My children have grown up well rounded and always liked to help out with caring for others but they always had time away with myself and family too travelling around the world on fabulous holidays and have been to some beautiful places over the years.
When social services budgets started to get cut I thought it was time to set up privately and offer something a bit unique.
Before I got to this stage I tried a few businesses that what were great and unique but didn’t bring in enough income but I learnt some fantastic things and I am now an expert bubble tea maker, and quirky shake maker! I have some fantastic unusual recipes and a cup sealing machine that seals the cups with a Chinese picture!
I can do this as a side line helping cafes, bars, restaurants set up a Taiwan bubble tea bar and provide them with a kit and training, its £3,000 if anyone’s interested in adding this quirky idea to their premises!
Anyway I thought of elderly and their pets as I always loved animals and many people do and I have seen many having to leave behind their pets when going into care. I set the business up well before Bob and Darkies story broke but never really advertised it and kept it low key but some followers have kept on following from the start before we became famous as a business.
We already had a few fake moving animals as you read on the other page that were my daughters over the years and we saw how these helped troubled children, and adults over the years but they are quite expensive to buy, well the big ones anyway.
So it developed from there, we already had our big chimp and I had some elephant curtains already up in my lounge that I bought years ago to match the red leather sofa’s so I thought let’s make this into a jungle themed lounge with more moving fake animals and here we are and then the other rooms developed as different themes.
Our business is family run and myself and my daughters run the business and that’s how we keep costs low. Obviously as time goes by we will need to employ staff to do various roles. My mum and dad have always been a great help and looked after children, adults and elderly whilst me and the girls went away so she will help to do some things too.
We have 4/5 double rooms and two single rooms so could take up to 12 residents although we do prefer to keep our numbers smaller as we specialise in dementia care mainly so those type of clients need a lot more specialised care and some find the animals and our activities very therapeutic.
People can have their pets in their rooms if they wish like they would at home so if they want their cat or dog on their bed we allow that so it feels like home. Only residents choosing to stay long term can bring a pet as we obviously need to keep the mix of the animals running smoothly, or people can have the fake animals in their rooms if they wish.
Clients need to have pet insurance in place for their pets before they come and our prices include dog/cat food too plus the care of their pet so vet visits, walking dogs etc is all done by us, if people go into hospital for any reason and they are with us long term we continue to care for their pets.
Should anyone pass away then obviously we cannot keep everyone’s dogs/cats as we have no kennel facilities so we would work with other local rescues to take in the pets or maybe one of our new residents may take on someone else’s pet to love if this is possible we obviously like the pets to stay and pass on to another resident but if not we work with a rescue that specialises in helping elderly clients pets to match them up in a new home sometimes with another elderly person.
It might be something we can consider for the future to build kennels/cattery but at the moment we are concentrating on Orange Tree and our community services we offer.
We currently have 4 showers, 4 toilets and one bath but we would like to build a new lower floor wet room and stair lift but everything costs and we are not looking to take on any loans at present so we are saving up to do this as we tried everywhere to get help with funding but unfortunately we are out of the area.
We have a little office too and my daughters are great at all forms of office work etc and love old people and animals so will take on roles as we go along. People think as we are a private home our fees are expensive but we are not! To what we know we are the cheapest residential home in the whole of the UK and some people might qualify for funding so may only have to pay their pension money as a contribution towards their care so it’s great as some homes charge £1,500 a week for their care and if you sell a property your money won’t go far!
Even in your own home most agencies charge £20 an hour plus and only pay their carers minimum wage it’s a lot to pay especially if you need care over night 10/12 hours can you imagine the bill! When I went to India I saw how families there care for elderly, or any family that cannot work due to disabilities etc and it’s fantastic how they do everything and nothing goes to waste etc.
I know not all families have room or can’t look after their family members due to dementia clients behaviours can be extremely difficult so that’s where we come in. Our activities are to suit and we can offer cooking, gardening, pet care, art, we even can offer assisted holidays and outings etc obviously it’s what suits and people are in different stages of their dementia journey so it’s whatever they enjoy.
We have vintage teas, vintage music, dancing, and movie days with popcorn etc. We are not a home that needs to look super clean and tidy and people always dressed in their clothes smartly to impress others, the most important thing to us is our clients happiness and welfare, if they want to sit in their pyjamas all day and paint then so be it!
Obviously we are clean and tidy and encourage people to look their best etc but everyone has those chill days. We find music, singing and the animals really work well. Art & crafts and more able residents are able to help out in the kitchen, with laundry, pet care and gardening we find it’s the best way to keep the brain active and carry on doing tasks as you would at home.
We love it when our residents are happy and helping them to achieve their dreams/plans/wishes & to live with their pets. We have a large garden and some rabbits and Guinea pigs that residents can hold and help care for and we want to build our own vegetable patch and green house eventually.
Obviously it’s not up to us who gets the funding etc and it involves assessments but if people do get the funding then they can live here with just their pension as a contribution towards their care and for some they do not need to give us their pension either so it’s a great service and a lot cheaper than people realise!!!
If anyone is interested then they need to send in an enquiry form to us but they need to find out if they are able to get the funding or not and we need as much information as possible about them and their pet they wish to bring if they have one, you can live here even if you have no pets but obviously you need to like animals as we have lots of close contact with the animals daily.
We aim to expand and we are looking at converting our double garage into two self contained flats for people who want to live a little more independently with their own kitchenette and their pet area, own bathroom, lounge and bedroom but just need help with domestic tasks and maybe want a bit of company and come into the home daily to visit and join in with the activities if they wish rather than living alone.
We have land also at the back of the garden so we will expand further and across the UK too eventually. We have our own little people carrier with in car movies to transport people to hospital, doctors, day trips etc for those that need or want this obviously with Bob and Darkie on the back and an old lady on the front with a cat so people can see us coming!
We can offer short term care but the minimum is a 3 month stay. Our day care is only £8 an hour and it’s great for families that want to have their elderly family members to live with them but need to go to work and leave them in safe hands. We work around your hours so sometimes clients can stay into the early evening if your working until 6pm or longer.
As many day centres are now closed or closing we are a great alternative and clients can bring their own lunch or have a hot meal with us here as we tend to have our hot meals during the day and smaller snacks at night for tea. Our prices include a basic breakfast of cereal and toast, we can offer a full English at a little cost and a hot meal at lunch time with a dessert then sandwiches, and soup as an example for the evening and we provide fruit and biscuits.
Extra things like chocolate, crisps etc clients buy their own. Drinks are included to hot drinks and cold juices. We do our paperwork by hand to keep it all secure so we do the office side of things the old fashioned way. We obviously had to do a lot of training to get where we are and we are always updating things.
We have some parking spaces outside for relatives to visit if not plenty of road side parking. We are in hospital brochures as well as we are very different with our themed rooms plus animal care so we thought it would be good to go into the brochure to offer our services to clients.
We look forward to hearing from any potential clients. We are only in Leicestershire at present but hopefully we will expand.