I am retired and spend my time looking after my grandchildren. This has been so important for my daughters as they are both out at work. Now that help for them is lost and my life has to change completely as I need to find a job to pay for my mother’s care.
My mother has dementia and has had to go into a care home. This means my two brothers and myself have to pay for her care at £625 a week.
After Dad died, we were hoping that Mum would be able to stay at home, but we found it was difficult to manage . She would be found wandering at night. She had a motor scooter and she even took off on it one night and ended up on a motorway. The police had to bring her back.
So while none of us wanted Mum to go into a home and we didn’t plan for this to happen, we were left with no choice.
An alarming realisation
We were shocked when we found Mum would be charged £625 a week.
I know other people who stay there for free and it surprised me that there is such a disparity in the system.
The difference in my mum’s case is that she owns a little bungalow. Ideally we would sell that to pay for the fees, but in this case there is a couple living in there – older people – and it is their home. We get the rent from that which is £600 a month which goes towards the fees, along with her pension and her attendance allowance. Then the three of us pick up the deficit.
Along with my two brothers, I have to pay extra for her incontinence pads once her quota is used. The care home also loses her clothes so we have to buy more.
A different kind of retirement
When you retire from work you feel as if you are at a different stage in your life. I feel that my family really needs my help. I have six grandchildren altogether, but most of my time I have been helping my daughter and her husband who are both blind. They have a little boy who’s sighted and I take him to and from pre-school. When I go back to work, my daughter’s hoping to get a volunteer to support her, but it’s not always easy to find one. Of course because I’m her mum she trusts me with her son, my grandson. I also pick up her husband from work and take him home.
My other daughter has three children and she relies on me to pick them up. This will all be lost.
My two brothers are at retirement age and none of us can afford to retire because of the care home fees. This leaves issues that are rippling through our family.
Of course we could sell Mum’s bungalow, but that would mean making the other couple homeless. They have made a life there. I think the government doesn’t realise the continuing effect of any decisions.
Looking to the future
I wouldn’t mind paying for Mum’s care if it wasn’t so expensive. I think ideally I would lobby to take individual cases into account on their own merits. I am already thinking about Mum needing nursing care in the future as that would be another increase.
Free personal care would help us enormously. The costs would probably halve.
I think with social care the government hasn’t looked at the wider implications. It hasn’t looked at the big picture. Yes we could sell Mum’s home but now it’s somebody else’s home: a couple who love it. If the move to bring in tenants’ rights happens, this will have implications as well.
All I wanted to do was help my family. Now I’m looking at the job pages.
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
This blog represents one individual’s experience; personal circumstances differ – if you have been affected by any the issues in this blog and want some advice about your own situation please contact Independent Age’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age.