose his own future support plan, and not leave it to those around him. A few months earlier John had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer which was affecting his bones, and when his family arrived it was important to him to show them that he already had a plan in place.
It was clear from our initial conversation that John was a fiercely independent man who wanted to be able to plan his own support needs, on his terms, and not wait until he was unable to make decisions for himself. John did not require immediate support, and so we agreed that we would email him our ‘Guide to Live in Care’. In turn, John would send us a us a few notes about his history, conditions and the type of carer he was looking for. A few days later we received a two-page summary email from John, he had noted down all the details of his life, marriage and career. It was fascinating to read about his achievements and how hard he and his wife had worked to build up a successful business. Armed with this information, we felt ready to be able to find a suitable live in carer to match John’s support needs and personality when he needed it.
After our team member had spoken to John and hearing how calm and organised he was, they did not expect him to require our services soon. However, literally a week later, we received a panicked phone call from John’s neighbour, Sonia, explaining that he had had a fall and felt weak. John had given Sonia our phone number and asked her to call us, knowing we could send over an emergency carer to support him. It was by chance that we had been speaking to one of our very experienced male carers, Alex, about John and how he may need support in the future. Alex had seemed very interested in the role as he shared many of John’s interests and hobbies. Having just finished another placement through Helpd, Alex had planned to take some time over the Christmas period. After the phone call from Sonia, we called Alex and explained what had happened. He kindly offered to postpone his break and rush to support John the next morning. When we called back having found an experienced carer, John and Sonia were both very relieved, especially knowing that Alex could come so quickly.
Alex is still living with John. They have put together a routine of support, with Alex giving John the space he needs to maintain as much independence as possible. Alex will be taking a break from his duties soon and in preparation for this he has sent us updated notes about John’s condition and needs. We will use this to ensure that we find a carer who can support John in the way he requires and wishes. This means Alex can go away for his short break, and that John will have a seamless transition with the cover carer, who will understand and respect his needs.
John has now given us permission to speak to his son Matthew about his care going forward, being aware that his condition is worsening and one day soon he may require his son to select carers on his behalf. Matthew, who is equally as lovely and organised as John, has been very complementary about Alex and has agreed to continue with live in care for as long as John is able to stay at home.