First, it’s important to understand that reablement support is not the same as having a carer, whether that’s someone who pops into your house during the day or who lives with you.
A carer, whether funded by your local council or self-funded, will come in for however long you need care for, with this probably evolving over time as your needs change. Depending on the scope of support, this may mean things like sorting out a meal; getting you up, washed and dressed; getting you ready for bed; or maybe to do some light physiotherapy.
A reablement professional will do some of this, but their role is quite different and will only be for a limited period, as Joe Coogan, director of operations at Essex Cares LTD (ECL), explains. ECL provides care services across Essex, Havering and West Sussex, with a specialisation in reablement.
“Reablement is about supporting someone who perhaps has had a fall, an injury, an illness, or someone who has been in hospital [to] get back to where they were before,” Joe explains.
“If you can’t wash or dress yourself, our team will do that for you. But the plan is to try to help you get back to being independent. On day one, you might be too tired, so that might be the goal for week two. Reablement is all about having goals to work towards. It might be to get to the end of the garden, or to be able to shower again,” Coogan adds.
As the Social Care Institute for Excellence also explains, reablement is all about restoring previous self-care skills and abilities (or relearning them in new ways), to enable people to be as independent as possible for as long as possible in everyday activities.
It is about regaining your ability to do the daily things that matter to you, whether that’s cleaning the house, shopping, or bathing and dressing, rather than having a carer do things for you. There can be a mental element to this, too, such as regaining confidence after surgery or after a fall, or simply feeling safe again around the house or when you go out.