Member of the Month September 2019 - Linda
Welcome to our latest ‘Member of the Month’ blog post. The Member of the Month series is a chance for you to share your stories and for us to showcase outstanding members. It was rather quiet over the summer – most likely everyone was out enjoying the nice weather – so unfortunately we weren’t able to find someone to profile last month. But now we’re back with a new post and hope to have a new story to share every month.
September’s Member of the Month is Linda. Having lived with a chronic illness for over 40 years, here she talks about her own experiences of the UK’s social care sector, the importance of finding a carer that can also become a friend, and her goal to become a published author.
EYJA: As someone directly affected by it, what are your views on social care in the UK right now?
Linda: The UK’s social care sector is the worst it’s been for years. When it was decided that home care would be in the best interest of patients, finances and resources were made available and assessments of care needs were done on an individual basis – as it should be. But sadly now finances have become the main criteria for care rather than the patient’s needs.
What’s now occurring in parts of the country – and will be rolled out nationwide – is that private social workers are being deployed into social care services, with the aim to reduce costs. This has happened in my area and when I had my latest yearly assessment, a private social worker reduced my weekly care hours from 17 to just seven. This led to my health deteriorating and my stress and anxiety rising. I was able to improve my situation, but only by campaigning to my MP to be reassessed. Upon reassessment it was advised that I have 19.5 hours of care per week, but it was an awful situation to be put through.
EYJA: We’re so sorry to hear of the challenges you faced in getting the care you needed. We hope that our small contribution to the sector is a step in the right direction by putting more control over care into the hands of the client.
Speaking of which, we’d love to hear your personal thoughts on EYJA – what do you like most about our platform?
Linda: Companies like EYJA are a godsend. I discovered that finding a suitable carer is more difficult than I first imagined, but EYJA makes the whole process easier by giving you easy access to a score of potential care assistants.
The platform is easy to use and the profiles provide the most relevant information you’re looking for in order for you to create a shortlist. Then it’s quick and easy to contact these carers to discuss things further.
EYJA: In your opinion, what traits make a good employer?
Linda: I believe a good employer needs to be fair, friendly, flexible and aware of their carer’s needs as well as their own.
A good sense of humour essential and it’s important to remember to treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
EYJA: Well said! In your profile you say you’d love for your carer to become a friend and be part of the family. What helps make this possible?
Linda: Having care provided via direct payments is really good, as it gives you total control of who provides your care and when they visit, so you can choose times that suit you. Having the ability to do this allows you to have a continuity of care and build a relationship with your chosen carer. Over time they become a family friend, something which is very important to me.
EYJA: In your profile you also hinted that you have aspirations to write a book. That sounds very interesting. What kinds of things would you like to write about?
Linda: Writing has always been a passion of mine and I've always wanted to see my thoughts in print. Despite being chronically ill for over 40 years I’ve written my first book and am currently waiting for it to be returned from the illustrator. I intend to self publish it, as this seems the most cost effective option.
Called ‘Granny Says…’, it’s a book I started over 20 years ago with my grandchildren, and as each one came along we added to it. It’s made up of quotes like ‘Love is more precious than gold’, followed by an illustration and a brief explanation. We’re all excited to get a copy in our hands, but the most precious thing about this book is that all the grandchildren remember doing it and why.
My next book will also be a children's book and I'm just about to start that one. After that I plan to write an inspirational/spiritual book based on my own experiences. So, illness has had its positive attributes.
Our thanks to Linda for speaking with us – fighting to get the care she deserves and publishing her own book – she’s such an inspirational woman, wouldn’t you agree?
Member of the Month is our way of rewarding those members who’ve taken the time to carefully fill their profiles and share interesting information about themselves. Each month we pick an interesting member and share their story.
If you’d like to be featured in the future then please read this blog post, which shows you how to help your profile stand out and get chosen!