“a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” – Christopher Reeve
Well ain’t that the truth? When I was contacted by new company, SuperCarers, I saw what incredible potential this platform has to create a serious wave of change for matters that are really important. It is my pleasure to write a blog post for them sharing their vision, what their company provides and how important I feel their place is in the care industry. If you are someone who may need this service in the future, or know of anyone reliant on care, just a few minutes of your time could make a huge difference to their lives. This truly is one of the most inspiring new businesses I’ve come across in a long time.
As a family living with Huntington’s disease, the very prospect of care stepping into our lives was massive. Not only did we fear the idea of trusting someone else to take as good care of Mum as we did, we feared letting her down, and she feared anyone stepping in.
Vulnerability is a tough thing to accept in today’s society, and to accept that when it comes to your basic human needs is colossal. For years the family battled on without help, sacrificing needs left right and centre to ensure Mum was happy, safe and well, but a little over 2 years ago in November 2016 my Dad, a very fit, healthy man was bed ridden for two weeks with exhaustion. We knew things had hit rock bottom and that we were at crisis point. Both my sister and I moved home temporarily, her working night shifts on the ambulance, coming home and staying up to help with Mum, alongside a young baby to look after. Me, shipping 100’s of journals a week and working evenings at my dance studio.
Setting aside the battle we had to seek care, (for which there is support over at www.campaignformybrain.co.uk) once this was in place, finding the right care was a minefield.
Care companies would claim to have extensive experience with Huntington’s disease, yet fail to deliver. It is a highly complex disease. Carers would arrive without the training we were promised and make every effort to design each shift around Mum’s needs, they were, and still are amazing human beings. But regularly their words would fall on deaf ears at the top. We have battled with this for a few years, and still do at times where the communication gap between a patients family and the carer is broken down by a middle man that doesn’t have a personal relationship with the family; managing from above a sea of care packages. I now see that often getting you on board is more of a sales pitch. At least it’s felt this way in our experience. This can be extremely frustrating, particularly when the carers themselves get a fraction of the pay from the hourly rate we are charged. I’ve ran businesses for 11 years and understand it’s a business model that needs to pay everyone. But wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way carers could be paid a little more?
Furthermore, the relationship between a family and a carer is so important. You are handing the life of a loved one, often the person you love more than anyone in the world, to a stranger. That in itself is so big you lose sleep over it. The way it works traditionally is that an agency tend to meet with your family to direct your needs and then place carers into your home based on the carers they have available. I have to say I find it sad that the patient isn’t included in this selection process. I believe they should have an opportunity to build a relationship for themselves and have a small element of control over who is going to look after them. After all, it’s them who is handing over their independence. It’s the age old habit of forgetting they are still a person. They are still alive.
We have spent a lot of time and energy on top of grieving for my Mum becoming ill over such a long time trying to design a system that benefits her wellbeing, and although we now have a good balance, there’s been an awful lot of that hurt and energy that I believe, could have been avoided.
So, can you imagine my delight when I was introduced to SuperCarers who do just that? Think of them like ‘Uber’ for carers. It’s an online platform that helps connect you to registered carers in your local area focussed on making personalised matches giving families the tools they need to take a much more gentle step into the care process. Secondly, SuperCarers cuts out the middle man meaning that carers end up being paid a better hourly rate than they would with an agency, which I think you’ll agree, is fantastic news!
What You Get
Choice- Families have the option to speak with carers before deciding if they are the right match for them.
Control- Families are given all the tools they need to co-ordinate care with ease from schedules right through to payments
Lower Costs- Due to cutting out the middle man, hourly rates are lower for the family in need of care, and as I mentioned above, carers are paid better in the process too
Consistency – The same friendly face each visit! I can’t tell you how imperative this is to diseases as complex as HD and something agencies fail to recognise regularly.
Quality- Carers are screened for experience but also for personality and values too.
Support- Although the middle man has been cut, an unhand support team is available should you need technical support from someone who understands
As if that wasn’t inspiring enough, the story behind this company was something that really warmed my heart. Brothers Adam and Daniel Pike founded SuperCarers after watching their mum struggle to cope with their Grandma who had Alzheimers. Like many who face such diseases, their Grandma Pam wanted to stay at home. Sadly they found that care was expensive, inconsistent and poor quality, leaving their mum to see to Pam’s needs. This has been the inspiration behind the boys making a permanent change in the care sector; one that benefits the patients and their families first and foremost and then thanks the carers in the process by giving them better pay for what they do.
You can see their inspirational story and vision here
To see a company so passionate about the families involved gives hope. Hope for a future that might see those who have life limiting conditions given the best final years of their life possible. Not only does good care help the individual in need, but it helps families to restore their lives. Husbands can become husbands again. Children, and grandchildren can spend time making precious memories. SuperCarers offer live in care from as little as £795 per month and have a vast variety of packages and specialist areas on offer.
It goes without saying that there was no way I could accept a fee for this job. I am equally as passionate about supporting families through this process as Adam and Daniel are. So we have come together to offer something special to a #supercarer. Together, we want to shine a light on the people who provide care; whether their profession is as a carer, or whether it’s a loved one who is sacrificing their needs for another. To celebrate their social launch on Instagram they are giving away £250 in hotel vouchers by asking you to nominate a #supercarer. To enter, just comment #supercarer with your nominee below, follow @super_carers Instagram channel as well as me here @kelly_thebeesknees.
Carers dedicate their lives to helping others, so we felt it was time to give something back. SuperCarers want their carers to know they’ll look after them just as much as they care for us.
(WINNER TO BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM ON A RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR)