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Live-in Carers & the Clients Home

by Diana
Live-In Carers & The Clients' home

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Live-in Carers and the Clients Home is a vast subject and am sure so many of us have hundreds of tales on the experience. Each placement is so very different the only common factor with the homes is they are mostly supplied with heating, water and electricity or at least I hope this is the case. Though I once heard a story about some young Bulgarian women being exploited by a male client insisting on them chopping wood for the fire and hauling it into the house via a wheelbarrow! the Clients Home should have been briefly described in the Care Plan, if not google it to prepare.

Live-in Carers & the Clients Home

Always Hope for the Best

Every time you set off on a new adventure and first time to a new client you hope for an attractive comfortable home. You pray that your bed will be OK and you will have sole use of a bathroom, that there will be enough food and you can wash your clothes. These are simple requests one would think but think again. I recently arrived at a placement to find the outgoing Carer had gotten rid of the mattress because it was so bad and was sleeping on the base of the bed!

Every home you go to you have to remind yourself this is their home and they like it the way that it is. You may be appalled at the mess they live in, or the dirt that’s accumulated in the kitchen/bathroom and everywhere else but they might like it. I know this is difficult to believe, but we only go in to assist not change them or their surroundings.

Live-in Carers & The Clients Home

Standard of Homes Vary Considerably

Our standards are not necessarily their standards, and it’s really hard to remember this. I always only eat or consume food or drink I have prepared for myself from scratch as some of the elderly have some very strange habits.

You have been warned!

One OD (Old Dear) would secretly eat fruit pastilles in her room at night and would keep the left-over sugar from the gums and in the morning empty that sugar into the sugar bowl. So be very careful about what you eat and drink.

Live-in Carers & The Clients Home

Facilities, Where they are and how they work

Ensure you know how to turn the heating up and down in the house. Some clients will have the heating on full blast all year, and others won’t turn it on at all as they are saving money. The same goes with light switches, most will turn them off and only put lighting on once it is pitch black, I often carry a miners helmet with me!

Make sure you know where the boiler is and have it turned on for hot water. One elderly male Client with dementia would make a habit of turning the boiler off in the evening resulting in no hot water for a shower in the morning. I found the boiler turned it on and locked the door to the room and put the key away. Some of the bigger homes have their own boiler rooms often found in the basement, these can be complicated and expensive items to repair.

Does the home have an alarm system? If so how does it work and what is the code to arm and disarm? Is there a key lock and what is the code?

Are smoke detectors installed and working, these need to be checked yearly. When was the last check completed? I there fire and safety equipment.

Find out where the mains water turns on and off. Know where the DBS board is, should the electricity trip, you will be able to check the trip switch.

Are there cameras in the home? Some clients install cameras to monitor the client, to monitor the Carer and other staff. I, fortunately, have not come across these, but have read accounts of those who have had to contend with them. It is illegal to have a camera monitor in your bedroom or bathroom, so remove if found. Just be aware that these do exist.

Check all the appliances, fridge, freezer, washing machine, tumble dryer, stove, AGA and microwave. Are you allowed to use them all or are you restricted?

Live-in Carers & The Clients Home

Living amongst History

Live-in Carers & The Clients Home

I love the older homes, but they certainly have their downsides, and one of these can be faulty windows. The old sash windows are charming but can be lethal as the cords holding up the sash age and break. One such window slammed down on one of my Client’s fingers chopping off the tip! This necessitated a hair-raising drive to the hospital emergency rooms, the client bleeding profusely as on blood thinners.

Shabby Chic seems to be the ruling theme of interior decor among the aristocracy. Their curtains are heavy and lengthy furnishing beautiful giant sash windows; however, the curtains are very worn and frayed as they are probably as old or older than the occupant. The same applies to drawing room and sitting room furniture. Sheets and bedding follow along with similar lines, it is not unusual to put your foot through the sheets in the middle of the night! I know this for a fact it has happened to me!

The bedding and sheets give you an idea of any form of modernity. The ancients will have top and bottom sheet, blankets and counterpane, the more modern will provide sheets, Duvets and a throw.

Cutlery and crockery too have been passed through the generations. Their glassware is traditionally crystal; therefore, valuable so be careful. Generally, these homes house exceptionally valuable items and their values are recorded and insured by companies such as Christie’s. This is another reason why you need to carry your own insurance, should you accidentally damage, or destroy one of these items you are covered. A good care agency will carry a public liability that should cover this risk.

First Impressions so Important

When you first arrive at a client’s home, take a good look round as the home tells you much about the owner. Are there lots of family photographs? Are the shelves packed with books and if so what is the subject matter? Can you find any signs of pets or once having owned one? Do the walls showcase paintings? Or perhaps collections of objects, indicating a particular interest? What newspapers and magazines does the client subscribe to?

Live-in Carers & The Cllents Home

Does the kitchen house recipe books? What’s in the fridge? How many pots and pans are there? And what is the state of them? Is there any evidence of fresh vegetables or a selection of spices?

Check out the bathrooms are they furnished with grab rails, elevated loo seats? Is there a commode or Zimmer frame? Walking sticks?

The range and variance of homes are amazing, I have slept in a castle that once housed Elizabeth I, I slept there for two nights whilst her Ladyship visited with family. My room was wallpapered from ceiling to floor and the door to the room was camouflaged by the paper, very difficult to find. The Castle had a series of secret corridors all intended for the servants of which I was one. My evening meal was taken in the kitchen whilst her Ladyship dined with the other aristocrats in the Grand Dining Room. The home used to house Henry VIII and Elizabeth 1st

I have lived on a farm and plucked pheasants!, in a 16th Century attached cottage. a Manor House on the banks of a river, in a 5 story TownHouse in Chelsea, in a converted Barn, a starkly Modern and luxurious apartment and a bland bog-standard detached house found in a 1970’s housing estate.

The homes most surely have correlated with their owners, the castle belonged to a very aristocratic female who was interesting but not easy. The 16th Century Cottage was home to a wonderfully warm and charming woman. The stark apartment was home to an unfortunate looking woman, very tall, big sunken eyes and long red talons, a man-eater, I think she was looking for husband no 4, whereas the bog-standard house was occupied by a woman who seemed mostly characterless, sweet but boring, stuck in a seventies time warp.

Live-in Carers & the Clients Home

What’s this Room Called?

Live-in Carers & the clients Home

The British have varying names for their rooms: Drawing Room, Sitting room, TV room, Dayroom, Library, Sewing room, Office, Study, Pantry, Laundry, Larder, Cellar, Attic. You will have to acquaint yourself with these terms, though at times these make very little sense.

An English person’s home is their ‘Castle’, it is their sacrosanct space and you are simply visiting for a while. However as part of your earned daily rate you are provided with accommodation that should be of an acceptable standard. This should include comfortable bed and bedding, two towels, windows that open and close, a lock to your door, a casual armchair, a cupboard and chest of drawers, side table and lamp, heating and a fan, TV, and electrical socket. You should also have free access to a bathroom.

As you can read from above ‘Live-in Carers and The Clients Home’ is a huge subject and I don’t think we will ever stop writing or talking about this subject it is fascinating. I hope this article helps you with your next placement and I wish you all the luck in the world.

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2 comments

Tom Klepfer September 7, 2019 - 5:00 am

Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that produce the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

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