What is a personal assistant ? Can I have one ?
A personal assistant is the new and more professional name for a ” Home Help” or ” Domiciliary Carer”. I am a Personal Assistant ( P.A. )and have been for over 20 years starting with just one elderly lady. I have since provided help and support at home to tens of people, so many I have lost count. Some I have been with for well over a decade, some nearing two!
It’s estimated that there will be more than a million personal assistants working in the UK by 2025.
Using Direct Payments to pay for a P.A.
If you’re eligible for funding for social care at home, you can have your payments paid straight into your bank account. That means that instead of having a personal assistant provided by the council, you can employ them directly or appoint a home care agency to do it for you.
If you use a home care agency they are responsible for finding carers for you although you may have many different ones lacking a feeling of continuity. You are able to find your own P.A. if you chose to but this also comes with some risk and responsibility.
How do you know if someone is going to be honest and reliable ? Sadly you don’t and with many terrible stories in the media about thefts from elderly people by carers they trusted you really do need to take some measures to protect the person needing help.
I always suggest two main considerations when looking for someone.
- Recommendations. Ask around find out who other people use. A good P.A. is always in demand and rarely has to advertise for more clients. Trust me I know, I am always busy.
- In this day and age it is so easy to forge paperwork. I would advise a telephone call to your prospective new P.A.’s existing clients or former employer. If for any reason someone is reluctant to provide contact details and numbers do you really want to trust them in your home or that of a your loved one?
What will a P.A. do ? Your P.A. is there to help you to remain at home for as long as possible and to maintain your independence and dignity. Within reason anything you require should be undertaken but it is always wise to have a discussion about this before employment starts and if you feel it necessary put your requirements in writing.
I did once refuse to pluck a pheasant !