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New to the forum and needing some advice - Carers UK Forum

New to the forum and needing some advice

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hi

I have recently joined the forum and thought I would introduce myself. Apologies in advance for the essay.

I live in North London and have an elderly 83 year old mother that I care for who currently lives about 30 miles away. My father passed away approximately 3 years ago following which my mother was left living on her own. He maintained the home and the finances and was responsible for all of her appointments, benefits, care services (private), etc and she was very dependent upon him.

I have since been left with the main responsibility for all of those things and I must say it has not been easy. My mother has mobility issues and is also partially deaf in both ears. Over the years she has had a number of medical conditions and has had many operations. Whilst living independently, she can also be quite needy. All her external affairs - medical, financial, residential, care services (to help her bathe each morning), utilities, etc - are all passed on to me to deal with. Whilst my mother can speak English, she chooses not to have the discussions with GPs etc and simply passes my number on to them. She has always relied on my father to do these things and so I accept it is just an automatic reaction to deflect these matters on to me.

I have two siblings, neither of whom can really help. One lives abroad and the other lives in the North if England and has her own health issues as well as a child with special needs. She does try and assist with regards to some of my mother's medical administration activities but it is a small amount of the overall effort involved. So really, I am the only one who is left to look after her. On top of that my mother is now becoming quite frail and forgetful which is becoming a concern for all. We are constantly having to check in on her and have had to install cameras to make sure that she is safe and hasn't had a fall etc.

The covid-19 pandemic has also meant that she does not get the visitors she used to. I think this is affecting her mentally as her sole physical interaction is with people who are providing her with a service as opposed to friends and family who will sit and reminisce about the past, etc.

Ideally I would like to move my mother closer to me. If I can do this, I would have the help of my wife, my sister-in-law and a number of relatives who also live in the local area. It would also make looking after my mother much easier as I could be with her within 10 mins as opposed to a 1 hour drive.

Once she is living locally, I could then start the ball rolling with moving everything else such as her GP, Dentist, benefits, etc. At the moment, I just feel really overwhelmed with trying to understand how I go about doing this?

My understanding is that to switch her care services, etc she needs to have a permanent address in the borough.
I read that her current council would then work with the new council to switch her care services and these should be uninterrupted.If true, this would be great.

I have applied for her to receive sheltered housing and she is on a list with approximately 150 people in front of her. assuming that she is accepted. I am not holding my breath and while I feel that this would be best for her given her age and medical concerns, I am sure she will not want to move into sheltered housing. We do have the option of renting however, rent is not cheap where I live and any housing benefit she may receive would not cover the rent so she would have to cover the remainder (with the help of myself and my siblings maybe). We would also expect a long term tenancy as it would not be fair to upheave her again.
We have looked into the prospect of her moving in with us, but this would not be practical as we are limited on space and my house layout is not really suitable for her.

If anyone has any thoughts of how I can move her or better still, experience of having done this before I would appreciate any guidance.

Kind regards
H
Hi H and welcome to the forum, thanks for joining us.

I'm sure people will be along soon who have experienced your situation but meanwhile have a look through our help and advice pages, there's lots there which will be relevant to you and it's good to be informed about any help you may be entitled to -

https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice

Best wishes

Jane
Hi & welcome H

Am I right is Mum unaware of the plans your family would like for her.

When looking for sheltered/independent living accommodation. These scheme can have differing criteria's. And they would be obviously an expectation of the scheme managers. That Mum was happy to move into such accommodation.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-ad ... e-housing/

https://housingcare.org/elderly-uk-assi ... re-housing

https://ukcareguide.co.uk/assisted-living/

In your area it would be a good idea to make some visits.
I was in a very similar situation with my own mum, some years ago.

I'm sorry to say this, but your plan is doomed to failure. If mum cannot manage on her own with carer support, then she needs residential care.

I would suggest that you investigate homes in your area, after first bringing together some information to work out what she can afford, long term.
Does she own her home?
Have over £23,000 in savings in her name?
Claim Attendance Allowance?
Do you have Power of Attorney?
Has mum had a Needs Assessment from Social Services?
Thanks for coming back to me everyone.

@sunnydisposition Mum is aware of the plans to move her and she does understand the reasons. I will take a look at the links. Thank you

At present we have just had the assessment and are awaiting a decision from Sheltered Housing. AFAIK we will not be able to see any potential accommodation until they accept her and have a place to offer.

@bowlingbun Possibly a misunderstanding. Mum is managing on her own with carers within her home and does not need full residential care. However, she cannot manage things like getting to her appointments, shopping, social events (pre Lockdown of course), etc for which she needs someone with her. She uses a walking frame in the house, can use a frame for short walks but we put her in a wheelchair if we know we have to cover a longer distance. She has fallen a few times but she does have a pendant and her home is connected to the emergency response service.

Right now, I think she would be fine in assisted living accommodation, a retirement flat or even a private rented accommodation which is suitably fitted out. Moving forwards though, this might become an issue as she gets older and her health gets worse.

Regards the Social Services and other assessments, these have all been done by her current council and she receives the entitled benefits.

My focus right now is to move her locally into somewhere she feels comfortable, so we can offer her more support and companionship. It is also less of a burden on me as currently I have a 2 hour round trip even for simple matters like getting her some basic food items.

Regards
There is a lot to consider.
Too many people on the forum have made decisions that they have regretted for the rest of their lives.
My comment was made after a great deal of personal experience.
Look at what mum needs, rather than wants.
Then look at the services offered in the places you would like.
Make a list of everything you do for mum.
It is a well known fact that once someone moves into the "very elderly" category, over 85, their needs increase rapidly.
Residential care is going to be needed very, very shortly.
There is likely to be some sort of crisis, mum will manage until something unexpected happens, a fall, an illness, and she will never be quite the same again.
In my area, the New Forest, there is little sheltered accommodation other than privately owned flats.
Macarthy and Stone started here!
If you move mum nearer you, she will be totally dependent on you from then on, away from all her friends in her home area. You will be the only one she will ever talk to. Others have found this very, very difficult.
You mention that mum likes to speak in her own language, which I quite understand.
Is there anywhere, either in her area, or yours, where there is accommodation or groups for elderly people of a similar ethnic origin?
Otherwise, have you tried to arrange lots more care for her where she is living now, making it easier for you?
Has she had a Needs Assessment from Social Services?
What support are Social Services providing?
What would happen to mum if you became unable to care for her?
Thanks @bowlingbun

Your last question is the one that scars me the most - I really don't know what would happen if I was not able to care for her?? I would assume that my sister would have to be the next to step up and she would have to move nearer to my sister in the North. which I don't think would be that easy.

Fortunately, moving her closer to me would actually move her closer to family/friends. My parents originally moved to where she is now to get my Dad closer to his work to ease some of the burden on him. I would also be able to take her to regular meeting groups which my elderly relatives attend, which is another reason for trying to relocate her.

We did explore residential homes with other people of her ethnic group (which would be ideal as would offer her company/activities with likeminded people, the food she is familiar with, access to prayer facilities, etc) but the ones we found are upwards of £800 per week!

She has a Social worker, had a Needs Assessment and been allocated a care package. I think if her health deteriorates further, then we could request additional care and would hopefully be granted this. The language barrier and dietary requirements will always be an obstacle outside of general requirements (bathing, dressing, cleaning, etc).
Does mum own or rent her home?
Does she have over £23,000 in savings?

These are the two most important things to consider.

If she owns her home, then if she moved into residential care she would be expected to sell it, and fund her own care until she had less than £23,000 left, from house sale + savings.

If she doesn't own her home and has less than £23,000 then the council would fund some or part of her care.

You have put forward some very good reasons to move her nearer to you.