We offer free advice based on 60 years of live-in care experience.

Gayil Van Wyk

Live-in carer

She reveals: "My son has told me that it does me good and I agree – I think helping others helps me too. Otherwise, I'd be sitting at home on my own getting a bit depressed."

Gayil spent the majority of her working life engaged in activities completely unconnected with the care sector. As a younger woman in South Africa she was employed in the corporate world as a secretary before running three of her own businesses: an employment agency, a coffee shop and finally a gift shop.

She believes these were experiences that imbued her with some of the people skills that are so important to her job now. As a self-employed live-in carer, she is matched with clients through introduction agency Country Cousins and has worked all over the UK, including Northumberland, Cornwall, Wales and Yorkshire.

She's pleased that her work means people can be cared for in the familiar surroundings of their own homes: "Most people would want to stay in their own home when they need care. It's particularly beneficial for people with dementia as changes in environment can cause anxiety.

"It's the same with the continuity you can only get with a live-in carer – people prefer a carer with whom they've forged a connection and, again, that's especially true in dementia cases."

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