As the country slowly moves towards easing lockdown measures and more people return to work, the pressure on women who have been bearing the brunt of looking after relatives or elderly neighbours during this crisis, is set to increase. During the Coronavirus lockdown it has been widely publicised that women are taking on a large proportion of the care in their households, maybe they’ve been furloughed in their jobs, or they are juggling working from home with home schooling children, and ensuring elderly family members are not lonely and have enough supplies to stay safe and well.
The pressures facing women is set to increase and Trudi Scrivener, founder of Ashridge Home Care, and a working Mum herself, is urging women not to be afraid to ask for help. Trudi runs Ashridge Home Care, a caring company that matches qualified live-in and visiting carers with families. Trudi is passionate about ‘care’ in all its forms and reports that her company has seen an increase in calls from women who are struggling to cope and simply need a helping hand.
‘Everyone has clearly had to adapt during these unprecedented times, but in my experience women take on the majority of care in families. Our visiting carer team is busier than ever as their work makes such an impact upon elderly people who are self-isolating at home,’ says Trudi.
‘Knowing that their carer is visiting them on a certain day gives them something to look forward to. They often save up jobs that they are struggling with around the house and garden for the carers to help with and our visiting carers are reporting that clients they’ve been visiting for months are happier than ever to see them, as they are simply too scared to go out at the moment,’ she continued. There is now such an emphasis on the dangers of loneliness in the over 70’s age group that a visiting carer can be a lifeline to the external world.
A family member of an Ashridge Home Care client said in a recent email: ‘Living as we do in Exeter, we are not very close by to see all the hard work you are all doing, but we are so very grateful for the way Emily cares for our father each day, and he really does love her visits. We managed a visit to him for his birthday last week, with a picnic lunch in the garden which was so lovely after a long time of not meeting up. There was a beautiful birthday cake in the fridge which Emily had baked for him – so kind! And my sister tells me that she is doing a brilliant job of cleaning the house while he is without his usual cleaner.’
At Ashridge Home Care important measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of clients during Coronavirus lockdown. The same carer visits the client each time so families know there’s not lots of different people coming and going. All visiting carers have undergone thorough hygiene training online and they have been issued with appropriate PPE equipment so they can continue to give close contact personal care like help with bathing and dressing. Apart from when giving personal care carers remain at a socially distanced 2 metres apart during visits.
Visiting carer Paula, from Prestwood says: ‘Being able to visit my clients during lockdown gives them reassurance that there is somebody there to help. Most clients are worried at the moment and they don’t want lots of different people coming in and out of their homes, so having one carer to come in each week and provide the help they need is fantastic reassurance for them. And I love what I do knowing I’m helping, it’s very rewarding.’
Visiting carers visit clients for a minimum of two hours. This allows the carer to establish a relationship with clients and not be rushed. They can help with chores around the house, with pet care and garden maintenance, as well as help with activities which require external visits to supermarkets or doctors to collect prescriptions. Visiting carers can provide personal care such as help with showering and washing, each situation is unique. They provide companionship as well as practical support.