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The need for domiciliary homecare in afro-caribbean community

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Domiciliary care, also known as homecare, is the delivery of a range of personal care and support services to individuals in their own homes. The word, “domiciliary” was taken from the Latin word, “domus” meaning “home”. The care delivered can range from a 15 minute check to ensure that the individual has taken prescribed medication, for example, through to 24 hour live-in care. Domiciliary care agencies provide care to children, young people, adults and older people with a variety of care and support needs. Many homecare specialise in the delivery of services to one of these age groups or to groups with care needs dictated by a specific disability or illness, e.g. learning disability, mental health diagnosis, etc. Homecare is usually non-medical, although some Care Workers may be trained to undertake tasks such as peg feeding (That is feeding an individual who cannot swallow, through a tube that leads into their stomach). Domiciliary care agencies work in partnership with other Health & Social Care professionals. So, an individual may receive personal and medical care at home through the coordinated services of, for example, Care Workers, District Nurses, and Occupational Therapists.

While domiciliary care generally refers to care delivered in the home, Care Workers employed by domiciliary care agencies may also undertake duties outside a Service User’s home. These duties may include providing an escort for a Service User attending an hospital appointment, social event or shopping on behalf of, or with, a Service User.  Domiciliary care agencies are required to follow stringent procedures when recruiting care staff and must provide appropriate training to ensure that staff can deliver care, safely and effectively. Domiciliary care agencies also undertake their own quality assurance checks using methods such as staff supervision and appraisal, spot checks, training assessments, client satisfaction questionnaires, complaints and compliments, client forums, staff surveys, team meetings and feedback from other Health & Social Care professionals.

Having said that, does the Afro-Caribbean community need domiciliary care both in the western world and our various nations? I wholeheartedly believe that the answer is a capital YES. In spite of our culture for strong ancestral family ties, where two cousins call each other sisters (different from what obtains in the western world), there is a strong need for domiciliary care. What are the factors that necessitate the need for domiciliary care in Afro-Caribbean community?

The homecare category continued to follow a positive trajectory as the desire for convenience; consumer sophistication, the improved economy and increasing population drove its growth. Consumers continue to strive for more convenient ways to manage their homecare as they rapidly shift away from traditional methods given their sophistication, rising incomes and the influence of Western culture on their way of life. Urbanization is a key factor, as demand for living space in the cities and more modern living arrangements are driving demand for surface care, toilet care and home insecticides products, with newer types of products (such as candle air fresheners) also beginning to see significant sales.  Also, many adults are leaving their parents behind looking for greener lands in western world with no certainty of proper care for their loved ones. It is therefore important that a proper service is put in place to take care of those who are unable to take care of themselves or who need extra help to enable them leave a better life while they still remain in the comfort of their homes, hence, the need for homecare services.

For example, my attention was drawn to this post on one of the forums I visited, and that showed me how worrying it could be when we do not have the right care services for our loved ones especially if it is the place they so much cherish to spend the rest of their lives. Here is the post in their own words:

I have a little problem that needs solving. I am the only child of my parents. My mother is 76 years old while my dad is 80. I am away from them in the North Pole. Right now, my relative who has been helping me to take care of them is about to leave for the University. I am in quandary. I cannot bring them to North America because they said they were tired of flying instead they opted, if we can find one, to stay in a good elder care home in Lagos. However, I have been looking for a good elder care home without any success. Is it possible for anyone in our great village to recommend one for me?’’

These are some of the responses on the forum:

‘’I’m afraid there is no organized social security arrangements or such provisions in Nigeria. How many folks (elderly) in Nigeria are in receiving their pension, by the way? The best option is to bring your elderly folks (dependents) to North America and get them into long term care facilities or supported housing. The Indians or Chinese (Asians) people have no shame or hesitation in doing so. In that way, you can have your peace of mind. I wish you all the best. ‘’

‘’I am not sure there are any “elder care homes” or “sheltered homes” or Nursing homes in Lagos. However with all the unemployment in Nigeria, AV why not just hire people who can stay with your parents 24 /7 or take shifts. Hire Carers. Before this relative goes off to University get the person to look for people in the village or around who will take care of your parents like their own and you just pay them. In Nigeria there are always people looking for work, you will be helping someone else by giving them a job, you also will have rest of mind knowing your parents are being taken care of. I have a friend who has done something similar, it was her grandmother who raised her since her parents died when she was young. It has worked out for her, the carer travelled with her grandmother to UK last summer when the grandmother needed her eyes operated on.’’

‘’I wonder is it a shameful thing to have aging parents? The best bet would be to find reliable care givers at home to stay with them in their own home. People thrive better in their familiar environment. I would discourage anyone thinking of bringing their parents to a nursing home in the UK and USA or the west in general. Why would you want your parents from an environment they know and throw them in their golden years into a strange place besides it is very expensive? They probably will not have Medicare or any long term insurance, only very few people can afford to sustain that.’’

The last reply says:

U might have to wait till i set up one. U’ve just given me a very good business idea. The old people’s home available at Yaba opposite Queens is not where u’ll want to take ur parents to. The suggestions made by MAkosa and Erelu Beam might be your best options for now.’’ (

I believe that this is just a tip of an iceberg when we consider what people are going through in order to find the right care service for their loved ones. Domiciliary care mainly should be designed to meet the needs of those who want to stay in their homes, but need help with basic activities to stay there. There are people with safety concerns such as falling, forgetting the stove is on, not realising the temperature of the house is hot/cold, getting lost, letting strangers into the house, being paranoid and many more. This is where domiciliary care becomes a much needed asset.

What other issues necessitate the need for domiciliary care in our community?

– Declining eating habits

– No longer bathing, going to the bathroom, or getting dressed properly

– No longer able to keep the house tidy

– Becoming exhausted performing everyday tasks such as laundry, or housekeeping

– Forgetting to take medication or go shopping

– Has family/children who are not able to assist as often as necessary

– Seeking companion

– Memory loss which might be as a result of dementia, Alzheimer or medication change

– Motor skill impairment , e.t.c

The importance of domiciliary care service cannot be overemphasized in Africa or the Caribbean considering the fact that the black society is very dynamic and people are living longer. This calls for a well-structured care service to meet the growing needs.

However, for us to break grounds in this area, people must see the need for this service and be ready to use it once it is introduced into our community.  There are well-equipped and talented people that can offer these services, but are of the opinion that more awareness needs to be created especially among the elites who need a proper and well-structured care for their loved ones, hence this article.

This article has been posted to be an eye opener so that our loved ones need not suffer because we are not there to look after them. The service of domiciliary care can be employed and tailored to meet the needs of individual service user.

The good thing about this service is that if well planned, packaged and executed, it is person-centered which means, the individual requiring it will be matched with the right support worker and all actions and activities are to increase the service user’s independence and to enable them fulfill their potentials. Also, the individuals receiving this service are treated with respect and dignity; they have the ability to make their choices; they can decline whatever they do not want without any harassment.

Looking at the conversation from the forum I included in the article, the suggestion to just get someone employed and look after mum or dad is dangerous, and could lead to serious abuse, such as physical, emotional, financial, or sexual. This is where a well-structured care service is much better and safer because the support workers are well trained, screened and investigated before being allowed to work with any would-be service user or individual who requires the homecare service.  It is important to realise that those of us who do not need this service for ourselves now, will soon need it later. Therefore, it is expedient to embrace and promote this homecare service if anyone genuinely shows up to offer this much needed treasure in our community.








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Olukemi Abidemi is a United Kingdom based health and social care expert with over 12 years experience. She is a training manager with a renowned UK health and social care organisation whose main goal is to provide quality support for vulnerable adults in order to enable them live comfortably in their own homes. Her responsibilities include recruiting, selecting, training and equipping new care workers to meet the required local and international standards, thereby, meeting the ultimate need of the end or service users. Olukemi’s passion is to see people live quality and fulfilled lives, as she believes that providing the right support can metamorphose into quality living. To reach Olukemi, send an email to or

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