Home Care Blog

Let's Defeat Elderly Loneliness

Hi, I'm Christopher the founder of CareChooser. We match carers to clients needing care in their home. I’m also a Dementia Friend and a Dementia Friends Champion. Recently I shared an article from Good Housekeeping magazine on research done by the University of California proving sadly that loneliness plays a large role in the decline of the elderly.

So I thought I'd spend a few minutes thinking about ideas about how to defeat loneliness.

1. Invite some one around for tea or go to theirs…

2. If you fancy volunteering there is a great organisation called Contact the Elderly. You can volunteer to have tea with the elderly. I think I'd be pretty good at that!

3. A smile always always goes a long way and helps to defeat loneliness.

4. Keep in touch via the telephone.

5. Get the person a diary and start to fill in some events or calls on different days.

6. Number 6 is interesting, how about signing up to Borrow My Doggy or in my case, Borrow My Chicken.

If anyone else has any ideas about how we can defeat loneliness, post some ideas below.

All the best, Christopher

CareChooser Win NatWest & Royal Bank of Scotland Pitch Award!

CareChooser celebrated winning the NatWest and RBS pitch award on Tuesday. CareChooser's founder Christopher Downie pitched the innovative home care business at the London launch of Entrepreneurial Spark powered by NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Christopher gave a 60 second pitch of his personal story and how CareChooser helps and empowers families to choose their own carer. Christopher's Grandad needed carers at home but the family were left disappointed and disillusioned with the level of care which prompted Christopher and the team to start CareChooser, giving families more of a choice in who cares for their loved ones at home. 


There were 5 exceptional pitches in the final of the competition, from 5 fantastic entrepreneurs.  Manish Shah of Copofi, an innovative mortgage provider for Air BnB and short term lets. Richard McCormack, founder of Effortless3D, offering intuitive 3D scanning. Barbara Njau, the founder of First Rate Tutors, quality providers of qualified tutors and Sammy Gunnell, the founder of the Benchwarmers, a popular London based brand and the only providers of vintage basketball gear to Londoners.

The award of a cool £1000 was awarded by Ross McEwan CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group in Angel on Tuesday at the launch of the new hub which was also attended by Jenny Campbell, the new star of BBC's Dragon's Den who was watching on from the front row! 

Watch the video of the launch event here and Christopher, a little overwhelmed and very shocked!! 

What else could you buy for £200 million?

13.3 million hours of CareChooser care!

Brazilian footballer Neymar has been bought for £200m. It had me thinking, what else could you buy for 200 million pounds?

The average hourly rate at CareChooser for an hour of care is currently £15-16. At £15 that would buy 13.3 million hours of care. Incredible!

It would also buy 266,666 weeks of 24 hour, live in care.

In terms of Social Care on a wider scale. The £200m would pay for the 1 third of all of the private care in the whole of England for a whole year and you could pay for all of the private care in Wales for 13.3 years!

If you'd like to choose a carer, get in touch with us at hello@carechooser.com or send us a Facebook message or on the live chat below, it'll cost £199,999,985 less than a Brazilian footballer!

Call: 📞 0208 886 0686

How Does Night Care Work?

Our new Q&A series - Your night care questions answered.

If you have any other questions for our team do get in touch via live chat at the foot of our website, Tel: 0208 886 0686 & 07792939455 - Email: hello@carechooser.com

Why night care?

Caring for a loved one during the night can be really tough, night after night can really take it's toll. Having some support through the night once or twice a week can really help to give some much needed respite.

I'll have to have night care every night, right?

Not at all, night care is becoming increasingly popular amongst our clients. Many of clients have night care support once or twice a week. In fact we find flexible night care once or twice a week works very well and live in care is usually a better and much more affordable way to find night care on a longer term basis.

Will there be a different care each time?

No. We're taking a different route to the traditional agency model where you get 7 different carers across 7 different days and potentially hundreds across the space of a few months. You'll meet and select one carer and over time they'll build a strong relationship with you and your loved one.

Will the carer recieve minimum or close to minimum wage?

No. Different again! We empower our carers, we pay them up to 75% more than at other agencies and we allow them to set their own rates of pay. We give them more time with clients (minimum 1 hour visits) and manageable reporting online. We celebrate our carers and they stay with us and build strong, long lasting relationships with their clients. There's a caveat to this, we find that our clients who get the best results, work with us to empower the carers. Allow them time to settle in, time to build a relationship and have reasonable expectations on time and tasks. We understand not everyone wants to work this way, if we are not a good fit, we'll point you in the direction of another company.

How long does the shift last?

Flexible. We'll come and meet with you and do a consultation (always free!) we'll work together to see which hours will work best. 8 to 9 hours works well, but we're flexible and can work around you to get the best fit.

What's a waking night?

There are different ways in which night care can work. Carers can be awake, alert and monitoring during the shift (waking night) or they can sleep in and be on call during the night, we find monitors and being based in close proximity works well.

How much does night care cost?

As with our day care, hourly care and live in care, we have night carers with a range of skill sets, experience and training. Each carer will charge a rate based on these skills which will be stated on the profile (includes our rate). The average price is around £15-16 per hour.

We have a great Care Success Team, if there's any way we can help at all get in touch. Choose your night carer today. 

What is Live in Care?

Our new Q&A series - Your live in care questions answered.

If you have any other questions for our team do get in touch. Live chat at the foot of the page, Tel: 02088860686 & 07792939455 - Email: hello@carechooser.com

What is live in care?

A carer will live in with your loved one providing one-to-one care around the clock allowing them to stay at home within their familiar surroundings.

Do carers require their own room?

Yes, with live in care, carers require their own private room with a bed. However, it's not necessary for the carer to have their own bathroom, this can be shared.

How does it work?

There are many different ways that live in care can work. A carer can work a few weeks at a time and then take a break with a second carer taking over. Another option is for Live in care to be provided for 5 days a week, the benefit of this option being the consistency of having just one carer. There is also the option of the carer living in permanently, the client and carer would then agree hours and days off.

How about food and drink?

The carer can be given a budget for food usually around £10 a day or there could be a more informal arrangement with the carer and the client eating together.

When would the carer have breaks?

This is flexible and it will be agreed with the carer you choose to work with. Usually the carer will have a 2 hour break during the day, they will usually be on call during this time.

How do the nights work?

The live in carer would sleep during the night but would be on call during this time. We find monitors or call alarms work very well.

How much does live in care cost?

Live in care provides very good value for money. Live in care starts at around £750 per week. Our carers have different skills, qualifications and experience and they set their own rates of pay. The total amount including the carer's rate and CareChooser's commission starts from £750 per week. The carer's weekly cost will be displayed on their profile with the amount showing being the total amount due. Some carers will charge a 24 hour day rate, others will charge for the week.

Could we have a live in carer for a couple?

es, we can provide care for a couple at home. The cost is slightly higher but provides very good value for money compared to day and night care and with the price for care homes.

What sorts of things would the live in carer do?

A carer provides home care such as personal care supporting your loved one with washing, grooming tasks and helping to get up in the morning and going to bed at night. The carer will also support with preparing meals, housekeeping, doing the shopping and taking your loved one to appointments. Our carers are flexible and we can tailor the tasks very much to your needs.

How would I keep track on my loved ones' care?

Each client has a secure page on the website. The carer will track certain aspects of the care which is customisable to the individual client, reports appear instantly on the client page. Our team of advisors which include a nurse and a GP also keep track of the care.

Do you just provide live in care in London?

No, CareChooser provides live in carers across the country. With CareChooser you compare profiles and choose your own carer.

Choose your live in carer today, get started today.

Find a Private Carer via Video

At CareChooser we are very excited at the launch of a new way to find a private home carer. You can now meet with our team and carers via video on desktop, tablet or on your phone. We're offering this service free of charge to help you find the carer that's the best fit for your family. The video meets will be available to families searching for quality care at home right across the country and you'll have our support throughout.

If finding the right private carer is proving difficult or you live in a different area to your loved ones, our video meetings could prove to be a great solution for your family. Up to 8 people can meet at a time too meaning multiple family members can have input in the decision to choose the carer. You'll meet with one of our care advisors and the carer where you can get to know and get a really good feel for the carer before choosing which care professional to work with.

If you're interested in meeting our carers and choosing the best the fit for your family via video get in touch with us via one of our get started forms, call us on 0208 886 0686, email us at hello@carechooser.com or use the live chat below and we'll arrange the best time to meet. We can hold a free video consultation together to get a feel for your ideas, concerns and expectations of the care, we'll send you profiles of carers in your area that meet your expectations with details of experience, qualifications, dementia training and more. This can be followed by a free video meet with the carers you choose.

For more information get in touch today. www.carechooser.com or try our premium carer service at www.carechooser.com/premium

Quick Guide to Preventing Falls

Each year 1 in 3 adults over 65 falls with 20-30% of these falls causing moderate to severe injuries. So what steps can we take to help to prevent falls in the home?

  1. Remove clutter, organise cables and remove rugs which are a massive trip hazard.

  2. Dark or poorly lit areas are a hotspot for falls. Ensure easy to use lamps are by the side of the bed, consider nightlights and brighter bulbs.

  3. Furniture. Ensure furniture is tucked back out of the way, in particular side tables. Choose taller furniture with armrests and ensure there is enough space to walk around furniture safely.

  4. Choose low heel, comfortable, slip-resistant shoes and ensure they are easy to get on or off.

  5. Ensure all items are stored within reach. Items stored in or on cupboards that are either too low or too high create a risk of falling.

  6. Bathrooms are a hotspot for falls in the home. Install shower grip bars, add non-slip mats in and outside of the shower and add a raised toilet seat.

CareChooser's advisors are experienced at working on programmes and initiatives to prevent falls. We can come to the home of your loved one make suggestions to help to prevent falls.

Call us on 0208 886 0686, contact us at hello@carechooser.com or use the live chat at www.carechooser.com.

A Million Things to do? Our 3 tech tips to help.

You've got a million things to do. 

We know the feeling. CareChooser's home care team use simple technology to help. 

1. Trello - A fantastic to do list like no other. Again you can see it on your phone via an app or online. Looks great, very easy to use. See multiple to do lists open at the same time. You can have different lists for parents, children, shopping... https://trello.com/christopher41031910/recommend

2. Apple's Notepad -

Looks great, simple to use, you can see your notes on your iPhone and iPad.

Great for keeping track of longer thoughts and things to do. 

3. Alerts for Calendar - Add items to your calendar and then set an alert to beep and remind you at the time, 10 mins, an hour or days before. Great for remebering home care consultations, pay bills and sending cards... on time... (usually!) 

The Mum Test at CareChooser

We often get asked how we find our carers. We're asked how we check and approve them and what we check and approve.

We base our search for carers on many criteria, good strong Health and Social Care qualifications, experience and additional skills to name a few but we also have extra criteria that carers must comply with to join us. Firstly they must be able to prove through face-to-face competency based questions that they are able to meet our values and that they have it within them to provide that extra personal touch of quality that sets us apart. Then there's the final, crucial criteria - 'The Mum Test'. We ask ourselves...

Would they do for our Mum/Dad?

Once carers have passed these criteria during application, phone and then face-to-face interviews we then approve Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks, identity checks, right to work checks and checks of qualifications. We work with our provider of choice UCheck to verify and approve identity and DBS checks.

If you're looking for hourly or live in care, all our carers have passed 'The Mum Test'.

Get in touch with CareChooser today on 0208 886 0686 or hello@carechooser.com

Can a Robot Care?

The BBC today reports that robots could be used to help, support, enhance and complement carers in care homes and those delivering home care. The robots communicate verbally and through gestures and may be able to pick up signs when an elderly person is in pain. 

Softbank Robotics are the Japanese company manufacturing the bots. Similar robots are being used in Japanese hospitals to help lift patients and serve food. 

This got us thinking so many questions... 

Can a robot care? How much could it do? Is it ethically correct? Should we change and future proof the name? CareBotChooser or RobotChooser? How would an elderly person feel about a robot companion? What does a robot made tea taste like? Could it join us in a tea?

We'd love to know what you make of this. Add your questions and comments below.  

Home Care London - BBC Robots.png

The New Way To Find Care at Home

CareChooser provides a new way for you to find home care. Our home carers can support you and your loved ones for an hour or two or can offer full time live in care. Conversations with us can be started on our website via our live chat application or by telephone, we’re more than happy to offer advice. 

We offer a free home care consultation. Following this, advice will be taken from our medical advisors, who have over 60 years of experience working in the NHS. We’ll then send you profiles of our carers for you to choose from. 

We tailor our aftercare conversations and updates to fit with your preferred channels of communication as well as time and frequency of choice. We offer updates via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, text message or telephone. 

Call CareChooser on 0208 886 0686, at hello@carechooser.com or why not start a conversation using the live chat application below?

What is Dementia?

Q) What is Dementia?

A) An umbrella term describing the symptoms that are caused when the brain is affected by certain diseases and conditions.

The most common of these is Alzheimer's disease, followed by Vascular Dementia, Fronto-Temporal Dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

Last week CareChooser completed the Alzheimer's Society's brilliant Dementia Friend training. The training advocates 5 main points which CareChooser pledges to implement in it's home care.

  1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.
  2. Dementia is caused by diesase of the brain.
  3. Dementia is not just about memory loss.
  4. It is possible to live well with Dementia with support and understanding.
  5. There is more to a person that the Dementia.

There IS more to the person than the Dementia. Despite the negative associations, the stigma and the fear surrounding the disease. We need to look past the Dementia and see the person, their life and their acheivements.

Our home carers have a strong understanding of Dementia and can provide help and support to those with the condition to live well.

Dementia friendly activities

Supporting a loved one, diagnosed with dementia to take part in creative, stimulating activities can be hugely beneficial and can encourage independence, communication and social inclusion.

Keeping occupied and stimulated can bring pleasure, help to express feelings, relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, promote a sense of belonging and can be beneficial for mental and physical health.

Which activities are Dementia friendly?

Everyday tasks such as folding clothes, helping to prepare meals and drinks and laying the table are a simple way to keep loved ones involved and keep them active.

Multi-sensory activities can offer a different way of connecting with a person with Dementia such as planting lavender or mint, baking, playing with colourful, textured objects or with objects that make different sounds.

Drawing, painting and crafts make great activities that everyone can join in with. Gentle exercise and short walks are a great boost for physical well being and remembering happy memories from the past can boost mental well-being and self-esteem.

The Alzheimer’s Society provides Memory Cafes and has ‘Singing for the brain’ sessions which are free to those diagnosed with dementia and can also offer emotional support.

CareChooser has creative carers that are great at connecting and engaging those diagnosed with Dementia in stimulating activities. They can also take some of the strain, giving you back the time you need to spend with your loved one.

Caring for an elderly relative, a positive start

The festive, holiday period and in particular the new year can trigger happy memories but also bring back feelings of pain and sadness. Try to strike a balance acknowledging the pain and sadness the person may be feeling whilst also refocusing on the positive.

The new year is invariably a time to reflect and look forward. This could be a time where many different feelings come to the fore. There may be a great deal of sadness for an older person if they perceive themselves as a burden and those who are carers for their parents or grandparents may be feeling guilt that they can’t do more or tired and physically and emotionally drained if they are doing too much.

These kinds of feelings are best discussed honestly. Acknowledge but challenge negative language like ‘burden’. We encourage independence for older people no matter what their abilities and alter the amount of support depending on this.

How do you make your home Dementia friendly this Christmas?

The Christmas period can be very difficult for those with Dementia and for family members of those with one of the many forms of Dementia.

Loud sounds, lots of people or indeed loneliness can be so difficult and confusing for those with Dementia, so how do you make your home Dementia friendly? Here are CareChooser's 8 small tips to make a difference to your festive period.

  1. Provide a quite space or area to retreat to.
  2. Give yourself and family members time to enjoy the festive period, is there someone who could help?
  3. Leave some lights on during the night.
  4. Leave a simple note or label on the doors of rooms to ease confusion
  5. Be empathic, make statements rather than questions - 'You are feeling... You want... '
  6. 1/3 of people with Dementia have been aggressive, this may be a sign of confusion, pain or communication. Try lowering your body, crouching down, speaking calmly.
  7. Use interests and likes to evoke memories.
  8. Try to find time for a call or a visit over the festive period.

How we solve the home care crisis.

Home care crisis

Home care is going through something of a crisis, barely a day goes by without a negative news item on our elderly care system. Our team have had first-hand experience of this. From disappointment, disillusion to feeling down, despondent, upset and frustrated.

A Solution

CareChooser was set up with key values in mind to underpin and create a solution to our care crisis. 

Thoughtfulness. Trust. Comfort. Independence. Togetherness.

We would expect, absolutely, that thoughtfulness, trust and comfort be present in all forms of care but are bemused that they quite simply are not. We are putting these values in place as standard. 

Independence and togetherness go hand in hand, we promote a level of independence in all of the people we care for. We focus on the ability of those we care for aiding them to do things no matter how small they may be by themselves, with support where necessary - together.

What does this look like?

Our carers may start and continue a small task and it may be completed by the client enabling them to retain a level of independence and with it self-esteem. Giving the tea a stir, putting the right arm through the shirt, the finishing touches. 

CareChooser focuses on these values; thoughtfulness, trust, comfort, independence and togetherness to create quite a unique level of care.