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How Much Will It Cost to Have the Care At Home Service You Need?

The fact that you need some help with day-to-day tasks doesn’t mean that it’s time to move to residential care or give up your home and independent way of life. A care at home service often offers the best of both worlds.

Help is available during pre-arranged home visits at times you choose. Life can be made more manageable while you continue to enjoy the familiarity and security of your own surroundings. You can opt for a care service that helps meet a wide range of needs, from picking up prescriptions, shopping and preparing meals, through to help with personal hygiene or nursing care and medication.

What Care Do You Need?

Everyone is different and so are their care needs, which is why the first step is usually to arrange a care needs assessment with your local council. It might be that you will only need care for a limited period of time, such as recovering from illness or a hospital visit. Or it may be that you need something longer-term that will make day-to-day life more manageable.

Depending on your income and assets, it’s likely that you will have to pay for some or all of your care. The question of how much the care will cost then becomes very important. The care at home packages provided by Altogether Care are based on individual needs and are highly flexible. The costs are based on each client’s specific care package and are explained and discussed with each individual in advance.

To make it easier to understand how much your care is likely to cost, we’ve created a care cost calculator. This is an easy to use online tool that takes you step-by-step through your options looking at the types of care you want to receive. At the end of the process you will receive an accurate estimate of the cost of your care at home package. This will help you make better-informed decisions when it comes to planning your care.

Try the Care Cost Calculator

For more information, contact us on 01305 300 161.

Care At Home, Coronavirus and the Future

A woman in 1971 would have expected to live to the age of around 77. For a man, life expectancy was a little over 71. By 2017, the life expectancy for women had risen to over 83 and for men it was just under 80.

The increase in life expectancy has been driven by better healthcare, a reduction in smoking, improved health and safety in workplaces, more plentiful and varied food and improved amenities. And as, on average, we are all getting a few more years post-retirement, it’s important to make the most of them.

Maintaining independence is an important feature of the quality of life for many people in their later years. Usually, this means that individuals will want to remain in their own homes wherever possible. In many cases, people living in the own homes during their later years are fully mentally capable and can, for the most part, take care of themselves. If, in your case, you’re not as mobile as you used to be, a few things may become a bit more difficult. But that’s no reason to give up your independence.

Care at home is increasingly popular because it gives people choice and flexibility. They agree with their care provider what type of help they need and how often. They have a care plan that is their care plan, not something that somebody decides for them. And most of all, they are in familiar surroundings in a community they know.

How Has Covid-19 Changed Things?

The pandemic increased the demand for care at home services. This is partly because care homes were sometimes unable to admit new residents and partly because some people recovering from the virus face a long process of recuperation. It was also harder in many cases for family members and informal caregivers to help out because of guidance about isolating and social distancing.

A great deal of the burden of coping with Covid-19 fell on the care sector and we’re proud of the way our team rose to the challenge. The value and benefits that care at home services deliver became much more obvious to the general population.

It was a difficult time but we pulled through. We’re now focused firmly on the future and how we can bring independence and quality of life to even more people in their later years.

Contact 01305 206 140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information.

Could Live-In Care Be Right For You?

For many people, the first type of care they need is care at home. In a lot of cases it’s all they’ll ever need as they are able to carry on living independently with a bit of help.

In other cases, the amount of care and support a person needs increases. Eventually it reaches the point where once or twice daily visits from a carer are not enough. It’s then time to make a decision about the next step.

There are several signs that the type of care needs to be reviewed. These could include an increasing number of memory lapses and near misses such as cookers or electrical appliances being left on, or increasing frailty and finding daily living too much of a struggle.

The first thing that probably comes to mind is residential care; but it’s far from your only option. For some people who receive later-life care the overriding priority is to stay in their own home for as long as possible. That’s where friends, family social activities and memories are.

Live-in care makes it possible to continue living in your own home even when you have significant care needs. Often, it’s less of an upheaval than moving into a care home.

What Does Live-In Care Mean?

In simple terms, it means being able to stay in your home (a place you feel emotionally attached to) without being alone or having to fend for yourself. Your carer lives with you so they are always on hand to help you look after yourself, deliver personal or medical care and keep an eye out for your wellbeing and safety.

They can help you with domestic chores, shopping and trips out when you need them. But as well as the practical help you have companionship and security, and the peace of mind that you are not on your own. If you would like to know more about our live-in care service call us and arrange an appointment. We’ll be happy to talk you through your options and find the care service that works best for you.

Contact 01202 894 925 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information.

Flexibility in Care: Later Life Care is a Journey, Not an Event

People often talk about ‘going into care’ or ‘receiving care’ as though these are single events or destinations. The reality is that everyone’s care journey is unique. At different times, an individual might need more or less care, or different types of care.

Care is sometimes needed for a short period to help somebody recover from illness or an operation. Often, it’s a progressive journey where needs gradually change with increasing levels of dependency.

Nobody can really predict how an individual’s care needs are likely to evolve, or at what rate. As a care provider an important part of what we do is to continually assess the support that our clients need and to adjust their care plans to suit. In most cases a formal annual review of the care plan is enough but sometimes it needs to be more frequent or is triggered by an event such as illness.

Flexibility is essential so that we can achieve the right balance between care support, wellbeing and maintaining independence. A good quality of life is every bit as important as looking after personal and healthcare needs.

Anticipating Change

Part of the process is to anticipate changes, particularly where care needs are likely to increase over time. This relies on getting to know clients really well. We can then build trust by demonstrating to clients and their families that decisions are always made in their best interests and reflect their wishes.

This relationship is critical in making the care planning process work effectively, in a way that consistently meets clients’ needs.

One helpful consideration when choosing a care provider is to think about how needs may change over time. Because relationships are important, it can be useful to look at the range of services the provider offers should they be needed in future.

Altogether Care is able to respond to changes in the level of dependency over time. All staff are well trained to manage any increase in requirements, including moving and handling, care planning and dementia awareness.

Our services range from help with personal care in your own home, through to nursing care to assist with dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, strokes and much more. As needs change, we can support our clients through each stage of their care journey. They have the reassurance that they are always dealing with a team of people who understand them as individuals and can respond to whatever challenges arise.

To talk through our our services with a member of our team, contact us today on 01305 300161 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Care At Home – Here to Support You Now and in the Future

The coronavirus pandemic hit the care sector hard in many ways. The emotional cost of dealing with people who became infected and of staff putting themselves at risk to continue delivering care was huge.

Some care providers were already finding life hard before the pandemic and several are starting to worry about whether they will be able to stay in business.

Expanding at a time when others are contracting

But, despite what many papers print, it’s not all doom and gloom in the sector. Altogether Care remains in a strong position both in terms of performance and of the wellbeing of our teams. This is important, because we know that the thing that people who use care services value most of all is stability.

Choosing an organisation to look after your care needs is a big decision. The relationship with your home care provider is both important and personal. The last thing anybody wants is to keep changing care providers when their current one is no longer able to provide a service.

We have grown by over 50% in the last 3 years and are a preferred provider for numerous local authorities. We are continuing to develop our services and expand our network of Care at Home branches to meet the growing demand for care in the UK. The fundamentals of an ageing population with more disparate family units means that more people will continue to seek support in their lives to a lesser or greater degree. And we are ready with more staff, more local offices and more services to help with the house and garden as well as care.

Financial Stability Brings Reassurance

In a recent survey, three quarters of directors of adult social care said they were concerned about the financial stability of home care providers in their area. Some of these concerns were there before coronavirus came to the UK but they are now more acute. Enquiring about the financial stability of a care provider you are thinking of using is more important than ever.

For people living in Dorset, South Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire who are considering care there is the flexibility of using a care at home service where a carer visits on a regular basis to help, or Live-In Care for full time support. Altogether Care will be able to meet your needs now and in the future as a stable, family run provider with over 30 years experience. Call us to discuss your care needs in more detail and find out what type of support will suit you best.

For more information about Altogether Care and our care services, click here. Alternatively, speak to our team on 01305 206 140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Related article: https://www.homecareinsight.co.uk/cqc-report-reveals-impact-of-covid-19-on-domiciliary-care-providers/ 

Maintaining Health and Wellbeing: Why Care at Home May Be the Best Option

There is sometimes an assumption that having significant care needs automatically means residential care. But that needn’t be the case. There are plenty of options for receiving the care you need in your own home. For many people, care at home can even help them stay healthier for longer.

Good health and mental wellbeing are closely linked. And sometimes wellbeing comes from familiar surroundings and familiar routines. This can be particularly important for people with dementia. Being independent also helps people to feel more active and engaged, which also helps to keep them healthier for longer.

Living on Your Own

If you have a spouse, partner or family member living with you, staying in your home is easier. But even if you find yourself living alone it doesn’t mean that residential care is your only choice.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, people with dementia, ‘often feel happier if they can remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible.’ They list a few important factors for continuing to live contentedly in your own home:

  • Have a good support network of family, friends and care professionals.
  • Keep up with social activities and pastimes.
  • Make a point of calling people regularly and consider using a video calling service such as Skype.
  • Investigate local befriending groups.
  • Consider online forums and support groups if you don’t have friends or family you can talk to regularly.

The other important aspect of continuing to live a healthier and happier life in your own home is to find the right home care provider. Even if you need around the clock care to carry on living at home, it is possible to arrange this through a live-in care service. For many more people, it’s likely to be finding help with simpler tasks such as washing, dressing and housework.

Whatever the level of support you need, you should always be able to live at home if it’s where you feel happier and more independent. Talk to the team at Altogether Care and we’ll help you find the home care solution that works best for you. Contact 01305 206140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information.

Caring for a Loved One: How to Lift & Handle Safely and Properly

Being a caregiver is a demanding task. It is likely to be a role that you never asked for and maybe one that you never expected to have. It can be thankless, and it can sometimes feel like you are on your own.

Fortunately, there is help and support available from organisations such as Carers UK where you can find advice, guidance and online forums so you can share experiences and learn from other people in a similar situation.

As a family-run and socially responsible care business, Altogether Care also likes to support unpaid caregivers where we can with advice and occasional training courses.

Moving and Handling

One of the trickiest aspects of caregiving can be when you need to help somebody with restricted movement. Moving and handling comes with the risk of personal injury if you don’t do it correctly. You must also keep the dignity and self-respect of the person being moved in mind. Safe moving and handling are important aspects of the training that all our care staff go through.

Free Training Course

To help, we are offering free training to caregivers on how to move people safely. You’ll be provided with a certificate upon completing the course. It will take on Wednesday 18th March at 2pm and Thursday 26th March at 2pm.

The courses will be held at 13 Carlton Road North, Weymouth, DT4 7PY.

Booking is essential to secure your place. Please email ellief@altogethercare.co.uk or call 07881 802196 to book.

We’ll also give you free tea, coffee and cake. As well as the training you’ll have the chance to meet and talk to other caregivers.

Top Tips

If you can’t make the training here are a few moving and handling tips that will help:

  • Take account of the weight of the person. If you don’t think you’re strong enough don’t attempt it on your own.
  • Always get somebody to help if you can.
  • Make sure there are no obstacles or ‘slip and trip’ hazards.
  • Never lift above shoulder height
  • Space your feet to give you a firm and stable base.
  • Have a firm hold and keep any weight close to your body
  • Lift from the knees keeping your back straight
  • Lift as smoothly as possible

Obviously, it’s better to be shown how to do this than read about it. So, if you can, please come along to our free training session. We look forward to seeing you.

For more information, please contact us on 01305 206140 or email contact@altogothercare.co.uk

2019 in Review: A Reflection from The Chairman

Having just bid farewell to the last decade and ushered into the next, I found myself musing over what Altogether Care LLP (ATC) had achieved in the last 10 years and what it might achieve in the next 10 years.

Looking back over the last decade, I derive great satisfaction from ATC’s organic growth, marked by the optimisation of our care home buildings, the rapid expansion of our Care at Home business and the significant increase in our neighbourhood customer base. This has enabled us to move up from a local business enterprise to a much larger regional enterprise that is now delivering the resources necessary for further expansion in the next decade.

Traditionally business logic would argue that the sole purpose of any business is to make a sensible profit to sustain its safe operation. While this is an important financial metric, ATC’s Board of Members judge it to be a narrow image of our business that constrains how we see our role in society. It is their view that while ATC must always strive for success in a business sense, it should not necessarily be expressed only in financial terms without any focus on the pastoral side of our care work and the well-being of our staff.

While it is uncertain what the UK’s future will look like outside the European Union, I have every confidence that our great nation will grasp the nettle and make Britain a powerhouse again. However, following Brexit, the government’s immigration policy will likely have a negative impact on the ability of the NHS and social care providers, such as ourselves, to recruit sufficient UK staff to replace EU staff upon whom we have become increasingly reliant.

With the above in mind, ATC needs to have an increasingly positive and progressive influence on the care sector over the next ten years. We must also recognise that we cannot grow the business without large numbers of good employees with a passion for care work and the right skill sets. Our business strategy must therefore be progressively shaped around the lives of our employees and service users and what makes their work and lives worth living. This will require a change in our thinking, remembering also that our care workers are both internal players and the company’s representatives in the community.

No doubt this will require more investment in our work force and society in general to help ATC build upon the institution that is its family business. To serve this purpose, the Board will, I am sure, wish to think beyond our business portfolio and make more room for investment in our employee’s empowerment, emotional engagement, values-based leadership, and related social contributions. In short, our employees, service users and society should not be an afterthought but must be placed at the core of our business plan.

In the next decade, I would expect ATC to continue to be a high-performing and growth minded business, which consistently meets services users’ needs and adds value by; providing satisfying jobs for our employees and by forging relationships with a network of suppliers and business partners, who can provide resources for improvement in such areas as, assistive technologies, innovation around service delivery and cost efficiencies wherever possible. Moreover, we should seek public approval for what ATC is and does by aligning our business objectives more closely with social values and reflecting this in our marketing approach.

In conclusion, only by thinking of ATC as a social institution, with strong family values, fantastic work culture, vibrant workplace environment and a as meritocracy offering a real chance for self-improvement and career success can we expect to attract and retain superior employees with a calling for care.

I firmly believe that in the immediate future ATC should place social logic alongside financial logic as a guiding principle for its market analysis, recruitment and retention, education, training, employment policy, and managerial decision making. This I feel will add another exciting dimension to our service that is significant, or more so, than commercial success alone.

It continues to be an immense pleasure for me to work with so many dedicated people who make a huge difference to the quality of older peoples’ lives.

Happy New Decade.

Brian Westlake

January Can Be the Loneliest Month for Older People

Research carried out by the Co-op revealed that for people of all ages, January is the month when they are most likely to experience loneliness. And it’s easy to see why: cold weather, short days and fewer opportunities to get out and meet people. ‘Blue Monday’ is the notorious 3rd Monday in January that is thought to be the most depressing of the year.

Now imagine how that feels for an older person living on their own. They may have been one of the more fortunate ones that had company and attention over Christmas. Then, once the New Year is in, everyone’s back to their normal routine and may be preoccupied with how to pay for the festivities just gone.

It’s easy to assume that we’ve done our bit by popping in to see an elderly relative or neighbour over the holiday period. And these visits are valued. It’s just that it’s hard if this is followed by weeks of seeing nobody.

Loneliness has a major impact on wellbeing, so how can wellbeing be improved in January?

In our care homes we ensure that people are kept occupied all year round with activities and are surrounded by people in a sociable environment. The question is, how this approach can be applied to people who receive care at home. It’s certainly much harder when it relies on busy people being able to find a few hours here and there in a busy life.

The reality is that people in residential care are less likely to experience loneliness and can enjoy better mental wellbeing as a result. There are activities such as puzzles, games, singing and visits arranged. Care homes can also look after other aspects that contribute to wellbeing such as eating a nutritious diet and taking regular exercise.

For many, a care home offers a more sociable environment compared to living at home, which can promote better health and wellbeing – in January and throughout the year.

Contact us at 01305 206 140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information about our services and care homes.

It’s Time for Unpaid Caregivers to Recharge their Batteries

‘Batteries not included’ used to be common wording on the packaging of Christmas gifts. Years ago, when shops were shut for the whole of the holiday period, this could cause problems. Partially discharged batteries were pulled out of torches, remote controls and who knows what else to extract the few final hours of energy from them. Toys could be played with and new gadgets used.

Being an unpaid caregiver at Christmas, whether you’re providing care for a family member or friend, can feel a lot like being one of those batteries. Your resources have been slowly drained over the year and you’re called on to give up one more burst of energy to hold everything together over the holiday. When it’s all over, you’re left feeling as flat as a bottle of fizz uncorked since Christmas Eve.

Burnout

Your batteries are not so easy to replace. January means back to normal, and back to the routine of daily unpaid care duties. Little wonder that December and January are the months when many caregivers experience burnout. That final burst over Christmas, when there is so much else to take care of on top of the care duties, took the last bit of energy.

It’s easy to convince yourself that everything will be fine once you’re back into the normal routine, but is it healthy? Everyone needs a break – carers more than anybody, especially if you work full-time alongside providing care for a loved one. But, of course, you’re responsible, and you’re taking care of somebody who is important to you. You can become trapped by feeling guilty if you take some time out.

Respite Care

It’s important to take some time out to look after yourself. After all, if your health fails, who will take over your caring duties in the longer term? Fortunately, you have options.

Respite care can be either residential or day care and is available at Altogether Care’s three Dorset care homes. It can allow you to take some time off to rest and look after yourself. It can also provide a welcome break from routine in a safe and caring environment for your loved one. A few days or a week can make all the difference and leave you feeling refreshed and recharged.

If you don’t wish to leave your loved one at all, Altogether Care’s Care at Home team are also on-hand to assist with your daily care duties, by lifting some of the work off from your shoulders when you need it most. Our Care at Home staff can help you with flexible day care assistance, getting out and about, help throughout the night or domestic support.

Contact us at 01305 206 140 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information about our services and care homes.

What Can You Do to Help a Lonely Person This Christmas?

This Costs You Nothing but Will Mean the World to a Lonely Person

A few simple acts of kindness and consideration can make a huge difference to the lives of many, especially those feeling lonely this Christmas.

Imagine if you were suddenly cut off from your friends, family, work colleagues and everybody you interact with daily, wandering around an empty home with only the echoes of your footsteps for company. When you venture outside, you’re seen but never noticed. How long could you stand it? A few hours, a day, a week? How would you start to feel inside? What if your life was a prospect of this, day after day, seemingly without end?

A World Without Words

If the thought of that type of loneliness fills you with sadness or even horror, now consider that there are over a million older people living among us for whom that is the daily reality. They can go a whole month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. 225,000 elderly people often go a whole week without speaking to anyone at all (Age UK).

Not surprisingly, this can have a crushing effect on wellbeing and mental and physical health.

What Does a Lonely Person Look Like?

How would you know if somebody was lonely? They’re probably not going to tell you or ask for help. Pride and the stigma surrounding loneliness and mental health will get in the way. This means it’s up to the rest of us to take the initiative and be a bit more vigilant and a bit more caring.

What to look out for:

  • Most people won’t admit they are lonely, but they might give verbal clues like saying they never see anyone.
  • If someone you know seems down or depressed, or if they never seem to want to end a conversation, it could be down to loneliness.
  • Lonely people sometimes complain about imaginary illnesses.

Feeling lonely isn’t just restricted to Christmas. Many elderly people experience loneliness all year round, often being unable to venture outside and talk to anyone for weeks. It is important to work together to help combat loneliness and improve the wellbeing of other members of the community. 

There are simple ways you can help:

  • Start a conversation with an older person.
  • Call an older relative.
  • Check in with an older neighbour.
  • Volunteer within the community or with charities like AgeUK.

The first three of these may seem trivial and insignificant, but to somebody who is experiencing loneliness, they could mean the world.

The power of ‘giving your words’ is encapsulated in the Cadbury’s campaign that aims to raise money for Age UK. They donate 30p for each special edition chocolate bar sold with no words on the packaging. It’s not just about the donations, it’s also bringing home the message that a simple conversation and a few words can make all the difference to a lonely person.

We believe in supporting vulnerable people in a community that we are part of, at Christmas and all year round. To find out more about how we help the community, read our Christmas article here.

Care Staff: Among the Most Valuable Employees in the Country

The value of somebody’s work can’t always be measured in money. A better measure might be the positive impact people have on society and the lives of others. And if that’s the case, care staff must come out pretty near the top of the list.

Day-in, day-out we see just how much the work of our care teams mean to the people we care for. It isn’t just the care tasks they perform that help people cope a little better and get more enjoyment from life, it’s also the way they work – bringing positive interactions to people’s lives, making so much difference to wellbeing and health.

Is Your Job Worthwhile?

Care work isn’t easy, but it’s rarely dull and always rewarding. Let’s be honest, how many people can truly say that the work they do is worthwhile and making a difference? For everyone working in care, that’s the daily reality. The rewards are about much more than money.

We understand the value of the work that our people do. So, we try to give back as much as we can with a competitive salary, flexible working hours and professional development. Everyone is supported to grow their skills and their career.

Altogether Care staff enjoy additional benefits that not all care companies offer, including staff discounts, a generous mileage allowance, childcare vouchers, free mobile insurance and free Nero coffee.

Family Values

Altogether Care is a family-run business and we aim to make our employees feel part of a wider family. We have shared values and support each other to do the best job possible for our clients. And that’s what Altogether Care staff say is one of their favourite things about working at Altogether Care – the family atmosphere among all the staff and residents.

So, if you’re looking for more from your job than a pay packet, or if you’re in a care occupation and feeling under-appreciated, we’d love to talk to you. We currently have vacancies in our care homes in Dorset and our growing care at home teams in Dorset, South Somerset and Hampshire. For more information, contact us today by calling 01305 206140.

What Are Your Care Options if You Want to Stay in Your Own Home?

As you get older it’s likely that you’ll need some kind of care or assistance with everyday life. This might be long-term or for a brief period to help you recover from illness or a fall. For many people it’s important to remain living in their own home for as long as possible while they receive the care they need.

Home, or domiciliary care can be less expensive than residential care. It also means you can stay in familiar surroundings and remain connected to friends, family and social activities.

There are many options available for the care you can receive in your own home. These range from simple tasks such as picking up prescriptions, shopping and preparing meals, through to nursing care and medication. Some people want help with getting out of bed, washing and dressing and some just want help getting out of the house to meet friends.

Visits from your carer could be a few times a week, once a day or several times a day depending on your needs. The Care at Home service offered by Altogether Care is built entirely around the help you need.

24/7 Care

It’s also possible to arrange around the clock care in your own home by opting for live-in care.

This can be particularly helpful in the case of Alzheimer’s and dementia care, where memory becomes an issue and having a familiar carer on hand can be helpful. But many people just like the reassurance and value the friendship and personal bond they form with a live-in carer.

Live-in care helps people maintain a degree of independence. Staying in familiar surroundings can be particularly important for the wellbeing of some people. Keeping pets, for example, is often important and not usually possible in residential care. The live-in carer can make sure that both pet and owner are well looked after.

Depending on your needs and circumstances, residential care could still be your best option. But it’s far from your only choice if staying in your own home is important.

West Moors Care at Home Host a Cake Sale for Alzheimer’s

Last week, the team at West Moors Care at Home hosted a cake sale in the office to raise money and show support for Alzheimer’s Society.

The team were so pleased to see carers, local shop owners, and members of the public getting involved too.

 

Care at Home Carers: Come into a Branch for a Refuel

All of our carers are always welcome to pop into any of our Care at Home offices for a refuel.

Take a break from a busy day at work and help yourself to complimentary refreshments in any of our branches.

We always have a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks available for you to enjoy!

Here are a few of our carers enjoying refreshments at our Wareham branch.

  

 

The Modern Way to Deliver Care at Home

Mobile technology has revolutionised so many aspects of our work and lives. Our home care teams make many visits each day to multiple locations, so mobile technology is the logical way to support the work they do.

The Mobile Care Worker App we recently introduced supports our care teams at all points of service delivery. It means we can forget about completing paper forms and records during visits and focus more time on our care users.

The app guides our staff to each appointment using maps and directions. If there is anything they need to know to gain access, the app will tell them this also.

Once at the appointment, our staff check in automatically using their mobile phone. They can see an up-to-date checklist of the care tasks to be carried out and any other information about the service user that might be relevant. They can also be prompted to check whether medication has been taken and record any details that might help with adapting to the care plan to meet changing care needs.

More Efficient

Mobile Care Worker also helps us organise the care we provide more efficiently. Data is captured instantly from each visit due to staff being able to input information through the app rather than in the office. This means we spend less time entering data from paper forms and more time designing a better service to meet our customers’ needs.

We also spend less time designing visit rosters and can see instantly where all our mobile staff are. If it looks like they might be late for an appointment, we can let people know to reassure them that they haven’t been forgotten. Simpler rostering also makes it easier for us to ensure that people see the same care worker at every visit.

Mobile Care Worker provides another way to involve relatives in the care of their loved one, which can be very welcome if they don’t live locally. They can be given secure access to the system and be reassured that visits have taken place when scheduled. They can also be part of the discussion around designing the most appropriate care programme.

Technology will never take the place of personal interactions in the care delivery, but it can take care of all the things that help those interactions to be more effective.

If you or an elderly relative are starting to find basic household tasks a bit challenging, a care at home service might be just what’s needed to brighten life up. Contact us today on 01305 300161 to find out more or click here.

Altogether Care and Wiltshire Farm Foods spread Christmas cheer

Last Christmas Altogether Care teamed up with Wiltshire Farm Foods to spread some Christmas cheer. Over 100 Christmas dinners generously donated by Wiltshire Farm Foods were hand-delivered by our Care at Home carers on Christmas Day to elderly and vulnerable people across Dorset and South Somerset.

Our carers also spent a little time with each person to enjoy a mince pie and pull a cracker.

67-year-old Kathleen, who lives in Weymouth said: “It is a nice thing because I can’t do it myself anymore and I used to get my food from Wiltshire Farm Foods as well.”

Becky Lloyd-Jones, from Wiltshire Farm Foods, added: “I think it’s a fantastic idea for the people who are alone this time of year.”

Dawn McGill, from Care at Home, said: “Christmas can be a lonely time for many older people and not everyone can spend Christmas with family. We visit our clients all year round to support them with a variety of daily tasks and wanted to extend that visit to include Christmas Day.”

We would like to extend our thanks to Wiltshire Farm Foods for their generous donations. You have helped to make a real difference to those in our local communities.

Supported Living: Why Care at Home isn’t just About Care

A lot of people still have an inaccurate picture of what care at home and supported living mean for many elderly people. While some elderly care does involve nursing support for complex health needs, in many cases help is needed for everyday tasks that people find difficult.

Some people choose care at home simply to have more time to do what they want rather than chores such as cleaning and shopping. They find that care at home leaves more time for doing what they want to do and takes away the worry of doing chores they find laborious or difficult.

Care at Home or supported living can also help people get out of the home more regularly, with assisted shopping trips or help to travel to and from social activities.

Companionship and Elderly Care

Another major benefit of supported living care is companionship. One reason many choose care at home, apart from keeping the familiarity of their own surroundings, is the flexibility. It can be easier for relatives and friends to fit visits around their lives without having fixed times or routines. At times, such as family holidays, when family visits aren’t possible there’s the reassurance that there will be a friendly and familiar face each day.

Family visits can also be richer when the basic chores have been taken care of and there’s more time to sit and talk. And for people without family living nearby, regular visits from their home care team can be a particularly welcome way to break up the day.

In many cases it may be more accurate to talk about elderly support rather than elderly care. The need isn’t for medical care but for a little help with some basic household tasks to make life easier and more enjoyable.

If you or an elderly relative are starting to find basic household tasks a bit challenging, a care at home service might be just what’s needed to brighten life up. Contact us today on 01305 300161 to find out more or click here.

SO, You Need to Find a Care Home? – What Are Your Options?

The need to choose a care home normally follows a care needs assessment carried out by your local social services department or a discharge from hospital. In either case, you will have an assessment of your needs that will be used to create a care plan.

The Age UK website has plenty of useful information about how care assessments work and the support you are entitled to.

Following the assessment, there will be a means test to determine how much you will have to contribute to the cost of your care. If you are planning to move permanently into assisted living the means test will include the value of your property, but not if you will be receiving care at home.

If it is decided that residential care is the most appropriate option, the local authority will give you a list of local care homes. This may not be a complete list, particularly if the local authority is funding all or most of your care. It is usually a good idea to carry out some additional research yourself.

The internet is a good source of information and a simple search on Google will give you an extensive list of local care homes. You will also find online reviews to help you narrow your choice. Other things to consider are whether a home is convenient for friends and family to visit and how easily you will be able to access leisure facilities, a place of worship or whatever else is important in your life.

Paying for Care

If you have assets (normally savings and property) of more than £23,250 you will be expected to pay the full cost of residential care. The value of your property may not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60. This process can get quite complicated so getting help from a friend, family member or carer can be helpful.

When choosing a care home or care at home provider it can be helpful to look beyond your immediate care needs. If it’s likely that care needs will become more extensive over time, will you be able to get the extra help you need without having to find a new provider?

If you are in hospital, any care needs should be assessed before you are discharged and a suitable care plan should be put in place. Sometimes this may be a question of temporary or reablement support while you fully recover from your treatment. Again, this can be either care at home or assisted living. This care will normally be free of charge for up to six weeks.

We have published a number of easy to follow guides covering many aspects of arranging and funding your care. Subjects include funding your care, direct payments, knowing your rights and more about your care options. We would also be delighted to show you around any of our care homes, so you can see for yourself what supported living in a caring environment looks like. Contact us today on 01305 300 161 to arrange a visit.

Beaminster staff are beaming

Five carers from Care at Home in Beaminster received awards for their individual contributions to care in their community on the 6th October at the 30 Years in Care event at Steepleton Manor.

Well done to Dawn, Jackie, Kellie,
Julie and Jodie!

Photo: from left to right;

Dawn Andrews: 5 year service award

Jackie Hill: Dementia Carer award

Kellie Gumbrill: Outstanding Contribution to Altogether Care

Julie Smith: Care and Compassion award

Jodie Hodge: Outstanding Achievement

Some recent day to day activities