Care Questions : Article 12Care Questions : Article 12

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.12

"I live some way from my Mother but I visit her on a regular basis. When I stay for a few of days I cancel her daily carers, who come in to help her get up and go to bed, as I like to care for her myself and it also saves on the cost. I am finding however, that my back seems to ache after I have visited her and I have come to the conclusion that it is because I do not know how to lift and help my Mother properly. Do you know of any easily accessible courses that I could go to "train myself?"

Answer : There are many organisations that offer Manual Handling Training and you could look in your local Yellow Pages. However, I can personally recommend the courses offered by The St John Ambulance Brigade. They have a range of courses and will have one that suits your situation. Contact your local office and they will give you the information you require.

"Having retired at the age of sixty five, I have taken a part-time job. I work from 8.00am to 2.30 pm, three days a week. My employer says that as I only work six and a half hours a day I am not entitled to any breaks during this time either for coffee or a bite to eat. Is this so?"

Answer : No! Under the Working Time Regulations workers have a right to an in-house rest break of at least 20 minutes, if the working day is longer than six hours.

"Now I have more time on my hands I would like to start a social club in our village, which has very few social activities. I would like to know what I have to do about serving refreshments, tea, coffee, etc. with perhaps catering for special events such as a Christmas party? Are their legal formalities that I should follow?"

Answer : It depends in the beginning where you are going to run the social club from. If it was for a few people within your home or theirs then it is likely that tea and coffee would not cause any problems as it would probably be considered as food prepared for domestic purposes. However, if you plan to rent a room or you are charging for membership then Food and Hygiene legislation may apply to you. The best people to advise you are your local authority, you may have to register with them in any case. Contact the Environmental Health Department at your local authority, explain your plans to them and they will tell you what you need to do.

"I understand that residential homes are inspected and that members of the public can have a look at the report on any home. Is this true and if so, where can I obtain such information?"

Answer : Yes, it is true. Residential homes are inspected by the Commission for Social Care Inspection. Usually two inspections are made one which is announced and one which is not. After each inspection a report is written by the inspector detailing how well a service meets the National Minimum Standards in care. The report is then published on the CSCI website. The site, if you wish to search for information on any residential care home is: You can also obtain such information from the CSCI office nearest to the particular home you are interested in.

Similarly, reports are carried out on the quality of social care services provided through local councils. Since April 2003 domiciliary care agencies are also inspected and reports on them will also shortly be available.

"I am single, retired and deaf. Are you aware of any specialist holidays that might be suitable for me?"

Answer : There are quite a few companies and organisations who specialise or have knowledge about holidays for deaf people. RADAR (The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation) publish a holiday guide each year. You can obtain this by telephoning 0207 250 3222 Textphone 0207 250 4119 Fax 0207 250 0212

If you had your sights set on South Africa for example you could contact a specialist travel agency in South Africa and request their brochure. Their email address is:

"I am suffering from a recent bereavement and I would like some time to myself. I understand that it is possible to go somewhere on retreat but I am not sure where to begin looking. Can you help?"

Answer : Going on retreat is a way in which people "recharge their batteries," get some personal peace and have time to think things through and reflect. Basically you just step outside your normal way of life for a short time. There are numerous retreats across a wide religious spectrum (though you do not have to follow the particular religion of the retreat). Retreats are available in the UK and overseas. A book The Good Retreat Guide lists over 400 places in Britain, Ireland, France and Spain. (Author Stafford Whiteaker, published by Ryder £12.99). Once you have decided where you want to go, contact them directly.