SHARE AND CARE HOMESHARE – Case Study
“Homeshare has allowed my mother to stay in her own home – without using all her capital to pay for evening and night-time care which she is able to manage with a Sharer’s support, and still do some simple things for herself.”
79-year-old East Sussex based Ann Moore lives with Parkinson’s. Following a fall a few years ago, which resulted in a broken hip and significantly reduced confidence and mobility, and then the loss of her husband, Ann and her family were looking for an affordable way of providing companionship and support in her own home, especially when her family can’t be there. The family approached Share and Care Homeshare. Mags Wisniewska(Ann’s second Sharer) and her little dog Poppy moved in in January 2018
Ann’s daughter Jenny Moore, a Charity Manager, explained: “Mum was diagnosed with Parkinsoma about eight or nine years ago. We don’t know exactly what type of Parkinson’s it is as they didn’t want to put her through the tests. The condition affects her memory, but not in the same way as dementia; she knows who people are and times and dates, but struggles with learning new things and processing new information. It also affects her swallowing and her strength and mobility.
What appealed to you about Share and Care Homeshare?
Through my work I was working with someone who was doing a community research project into support opportunities for elderly isolated people and she sent me information about Share and Care Homeshare.
Homeshare appealed to me as mum doesn’t need a full-time Carer; she can function well if she has some support, such as someone to carry things for her and to help her with some of the normal day-to-day activities involved in running a home. The family live nearby so we are able to complement what other care she has.
Mum has been a volunteer all her life. She has skills to offer and she did a lot of work with people with learning difficulties and was a trustee of various societies, such as MenCap. She also visited elderly people in care homes.
Mum always worked well with younger people. She has always liked young people, and supported our friends when we were young. She likes their vivaciousness and the fact they are starting out in life.
She has spent her life helping people and an extra benefit of Homeshare is that she is able to give a younger person a home; Brighton is expensive and it can be hard to find decent, affordable housing. We knew Share and Care would find someone with the right character and skills who would appreciate this sort of situation, and equally mum is helping them in return with the resources she has.
How did your mother adapt to having a Sharer?
Mum’s Parkinson’s brings a level of anxiety with it, and it was important to have someone who understood that and would let the relationship grow organically. Mags and mum have found a good balance, with Mags giving mum the company and support that my mum needs to keep living in her home and keep it running smoothly. Because Mags lives there, she is able to do breakfast and my brother and I can visit mum during the day. Before starting the Homeshare, one of us would be staying the night, which can be difficult when you have your own families.
There was another bonus to Mags moving in. Mum wanted a dog but couldn’t have the sole responsibility of looking after a pet. Mags has a dog but is working during the day and wanted her dog to have some company. It is so lovely that Poppy, Mag’s French Bulldog, is there too; mum adores her.
I believe it is a really important part of the arrangement that family keep visiting. A Sharer complements the other support; Mags can watch something with mum on TV, change DVDs for her, replace the toilet roll, take out the rubbish, make hot drinks and sometimes prepare a simple supper – those little tasks that are tricky for mum to do, but that give her quality of life. Mags is very good at supporting mum by being present and giving her positive company, but is also sensitive about giving the family and paid carers space when they are visiting.
Mum is fortunate that she doesn’t have financial difficulties and had lots of options for care and support, so Homeshare wasn’t a financially-driven decision. It was nice for her to be able to make the choice. Homeshare was an extra option for her and she said ‘yes, that’s the choice I want to make”. Maybe Homeshare doesn’t cross people’s minds – it’s a shame more people don’t know about it.
It is also really important to us that Share and Care Homeshare is there as an organisation for us to speak to and to know that it is also supporting mum’s Sharer, Mags. Mags communicates well with us too, and has gained a good understanding of how the Parkinson’s affects mum and how she can help mum have a more managed and enjoyable quality of life. That mediation and support is very important to my brother and me, as was knowing that you had done a DBS and reference checks. That is very reassuring and really vital to us.
We also caught up with Ann’s Sharer, Mags
What appealed to you about Homeshare?
I had heard about a similar scheme in Denmark (students living in nursing homes with the residents) a while back and remember thinking that it’s a shame that we don’t have anything similar here in the UK. It’s very sad to see an elderly, lonely person living alone when there are so many people around who would love to offer their help.
About five months ago, whilst I was looking for a place for me and my dog Poppy to live (which can be tricky, as not many landlords are keen on having pets), I came across Share and Care Homeshare’s advert for this opportunity to live with Ann. What really touched my heart was learning about Ann’s difficult few months (having lost her husband as well having to deal with her illness) and finding out that she was such a great dog lover and would love to have one around in the house. I have since learnt just how much the whole family love their canine companions, with pictures of the different dogs they have had over many years everywhere in the house; Poppy is loved so much by all of them.
How do you find the experience?
Having lived here for about three months now, I am glad to say that things are going really well. The beginning was tricky at times; for me getting used to the routine, and I am sure it was difficult for Ann to get used to the idea of sharing with someone who she didn’t know all that well. When I first moved in, Ann’s depression was pretty bad too, but she has since been prescribed a higher dose of antidepressants and seems much more positive.
I feel that we have now established a good rapport and a routine and that works well for Ann and myself. I do try to let Ann know that I am around whenever she needs my help and yet at the same time I try not to impose on her privacy too much. Ann’s children are very hands-on and regularly cover set days during the week. They both have been very supportive and kind in offering to look after Poppy if I ever need to go away.
Ann really likes Poppy. She is always asking after her and I literally never see Ann happier than when Poppy runs over to her to say hello. It was Ann’s birthday a few weeks ago and we made her a birthday card with Poppy’s picture on it; the card is still displayed in the front room after all the other ones have been removed!
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEAE CONTACT:
Amanda Clarke / Caroline Cooke, Directors, Share and Care Homeshare
Tel: 020 3865 3398, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org