Anthony Marangos is brother to Diana, the patient below. He lived in France for 15 years managing 32 Laura Ashley shops across Europe. aOn his return to I returned to London he was MD of Cartier the Jewellers, later running his own Management Consultancy. He now runs the company that his and Diana’s Grandfather created, Swindens Revolving Head Work Holders.

This article is addressed to all GPs who have elderly patients, fully compos mentos but perhaps becoming unsteady on their feet, maybe a little lonely, or worried that the next step might be a Care Home – which is not what they want. I am sure you have such patients. I am full of admiration for Social Services and Charities attempts to assist so many people.  But take my sister!

My sister is deaf. She lives alone with her Hearing Dog, Poppy. She is very independent, but has had hip surgery – she fell over whilst walking Poppy. I was concerned, so knowing that she wanted to stay in her own home I looked for a solution. Initially I put two advertisements in the Lady with the message ‘Free Room in exchange for companionship’ Two highly unsuitable people answered the ad. That did not work!

Diana did a lot of work for Hearing Dogs. She persuaded the Mayor of Littlehampton (her nearest town) to choose Hearing Dogs as her charity of the Year. Since the hip surgery she can do no more fund raising. I contacted Hearing Dogs, the Deaf Association and other organisations offering a ‘room in exchange for companionship’ to their contacts. But no one could help, it was not what they did – I understood. I lived in London and Diana in West Sussex – what to do?

Then I found Supportmatch Homeshare.

Supportmatch have done an excellent job for Diana. Data protection precludes my mentioning any of the lovely guests/sharers my sister has had to stay, but I can confirm, albeit with the odd hiccup, she is so much happier and relaxed. Don’t let anyone try to tell you that from living alone for 20 years, then living with someone you don’t know, is easy. Especially if you are Deaf. It isn’t! Of course, both host and guest need to compromise but when it works it really is worth it. If there is a problem the Team at Supportmatch are there to help, and help they do.

This is a genius solution. My sister knows that if she falls over her new companion will be there (maybe not for an hour or so) but they will be there to help her get up. My sister is short, so changing a light bulb is impossible as the hip-replacement means no climbing a ladder. The guest can do this in seconds. Sometimes she needs help going to the hospital or the doctor, etc. so the guest lends their support. There are so many benefits for both parties. It is a win win… The guests/sharers knows that they are welcome, in a safe, warm and hospitable home.

Key points

  • Homeshare do every possible check, including DBS and references.
  • They monitor both parties regularly. All the guests/sharers are volunteers.
  • The guests/sharers agree with Diana when they will be available for her, what they will do etc.

In Diana’s case the guests/sharers give about 10 hours a week in exchange for a double room, with own bathroom, one mile from the sea, 10 minutes’ walk from a bus along the South Coast.

The guests/sharers tasks can include cooking, cleaning, shopping, small DIY, help with the computer and of course companionship. They cannot offer personal care. They live at the property to guarantee overnight security for Diana. Diana normally goes to the supermarket in her car and takes the guests/sharers with her. The guests/sharers pays Supportmatch Homeshare, and Diana also Pays Homeshare. The amount is not at all excessive.

Background information.

The Supportmatch team have over 10 years’ experience in matching people, over those years they have worked very closely with many Local Authorities, specifically with Adult Social Care and Enablement Teams, organizations such as Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Jewish Care and various other religious congregations. They have built an excellent reputation for professionalism and genuine care for others.

Diana’s life is back on track thanks to Supportmatch and my piece of mind is now A1. If you have any questions simply contact Zaira at Supportmatch Homeshare on Zaira De Novellis zaira@supportmatch.co.uk

I hope this helps you and your patients.

 

For Supportmatch Homeshare, see https://supportmatch.co.uk/

Anthony Marangos has not been paid to write this article, and has no commercial interest in Supportmatch Homeshare. Published with the consent of Diana and Zaira De Novellis.

Top and embedded photo from Anthony Marangos, with consent from Diana and Zaira De Novellis.