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Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
19-10-2005, 08:58 AM
Post: #1
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?

Three years ago my parents made the decision to retire in Wales. They bought a lovely little bungalow in a nice village and by co-incidence, the street they live in is chock full of people that are within their age group.

Their neighbours are lovely and they have made some genuine, very caring friends. It is a real little community, with everyone looking out for and looking after everyone else.

However, since moving, both of them have suffered deterioriating health as a consequence of old age. My mother has suffered from respitory problems for a few years now and any infection lays her up for days on end. My father is suffering in number of different ways - mentally, he is starting to lose his faculties to an extent, and physically he has problems with his legs and balance - he will often fall over for no apparent reason and has broken bones in the past as a result of this.

These health problems are esculating and it is really starting to concern me. My Dad's health is so bad that Mum cannot go out without him in case he runs a bath / puts some food on the gas and forgets or falls over while she is out and can't get up again (this has happend before - once he was in the garden, and had to lie there in the rain for four hours until Mum came back. He was too proud to shout for a neighbour). Unfortunately, his legs are so bad, that any trip out with him is a major expedition which takes 4 times as long as it should. He also has a tendency to stay up late and get up early, and Mum cannot go to bed until he does, again in case he does something dangerous. I feel for my Dad because he is aware that there is something wrong and it frightens his, but I also get frustrated by his behaviour (eg. staying up very late) as it causes a huge strain on Mum when her own health is quite fragile.

At this very point in time, both of my parents are in hospital. Dad is in a hospital in Swansea undergoing tests to determine the reason for his balance and mental problems. He will be there for a month in total. Mum is in a hospital in Bridgend for her breathing problems and will be there for about a week.

They live fours hours drive away from me. I simply can't get up there every weekend to see them, and it breaks my heart to think of them each lying in hospital day in day out without family visits. Their neighbours are brilliant - Mum gets visits from at least one of them every day, and several of them make the effort to drive to Swansea and visit Dad at least twice a week (40 minute drive for them).

Anyway, here's where I want your advice if you can give it. Last time I saw Mum (a couple of weeks ago) she said that she was considering moving to some sort of warden controlled, retirement accomodation. Basically, she wants to live somewhere with the same sense of community that she has in Wales, but with some additional support to help with the health issues. Perhaps panic buttons placed strategically round the house that would call a warden / nurse to come and help Dad up if he fell over. This would leave Mum free to leave the house without him if she needed to, and would stop Dad from being frightend of being on his own. I'm not taking about a care home here - they want something privately owned but with some additional support geared towards elderly people who may have some health issues. Ideally, I'd like it to be much nearer to me than they currently live - anything up to two hours away means that I could get to see them quickly if they needed me. But the priority has to be the place itself.

Does anyone know where I can find out information about this sort of place, or even if such a thing exists? I've done a few internet searches, but I haven't turned up anything that looks right. Its all care homes or retirement villages without additional support.

Sorry to unload on you guys. This is worrying me quite a lot. I just want their last years to be something they enjoy, rather than struggle through day-to-day. Any ideas / advice would be much appreciated.

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19-10-2005, 09:17 AM
Post: #2
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
They do exist Karen, here in Worthing (the retirement capital of the South) I have often seen new sheltered housing complexs (sp) being built.

My parents lived in a council run sheltered housing complex before they died for about 16 years. They had their own flat and a warden on call in case of an emergency. The also had a communal room where all the residents could get together if they so wished (not compulsory). I'm not sure how you would go about finding one in the private sector, perhaps your local council or CAB could advise.
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19-10-2005, 09:23 AM
Post: #3
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
It must be a very worrying time for you Karen and you have my heatfelt sympathy. Do you have any brothers or sisters who can support you with this?

A very good friend of mine is going through something very similar at the moment with her parents. Thankfully, one parent is fine, but has to cope with the other parent who has fairly advanced Alzheimer's. They are in the process of moving down (from Wales, coincidentally!) closer to my friend and her family to one of these "luxury parks". To call them mobile homes would be doing them an injustice. They are beautiful, well maintained parks. Trouble is, if both of your parents require assistance, then it may be the case that they would need something a little more "controlled", like a warden assisted apartment in a sheltered housing block. I know there are some lovely ones around and they still promote independence for as long as possible. You can also look to getting in some kind of respite care to give your mum a rest. This can be provided by Social Services. Funnily enough, in my previous job, I dealt with Sutton Social Services and they were very helpful when I required information about local care/assisted facilities.

You probably can't start to help them to make plans until your Dad has been diagnosed. But I would say that, if they don't want to move away from the area where they currently live, you might need to take some time off to look at places local to them. Maybe look on the web for local estate agents or contact their local social services.

I wish you all the luck in the world. What a worrying time for you. :sad: :hug:
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19-10-2005, 09:37 AM
Post: #4
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
Hi Karen. I think Patsy is right, and the first step is to call social services. I also know a lot of these people advertise in the paper if a bungalow / flat that was privately owned comes up. Where i used to live they had a wonderful complex of privately owned bungalows that were warden controlled. They were about £65,000 to buy. They were small, but each had a garden and it was very beautiful.


My Grandma lives in one in Derbyshire, although hers is council run. Its a lovely 2 bed bungalow, with a small garden. She adores it. She moved in with my Grandad many years ago as he was suffering after a stroke. He used to fall over a lot, and my Grandma couldnt lift him. He also used to wet himself daily. He died shortly after they moved in, but my Grandma stayed put. She has made soooo many friends and they all look out for one another. They also have lots of coach trips organised where they go out for the day and stop off somewhere for dinner. It totally changed her life, and she now has a better social life than me !!!

Maybe you could look on some of the internet sites like rightmove.co.uk and asserta.co.uk as they might list on there any privately owned, warden controlled bungalows ?

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19-10-2005, 11:35 AM
Post: #5
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
Thanks guys for your replies. Its actually a huge relief in itself to know that such places do actually exist. I was starting to think it was a pipe dream.

Patsy - I do have a brother and sister, but neither of them are in much of a position to help. My sister lives in Beijing and in some ways its worse for her because she hears the news but can't get to see Mum and Dad, so her imagination is running riot. She called me at 4:00am (her time) the other night because she couldn't sleep for worrying. She tries to be supportive, but she's so worried that I seem to spend most of my time reassuring her. My brother doesn't drive and is a young guy with different priorities. All in all he cares, but he's not much help. You're right by the way, that we can't do much until Dad is diagnosed, because until then, we don't know exactly what sort of care he'll require going forward. It might be that his problems are treatable - or it might be that he is simply destined to deteriorate further. But hopefully, a diagnosis will be forthcoming soon, so I thought I'd start looking at the options for alternative accomodation now. I'll get in touch with Sutton Social Services - there is no way Mum will want to live in Sutton, but at least they can give me an idea of what sort of accomodation and ongoing help is available, and where I can start looking for it.

ILS - I like the sound of Worthing! I might investigate that are further. Its only about 1.5 hours from me, is a nice area close to the coast (which they both like) and is outside London. Mum is adamant that she does not want to live back in London!

Bonnie - its great to hear that you Grandma has found her place to settle. It sounds exactly like the sort of thing I'm after for Mum and Dad. Mum is a real social animal and is feeling the stress of being so restricted by Dad's health.

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19-10-2005, 11:58 AM
Post: #6
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
Karen, first you are not unloading onto us. This is where this place is great as it just a huge big shoulder to rest your weary head and spill out your woes.

It must be heart-breaking for you at the moment, especially when you are not on their door-step. Life is just one big circle of life, they start off caring for you and you ultimately end up caring for them.

Karen, I haven't experienced the situation myself but i have a couple of friends who have eldery parents who needed help. One of my friend's mum had a recent hip replacement and like many eldery people are too proud to ask for help that they are entitled but she wanted her daughter to do everything for her. She helps out as much as she can, but she has her own family, her job etc so they contacted social services who have someone go into her mum's and just check on her regularly and they also have a private company who do they days that the social services and my friend can't manage.

My other friend whose mum died leaving her eldery dad, who was a bit like your dad losing his faculities, being forgetful etc. She got his house fitted with a panic button and also a timer-switch, she also got the house fitted with an electric cooker rather than a gas one and she has someone come in on the days that she can't.

My nana who was 94 this year has been staying in sheltered housing for about 20 years now, really enjoys it. She has her own self-contained flat and has a communal room that she go into if she wants or not. There is a intercom in her flat with pull-cords in every room.

I would contact social services as soon as you can, let them know the situation so that you can have something in place before the situation gets worse and try and even have a chat with their GP. He/she should be able to point you in the right direction for what help your parents are entitled to.

Do you think they want to upsticks and leave the comminity that they obviously like to move back near where you are or would they just want to stay where they are?

It is obviously a worrying time for you and anytime you need to off-load you know where we are! :hug:

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19-10-2005, 12:00 PM
Post: #7
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
For your own peace of mind get them nearer to you if you can, look around locally and even ask your own doctor - they often know which is best as they have patients in these places.


One word of warning on warden controlled self-bought homes. Read all the fine print before you make a move. I was looking into one near York for my Dad, but they have a ruling where when you decide to sell, you have to sell back to the owners at their price. You can bet that will be a massive rip off!

It is something we all have to face one day, our parents turn into our children, and we are their sole hope of getting the best for them. I wish you the best in coping with this, but it is hard, and they do need a certain amount of independance with the right mix of care.

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19-10-2005, 12:41 PM
Post: #8
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
Bella Wrote:Do you think they want to upsticks and leave the comminity that they obviously like to move back near where you are or would they just want to stay where they are?

Thanks for your reply Bella.

To answer your question I think ideally, if there was a house with warden facilities on the street where they live, they would go for it, because the pro's would outweight the cons in that scenario. But there is no such place. :sad: They love their neighbours and they love the area they live in now, but apart from the health issues they are both facing, there are some problems with the general area itself.

Firstly, their road is on quite a steep hill, and they live about halfway up. Also, they are quite some distance from any amenities - all the shops, doctors surgery, entertainment etc. is in town, which is a good 3 miles away for them. In hindsight, it was probably madness to move to such a place - Mum's respitory problems meant that she has never been able to walk up that hill - but it didn't seem like such a problem whilst Dad was able to drive. They could just hop in the car and drive wherever they needed to be. But since Dad has had the problems with his legs, he hasn't been able to drive and frankly I'm quite glad. One of the symptoms of his declining mental health is that he sometimes just "switches off" and loses all concentration completely, which is not something I would want to happen if he was behind the wheel of a car.

Lately, they have been having to get cabs everywhere - because even to catch a bus they have to negotiate that hill to get to the bus stop, which they simply can't do. All in all, its no longer a very appropriate place for them to live. :sad: Whether it is to warden controlled premises, or somewhere else, they will eventually have to move.

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19-10-2005, 12:50 PM
Post: #9
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
Eternity Wrote:For your own peace of mind get them nearer to you if you can, look around locally and even ask your own doctor - they often know which is best as they have patients in these places.


One word of warning on warden controlled self-bought homes. Read all the fine print before you make a move. I was looking into one near York for my Dad, but they have a ruling where when you decide to sell, you have to sell back to the owners at their price. You can bet that will be a massive rip off!

It is something we all have to face one day, our parents turn into our children, and we are their sole hope of getting the best for them. I wish you the best in coping with this, but it is hard, and they do need a certain amount of independance with the right mix of care.

Hi Eternity

Ideally, I would like them to live nearer me, but realistically it is going to come down to what's available and affordable that they like.

Re: the warden controlled self-bought homes. My husband has a client who owns a luxury park for elderly people (unfortunately not warden controlled, otherwise I'd consider it for Mum & Dad), and they have the same clause in the small-print: when the owners die, the property is sold back to the retirement park at their price. I think it is to ensure that the property is always offered only to elderly people who need it. But to be honest, if Mum and Dad find a place that they love, and that clause is in the small print, I wouldn't care less. I just want them to enjoy a decent quality of life.

As you say, they are mature adults who happen to need some care. Its all about finding the right mix of help and independence.

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19-10-2005, 05:10 PM
Post: #10
Advice please: Where can I put my parents?
Karen, what a worry for you. Your poor old mum and dad. I hope you can get something sorted out that suits all of you.

My Nana used to live in a warden controlled bungalow. She got woken up every morning by the intercom asking if she was OK. It was very comforting to know she was checked on regularly even though we lived a long way away.
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