Monday, 13 February 2012

Government adviser feels the wrath of Angels

Dorset home help service Domestic Angels has criticised a government adviser for telling the Prime Minister retired people should go back to work to help them live longer.
Samantha Acton of Domestic Angels

David Halpern, whose Behavioural Insight Team advises the Prime Minister on the Big Society agenda, says loneliness is more deadly than smoking for pensioners and that maintaining strong social relationships such as those in the workplace improves quality of life.
But Samantha Acton, owner of Domestic Angels, says: “Using loneliness to justify increasing the retirement age is grasping at straws. Loneliness is depressing and depression is the killer.
“If Mr Halpern genuinely wants to address the massive issue of loneliness amongst pensioners, he would be looking to maximise the good work carried out by many charitable organisations. They reach out to those affected by loneliness and in turn these people become involved in either the same or other charitable work – all of which is very much in-line with the so-called Big Society and becomes self- perpetuating success.”
Samantha also works with Southbourne Creative Hub and has been interviewed by researchers from the National Development Team for Inclusion as part of a project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation social research charity for the European Year of Active Aging and Solidarity between the Ages.
“Being happy is the objective, and on the whole loneliness doesn’t result in happiness,” she says. “Humans are social animals and we spend the majority of our lives with purpose and social interaction. Retirement and the downsides of ageing can take both of these crucial elements away.”

Home help service is heaven sent

Domestic Angels is celebrating ten years in business this year with a promise to keep doing what it does best – caring.

“This is not just about cleaning, this is about people and their homes, it always has been,” says founder Samantha Acton. “When you go into people’s private homes it’s a very personal service and our Angels are frequently viewed as a special branch of our clients’ families. We’ve been in business ten years now and we are going through the circle of life events with some of our longest-standing clients – for instance we’ve just had wedding dress samples delivered to us for one client!”

Domestic Angels provides a range of services from weekly cleaning to spring cleans, ironing, heating simple meals, even shopping for essentials. All its Angels are referenced, insured and CRB-checked.

“We like to get to know our clients and their community. Our Angels often know clients’ families, their neighbours, personal care workers, even regular delivery people. We become an important part of their lives and for some our Angel might be the one person they can rely on seeing every day. It also means family can visit their loved ones and just enjoy the visit rather than feeling obliged to do chores.”

The caring ethos at Domestic Angels has been in place since it started in Southbourne in 2002 and its steady, organic growth is continuing into its second decade. “I never wanted to stand still and stagnate, but there’s no point in diversifying for the sake of it,” says Samantha. “I take a very flexible approach to business, we’re here to help people, so we’ve grown very naturally – we seem to evolve into doing new things.”

“I love this business. It’s dynamic, diverse and loads of fun. I’m a great believer in what goes around comes around and if there’s an opportunity to be kind or help someone then why wouldn’t you?”