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“It’s an honour to do what we do”: How Home Instead has been a life-saver for local families

What happens when your elderly mum, dad or grandparent reaches the point where they are struggling to live independently at home?

The answer, more often than not, is a care home place allocated by the council.

But there is an alternative in the Altrincham area, one that allows your beloved relative to stay in their own home and retain that all-important independence.

Over the past 13 years, Home Instead has been a life-saver for around 1,000 local families.

Set up by Lucy Gill and Alan Savage, it is one of 260 Home Instead franchises in the country and covers the Altrincham, Sale and Wythenshawe areas.

Its network of 90 carers exists to provide care at home to people needing varying degrees of support.

Lucy Gill is determined that more people find out about this type of care, one that while private, is less expensive than full-time care in a home.

“When people get to the point of crisis with a frail, vulnerable and elderly family member, when they need help at home, they don’t really know the questions to ask or who they’re looking for,” said Lucy.

Home Instead client John with care professional Hazel

“We are here to take that worry away. We want to let people know so that they aren’t like rabbits in headlights when it comes to that crisis point.

“There is an alternative.”

Clients usually use Home Instead for anything from one hour a week to live-in care, but the usual arrangement is for around 12 hours a week.

Care is tailored to the needs of the client, with personalised elderly care plans designed to offer simple companionship or home help to personal care, overnight care or more specialist help for conditions like dementia.

“It could just be a weekly trip to Sainsbury’s,” said Lucy. “This week one carer took her client to her old stomping ground in Gorton and she loved it.

“That’s the kind of thing the care professionals will do. They get to know each other so well it becomes a real relationship.”

Another Home Instead client, Keith, with care professional Tasha

One person who attest to the difference Home Instead made to her family’s life is Katie Bland, from Timperley.

She was so grateful for the care they continue to provide for her mum that she joined the company, and is now working as its Business Development Manager.

“Home Instead has taken the pressure off me and my sister,” she said. “My mother suffers from dementia and previously she demanded that either me or my sister were there anyway. We couldn’t go away or anything. Since a Home Instead carer started visiting that has all changed.”

As Lucy puts it: “Katie was just being the care-giver but since we’ve come in she’s gone back to being the daughter.”

Central to Home Instead’s success is the focus on the client, rather than simply ticking boxes.

Carer visits last for an hour, and unlike some agencies, travelling time between clients does not eat into the actual visiting time.

“We make sure people have time to care,” said Alan. “Our carers like chatting to people. Some of our employees were in a dead-end job before have come to work with us and they love us. They say this is the job they never knew they could have!”

Lucy Gill and Alan Savage set up Home Instead in Altrincham, Sale and Wythenshawe back in 2010

Lucy added: “When care in the community is spoken about on the news it’s normally very negative – nobody actually says how enabling, life-enhancing and life-changing it can be. We have a real mountain every day to show what we actually do.

“Most of our referrals come from a neighbour to someone receiving care. When they see what we do, they are on the phone.”

Down at their office next door to the Altrincham Retail Park, a team of 12 ensures that outstanding care remains the focus for Home Instead.

“We are the people who will find a way when people are stuck,” said Lucy. “When you’re in that crisis situation, if you make a mistake with your mum, it’s quite terrifying. It’s all on you and you’re putting someone else’s life in our hands. The responsibility for us to not let you down is immense.

“But it’s such an honour to be able to do what we do.”

For more information about Home Instead in Altrincham, Sale and Wythenshawe, call 0161 870 1136 or email