It was distressing for Theodora to watch her vivacious and spirited mother Georgina manifest the symptoms of dementia. As her mother deteriorated, Theodora and her siblings assessed their options. They were adamant about keeping Georgina at home, “I felt like she would go downhill and become despondent if we put her in a residential home”, said Theodora. Theodora decided to move in with her mother and take on a full time caring role. Caring for a loved one experiencing dementia can be exhausting and quite upsetting at times. Theodora found that she needed time during the week where she could have a break.
With her other siblings unable to help, the family decided to hire in-home carers. It was a big step, and finding the ‘right’ help was important. “We knew we wanted to choose the carers ourselves as cultural fit was paramount. We also knew we needed some flexibility with the hours the carer could work, as mum’s needs were changing over time. I needed someone to be with mum when I needed a break, which was also sometimes overnight”.
Theodora and her brother contacted Careseekers and through their Concierge Service found a carer named Luisa.
“The customer service I experienced was great. I was appreciative of having people take charge of the situation. Careseekers presented me with three potential carers who are reference checked and police checked. This ensured I could focus my energies on caring for mum. The customer care team went out of their way to find the right carer for mum. I meet with five carers before finding Luisa who my mother really likes.”
Luisa has been caring for Georgina for six months now and they have developed a lovely bond. Theodora says she is very empathetic and has a lovely presence around the home. Luisa speaks a bit of Greek as she used to work at a nursing home with a number of Greek patients. This is a useful tool for Georgina as she often slips back to her native Greek language as her dementia worsens.
Theodora’s advice to families thinking of getting in home care would be to do it – “it can be an iterative process, but Careseekers worked diligently to make it easier. Finding the right carer can really lighten your load. Like any relationship the relationship with the carer and your loved one, or even you, can have it’s ups and downs and requires a bit of work, but it’s definitely worthwhile.”
Her number one tip when selecting a carer is to choose someone who is prepared to build and maintain new and established rituals – the little things make all the difference! For example, Theodora’s mother likes her coffee. It’s not just a like, it’s a passion. It’s her soul food. Tea is sacrilege. It is drunk when ill. Coffee is the difference between her mother bouncing out of the bed, or staying under the covers until lunch time. It’s her motivation, as is the caring conversation she has with her carer over the smell of slowly brewed coffee – Greek style.