Keeping two sisters together through live in care
We were contacted by Alice last year. She explained that she lived with her sister Joan in Cambridge. They had lived together since childhood as neither had married or had children of their own. They were very close and had relied on each other, not only as sisters, but as best friends too.
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Two years prior to this, Joan had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and early onset dementia. They had been managing her support with four visits a day from home care workers, however this was increasingly not sufficient. Alice explained that the carers would come to assist Joan to the toilet, however Joan did not always want to use the toilet whilst they were there. Instead she would need to go when Alice was alone with her. Alice had to struggle to support her to the bathroom. Alice herself was in her late seventies and did not have the strength required to support Joan in a safe way.
Alice had spoken to several other family members who suggested that Joan move into residential care. Alice said she could not bear the thought of being apart from her much loved sister. She explained that their family did not understand their bond, and were unable to see that without Joan in the house, Alice would be very upset and lonely. She knew her sister’s condition was deteriorating, but whilst she was still able to recognise Alice and feel comfortable in her surroundings, Alice wanted her to remain at home.
Initially Alice inquired about night care, she had thought that hiring a night carer to supplement the day carers would be a good idea. When we discussed the cost of these two methods of support, it became apparent that live in care would be the most cost effective option. It also meant continuity of care for Joan, and a companion for Alice that she would be able to get to know well as the live in carer could stay for an extended time.
Alice wanted to trial our services for a few weeks, she was still in two minds about whether live in care was the best option. I explained that this was possible as we understood that she needed to be completely happy with her decision.
We ensured that we sent her profiles of carers that had experience of both Parkinson’s and dementia. Our carers were informed of the close bond between the two sisters and how important it was for them both to remain in their family home together for as long as possible.
Alice decided that she liked the profiles of two carers Sally and Agata. We organised conferences calls with Alice, ourselves and the carers and it was decided that they would work on a two week rotation with one another. This meant that Alice could be sure that there were two regular carers to support Joan. In our early conversations she had expressed that the uncertainty of continuity of care with her hourly carers had been very stressful for her. She had felt that she met a new carer every day. She just wanted to feel reassured that Joan was being cared for by carers who could get to know them both and would not need constant input from Alice about simple matters such as where the incontinence pads were kept. It was important for Alice to feel that she could go out and leave Joan in the capable hands of her live in carer.
Alice was pleased with our services and decided to continue the arrangement on a long term basis. The cost of live in care was also less than that of a care home, which was reassuring for Alice.