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Is now the Right Time to Consider Respite Care for Your Love One?

Following the distressing and turbulent times that Covid-19 brought to the UK, with its associated lockdowns and the trauma that it brought with it, this country now seems to be returning to something approaching normality. 

Care homes are operating more or less normally, and the options for care for your loved ones have increased exponentially. Is now the right time to consider residential care for your older relatives? 

Is a care home the best option?

Your relative might be having increasing difficulty with everyday tasks like washing, cooking or dressing themselves and taking their medication. They might be worried about falling, with no one around to help them. And they can get increasingly stressed by the little things in life.

Moving into a care home can give the elderly a new approach to life – they can meet new people with shared life experiences, and they can make new friends. Because there are highly-trained staff on hand at all times, the worries about being on their own melt away. They are fed and washed and entertained and properly looked after.    

Depending on the level of care needed, their every need will be taken into account, and if they need extra nursing or dementia care, that can be arranged. 

Respite care

It may be that it’s too soon for you to start thinking about full-time residential care. In which case, respite care might be a more suitable option.

Respite care can be for a short time, such as only a few hours every week, or can be overnight, or a weekend. 

Even though many people take a great deal of pleasure in providing care to their loved ones so that they can remain at home, the financial, physical and emotional consequences can be overwhelming without some support, such as respite. 

To be most effective, you should consider respite services much earlier than you might think you will need them. Respite is best if you use it before you become exhausted, and isolated by your responsibilities. 

Altogether Care is committed to providing your loved ones with the highest possible standards of care, and is vigilant about the possible return of variants of the Covid-19 virus, se we take every possible precaution to keep residents and staff as safe as possible.

If you’d like to explore care options available for yourself or an elderly relative, give Altogether Care a call, visit our website, or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Weymouth Care Home Residents and Staff Sea Life Centre Sensory Day

Resident’s and Staff at our Weymouth Care Home recently went out to the Weymouth Sea life Centre for their Sensory Day.

They loved seeing all the variety of sea creatures, such as the seals and being in the underwater tunnel where they could see sharks, sting rays, turtles and more. They thoroughly enjoyed choosing their own gifts from the gift shop. The residents and staff cannot wait to do this again soon.

The purpose of our Sea Life sensory day was so that everyone could experience not only a different environment, but different senses such as: sounds (running water, noises from penguins, music), smells (the penguin enclosure, the smell of the food that was there), sight (different sea creatures, bubbles, lights).

Each week our sensory days look at different things which affect different senses. Previous sensory days focusing on touch at Weymouth Care Home have included orbeeze and slime. For sound we have used instruments, and for sight we have used sensory lights. We also use our magic table if they are doing a bubble pop game, we also have our bubble machine on and music in the background.

Sensory days are incredibly important for those who need activities adapted, or who struggle to partake in group activities as it helps keep their brains stimulated, it gives them new opportunities to experience their senses.

We have found that by doing sensory days it has had a positive impact on all residents who have taken part, and it’s nice doing activities that all abilities can partake in.

A Career With a Healthy Work-Life Balance

The pandemic changed the way a lot of people work, perhaps permanently. Many found working from home preferable to commuting to and from a fixed place of work.

But was it just the change of setting that made people happier in their work? Research by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests that some aspects of homeworking are actually less attractive. In particular, people found it harder to collaborate with colleagues. And there’s no doubt that some people miss the social aspects of the workplace.

The biggest positive according to the ONS data was unquestionably an improved work-life balance. Being home based gave people opportunities to take or collect kids from school and generally enjoy more family time, rather than arrive home late each day after a tiring commute.

Will Work From Home Last?

The future of home working is unclear. Some organisations are already calling staff back into the office full or part time. And in other occupations such as retail there’s no option other than to be present in the workplace for a fixed number of hours.

When people say they’re looking for jobs that allow them to work from home is it that they really want to turn part of their home into a place of work? Or is it just that they want to balance work and life a little more in their favour?

Where Else Can You Find Work-Life Balance?

If the most important goal is to have a better work-life balance there are alternatives. A new job that offers flexibility to blend work and family life more harmoniously might be all you need.

In which case the care sector is an excellent place to start looking. People don’t just need care within normal office hours. So working for Altogether Care usually allows people to choose work patterns that fit best with their home life and commitments. This can take a lot of stress and pressure out of everyday life as it’s easier to fit your work around the things you need and want to do.

If you’d like to find out more about how working in the care sector can improve your work-life balance, contact Altogether Care on 01305 230488 or email careers@altogethercare.co.uk, or check out our current vacancies.

Start a Career Where Your Work is Appreciated

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people came to appreciate how important key workers are to our society. Emergency services, health and care workers and the armed forces were all there to help when the nation needed it most.

Many organisations are keen to show their appreciation for key workers and have joined the Blue Light Card scheme to offer discounts on shopping, meals out and attractions.

One of the perks of a career with Altogether Care is that you qualify for a Blue Light Card. This gives you access to over 15,000 discounts, both locally and online.

With your card you can enjoy every day discounts when you: go to the cinema, eat out at numerous participating restaurants, buy a mobile phone, shop from famous brands, book a holiday, go to a theme park or just queue up for your coffee. The list of participating companies reads like Who’s Who of famous retail and leisure brands. 

Work With People Who Enjoy What They Do

Blue Light Card discounts come on top of many other advantages of working for Altogether Care. First of all, we’re a happy crew. You’ll get to work every day with a team of people who enjoy what they do and take great pride in their work. That has to be better than being surrounded by long faces waiting for the hands of the clock to tick round.

The clients you work with are also an incredible group of people. They all have a story to tell and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing what a difference you make to their lives every day.

Your work in the care sector will be appreciated in so many ways. The discounts offered through the Blue Light Card is just one of them.

If you’d like to have a discussion to find out more about working in the care sector, contact Altogether Care on 01305 230488 or email careers@altogethercare.co.uk, or check out our current vacancies.

Choosing A Care Home – What Do You Need To Think About?

A new year is often the time for taking stock and making plans. For older people it’s maybe an opportunity to think about whether they need extra help with everyday tasks or perhaps more extensive care. Depending on your needs there are plenty of options, ranging from personal care in your own home to full time nursing care.

The starting point is usually a care needs assessment carried out by your local council. The assessment is to identify and document your needs. It isn’t there to tell you what to do, it’s to help you choose the type of care that suits you best.

It might be that you can continue living in your own home with a few modifications, perhaps supported by a care at home service. For some, residential care will be the best option. Here too, there are choices.

The most suitable care home will depend partly on the type of care you need. This could be personal care such as help with washing and dressing, through to round the clock registered nursing or specialist care. Most importantly, the care home you choose should be somewhere that you will feel at home and well cared for.

How to Choose a Care Home

Choosing a care home is a big step. It’s important to do your research to be as sure as possible that you’re making the best choice. Points to consider include:

  1. Funding support. You may be eligible for some financial support, depending on your circumstances. Most people will need to pay for some or all of their care so financial planning is important.
  2. Recommendations and online reviews. It’s helpful to see what families of care home residents say about the home.
  3. Your own impressions. Does it feel like somewhere you’d be happy to live?
  4. The type of care you need.

All Altogether Care homes provide nursing care to meet most people’s needs. Sherborne House also has specialist nursing care for dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, stroke victims and behavioural difficulties arising from a loss of mental awareness. Each home is friendly, welcoming and caring and makes it a priority for you to maintain as much independence as possible.

Find out more about our homes.

Alternatively, call 01305 300 161 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information.

This Christmas, the Elderly Will Be Even More Affected by Loneliness

Even in normal times, winter can be a difficult time for the elderly. Colder weather and short days mean that there are fewer opportunities to get out and meet people. This winter, we have the added factor of Covid-19 restrictions. These make it harder for people to receive visitors or go out and socialise.

There is hope around the corner with the first vaccine being approved for use in the UK. Even so, the virus will be with us for many months. As we look forward hopefully to a return to normal living we can’t afford to forget life as it currently exists for many elderly people.

Loneliness and isolation are major concerns. The ongoing pandemic can only heighten these feelings with the added fear of possibly contracting the virus. Age UK estimates that around one third of elderly people are finding life particularly difficult.

What Can We Do To Help Combat Loneliness?

Probably the simplest thing we can all do is to be kind and considerate. Take a few moments to have a conversation, offer to help with collecting prescriptions or shopping. Don’t underestimate how powerful it is just to know that somebody cares enough to ask if you need help. According to Age UK a survey conducted for their No One Should Have No One campaign, two million people said they wouldn’t have got through the pandemic without ‘the kindness of strangers.’

Zoom, Skype and other video conferencing technology are helping people to feel less cut off. Having the technology available is one thing, taking the time to use it to contact an elderly relative is even more important. Altogether Care has worked hard to make sure our residents can use the latest technology to keep in touch with family and friends throughout what has been a difficult year for us all.

Maintaining physical visits, as far as we are able, is a priority. We recently updated our Visitation Policy to help us take care of the emotional wellbeing of our residents while also keeping them as safe as possible.

VISITATION POLICY

Hopefully, normality is around the corner. Until then, let’s do all we can to help prevent elderly people from feeling lonely and isolated.

For more information about anything mentioned in this article, email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

Nothing Stops the Christmas Fun at Altogether Care

So this Christmas isn’t going to be quite like other years – but that doesn’t mean our residents can’t still have a great time. For staff and residents at our care homes the festive season is in full swing.

Trees and decorations also went up at the start of December (but this year with a bit more thought to allow our staff to still clean effectively), accompanied by mince pies and a tipple for our residents.

Throughout the month, we’ll be marking notable days with appropriate events. These include Elf Day on December 4, National Brownie Day (who doesn’t love a brownie?) and even National Gazpacho Day (who knew there was such a thing?).

Some of the December events have a more serious side, including International Animal Rights Day that remembers animal victims of human cruelty, including war horses.

Christmas apparel features in many of the festivities with Christmas jumpers being donned for December 11 and a colourful array of hats on the 18th. And let’s not forget National Sangria Day on the 20th and Eggnog Day on Christmas Eve.

Christmas at Sherborne House

December is a busy month at Sherborne House with plenty to keep residents occupied and in the festive spirit. As well as the annual Christmas party, residents have been making decorations and baubles for the ‘wish tree,’ baking Christmas biscuits and decorating some scrumptious gingerbread men. There’s a small festival of Christmas movies to watch and regular communal signing of seasonal songs.

The care at home team has also been joining in the fun with the Poole office sporting elf costumes and Christmas jumpers to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Please contribute if you are able via our JustGiving page.

While 2020 may have been a difficult year for care homes and their residents, the Altogether Care team has been determined to make sure that the wellbeing and enjoyment of our residents has been affected as little as possible. And as the year draws to a close, Christmas remains a very special time and something to celebrate.

To find out more about Altogether Care, contact 01305 300 161 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk.

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.

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.

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

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.

Tackling Loneliness this Christmas with Wiltshire Farm Foods

For Christmas 2019, Altogether Care is again teaming up with Wiltshire Farm Foods to bring some Christmas Day cheer to elderly people across Dorset and South Somerset.

As a family-run care business for over 30 years, you really get to know the communities you serve. This means, when it comes to Christmas, we are only too aware that many older people could be faced with a very lonely prospect. For many, Christmas is a time when they see no one and feel very much alone.

According to Age UK, over 870,000 people over 65 won’t see or hear from anybody for days over the festive period. Many people will feel lonelier at Christmas than at any other time of the year. This is not exactly the Christmas spirit that everyone envisions over Christmas.

Determined to make sure that old people in our community who live on their own see at least one smiling face on Christmas Day, Altogether Care has, once again, partnered with Wiltshire Farm Foods. Working together, we will provide 120 free Christmas dinners to elderly people across Dorset and South Somerset.

This year our team will be distributing meals on Christmas Day, kindly donated by Wiltshire Farm Foods. Just as important as the meals, our care staff will spend time with each person. We will also be setting up Facetime and Skype so that clients can talk to their relatives on the day. Everyone will be provided with a delicious Christmas pudding and cracker to pull.

As ever, we are incredibly grateful to Wiltshire Farm Foods for their generosity. And to our dedicated team who give up their time because they know that older people on their own probably need us more than ever at Christmas.

Care is much more than a business for us. We see our role as supporting vulnerable people in a community that we are part of, at Christmas and all year round. For more information, please call 01305 766 099 and ask for Dawn or Rachel.

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.

Self-Funding Care – What You Need to Know

If you live in England and have more than £23,250 in savings, you will probably have to pay for at least some of your care. The value of your property may also be taken into consideration if you opt for residential care rather than care in your own home.

As care costs can be significant, it’s no surprise that self-funding is one of the things we get asked about most often. Care at home will cost at least £20 per hour and residential care over £600 per week.

The reality for most people is that care costs are hard to avoid, and some level of self-funding is inevitable. But there are exceptions and it always pays to know the facts so you can plan effectively. The Money Advice Service has plenty of information on their website.

Exceptions and Benefits

Social care is intended to help with tasks that are part of normal living rather than healthcare needs for a disability or complex medical condition. Continuing healthcare requirements could potentially be covered by NHS funding. Unfortunately, there are no clear definitions of what conditions are included and getting the NHS to pay for healthcare costs can be difficult.

To access NHS support, you will need to ask your GP or social services department to arrange a care needs assessment.

You may be able to claim benefits to meet some of your care costs. If you are over 65 and have a long-term illness or disability, you can claim Attendance Allowance towards the cost of care at home. This may not cover the whole cost of your care but will help to reduce the burden.

If you have an illness or disability caused by work, you can claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and possibly a Constant Attendance Allowance on top of this if you need daily care.

Property

The value of your property isn’t relevant if you are planning to receive care in your own home. If you decide on residential care, it will be counted unless your partner continues to live in it.

It might be that selling your property to pay for residential care is a sensible choice. But there are alternatives if you’re not yet ready to make that step or if you want to remain at home. Equity release will provide a lump sum in return for a share of your home. Your council may also have a deferred payment scheme where they fund your care and recover the cost from the proceeds when your home is eventually sold or from your estate.

Arranging Care

If you are paying for your own care, you can choose a care provider you prefer and deal with them directly. It still makes sense to have a care needs assessment so that you know what type and level of care you need to buy and whether any financial support is available. The council might, for example, pay for equipment or modifications to your home to make it easier for you to live in.

If you think you are eligible for council or NHS funded care, arranging a care needs assessment will be the first step.

In some areas you can ask social services to arrange care with an approved provider and bill you for the cost, but not all areas offer this.

If you are funding your own care and you think that your savings will go below the £23,250 threshold, you should contact your social services department three months beforehand. They can then arrange a new financial assessment. They will not back-date their financial support if you claim after your savings have gone below the threshold.

Self-funding care can be a complex area, the team at Altogether Care are always happy to answer any questions you might have. Just give us a call on 01305 206140 or visit our Contact page.

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.

How Can You Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing in Later Life?

World Mental Health Day on October 10th is designed to promote greater awareness of issues around mental health and to help remove the stigma that can surround it.

Mental health problems are more common than many people imagine, particularly in later life. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 22% of men and 28% of women over 65 suffer from depression. So, what are the most important factors in maintaining good mental health in later life?

Relationships

Good personal relationships are well known to promote better mental health. All normal human interactions affect the levels of chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin.

Serotonin is important for general mental wellbeing as it helps the brain to function normally. Oxytocin is sometimes called the ‘love hormone’ as it affects our ability to form personal relationships. Human interactions help to boost the levels of these healthy chemicals, which is partly why isolation and loneliness can be so harmful to mental wellbeing.

Participation in Meaningful Activities

Keeping active, doing something purposeful and interacting with other people have also been proven to help maintain good mental health. This won’t surprise anybody; but it can be a challenge to find the right types of activities that are accessible in later life. You have to wonder how much health spending could be saved by investing in more community activities for older people.

Physical Health

Physical health and mental health are closely linked. A good diet helps to boost the levels of healthy chemicals in the body and also provides the energy to take part in activities. Regular exercise is also important, whether that’s walking, gardening or a few gentle stretches with friends during the day.

Care providers have a vital role to play in promoting better mental health in older people. We need to work closely with health services and ensure we support people in our care with the right nutrition and activities. We’re also aware that we may be the first to notice the signs of mental health problems – so we need to make sure our people are trained in what to look for and what to do.

At Altogether Care, resident’s health and wellbeing are at the focus of what we do. If you would like to find out more about either our care homes, care at home or our live-in care services please get in touch.

Could Live-In Care Give you the Best of Both Worlds?

When continuing to live in your own home becomes too difficult residential care may seem like your only choice. And for a large number of people it’s an ideal option. Not having to worry about household chores, help with personal care and guaranteed company and companionship are just what they need.

But for some people, having to leave their own home is a last resort. Home is where their memories are; it’s at the heart of their family, friends and a community where they feel they belong. The potential upheaval of moving home to unfamiliar surroundings can seem a daunting prospect. Residential care might also mean having to say goodbye to much loved pets.

For these people, live-in care can be an attractive alternative to residential care.

How Does Live-In Care Work?

As the name suggests, your carer will live in your house with you so that you have round the clock care and support. Your carer can take care of domestic tasks such as cooking, cleaning and shopping as well as helping with personal or medical care if needed.

Other than that, your home is still your home. Family and friends can drop in as before and you can continue to take part in the leisure and social activities you currently enjoy.

For people needing end of life care, live-in care can also be an alternative to a hospice.

What Are the Benefits?

In short, live-in care means you can get as much help and support as you need without having to change where or how you live. You also have the advantage of companionship and emotional support from a specially trained carer.

Live-in carers are special people. Obviously, the relationship between you and your carer is important. The Altogether Care live-in care service will help you choose a carer who can support your personal and medical care needs as well as being somebody you can get along with. Find out more about our live-in care service or contact us here.

Elderly Care Funding – Your Step by Step Guide

Many of us are likely to need some level of care support as we get older. And the reality is that most of us will have to pay for some or all of that care. Uncertainty over how care funding rules work can cause anxiety and may lead to people not seeking the help they need.

This guide briefly explains how the process works. While there’s no easy way to avoid care costs it’s always helpful to understand how your care needs will be assessed and how your local council will decide what you will need to pay.

1. The Care Needs Assessment

The first step is to have your care needs assessed by your local council. You can request a care needs assessment by contacting the adult social services department. You can also do this on behalf of a relative as long as they give their consent. The assessment is free.

You may also have a care needs assessment if you are about to be discharged from hospital. If you need medical rather than personal care the NHS will pay. This would normally apply only if you have a disability or complex medical condition.

2. The Care Plan

The assessment will look at your physical and emotional needs. Based on these needs, your preferences, and what you would like to be able to do more easily with care support, the local council will draw up a care plan. They will most likely consult your doctor or any other health professionals you come into contact with regularly.

The care plan will specify the help you need and any modifications that might be needed to make you home easier for you to live in. It may say whether the most appropriate option is for you to receive help from a care at home service or residential care.

3. The Means Test

The council will ask about your income, savings and other assets to assess how much you need to contribute to the cost of your care. If you are planning to use a care at home service, the means test will not include the value of your property.

If you are going to enter residential care the cost of your property will be included unless your home will continue to be occupied by your spouse or partner, a relative aged over 60 or a child under the age of 18.

If you live in England and have assets of more than £23,250 you will have to fund all of your care. Below this level the local council will meet some of the cost. If you have assets worth less than £14,250 the council will pay for all of your care.

Giving away assets to family members to avoid care fees is unlikely to work. It is often possible to defer payments so that they are collected from your estate after you die.

4. Paying for Care

If you are eligible for council-funded care they can arrange this for you, or you can receive direct payments and pay for the care yourself. If you are self-funding, your council can still provide advice and help you choose a reputable care provider.

Altogether Care is a family-run business providing a range of care services to people in Dorset, South Somerset and Hampshire. If you have any questions about the support available, costs or any other aspect of care please get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.

Which Elderly Care Option is the Right One?

Like it or not, care is something more of us will have to think about. People are living longer and more of us will develop medical conditions that mean we will need help to cope with everyday life to some degree.

Of course, there are plenty of excuses to put it off. These include fears over the potential cost or simply not wanting to accept that time is taking its toll and we need a bit of help. But it’s a reality that may have to be faced and there are probably many more care options than you realise.

Many chose to receive care at home. This can include help with simple tasks such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, washing or dressing. It can make life in your own home easier to manage and give you more time to do things you enjoy. For people with more acute medical needs there are further options to help you stay in your own home including live-in care.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is also a possibility. Typically, people have their own apartment in a home that has round the clock care support available if needed. The advantages are that these homes are designed specifically for people with greater mobility and focus on providing a more convenient and social environment for those that may want to take away the hassle and cost of running their own home.

Residential Care

Residential care is also not always what people imagine. Many residents in our care homes live active, fulfilling and enjoyable lives and are always guaranteed company and something to do. Being within a residential care setting also means that somebody is keeping an eye on your health and nursing or dementia care can be introduced when needed.

Respite Care

Respite care is used for a short period to give carers and the cared-for a break and a change of scene. And sometimes home care or residential care is provided temporarily to help recovery from injury or illness.

How & When do I Need to Choose?

Choosing the best option will depend on each individual and their needs. The first stage is usually to have a care assessment carried out by social services. You might also have a care assessment if you are discharged from hospital.

Based on the care assessment an individual care plan will be developed. This must consider your preferences and allow you to make choices for yourself. This is a good time to understand all of your options and talk them through with family and friends.

Paying for Care

Unless you have very little in the way of savings or assets or your care is the result of a medical diagnosis your care will not be free in England. You can find information about the costs of care here.

The team at Altogether Care will also be happy to advise you. Our information on funding care may be helpful. And you are always welcome to visit one of our care homes to see for yourself what supported living in a caring environment looks like.

Some recent day to day activities