Angela is entirely devoted to teaching and describes herself as very intellectual. "I worked full time as a lecturer until I retired... but I couldn't bear not going on - not for the money, but for the job satisfaction... Now I work as a volunteer lecturing mature students twice a week at Huddersfield University in literature and psychology." In order for Angela to keep on teaching, she needed the confidence to do so and this involved keeping well. Angela used to pay privately for her own care, but her health took a downward slide after a series of falls and she needed more extensive care.
Before Angela had a Personal Budget as a direct payment, she went into a residential home to have some rehabilitation. "I felt like a fish out of water intellectually. It was not suitable. My health started to get really poor and I felt sad and lonely".
Her social worker arranged a visit from Tracey, a support broker from the local direct payment support service. She visited Angela at home and explained that developing a support plan was part of the process for getting an Personal Budget. Over the course of three meetings, Angela described everything she wanted in the plan. Because her eyesight wasn't good, Tracey wrote down everything Angela said and went away to type it up.
They then met again so Angela could read the plan and agree to things or make amendments. Once that happened, it was sent back to the social worker at the council for sign-off.
In the support plan, they specified that Angela's Personal Budget would go into a separate bank account and would be used to pay for an agency worker to supplement the support she already received from her live-in carer who works 8:30am - 2:30pm each day. The agency worker comes in when Angela decided she most needed it: 6pm - 9pm, seven days per week to provide personal care and practical support including meal preparation.
"Having help is everything for confidence and when I see someone coming out of the bedroom door, that is nice, that is useful."
Angela will review her plan with Tracey in 12 months time but if her condition was to deteriorate, or she felt she needed more help, they can arrange to make the review earlier. She said that with all the help she is receiving, she feels that she'll be able to keep well and carry on teaching her classes. It means she is living the life she loves and remaining independent in her own home.
"Having a direct payment and purchasing my own care has really made a difference to my life. I would describe it as a lifeline."