This is David, below his mum shares their story:

David is 31 years old, he has Downs Syndrome, learning disabilities, Autism and mobility issues. He is the youngest of my three children and has always lived with me at home. Over the years, Dave has faced many challenges with his health, behavioural issues and being able to cope with life at times. 

Finding suitable support had been a problem since David left school in 2009. The process of actually getting a personal budget that was sufficient for his needs was stressful and meant a longer break in finding the right support. A personal budget was eventually agreed and we identified a company and support worker who Dave got on with initially very well. 

Unfortunately, over time, Dave’s behavioural issues increased, and it became obvious that he needed a more experienced support worker. We struggled to find a suitable support agency with the relevant trained staff, and I was left to support and care for Dave on my own which I found challenging. Following discussions with his GP we changed his medication to allow him to cope and he is now on no medication at all. He is calm, happy and enjoying life! 

 With the improvement in Dave’s behaviour and general wellbeing came other problems, he did not want to accept outside support. He is suspicious of new people if he doesn’t understand what their role is or why they are in his house. Ideally, I would like to engage support workers for Dave to reduce his dependency on me but unfortunately this hasn’t been possible due to his trust issues around meeting new people, but I am hopeful that this will change in the future.

It was after speaking with someone on social media that I was made aware that under ‘exceptional circumstances’  which is part of the Care Act someone living in the same household as the cared for person can be allowed to become a paid Personal Assistant/Carer using the cared for persons personal budget/direct payments. After speaking with the Social Worker, he agreed to support such an application and completed a Care and Support Plan to include 18 hours per week with me as Dave’s paid carer. 

Since being introduced to and employed by Solo Support Services I can say our lives have changed in so many positive ways. For me it’s having the support from people who understand what caring for someone really involves. Our Client Relations Manager has been a constant source of support and information. Having regular communication is invaluable, even more so during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was an extremely worrying time for all of us, but being alone with Dave with no option for any outside support, knowing that Solo was there for moral support was immense for me. They ensured we had PPE and I received updates regarding COVID-19 procedures for the safety of staff and cared for person. 

I am Dave’s mum but also an employee of Solo Support Services and I am treated as such, it’s a unique situation in many ways but I wish more family carers could be given this opportunity. I have completed online training courses in many relevant subjects to assist in my caring role, which have helped me to become far more confident as a carer for Dave. 

Having had dealings with Social Care personnel for many years I know what a minefield it is to get the help, support and funding needed to make sure our loved ones are able to have a full, productive and safe life and I’d like to end by saying how grateful I am that Solo have been there for both David and myself and I sincerely believe that this arrangement would work for the benefit of many more people struggling to care for someone alone.