In 1980 there were many older and disabled people with high dependency care needs who wished to stay in their own homes and community, but very few solutions to help them achieve this.
Similarly, one older pair of sisters in 1980 who were going to enjoy a caravan holiday in Norfolk needed to find a local cook who could come to their caravan and prepare a main meal for them each day. To find this person they advertised in the local Norfolk paper and Angela Gifford, a part time bank worker saw their advertisement.
The unusual advertisement stayed in her mind and as a result she did some research to find out whether the sisters could have gone to a domestic agency instead of advertising themselves.
In Norfolk they could not as there was no domestic staffing agency in existence. An idea gradually took shape and in September 1980, Angela Gifford set up Able Domestic Employment Agency to supply domestic staff in East Anglia
However, in the first few months the highest number of telephone calls that came in were enquiries regarding the provision of care for an older parent or for a person who was disabled and needed help in their home rather than for cooks, babysitters, waitresses, cleaners, etc.
The enquirers were not looking for a couple of hours a week, but were seeking to find a service that would provide domestic, personal and social care and eliminate the risk of their older or disabled relative living on their own.
After some thought, the idea of a continuous, live-in housekeeper/carer scheme was born and the company made the offer of providing such a service on a fortnightly, rotational basis to an elderly gentleman in Essex, an elderly lady in Suffolk and an elderly couple in Norfolk. Angela promised that if she could not find anyone to come, she would. At the end of three months these three people had been supplied with appropriate housekeer/companions who were forming rotas with one or two of the other people whom Angela had put into the three homes.
Able Domestic Employment Agency, now Able Community Care, has never provided any other service other than the provision of continuous live-in care staff on a long term basis or the provision of short term, live-in respite care.
Able's live-in carer service now operates throughout mainland UK and also the Channel Islands. Since 1980 Angela and her staff have enabled thousands of elderly and disabled people with choice to remain living in their own home and community.
Over thirty five years later Able Community Care is still owned and managed by Angela Gifford and although during the thirty five years since the first live-in housekeeper/carer moved into an older gentleman’s home for a fortnight, legislation has changed the care industry out of all recognition, the choice to remain in your own home is the one the majority of us still want.