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Hi Charles, I’ve had a very similar experience to yours, looking for a carer for my father aged 85.

He lives alone as a widower, and is typical of his generation, having been very dependent on his life-long wife and partner, and now rather lost without her.

He is not keen on having a carer, but has agreed to have a go.

I started out thinking it would be easy. First I contacted my local Social Services, and as expected we were not eligible for any care help. Helpful staff though, and they steered me towards their website, for a list of all the local Agencies, and few independent and approved private carers. Also best they said to apply for Carers Allowance, definitely worth it.

The long list of Agencies was arranged on their website in A-Z order with a series of pages for each letter of the alphabet, and sadly it would have taken a very long time to go through them all. And anyway what was I looking for? From the few I looked at, they all claimed to have the most compassionate and caring Carers, all claimed the best rates and so on. I phoned a few, and got voicemail.

How to make an informed choice? I tried a google search, and got a page of results starting with several ads for Care Agencies, followed by SimpleNeeds and other Carer introductory sites and generalised Job Boards and so on.

I phoned the first ad in the list, and got an answer this time. I explained my situation, and was talked through the process of free initial assessment visit, creation and agreement of care plan, followed by commencement of visits, at a starting rate of £17.50 per hour plus travel costs.

I decided to go for the free initial assessment just to make some progress, and agreed a date.

The assessment visit went ok, and they were willing to start immediately, but they could not commit to the same carer attending. They were not even willing to commit to a “usual “ carer, as their schedules were so hectic and changeable.

Obviously this was not what we wanted, so we said thanks and moved on. We are still moving on. The Agencies that are willing to commit to a “usual “ carer seem to charge over £20 per hour plus travel, which is getting crazily expensive. We are now considering looking for a private carer hoping to pay £10 per hour plus travel, and if the carer is local, travel will be small. So SimpleNeeds is an attractive option, although I accept it’s a postcode lottery whether anyone is available in our area.

Peter