I met my social worker for the first time today. It is nearly two months since we made our application for assistance with my care costs. They may have moved slowly, but as they say, good things are worth waiting for, and for the first time in my life, I can say that I have met a social worker in a good situation. As a foster kid, I have terrible memories of condescending monsters who weren’t interesting in helping me, just in pushing me through the system. I had told myself that times had moved on and that the world is a different place, but I was genuinely, not happy about having to have the social work department involved at all. There was this scare in my memory that made me want to do anything other than having anything to do with them, but I knew there wasn’t any way around it. Financially, we quite simply couldn’t afford to pay all the bills that would mount up quickly without their help. This meeting was the total opposite to anything that I remembered. I really felt as though she was more than happy to help, really help.
When we made our first steps into finding carers to help look after me, we didn’t have a clue how the system worked, so we did what I expect most people do, we headed to the city council site and phoned the numbers we found there. From the start, we found the information on the site totally unhelpful and equally confusing. One of the numbers we called put us in contact with Cordia, the company who works on behalf of the city council when it comes to caring for those who need it. As you know, I went through their “assessment period” and now have help with showering twice a week. Today, their assessment has been taken into question and to be honest, I wasn’t surprised. They assessed nothing, other than how well I manage in the shower and what help I needed with that and my clothing. It should have included things like cooking, getting on and off the toilet, getting in and out of bed and so on. The full range of things that I have to do when on my own. All they did was ask me questions, nothing more than that. On hearing this, my opinion of Cordia fell even further.
Lori spent about two hours here with Adam and I going over the forms that we have to fill in and what they, the social work department could do for us, now and in the future. We had already filled in all the financial information when we saw Cordia at the start, they had at least sent over all the basic information. For the first time ever, we also got a straight answer about the costs and how much we would be given towards it. She couldn’t give me the final figure, but she said that she had the initial assessment and the figure would be around £61 a week whether I use one hour a week or if I needed full-time care. It was such a relief to actually have a figure at a last, and one that I know that I can cover out of my PIP payment. It really was a huge relief to hear that, as we didn’t have a clue what it would be. Personally, it has actually really been worrying me. Now that I know this, I am also now happy to have some more help, help that I have been needing, but wasn’t going to ask for until I knew the costs.
The biggest thing that I have asked for, is help at lunch time. I have asked for someone to come to the house and to make my lunch for me. I have had a lot of accidents over the years, burning myself and so on, and I have become more and more scared of using either the hob or the microwave. Our new cooker has a small oven that is higher up than the old one, so I have coped with that, but still wasn’t totally happy about it. It will be one thing off both Adam and my list of things to worry about. On top of that, I have also asked for an emergency alarm. You know, the thing that looks like a pen that hangs around your neck. Should I fall or have any sort of accident that I can’t deal with, I just need to press the pen and assistance will be on its way. Again, it’s something I know that Adam worries about when he isn’t here, and I have worried about on occasion as well. There is another cost of £3 a week for the pen, but it’s worth it.
She has left us with another pile of forms to complete, and a list of care companies who operate in our area. It shouldn’t take too long to complete the forms, and a little longer to find out about the care companies. She will be back here on Monday and will go over any of the points we have had problems with. Then it should be about four weeks before it is all hopefully signed off. Following that, well we just have to put it all into action. I asked her what the situation was if my health went downhill and I needed more help, apparently, it would be about another 4 weeks to action that as well.
I have accepted that I really do need carers in my life, the difference that having someone here just to shower me has made, is huge. Although I had been reluctant to ask for any more help, mainly because of the cost, I know that I do need it. It’s hard to admit that you aren’t capable of simply making yourself a hot mug of soup or some scrambled egg, especially when you have spent your life being proud of the meals you can cook, just as hard as saying I can’t wash myself. I suppose it’s like everything else, once you have made that first step, the others just get easier. I don’t know when the daytime help will begin, probably once we have the finance in place. I had feared that there wouldn’t be any until I was 65, but that appears to be another one of those myths that you pick up from TV. It has proved one thing to me, it never hurts to ask, as until you do, you really don’t know.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 31/08/2014 – Helping others to help you
August has almost gone, it doesn’t seem that being housebound makes time pass any slower, I kind of thought that it would, I imagined it was going to be like one of those never-ending weekends when I was a kid, not allowed out as the weather was bad and nothing to do that I wanted to inside. I have heard so many people saying that when they were children that the summer lasted forever……