Part 2: The journey into formal care; one carer’s experience.

Meet Dev and Meera

Dev and Meera met in the UK where they had travelled from Malaysia to train as nurses. They  later married and had two children, working opposite shifts to look after them as they had no family to support them in the country.  As the children grew, they were able to invest in residential care establishments for people with learning  disabilities and ran these successfully for many years.


In 2000 when  Meera was  49 years old, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and received treatment for this. She stayed well until 2015 when she collapsed and spent 42 days in a coma. This led to  kidney failure which now  required regular kidney dialysis three times a week on discharge.


It was at this point that Dev became an informal carer to Meera, undertaking tasks such as shopping, cooking, and laundry. Dev also employed a cleaner.

Maintaining daily life, work and activities

Dev continued to work past retirement age but his business  was out of his home county which meant being over an hour away from home. Dev rearranged his working days to coincide when Meera was at the hospital having dialysis, working at home on the other days.  He also created a new downstairs bedroom with an en-suite for Meera to prevent her having to go upstairs, and she could still access the kitchen to cook when she felt able to. Meera was now using a frame to mobilise and would occasionally fall. Dev arranged for Meera to have a pendant alarm which would alert him should this happen.


In the early days of Meera needing kidney dialysis, Dev went to great lengths to get appropriate health insurance so that they could still go abroad together. Dev arranged for Meera to have dialysis at the local hospital of whichever country they were in. Dev would not let Meera miss out, as traveling together was something they both enjoyed.  

When temporary care was first considered; the options

In 2018, Meera was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney and was no longer well enough to travel. Dev was still managing to care for her at home by himself. However, Dev wanted to travel abroad for several weeks and knew Meera would need someone there 24 hours a day because of her falls and failing health.

Initially, Dev approached a family friend who agreed to live in for the 3 weeks he was away.  Dev produced a weekly programme of all Meera’s appointments to include shopping, meal preparation, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing, and the friend would be available overnight if needed. Going abroad was an anxious time for Dev, knowing that he would be far away if something went wrong, and so handing over the care to someone else was a big step. Fortunately, this first experience went well.

When Dev wanted to travel again, the family friend was not available. This now meant Dev had to look for temporary care again, but more formally; a live in carer from a paid agency was the next step. Dev used an organisation that provided this temporary service, and would be regulated by the Care Quality Commission with inspection reports to view.   

Dev found the following benefits of using a formal organisation to include:- 

  • All staff would be police -checked and employment references collected and reviewed
  • They would be trained by the agency
  • If the staff member went sick, the agency was duty bound to supply another
  • All staff would be police -checked and employment references collected and reviewed
  • They would be trained by the agency
  • If the staff member went sick, the agency was duty bound to supply another

The move to regular, formal care

In 2019, Meera began falling more and wasn’t safe to be left alone for long periods; more formal care from the local council was now to be considered. Another recent hospital admission meant that Meera had received daily carers free of charge as part of a post hospital discharge service, but this carried on with a new provider after the the free period ended.

Dev found this challenging at first; different carers coming into his home at all times of day, every day, although he accepted Meera needed this, and it took pressure off him. It also meant that Dev could continue working knowing that a trained carer would be checking in on his wife during this time. Dev would, of course, carry out any care needs required when he was home, and overnight if needed. 

This care package continued until January 2020 when Meera was taken into hospital and died at the age of 68. 


In summary, Dev was able to access a range of services to help support him and Meera. This was not only to support Meera’s health needs but Dev’s working life and interests. In addition to which, Meera was supported in other countries with their health problems when they travelled, optimising their lives even during Meera’s illness. Dev hopes his account of his journey into formal care will show others the range of options that can be available to them and their loved ones.

To find out about more about our long term care services, please follow the link: