British Ex-Pats – where to find help for senior relatives in the UK
While there are many benefits to be enjoyed for Ex-Pats living overseas, there are problems associated with living a long way from family members, especially during their hour of need. As any Ex-Pat will tell you, lingering somewhere in the back of their mind is thought of the dreaded phone call to say that a loved one, relative, or parent has had an accident, become ill or infirm.
Ageing is a natural and unavoidable part of life and it is inevitable that at some point Ex-Pats, enjoying sunnier climates, will be called upon to take care of, or at least make decisions for elderly relatives back home. While it is nice to think it would be possible to drop everything and rush back to take care of a parent or relative in need it is not always possible or practical. Some Ex-Pats can rely on siblings to take care of the elderly members of the family, but what happens if they also live a long way away, or are not available to take on the role of carer?
For most, the ageing process is gradual and sometimes, putting a family member in a home, is not appropriate, especially if they are still capable of partially taking care of themselves or, if they are only lacking some company and a spare pair of hands. Of course, for most of the aging population the idea of ‘going into a home’ is not a very appealing prospect and extremely expensive.
The good news is that help is out there. Many companies in the UK offer ‘home-help’ style services, however, that in itself comes with a myriad of pitfalls. Introducing a new person into the family home can be daunting, invasive and if you pick the wrong carer, downright dangerous. A quick Google search is all you need to find horror stories of carers who do not care, fleeting visits to your loved ones that do anything but provide the care and stability they need and worse, stories of abuse, both mental, physical and sometimes financial. These problems exist for everyone who is looking for the best options in homecare, but the problems are compounded when you are not even in the same country and you are leaving the wellbeing of the one you love in someone else’s hands.
One company however, do seem to have got it right and that is Home Instead Senior Care a company founded by Paul and Lori Hogan who began serving senior citizens in Omaha, Nebraska in 1994.
The company grew out of Paul Hogan’s personal experience, taking care of his grandmother. For him it became quickly apparent there was a real need for home care service to help senior citizens live independently at home. Today, Home Instead Senior Care leads the world in home care services, however, the core of the company is still quality care with a compassionate touch.
Home Instead has become well established and highly respected in the UK, consistently recognised as the UK No 1 at home care provider (LangBuisson 2016) and operates through a national network of locally owned and operated offices. Each has an in-depth understanding of their own area and what is available for older people in the community. Home Instead offer a wide range of one-to-one services, tailor made to meet the needs of the individual. Care packages can include care such as assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, medication as well as home help such as day-to-day housework, shopping, meal preparation and other household tasks. Importantly companionship packages are also offered to help your relative enjoy their social life, enjoy good company and to give them the help they need with visits and appointments.
The Samui Times spoke to Gail Devereux-Batchelor who owns and operates the award winning Market Harborough, Corby and Rutland office. On her website Gail says “I recognised the need for a high quality, reliable care service in this area, when two members of the family, one elderly and one much younger, showed me the bewildering challenges facing many families when finding and arranging suitable care. I am also very pleased to be offering training and worthwhile employment opportunities in the local community. The office management team are all qualified in care, and all have the ‘Family Feeling’ which we are known for, taking the utmost care of both our clients and staff, – happy staff mean happy customers,as testified by independent annual surveys and our Top Ten At Home Care Provider award two years running in The East Midlands.”
Gail exudes enthusiasm, understanding and care for her clients. A visit to her office, based in the fabulous Mill Farm in Stonton Wyville Leicestershire, reiterates her values as genuinely happy and enthusiastic team members go about their day. The team here feel, and act, like part of one big happy family, enjoying their roles taking care of the older members of their community, enjoying being valued and exceeding the client’s expectations with their caring natures, skills from extensive training and genuine smiles. It is a rare sight to see in a country that seems to have lost its grip on customer based service and so often smiles have given way to grimaces. In any industry it is true that happy staff equates to happy customers, but when their customer is your loved one, parent or relative it could not be more vital, especially when you are far from home.
Gail told the Samui Times “Many of our clients have relatives overseas. We are used to communicating across the miles and the time zones. Keeping family members updated and part of the care process should not be compromised simply because they reside on other shores. Quite simply, we use the “Mum Test” to ensure that we employ people we would be happy to assist our own Mum. Matching hobbies & interests, helping an older person online with a Facetime session, getting gorgeous & travelling to & from a family wedding – it’s what a daughter would do, it’s what our CAREGivers do – we can be here when the family can’t be. References? No problem, CQC rated us as Outstanding – Client Feedback? http://www.homeinstead.co.uk/mh/about_us “