Monday 19th November 2018
It is a startling statistic that 1 in 3 of the population live with some form of Dementia, which of course means that 1 in 3 families will gradually lose a loved one to another world. Over time this becomes increasingly upsetting and stressful to see and to cope with. Given that change becomes increasingly difficult to contemplate as we become older, and particularly so for those diagnosed with Dementia, realising the desire to remain in one's own home becomes paramount.
When my mother was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's at age 81, some 6 years ago, we recognised that further down the line life would become more difficult for her and for me as the only offspring still resident in Jersey. But nothing prepares you for the constant nagging worry in your head, “Is Mum OK; is she eating & drinking properly; I need to go & see her but I also have to deal with my life.” We did cope at first but finally 2 years ago, after an emergency spell in Hospital, and two weeks respite care, we were recommended to contact Karen's Care Agency.
We have all heard & use the saying “every cloud has a silver lining” and it is so true. Karen and her staff are now an important part of our lives, to Mum they have become “my girls”, and to me they are simply Angels. They all have a very caring and affectionate relationship with Mum, but are also very professional in their approach. They take her shopping, and to appointments if I am unavailable; they prepare & cook her meals, but also encourage her in maintaining her life skills. They also monitor and flag up any general health issues. Karen is always contactable if there is an unexpected problem, and importantly ensures that there is a dedicated team of “girls” caring for Mum. Over time Mum has regained her vivacious spirit and is now eager to engage with the world, whereas before she had become somewhat reclusive. The change in her has been remarkable.
Thus far I have focused on what Karen's Care Agency is doing for my mother, and she is the most important person in this situation, but Karen realises that there is a bigger picture and this was obvious from my initial meeting with her. She was instantly aware that I was struggling to cope with the situation and has provided invaluable support for me these past two years. Together with the ladies in the office, I know there will be assistance for me through the maze of what lies ahead.
When it comes to my time I want Karen and her team to look after me! I think that says it all.
Thursday 11th May 2017
My father had been diagnosed with Dementia and has mobility limitations, but after home assessment was deemed safe enough to remain at home with home care assistance. At first I had been running around trying to do everything before we got some help from the States, and then from a private care agency. Karen's Care Agency was one of the agencies that had been recommended and I am glad that this was our decision. We immediately felt at ease with a great team looking after dad from Karen to her girls and office staff. Suddenly all of my worries were gone and they continue to take control of doctors appointments, shopping, cleaning, cooking, contacting the pharmacy to ensure medication is delivered on time and providing transport as and when needed.
The team have become more like family friends and will always contact me to let me know of any concerns or requirements. When Dad is not at the Willows Day Care Centre they provide extra cover and take him out to tea rooms to ensure he has extra social activities and is well fed!
I have the comfort in knowing that he is being well looked after and when I see him on the weekend it is always good quality time.
Sunday 25th May 2014
My mother is 89 years old, lives alone in her home and has "moderate" Dementia. She is determined to stay independent. Mum has no relatives living in the island, although I visit when I can, so it is important to me that I have confidence in her carers. It was recommended by her consultant and key worker that she have 2 care visits a day - lunchtime and evening - in particular to help with preparing / organising meals left by the 'Meals on Wheels' delivery service.
Since the first time I met Karen Smith in January 2013 I have been impressed with her understanding, caring manner and practical, flexible approach to my mother's case. My mother has resisted help from outside but Karen and her carers have gone the extra mile to gain my mother's trust. They have worked with patience & resilience to secure a good relationship with her, taking interest in her background and interests to nurture a friendship with her and working with her variable moods.
Karen has kept the number of carers to a minimum to ensure continuity whilst making sure that cover is available for all visits including bank holidays and over the Christmas period. Carers have covered extra hours whenever required. Trips out are offered as well as help with shopping and visits to the hairdressers and to the bank when required.
Karen has used a variety of strategies to forge a friendship and understanding with Mum. She has persevered and been resourceful to ensure a positive outcome. She and the carers have been alert and responsive to changing circumstances, providing additional support when needed. The carers have provided caring and thoughtful support in helping her with making meals, etc. and allowing her to "be in control" and remain as independent as possible.
Karen has liaised with Mum's key worker at the Poplar Centre to ensure continuity of service. She has provided me with regular updates as well as notifying me of any problems or issues. She has also ensured that we are able to meet when I come over from England, even picking me up from the airport on my last visit over to ensure that we had time for an update.
My mother has not always been the easiest of clients but Karen and her carers have shown that they understand my mother's needs and are able to respond flexibly and appropriately. Karen has shown considerable initiative in overcoming setbacks and has remained patient, tolerant and undaunted.
Tuesday 17th December 2019
When we started our journey into care we didn't know what we needed and how my parents would respond to it, as they were very independent and they didn't want to feel like they were losing control. We started with a few hours a couple of times per week with help with preparing a few meals in the evenings and clearing it away. This slowly grew over a long period of time. We generally had a small group of Carers that took it in turns on their rotas to help my parents, and any time a new Carer came they were introduced by the existing Carer so my parents felt comfortable.
My mother was always the one who initially felt she didn't need the care in place or didn't need as much care, but over a period of time my mum would look forward to the Carers coming and would hear the car arrive and be very keen to meet them at the front door to welcome them in, like she would a friend.
As my parents' health deteriorated further the Carers would come more often - doing all meals and all their medication. Reassuringly, everything was logged in a folder so I could read how they were during each day. When they needed 24/7 care, Karen was able to fulfil this for us before then suggesting a more cost effective solution, but Karen's Carers was never far away and covered their breaks and helped out more again as their needs increased to two Carers at certain times of the day. Karen would always know which help aids would be needed at their home, from listening devices, where grab rails should be located, non-spill mugs - there was a vast industry out there I never knew of.
The world of care was a complete unknown for me a few years ago, and Karen and her amazing team could not have done any more to make my parents feel comfortable and safe in their home which helped me fulfil the wish I made to keep them at home for as long as possible. I cannot recommend Karen's Care Agency enough or thank them enough for the way they made my parents feel in the last few years of their lives.