Covid-19 has greatly impacted all of our lives. However, the group that has been most affected is the older generation. As men and women over the age of 70 are recommended to cocoon at home for their own safety, this also raises concerns about issues like loneliness, mobility and care.
One home help service that has gone above and beyond to make sure that they continue to serve older adults during this crisis is Home Instead Senior Care.
Founded in 2005, Home Instead is Ireland’s largest private homecare company. They currently have 25 local offices around the country and provide relationship-based care services to almost 6,000 clients.
“Our mission statement is to enhance the lives of older adults and their families,” explains Michael Wright, the company’s Director of Public Affairs. “A key thing that we do is look at the relationship that we can build with a client. We do what we can to improve their quality of life and ensure that they remain independent in their own home for as long as possible.”
Naturally, Covid-19 has led to a number of challenges for the home care sector, but it has also highlighted the value that private home care services can offer older people and their families.
“If you think about the challenges older adults face such as rural isolation, loneliness and lack of transportation, the relationship they have with our caregivers is really important, especially during this pandemic,” Michael adds. “We think about how we can improve somebody’s wellbeing by doing things that are stimulating.
“We think beyond the standard home help service. We think more about what we can do to help and enhance the lives of older adults. We have a model of care called relationship-based care and it’s all about how we can improve outcomes for people.”
Home Instead works with their clients and their family to create personalised care plans.
“We have the expertise in terms of care planning, carer training and implementing relationship-based care plans,” explains Michael. “Caring for an older adult requires certain skills that cannot be underestimated.
“All our caregivers are supported by care managers. The majority of our care managers are nurses, we also have some who are occupational therapists and so forth. It’s the care manager who is responsible for the care plan of the individual in consultation with the family and the person we are providing care to.”
In light of the current crisis, Home Instead is doing everything that they can to protect their clients, whilst they cocoon.
“We’ve been updating safety information that is sent out to all our 3,000 caregivers,” Michael states. “We share the advice being given to us by the government on how to help people who may have Covid-19, people who are maybe symptomatic but not diagnosed and how to assist our general population and ensure that we do all we can to manage the transmission risk.”
The company has even launched an innovative live-in service to help families with their care needs.
“Live-in care is where a caregiver is resident in someone’s house,” he explains. “They move in with a family for a set period of time. During the day they provide a certain amount of care and then at night time they have a room in the house where they can stay. ”
As the pandemic continues, options such as live-in care will become invaluable to families across Ireland.
“If we’re waiting for a vaccine, we might be waiting many months,” Michael admits. “What we know from Covid-19 so far is that it is impacting older adults more than anybody else in our community. Older adults need to take greater care than other people. ”
“We don’t want older people to put off asking for help when they need it. If you’re struggling as a spouse caring for your loved one who has dementia, if you’re losing a bit of weight or you’re finding it difficult to keep on top of the housekeeping, make sure that you ask for help. We can deliver the help in a really safe way in terms of providing infection control and we all have the required PPE. Don’t put off looking for help.”
In fact, employing home help isn’t as expensive as you might think.
“Many of our clients are recipients of State-funded HSE Home Support Services packages, where, upon referral by a public health nurse, they receive a certain number of hours care per week,” explains Michael.
“Other clients receive private care services, where they or a family member pay directly for our home care service. The bill-payer for private clients can claim up to 40pc of the cost back under the Home Care Tax Relief scheme, which significantly reduces the cost of private care. Many clients who are receiving a certain number of hours of HSE Home Support Services will also supplement their package with private care hours.”
So, if you would like to find out more please visit the Home Instead website.
All Home Instead care plans are managed by a local care manager. Learn more and book a free, no-obligation care consultation.