Several years ago while living in the family home, my daughter Amy (now 30 years old), expressed her desire to live independently. In her words – own place, own space.
This was one subject I did not have to broach with her and I thought this was quite fortuitous as I will not be around forever to be the driving force in her life.
Having never received support from anyone else apart from me, her Dad & her sister, my main concern was how she would grasp the concept of paid staff assisting her when she eventually moved into her own home. Happily, she adapted better than I had expected and she has now lived independently with support for several years and has grown amazingly in that time. To date, the funding plus working together with Bespoke Lifestyles has given Amy a very successful outcome.
Finding the most appropriate staff for Amy is always my main concern and Amy has the final say on staff employed after a work trial. Making sure we are all on the same page as changes occur then becomes the priority. For Amy, I have employed a combination of both staff with a background in the disability sector and those who have not, which works well for her. My experience has shown it is not always the most qualified support workers who make the best staff, as sometimes they have a limited view of the capabilities of the person they are supporting. Non-experienced workers tend to look outside the square more easily.
Support Worker Agreements need to be very clearly defined and if need be, altered on the review date specified at the time of employment. Staff are backed up by training offered through Bespoke Lifestyles and they also attend staff meetings arranged by me. I feel that these staff meetings are really important and valuable. I discuss with Amy beforehand, issues to be raised and of course after staff input, each support worker receives a printed copy of the minutes of the meeting.
A monthly transfer of funds from Bespoke Lifestyles is set for pre-determined expenses in a yearly Family Support Plan. If additional funds are required within the month due to unforseen things arising, I have found Bespoke Lifestyles most helpful. I make staff payments fortnightly once I have checked their timesheets I then update the acquittal spreadsheet that Bespoke Lifestyles provides for accountability purposes. For me, this yearly planning and organising value-for-money financial arrangements, needs the most brain power but as I know Amy better than anyone else and what will enhance her life, it is well worth the effort.