Voice and Choices – A Peace of Mind Service

Article written by Barbara Poole – Chairperson Voices and Choices

Voices and Choices is a charity based near The 50plus head office in Chesham.   We work in Chiltern District to deliver information, advice and support to enable elderly people and people with disabilities to live safe and sound at home.    We can offer information over the telephone or visit people in their own homes.   Our trained and accredited volunteers have helped people find services from a new garden gate or a replacement washing machine/tumble dryer, to finding a cleaner or window cleaner, to completing blue badge applications or setting up Lasting Power of Attorney.  During the two years of our service we have become aware of the difficulties of taking care of parents or relatives from a distance, juggling family and career demands, and assessing care needs and finding appropriate resources.

We are now planning to set up a Peace of Mind service for people caring from a distance.  We will be offering a service which can help relieve carers of some of their difficulties.  Our proposal includes an in-depth interview with the carer to develop a good understanding of our client’s issues and any healthcare needs.    We will then put together an individual portfolio to include all the vital information about your relative, the services they currently receive and named professionals, their interests and hobbies, their local friends as well as the details of family connections for us to contact.  We will, of course, ask for your relatives’ permission to ask you for this information.

We are not able to offer an out-of-hours emergency service but can provide you with details of organisations and companies who can.  What we can do, depending on our client and you, is find local tradespeople or care services and help as required during the interview process; make sure the home environment is safe in partnership with the local Fire and Rescue service; protect your family member against scams and rogue traders in partnership with our local Trading Standards service and Safeguarding Board; help them stay mobile and get out of the house (we are currently working with Chesham and District Community Association to offer monthly social meetings and to help develop a voluntary social care car scheme in partnership with our local dial-a-ride); and help facilitate those difficult conversations about moving home or end of life care.   Other individual needs can be addressed as required.

This is a new initiative for us.   If you would be interested in using our service as it develops or contributing to its development through social media contact, please email voicesandchoices1@gmail.com or ring 01494 784566.