Retirement Flats and Move to Care Home

(9 Posts)
Moobathon Fri 09-Apr-21 09:42:34

Hi Everyone,

I know this topic has been covered in various ways - apologies for repetition - I'm interested in this specific angle, any thoughts at all would be very much appreciated.

My mother, currently in her longterm home, is looking to downsize. We're looking at various options for flats in retirement villages (discussed on other threads). However she's in her mid-80s and although in good health, she may require additional care in a few years. Has anyone experience of downsizing for a short period before moving to (say) a care or nursing home? And what's the best way to pick the best combination of facilities. Some retirement villages have care homes attached - something like that could make sense. We're also trying to assess if it would make more sense for her to rent (either in a village or elsewhere) rather than buying.

Apologies again if this has been covered. We're trying to work our way through the options. Like I say any thoughts would be much appreciated. And for the record we live in London - she would prefer somewhere leafy on the outskirts.

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Fri 09-Apr-21 14:34:25

I'm no expert but bumping this for you - you might want to ask MN to move to elderly parents where there are some very helpful and knowledgeable posters. The thing I'd say is that you are talking a bit as though (and apologies if this isn't what you mean) the only options are totally independent living or a care home, whereas the majority of elderly people who require some care or assistance receive it in their own homes - this is usually much preferable both for the individuals and their families. For this reason I would be looking at which options will facilitate this for the longest possible time and cross the care-home bridge when you come to it - frankly (and sorry to be blunt) by the time you get to the point of needing full residential care things are usually fairly bad with the person medically and/or cognitively and I don't know how much difference it would make to move to an 'attached' care home or to somewhere completely different. So my ideal personally is a retirement/sheltered housing complex that is secure, all maintenance taken care of (including bills and council tax if poss), has warden/on-site management assistance (may not be 24/7 but daytime), emergency help cords/buttons, some options for socialising such as a cafe/restaurant, communal recreational areas, maybe some useful amenities e.g. hairdresser visits, and the option for some extra care and 'social' help - not just personal care but also cleaning, laundry, shopping, meals assistance. This usually costs extra which can be provided through social services means-assessed funding or bought in privately, some retirement complexes have on-site carers or sometimes it will be an external agency- either way it may well ease the transition her being in a 'managed' complex.

Rent vs buy, depends on her financial circumstances of course (might be worth taking some advice) but I would probably say buy - it can be difficult to re-sell these retirement flats of course and do read the T&Cs of the particular complex very carefully but in general I would have thought that would give better security and be a better ROI than renting which will be a never ending monthly cost for not much additional benefit?

Area, I would largely leave it up to her if she's compos mentis, it's going to be her home of course. Personally I'd be a bit wary of the 'leafy outskirts' or a village - personally when I get to that age I am going to be as close to the city as possible, better public transport links (can't count on always being able to drive), more going on, better access to amenities including medical care but also being able to easily potter down to shops, parks, theatres, restaurants etc would be the winner for me - if she's not used to quiet suburbs it may feel very dull or even isolated to her - and also being closer to family would be a bonus too. But probably absent any other factors the very best thing would be to stay local to where she is now, to maintain existing social connections and in a familiar place - whether that's a village, town or city?

Moobathon Thu 15-Apr-21 12:57:46

Hi Maxelly - many thanks for this it's really useful. I hadn't thought through the possibilities around care coming in.

OP’s posts: |
Saz12 Thu 15-Apr-21 13:07:52

Care coming in to own home with a power of attorney is a good option. Paying for some “top-up” companionship type care is also a possibility.

Sheltered housing can also work very well - some are “flats-with-a-warden” some options for independent room but with meals cooked & served in dining room with other residents, (either option with carers coming in if needed). However, the problem with a rented sheltered housing “unit” is of care needs increase enough they can be told to leave in some settings. Please be careful of this.

elfcat Thu 15-Apr-21 13:14:22

I'm a community nurse in the north west.
We now have a number of sheltered housing flats with two carers on site 24hours a day.
They provide care in the flats to those who need it and can be on call overnight.
People living there generally never need to leave for care homes.

AChickenCalledDaal Thu 15-Apr-21 13:24:14

My Dad downsized to a sheltered flat about 18 months ago. He wasn't specifically looking for sheltered - he just wanted to be near us and somewhere more manageable. But as it turns out, the presence of a manager on site has been invaluable over the last year. The site manager has no caring responsibilities whatsoever, but they are kind, knowledgeable and very good at helping new residents get orientated and establish a social life. You can imagine that the manager has been a complete lifeline during Covid - pointing us to local services that would help with things like food shopping during lockdown and keeping me posted if he thought dad needed any help.

Lots of the residents also have cleaners, companions and carers coming in and I'm sure the set- up has helped dad start independent for longer than he would have otherwise.

As it happens, he has now moved again into a care home, but that followed a fall and a hospital stay ... which is another whole kettle of fish!

Moobathon Mon 19-Apr-21 10:54:42

Hi All - many thanks for all your comments - very useful

OP’s posts: |
Bluedeblue Mon 19-Apr-21 11:05:56

www.extracare.org.uk/living-with-extracare/retirement-villages/

Have a look at this ^^. My Dad moved into one of these complexes and he LOVES it. He's almost 80. Has made loads of friends and has a much improved social life now. He does not need "care" yet, but if the time comes, you can purchase a care package. That said there are basic measures in place, like every room in his flat has an emergency pull cord, and a staff member checks on him if he hasn't registered by 11am every day. There are shops, bars and restaurants on site and pre covid there were loads of organised events, like shows, parties, clubs etc. He part owns and part rents (about 50/50), but you can choose to outright own.

Bluedeblue Mon 19-Apr-21 11:08:58

Just to add, the flats are gorgeous. And I do a weekly Asda shop on-line for him, Asda leave it in reception and there is a trolley that he or the staff can use to take the food up his flat. (I do not live nearby)

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