Care before Elder
Before I found Elder, my parents had live-in care through other care agencies for two years. My Mum had a fall, and when she was discharged from the hospital, they put her on a care package for seven weeks, all paid for, without us choosing who this care provider was.
Once the seven weeks were over, we used three managed care agencies. There were also community nurses visiting my parents, as both have cognitive difficulties, and my Mum is at risk of falls. I wasn’t around much during the lockdown to protect them, but then my Mum broke her shoulder, so I moved in because they weren’t coping as well anymore.
Using managed care was expensive. Unlike with Elder, we had to use two carers, one for the day and one throughout the night, making it even more costly.
With the managed care services, I found it frustrating; I’m an ex-nurse and wanted more input into my parents’ care. I know my parents very well, and with my background, I knew what they needed, but I wasn’t allowed to help with the care plan.
For example, with our local provider, they wouldn’t let Mum sleep upstairs with my Dad. Their reasoning was if we had the stair lift blocking the stairs for her safety, it would be a fire risk. However, an occupational therapist said that the best thing for my Mum mentally would be to be back with my Dad at night. They have been married for 60 years, and when she was in the hospital, he would often climb into the bed with her to stay close. I had to prioritise their mental health, so we parted with that care company.
Eventually, a friend recommend Elder. He knew of Elder and said that he was impressed with the responsiveness and the 24 care cover. He got into contact with someone from Elder for me, and they rang me on a Sunday to have a discussion.
I was so impressed with how quickly they got in touch with me, and the fact that they were contactable on a Sunday was great.
I liked that you got videos of carers because you can better understand who someone is from a video compared to just a photo and profile description. This also meant I could show Mum and Dad and let them also have a say. This made getting a new carer less stressful for them, as they’d have an idea of who was coming into their home – as someone new moving into their home can be hard to accept.
My main reasons for choosing Elder were that they helped organise 24-hour care. You get to pick and talk to the carer beforehand, so you have someone who is a right fit; this also means you get a chance to explain to the carer what they should expect of the Care recipients, what they’re like and what they like doing. The carer gets to ask questions, and you can build a trusted relationship before they even begin care.
Life with Elder
We have two excellent carers who alternate. They’re both completely different; One is a 24-year-old laidback woman who has a brilliant companionship with Mum and Dad; they get on so well – Mum even likes to sort of Mother her – there’s usually a few tears when she leaves for her breaks.
The second carer is 65, makes fresh soup and ensures the house is spotless every day (I do say to her, ‘you know you don’t have to do that every day, right?’), and she’s super chatty.
They’re both polar opposites, but it works, and my parents love them both. It’s really lovely, that’s why we stayed with Elder; it really is just about finding the right carers.
How I feel about Elder’s CQC status
At first, I was worried about Elder being an introductory agency and not CQC regulated. However, when we used a managed CQC-regulated care agency, we had two carers who thought my Mum was just drowsy, when she had in fact had a stroke and was suffering from Pneumonia; We could’ve lost her, if I hadn’t gone to check on her. So being CQC regulated didn’t help protect my Mum from Carers unaware of something serious happening.
So I’m not worried about the CQC status; it actually benefits me, as I’m not being told what my parents need, when I know them well enough and can write a care plan myself because of my nursing background.
It’s also reassuring for me that despite Elder not being CQC regulated, you thoroughly vet the carers and make sure they have access to support; all I have to worry about is finding the right personality match for my parents.
I would tell anyone looking for live-in care with Elder not to worry about CQC status, as I know my parent’s carers are fantastic, and I feel supported by them and Elder.