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Elderly parents

Advice/thoughts please: 79 year old Mum wants to move

37 replies

choixduroi · 28/02/2023 20:54

I live in Germany and my Mum is in the UK. She is very settled where she lives, has a lot of friends and does a lot of activities, e.g. music, creative writing. She has mobility problems but still drives and has short walks. She lives in a small house with stairs which she can manage. However she wants to move somewhere easier to manage. She doesn't want to move to Germany (did consider it during the pandemic and I wanted to look for a place here for her, but she now prefers to stay put which I do understand). She is generally in good health but gradually getting more doddery. I feel like she has at least 5 plus years before she would need more serious assistance. My Granny lived til 90 in the same town with carers, BUT she had 2 of her children in the same town popping in every few days and my Mum doesn't have that. Does it make sense for her to simply get a flat or bungalow in the town where she is, near shops etc, and then we worry further down the road about arranging a carer to come in if she needs it, or should I push her more towards a kind of sheltered housing/assisted living set up. From my research so far and info about places near her, such places look pretty dire and I wonder if a good carer would be better. I would be able to come over more often if she needed, but only every 4-6 weeks or so. I and the kids would also help her declutter and do the move. I do feel really guilty that I don't live nearer her, but have been 10 years here now, everything is here and not planning to move back to the UK. Sorry just realised this is very long but would you advise the bungalow/flat or something more 'assisted' from the start?

OP posts:

countrygirl99 · 28/02/2023 21:04

Are you looking at sheltered flats or residential homes?
There are a lot of sheltered housing flats that are very nice. DHs nan lived in one and made a lot of friends And there was a communal area for social engagement. But if you buy they can be hard to sell, you still have to pay high service charges until you do and unless you've been in a long time they are often sold at a loss as people prefer a shiny new one. If you rent from somewhere like McCarthy and Stone it's £££ (nearly £3k per month round here) and you still need to pay for carers if you need them. In some areas there are flaylts managed by charities or housing associations that are cheaper but they are more limited in supply.
If you get a normal flat or bungalow there's the risk of isolation as she or her friends get less mobile and you would need to manage care needs from a distance.
Basically there is no "right" answer, it all depends on her financial position, location and how good your crystal ball is.


choixduroi · 01/03/2023 06:35

Thanks @countrygirl99
If going that route, would be looking at sheltered flats, but there don't seem to be any in the area (and she is adamant about staying within quite a small area where she is now). I was looking at Seniors helping seniors and home care and was thinking it looked OK in terms of people coming in. As you say I guess there is no one right answer. It's a small town with a lot concentrated in the centre so I think she needs something even more central compared to now. It's a tricky one as she's extremely independent and fixed in her ways. She does have a partner who lives about 2 hours away but doesn't want to live together. Her house now is really impractical and hard to move around in and I think she would be more comfortable in a better laid out space, no stairs and smaller garden so maybe we first work towards that.

OP posts:

Augend23 · 01/03/2023 06:49

I think I would want to stay in the same area - having to make new friends etc at nearly 80 feels like it would be a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I think if you find somewhere with plenty of downstairs space/easy to access, but close by to all her friends and activities that would be the best option for now.


autienotnaughty · 01/03/2023 06:52

I'd do same area maybe a bungalow close to friends . You can alway arrange caters when the time is needed.


TeenDivided · 01/03/2023 06:53

Move locally to keep friends.
Have at least a 2 bed place so if wanted later a carer could live in.
If she wants to 'downsize' don't put her off, if you wait until it is needed it is too late.


Littlefaeries · 01/03/2023 06:55

Would your dm consider a ground floor flat?
There will be communal gardens so no garden to maintain, a parking space and she will have neighbours that will get used to seeing her about and hopefully notice if they don’t see her.
My db’s mil has just moved into a sheltered flat, it costs a fortune and is nowhere near any shops or her church. A terrible decision imo, rushed and ill thought through. She used to live next to a parade of shops and really misses it.


Whattheladybird · 01/03/2023 06:55

Near here there are all sorts of (pricey, so it depends on the funds) retirement complexes springing up. I can think of three built within the past six years within flat walking distance of our town. Specifically for over 55s, some sort of communal living but essentially a block of naice flats with (I assume) some adaptations (pull cords? 24 hour on call) for the fit elderly thinking about their future.


Onewildandpreciouslife · 01/03/2023 07:14

In a perfect world, sheltered flats would be the answer, but in my view your DM’s priorities should be moving asap to somewhere on the ground floor and staying within her social network. The longer she leaves the move, the harder it will be, both physically and mentally.

You’re lucky that she wants to move!


Els1e · 01/03/2023 07:15

I would go with what your mum is saying. Much better to make any change now whilst she is able to have input to the choices. Why not suggest she explores the different options and you’ll come over once she has narrowed them down. If it’s like my dad, he spent a year looking and then decided he would rather stay where he was. We spent money on getting adaptions to his own home such as wet room, handles, easy steps.


MoreHairyThanScary · 01/03/2023 07:18

Much better to move and downsize now whilst she has the physical capability and energy.

Finding a sheltered living flat might be more challenging as many will have priority lists, for those needing for health reasons. I would look for a ground floor flat, near her social set up.


TeenDivided · 01/03/2023 07:20

The other option of course is to do works to current house to make it more suitable
So a stair lift, grab handles, ramps, downstairs toilet, walk in bath.


PermanentTemporary · 01/03/2023 07:26

I would promote the ideas of ground floor and v central as others have said.

But I'd also say don't get TOO invested. If we had left my mum to it, she would undoubtedly never have moved- she'd have put her house on and off the market and would have driven the estate agents mad, but that's up to them.

If she's currently reasonably close to friends and with a social life she enjoys, that's great.


gogohmm · 01/03/2023 07:32

There's all sorts of options, social services should be able to give you a list of the various different levels of services that you can access. Ideally an apartment in a warden controlled complex so that she can get assistance if needed, they usually have associated care agencies who can be engaged as needed (or perhaps a cleaner/home help is sufficient at first) there's lot's here with more being built, I'm sure there must be some where your mum is.

A private bungalow is one option but can she cope with the maintenance etc?


gogohmm · 01/03/2023 07:33

Do make sure she has a local bus and she can reach some shops, the dr, coffee shops etc on a mobility scooter if the need arises


MajorCarolDanvers · 01/03/2023 07:34

Unless she has diminished decision making capacity your mum should do whatever she wants to do.


Velvian · 01/03/2023 07:45

In my area, it would be very difficult to get a flat in housing with care or sheltered living without having care needs already.

It could also make her miserable if she is not ready for it.

It sounds like your DM is making sensible decisions, support her to do what she wants.


Roselilly36 · 01/03/2023 07:49

It sounds a good idea for your mum to move now. If she has no family local, I would say it would be sensible to stay in the area that’s familiar as she has friends there.

My relative sold up moved into a flat that offered more support than sheltered housing, he had a really lovely home cooked lunch everyday, not freezer to microwave, chef cooked, with a choice of menu, gave him a chance to socialise, he really looked forward to those lunches. We popped in to see him Xmas morning the lunch that was being prepared and the lovely decorations on the tables were wonderful. It was a relief to know he was eating well. Somewhere to store his mobility scooter securely. Near a few shops. He was very happy living there.

I hope your mum is happy with her move, whatever she decides.


Dymaxion · 01/03/2023 07:56

Home adaptions such as a stairlift and walk in double shower to allow space for another person and a shower seat are useful. I know a few people who still live at home with a little help in their 90's and over a 100 because of these simple adaptions. A lifeline pendant is another consideration if she is considering staying in her own home.
A flat doesn't have to be ground floor as long as there is a lift, the main consideration is if the entrance is level, no good being on the ground floor if there are steps up to the entrance.
Have any of your Mum's friends made a similar move ? Could she ask them about their experiences, good and bad ?
I know a couple of ladies who both downsized and bought a huge flat together, they have their own bathroom and there is a spare bedroom for relatives to stay. It works really well for them, they have companionship, but are both out and about doing their own thing as well.


sashh · 01/03/2023 08:07

I'm in a HA bungalow.

There are 6 bungalows on a cul-de-sac. They all have 2 bedrooms and were built for disabled / over 50s.

My rent includes window cleaners and a gardener, I also have a private parking space.

All the internal doors are wide enough for a wheelchair to get through with ease, the light switches are low and the plug sockets are quite high.

At some stage I will become a permanent wheelchair user, at that point the kitchen will have to be changed but everything else is ready.

My landlord is Green Square Accord.

The original HA were fairly crap but after two take overs this one is good.

They do rentals, shared ownership and sales.

Obviously they would need to be in the same area as your mum but have a look.


LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 01/03/2023 08:17

Carers can come in to any home later on, the only consideration is that she doesn’t live in the middle of nowhere where they will be hard to get. If she’s staying in town she will be fine.

Private retirement flats can be a bit of a ghetto - you need one that’s in a very friendly block to be worthwhile, given all the other disadvantages mentioned above.


Toddlerteaplease · 01/03/2023 08:26

My friend lives in a retirement village. He has a lovely two bed flat. And the restaurant is nice. It seems a lovely place to live. However it's very expensive, and the care isn't amazing. (He buys it in) it's also very far out of town. And nowhere near a church or any other facilities.


NotMeNoNo · 01/03/2023 11:15

Having observed both Ps and PILs becoming elderly, I would really encourage her to move before her current home becomes unsuitable. Invariably at that point it will be "too hard" and she will be stuck with a commode and bed in her lounge.

Being in a flat or bungalow with no stairs to manage, near friends, doctors, small shops and a bus stop makes it easier for her to get out and for people (also maybe elderly) to come and see her.

At this point she can take ownership of the process, take nice things from current home and make it her own space. The future proofing doesn't make it any less a home. But it could make the difference in several years of independent living.

Agree that you are lucky she wants to move!


TheSnowyOwl · 01/03/2023 11:20

From personal experience, if she can avoid it, I’d stay away from a retirement complex.

Can she get things put in place to stay in her house? A stair lift? Convert the dinning room into the bedroom and stop using the upstairs altogether? Look at what extra help she can get to make things easier - cleaner, gardener, a company to deliver meals or bulk buy ready meals from somewhere like Cook, home food deliveries, a carer or someone who helps out in the community, even a part time personal assistant etc.

Don’t underestimate how quickly she can deteriorate if moving into somewhere where she loses her freedom.


Waitingforchid · 01/03/2023 11:23

A downstairs flat or bungalow in a location that is close to a small supermarket is ideal ..

avoid sheltered housing … they generally are harder to sell on and have a charge in the Lease that has to be paid on sale to the freeholder as well as the usual leasehold management charges . My parents used to describe them as Gods waiting room .. which I think sums up the feel


NotMeNoNo · 01/03/2023 11:44

I agree a normal bungalow or flat, maybe purpose built like a PP but not necessarily a retirement development would be most flexible. My auntie lived into her late 90s in the same tiny flat she bought when widowed 40 years ago, because it was accessible and manageable.

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