“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow” – Orison Swett Marden

 The pandemic has undoubtedly changed us, including the way we think about what is important to us. It is as much a health crisis as it is a social, economic, and human crisis. As we reflect on the difficult year that has been so far, we feel pride in what we have achieved and the ways in which we have supported each other during these uncertain and unsettling times, particularly when thinking of our frontline and essential workers. Importantly, we feel a sense of hope and wonder for our future, including how we can use the vital lessons we have learned thus far to pave a better way forward for us as all.

At Heritage, reflecting on the pandemic is especially poignant given how closely we work alongside those most vulnerable and those on the front line. We are particularly pleased to be able to say that, to date, there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 amongst our clients and their live-in carers. The COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly devastating for the older adults of our population. Social isolation policies during the pandemic have provided a difficult landscape to navigate within given the additional barriers these create for older adults who rely so heavily on others to care for them. Thankfully, there exists a very special and heroic band of people, live-in carers, who have frequently placed their own needs aside in order to provide high quality care for those older adults most in need. These are the often-overlooked essential workers of the pandemic.

Over 8 million professional and unpaid carers provide essential services to those most vulnerable throughout the UK (carersuk.org). Here at Heritage, we are fortunate enough to work with hundreds of some of the most highly skilled and trained live-in carers who work in a self-employed capacity. These are an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life; many are qualified nurses, many have come from highly successful professions non-related to the care sector, and many others have decades of experience caring for those most in need. What they share in common is that their skillset stretches beyond the high degree of physical and personal care they provide. They delicately care for the mental health of clients by building an intimate awareness of their client’s needs and interests, tailoring an approach to suit. They cook a client’s favourite meals, maintain a client’s home cleanliness, encourage social and physical activities, stimulate a client’s mind… The list goes on. They are a fundamental part of their client’s lives and wellbeing, and on a wider level, they have been fundamental to our survival throughout the pandemic.

Without the support made by live-in carers, the NHS may not have coped as well as it did during the peak of the crisis. Many of our live-in carers opted to self-isolate with their clients for months on end for example, meaning risk of infection dramatically reduced. It is highly possible that many more older adults may have succumbed to illness without the support of these carers, be that due to the coronavirus itself or the impacts of having lost their access to social supports and healthcare. What the undertone of the pandemic has shone a light on can be considered the heart of humanity, which is that our survival and ability to flourish depends on taking care of one another. Live-in carers embody this spirit in their every day, and the benefits of this type of care to our modern economy as well as the individuals served are multiple.

These challenging times highlight the necessity of care solutions that best safeguard and serve the needs of those most vulnerable. Here at Heritage, we offer a personalised service to clients seeking live-in carers. As recruitment specialists, we develop an in-depth analysis of a client’s daily and weekly routines, interests, and care needs. We use this information to filter through our wide database of carers and carefully match the best-fit live-in carer to the individual client. As a result, older adults receive the best care they need in the comfort and security of their own homes. Families can feel comforted in the knowledge their relatives are receiving high quality care from a trustworthy person who is on hand to contact should an emergency arise. Heritage cuts many of the costs residential care demands and is a cheaper alternative to managed live-in care agencies. Crucially, the live-in care provided is proving to be one of the safest solutions during the pandemic and we are well positioned to source carers who are able to comply with the additional requirements that have arisen during the pandemic.

Although our world continues to be shaken by this global crisis of such enormous scale, it is wondrous and inspiring that we continue to soldier on to a ‘new normal’ together of reimagined ideals, attitudes, and values. Indeed, we each have our unique stories of what these times have meant for us, including the hardships we have faced. However, collectively we have seen what is possible when we come together, connect with and support one another, and importantly, recognise and invest in the services that maintain the backbone of our society. We are eternally grateful to those who have given their all including NHS workers, essential workers, and of course the incredible live-in carers. We look forward to a future free from Covid-19 and full of hope.

Amanda Sullivan, Director, Heritage Independent Living