Zero and Reduced Hours Contracts – a disgrace

Zero and reduced hours contracts are a national disgrace. Many of our customers at Care100 are carers. They are usually on zero hours contracts. In a tough world where working days are long and usually antisocial, why do agencies not look after their staff?  How can they get mortgages or loans – or plan ahead when they don’t know how many hours they will be working. It simply means that workers will get a phone call with very short notice to ask if they can come into work. If they refuse, they may end up with no work at all next week.

My son was recently offered a job by a large hotel chain. They promised him as many hours as he wanted but would only offer him a 20 hour contract. He was very disappointed as it was a job he would have loved to accept – but how could he move from home and rent a flat in the knowledge that one week he might only get 20 hours work. Business owners should be embarrassed. If the work is available then put it in a contract. If it is not available then be honest and don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

It’s time businesses supported their workers. There is nothing more important to a business than the staff. If a business is saying that you can work as many hours as you would like to, then put it in the contract. Don’t expect people to work on an ad hoc basis. If you value your staff then look after them.

 

Mobility Scams – What you need to know!!!!

Mobility as an industry is rife with unscrupulous traders ripping off vulnerable and elderly people and causing heartache and despair for the very people in our lives whom we should be cherishing. Mobility scams are very upsetting for all concerned. We need to be ridding society of these con artists.

Some of the stories I have heard since starting my mobility business have made my blood boil. I had a phone call from a lady in Chesterfield who asked me to visit her as she needed a powerchair. I went to see her to discuss the options and when I arrived at her house she said that 3 months previously a man had rung her and asked if she had any mobility requirements. He called at her house, showed her a picture of a powerchair and proceed to take £2500 from her money box. She asked me what I thought she should do. We rang the police.

Protect yourselves by never letting anyone visit to you as a result of an unsolicited telephone call. If you need any mobility equipment or independent living aids you make the phone call. Unscrupulous traders will cold call, arrange a visit to see you and then sell you items you don’t need at hugely inflated prices. They are not only on Watchdog – they are in your local area too.

Why do some traders offer you £300 for your old scooter or your old bed or rise and recline chair before they have even seen it? Is it possible that this amount has been added to the purchase price…..? Does the shop have prices on the items you are requiring? If you see a scooter you like, make sure the price is on it. Then ask about trade in deals. It’s a fair bet that if the scooter is unpriced and you ask for a trade in you will not get a bargain as the amount you are offered will be added to the price of the scooter you want to buy.

Newspapers are full of adverts from national companies offering ‘great deals’. They don’t!!!  They will never give you a price if you ring and ask them for one. Instead they will say they have a demonstrator in the area who could visit you to discuss prices. Get the settee ready. He won’t budge for at least 3 hours or until you have signed the paperwork to buy something. I phoned one of these national companies pretending I needed a chair for my Dad. The most appalling question I was asked was “Is he in control of his own finances?”  Shocking because it is none of their business. They want to make sure the person they see can be pressurised to buy!

So stay safe by making your own decisions. Don’t give any information to cold callers. Don’t invite strangers into your house. If you need mobility equipment ask friends and neighbours if they can recommend anyone. Look up Derbyshire Trusted Traders. Ask your G.P or District Nurse if they know of any reputable mobility shops. If you are unsure, ask a friend or neighbour to be with you whilst you look at all options.

At Care100, we are regularly recommended by the local G.P’s, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Many care agencies also recommend us. Our items are priced and if we are invited into your home to demonstrate an item there is never any obligation to buy.

“Kate was extremely helpful particularly as I was a first time buyer. Becoming disabled is traumatic enough without having to work out which scooter is most suitable! She was very patient and put no pressure on me. Very happy with purchase.”

Review from Derbyshire Trusted Trader website October 2017

Choosing the right Rise and Recline Chair

Choosing the right Rise and Recline chair is important if you are to avoid wasting your money.

Rise and Recline chairs are designed not only to help you put your feet up, recline gently for a snooze but they also raise up to assist you in getting out of the chair. Rise and Recline chairs start as low as £425 in our shop up to over £1000 and so it is important to make the right decision.

Care100 specialise in Rise and Recline chairs and have a large selection in their shop for customers to try. Kate and Gill said “There are many important considerations when buying a rise and recline chair and getting good advice is crucial. Many people also don’t know that if you have a long term chronic condition or disability, you don’t  pay VAT on these chairs”

Care100 has it’s own criteria for supplying rise and recline chairs and if you follow this advice, your purchase should be suited to your needs and will provide many comfortable hours.

To be comfortable, a chair needs to give you support where you need it. When you are buying a chair, give yourself time to sit in it for as long as possible. In the right chair

  • you should be able to sit with your bottom right at the back of the seat and your feet flat on the floor
  • your thighs should be level and your lower legs straight up and down
  • you should be able to get two fingers between your knees and the seat
  • the seat should be wide enough to fit you but not so wide that it doesn’t offer you any support

If you are buying a rise and recline chair for someone who is unable to visit the shop, any reputable supplier should be able to show you how to take accurate measurements to ensure a comfortable fit.

Single or Dual Motor

A single motor will lift your feet up and then gently recline the back. On a chair with a dual motor, the footrest and the back are operated by 2 different motors and will give you more choices of sitting positions. The dual motor chairs also recline much further and may be more suitable for someone who sleeps in the chair. However, the single motor chairs usually only have 2 buttons (up and down) and the dual motor can have 4 or 5 buttons. Consider carefully the person who will be using the chair. Would it be easier for them with only a choice of ‘up’ and ‘down’ or will they manage 5 buttons?

Positioning in the room

The chair will need an electrical socket (without trailing wires across the room) and also space for the chair to recline. The chair must not touch the wall as it is reclining as this will burn the motor out. Always check the measurement of the chair you are considering to see if it will fit into the allocated space. If there is not enough room for the chair to recline, ask about a wallhugger. These can usually be placed within 6 or 8 inches of the wall as the mechanism is slightly different.

Your health

To use a rise and recline chair safely, it is important to be honest about your health. This type of chair may not be suitable for someone who is easily confused or someone who cannot weight bear on their legs. However, if the controls are used by carers, these chairs can be of great help in moving someone with limited mobility.  If in doubt, ask for an assessment by an occupational therapist

 

Kate and Gill have a wide selection of rise and recline chairs in their showroom. They offer expert advice and fast delivery of your chosen chair. Customers are welcome to come and try the chairs for as long as they like. If you are buying a chair for someone who is unable to come to the shop, Kate and Gill will come to your house to get the correct measurements and advise on the chairs available.

 

 

The Real Cost of being a Carer

The real cost of being a carer…is not about money!!

As an owner of a mobility shop in Chesterfield, we meet many carers throughout the day. We see the tiredness etched on their faces and sometimes the despair of caring for a loved one by themselves. The physical hard work combined with 24 hours, 7 days a week of caring takes its toll on the carers. We have customers in their 80’s who are caring for a loved one of the same age. Can you imagine not having a full nights sleep for days, weeks or sometimes years? Can you imagine washing, feeding and helping your loved one with personal care every day of the year? If you haven’t done it then the answer is no. You cannot imagine it.

Carers are the unsung heroes of the 21st century. They save the NHS a fortune and yet still have to fight to get help of any sort. Every GP should have a pack of information to give to carers including the important telephone numbers for social services, information about help that may be available whether in terms of help with caring or grants, aids available from the NHS,support groups, accessible places to eat, use the loo… the list of vital information that would help carers and make their life so much easier.

We often put the kettle on and lend a sympathetic ear and a chat for carers who are struggling alone and isolated. It is a real shock when you are thrust into the caring role and it can happen at any age to anyone who has a family. I missed my son playing football on Sundays for years as I went to help my Dad look after my Mum. There is an enormous amount of guilt being a carer with a family. Are you neglecting your own children or partner, could you have done more for your loved ones who needed the care?

Many people reject the idea of having paid carers come into their house. I remember when the owner of a caring agency came to see my Dad and me. We were horrified at the idea of a stranger helping my Mum with her personal care. The lady reassured us by saying that very quickly everyone would be very pleased with the decision to employ a carer as they are all chatty and friendly and not stressed, not worried about having to get on with making lunch or whatever. She was right. Both my Mum and Dad enjoyed the carers coming to the house. Mum was able to have a chatty time with the carers and Dad had an hour to himself to relax (well OK, he went to get the shopping) but everyone was a lot less stressed.

At the end of the day, being a carer is a juggling act. Your health and well-being is vital and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made so that you get the strength to carry on. Don’t be worried about seeing your GP about your own health. Ask if respite care is an option. Are you a member of the Carers Association? Have you contacted the support group? I think the one lesson I learnt form being a carer is that you have to do what you feel is right and then move on to the next decision without worrying  about the last decision.

Carers need more help and support and I will be fighting for it.

Meet the staff

Since we started our Care and Mobility shop in Chesterfield, we have been thrilled with the response from our customers. Every day we help people choose items that will help them live independently in their own homes. Our staff are dedicated and hard working and have  background of caring – either their own relatives or as a carer in the community.

Care100 was set the shop in Chesterfield up over 6 years ago. Since then we have been joined by Colette Dalley and Jan Claridge. Our customers in the Buxton shop will recognise Jan and Colette as they run the business in Buxton.

Jan cared full time for her Mum for a few years. We were over the moon when she came to work for Care100 and she has an extensive knowledge of products available. She has also used many of the products whilst caring for her Mum.

Colette has worked in a Caring role for many years and again, we were thrilled when she joined Care100. She has now been with us for over a year.

I cared for both my parents and feel that between us, we have a vast knowledge of equipment and items that are available and useful for our customers.

Our staff do not have targets to meet and they are not paid commission on the items they sell. We will also be honest about the items you can get from the NHS.

 

 

What do you need at home when you have a hip replacement

Zimmer Frame

Having a hip replacement can be a daunting process but it is made so much easier if you are fully prepared for when you get home. I had my new hips in 2015 and found the following items very useful:

1) A little gadget to help put your socks on – a Sock Aid. If you live alone or just don’t want to ask family to help, the sock aid makes light work of putting on socks

2) A Reacher or Grabber. Perfect for picking up items that you have dropped on the floor but even better for pulling up pants and trousers!! Simply drop the item of clothing onto the floor whilst sitting and then put your good leg into the item. Then place other leg into the item of clothing and grab the waistband with the reacher…and pull.

3) A bath seat over the bath can help. This seat goes straight over the bath from one side to another. You can sit on it and shower. If you only have shower, it is a good idea to have a shower stool that you can sit on if necessary.

4) A Rise and Recline chair makes life easier but if this is out of your budget (ours start at £425) then it is essential to have a chair of the right height. Your knees should be at right angles when sitting and your back should be firmly against the back of the chair.

5) A spare walking frame (Zimmer Frame). The hospital supplied me with one for downstairs and said I should use my crutches upstairs. This was very tricky in the night when I wanted to use the bathroom and I felt much more secure with the help of a walking frame.

6) A raised toilet seat and a frame to help you get up from the toilet.

If you are going to have a hip replacement and would like to look at any of these products, just call into the shop where we will be delighted to help you. There were lots of other items and useful tips I learnt whilst recovering and I am always happy to advise on the items I found to be useful.

 

 

 

Avoiding Scams

scams

We use the word ‘scam’ to indicate a dishonest or fraudulent scheme designed to cheat someone. But fortunately a lot of scams and bad purchases can be avoided if you know what to look for.

A common feature of scams is pressure to commit you to a sale very quickly. So don’t let yourself be rushed. You may be told that an offer is only available for a limited time period, or that you will get a discount if you sign now. A genuine offer will allow you to go away, discuss it with friends and relatives, and then come back when you are sure it’s what you want.

Having a website doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is reliable. Look for one recommended by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) or the local Authority Trader Scheme Network such as “Derbyshire Trusted Traders”. If the offer seems too good to be true then it probably is.

Check out the following points about the seller if you are at all concerned:

  1. Do they have a contact number and does it work? Be wary if the number is a mobile number (e.g. a number beginning with 07-)
  2. Do you have a postal address for the company – be cautious if there is only a P.O.Box number.
  3. Is the company based overseas – your consumer rights may not apply.
  4. Is the company properly regulated or a member of a trade association.

Business cards, stationery and websites can be easily made up. Do not judge on appearance alone.

In your own home, do not invite in or buy from any callers you have not bought from before (and know to be reliable). You could put up a notice to say that you do not buy from the doorstep.

Remember that if you do sign a contract in your own home, you usually have a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period to change your mind, but this only helps if you can trace the person.

But most of all if you don’t feel comfortable with the purchase you are making, then allow yourself to make the decision in your own time, rather than be forced into buying something you may regret.

Gill, Care100 (Director)

Why Carers Should Get a Better Deal

Carers – both paid and unpaid – all seem to have one thing in common. That is the constant fight to get help where and when needed and not to be defeated by lack of finances, overwhelming tiredness and the despair to which all this this can all lead.

Why should paid Carers be on zero hours contracts? Who can relax about bringing up a family, paying a mortgage or putting food on the table when they don’t know in a month how many hours they will work? It is an outrage and zero hours contracts should be banned by the Government immediately…but being cynical..what a coincidence that allowing zero hours contracts brings down the numbers of unemployed!!

Unpaid Carers at home should be fairly recompensed. They work every hour of the day and quite often the night as well, caring for loved ones at home. Think about having a job where the only time you had to yourself was if a friend or helper came round for an hour a day…and during this time you had to rush out to the pharmacy or the supermarket. Exhausting!

I talk regularly to paid carers who are allocated 15 minutes with a client. This is not enough time to even have a conversation, let alone make a cup of tea or help with personal care. The rotas mean that they arrive to get someone out of bed sometimes as late as 11am or arrive to help them back into bed at 6.30pm. This is not the Carers fault and is terrible for the clients. It is the fault of a system that is trying to save money by not employing enough Carers.And what is happening because of the lack of care in the community? – beds in hospital are unavailable because care packages cannot be set up for patients needing to go home. The term ‘bed blocker’ is a disgrace and should be banned from use in the hospitals. I know how this feels as my Mum was labelled a ‘bed blocker’ until we could get her care into place.It is hurtful and demeaning to those involved.

Just as I was writing this blog, a lady came into the shop to buy some bed pads. Whilst chatting to her about this article she said that she was caring for her husband full time. She had applied for the Carers allowance and was told she could have it – but the amount would be deducted from her pension as she has only paid NI for a married person throughout her life. She said that old people were made to feel a burden on society and that because she had a small pot of savings, they got no help at all from the NHS.

Helping people live independently at home should be top priority for any government.After all, it is cheaper to help someone live in their own home than pay for them in a care home, but more help needs to be provided and the whole system needs restructuring. Carers should be trained to highest standards and paid accordingly. If Carers were paid a decent salary for the anti-social hours they have to work, maybe staff turnover would not be so high. Carers Agencies that are set up should be scrutinized and inspected regularly to make sure they are looking after their staff and their clients.

I only have the utmost respect and admiration for Carers. Every day I hear of the difficulties people are having. David Cameron  should spend a couple of days in the shop with me to really get the feel of what is happening in care in the community.

 

Why should I insure my mobility scooter or wheelchair?

insure

Care100 strongly advise that you insure your mobility scooter or wheelchair. With our insurance you will be covered for theft and accidental damage but more importantly you will be covered for 3rd party liability. For instance,if you run someone over or run into a car you will be covered. It also covers you for breakdown and in most cases the insurance company will pay to get you and your vehicle home. However before taking out any insurance you must read the policy carefully as they are all different.

If you would like more information about the comprehensive insurance policy we can provide you with, please contact us on 01246 275767

Do you need a speaker for your meeting?

speaker for your meeting

There are so many products available nowadays to help people live independently for a longer time in their own homes. At Care100, Kate and Gill are always happy to come out during the day or in the evening to talk to groups. In the past we have been invited to speak to patients recovering from chemotherapy, women’s groups in Chesterfield and Buxton and many other groups. We bring many items from the shop but there is no obligation for anyone to buy anything. It is purely about sharing information on items that may make life a little easier for people. There is no charge for the talks, which take about an hour and are quite light hearted.

 

If you are interested, please call either Kate or Gill on 01246 275767