We started careleaf after working for many years as live in carers for the elderly and noticing things that could be improved, both from a clients perspective (those in need of care) and the carers perspective too.

Over the years we cared for a number of different clients who had a broad range of needs; from companionship, to cooking, helping around the house and personal care. All our clients needed help and that is where we came in.

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Working as a Live in carer is a rewarding job. You are helping people and forming a bond with them, it is a real vocation. A live in carer is part friend, part family member, part chef and part nurse. You need to be able to chat and laugh along with the client but also be in control in the case of an emergency and be able to organize a household too.

A good carer needs to have a balance of compassion and clear thinking, to be friendly, but also make sure that things like medication and the client’s personal hygiene are taken care of. Caring can also be isolating, you are away from friends and family, which is difficult at times. As carers ,we found that the agencies we worked with did not provide a sense of community or offer links to other carers. We feel that it is important to have people to talk to, especially other people in care. That is why we are providing links through social media that will enable our carers to chat to each other, offer support and advice and to tell each other about events and places to meet. This will benefit clients also as they will have more options to socialize, something which many elderly people are missing.

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After working with many clients we found that the cost of care was often a concern. Many people had worked their whole lives only to find that they were struggling to pay for the care they needed. Although live in care is often a more affordable option than a care home, we felt that many agencies charged quite a lot for their service and some paid their carers as little as £60 a day. When starting careleaf, we wanted to get the best deal for both clients and carers, offering affordable care for clients and a decent wage for carers. That is why we set our agency fee at less than 10% of the carers wage and why our carers receive pay that reflects their hard work and the level of care they provide. The theory is that if you offer the best deal, you will attract top quality carers. We have a rigorous recruitment process and we only select the best carers out there.

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The other aspect of care we felt could be improved was that clients did not have a choice over which carer they received. Agencies would pick someone who arrived at the clients house with no prior meeting. Our goal is to provide clients with a way to browse through carers, to find a profile they like and then both client and carer get a chance to speak to each other online or on the phone before they begin their booking. This sort of introduction means both parties will feel more comfortable when they finally meet in person. They are no longer strangers.

We believe that the care industry is ready for a change, to be more open and look at live in care as the best option for elderly care. We see a world where people can stay independent and choose affordable, quality care in their own home.