‘It hasn’t felt like care at all. At least, it’s certainly not what I thought care would feel like. I’ve actually really enjoyed it.’ – Maggie Jones, a Home Instead client
Being able to live happily and safely at home in later life is a comfort. Inevitably, however, mundane daily tasks become physically more challenging and social contact narrows, which can cause loneliness and profoundly affect mental wellbeing.
As a result, many older people feel obliged to move. But there is an award-winning alternative. ‘That’s where we come in,’ smiles Maddy Alemayehu, Director of Home Instead Hammersmith and Chiswick. ‘By providing sensitive, relationship-led care, we help our clients stay where they love and continue to enjoy independent, fulfilling lives.’
A global company, Home Instead has a very successful UK network and, in 2016, it was the first home care operation to win the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Maddy, who worked for many years as an Intensive Care nurse, and her dedicated team deliver an extensive choice of bespoke services – including Dementia Care, Home Help, Companionship, Respite Care and 24/7 Live-in Care – in Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham and Ealing.
‘Family or friends usually get in touch with us,’ she explains. ‘One of our Care Managers will visit the potential client to discuss their specific needs and talk through what we do. We never forget that everyone is different; we don’t dictate, we’re there to be a trustworthy, friendly face and assist in any way we can.
‘If all goes well, we then match the client with one of our lovely professional CAREGivers. We hand-pick them for their empathetic character, values and experience and, of course, they are rigorously vetted and trained. We place huge emphasis on finding points of contact between clients and CAREGivers
based on background, personality or interests. For example, a member of our staff is a keen singer and so we placed her with a lady who plays the piano.’
Home Instead offers flexibility across a comprehensive range of care options. The most popular, Home Help, covers all those chores – cleaning, ironing, cooking, laundry, watering plants, changing the bed, running errands – that we take for granted when younger.
‘As well as pro-active, practical support, many people like to have a good old chat,’ says Maddy. ‘That’s why we have a Companionship service; the CAREGiver might pop in for a cup of tea or encourage and help clients to be more active and revive their hobbies. One lady had been a tennis player, so we took her to watch her friends playing – she loved it.
‘When we provide Personal Care, whether that’s assistance with dressing and bathing or meals and medication, every client is treated with dignity and respect, and for Dementia Care our CAREGivers receive intensive specialist training to enable them to cope with any situation. When it comes to Live-in Care, the client and their family decide how many hours they require us – we can usually arrange 24/7 coverage.’
While nothing will ever replace human contact, Maddy believes that technology can play a key role in enhancing quality of life. ‘We install devices that check people are safe and connect them to their families; in addition, as part of our Social Responsibility commitment, we give our Home Aware monitoring system free to less well-off long-term clients.
‘To us, care at home is personal. Home Instead’s standards are exactly what we would expect for our own loved ones. We’re passionate about changing the face of ageing.’