SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers

Support planning and setting up services

Case studies

Personal story

Jim and his wife Christine care for Jim's mother-in-law (the personal budget holder), who is physically frail, and his father-in-law who has Alzheimer's. Jim explained that as a family they had been quite flexible and creative in using the personal budget to really improve his mother-in-law's quality of life. He described how she can now pay for certain household tasks that in the past he and his wife performed, and so the time they spend together is more enjoyable: 'The difference now is that instead of Christine and I spending two hours a week doing the gardening, or spending all the time cleaning the house, mum can afford for us to take her out for the day and that really recharges her batteries while dad's at the day centre.' Jim also explained how his mother-in-law was able to arrange some short breaks where they are able to go away as a family. They now go to a nearby Pontin's holiday centre a few times a year and because they go regularly they benefit from special offers, making this a form of 'cheap respite'. Jim also revealed that his mother-in-law's social worker had suggested incorporating a laptop and broadband in the support plan, with some lessons on how to use the machine and the internet. He remarked that this has been a huge, life enhancing change for her, providing 'a window to the world … it's a massive thing for her to be able to sit and do that … she's 80 odd.

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  • SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers