Posted by Owen Griffiths at 15/08/2012 13:45:45
Like many families, we’ve ended up spread all over the country. My wife and I live in North Yorkshire, my parents are in Staffordshire, while my grandma has always lived in South Wales, near Swansea.
My grandma, now 82, has Alzheimer’s and moved into a residential care home about two years ago, near where she used to live in Wales. As her condition has progressed, visits have become increasingly valuable but are always made difficult, for both my parents and us, by the long journey.
With the burden of travel growing on my parents, as they approach retirement and time with my grandma feeling short, we decided as a family to move my grandma to a care home in Staffordshire… and I agreed to help my busy parents work it all out.
Faced with the complexities of arranging care, navigating two very different sets of local government and the challenges of Alzheimer’s itself, it felt like this should be a tale worth sharing.
As with any new task, I enthusiastically leapt in with the optimism of the ignorant. As I did my Google search for ‘Alzheimer’s Care Home in Staffordshire’, I was sure I would have my short list put together in no time at all. How wrong I was!
All did seem to be going well at first. I found a good starting point with the CQC (Care Quality Commission – the Ofsted of resident care homes) website. It has a listing of all care home providers and allows you to search for homes within a given distance of a postcode, as well as having the latest assessment for each home.
Another handy starting point was Caring Homes, which is more a general guide to care homes and includes a listing of some care homes, with marketing information and photos from the care home providers. This site brought up what looked like some promising leads, some of which were sporting available places. One potential home had stunning pictures of landscaped gardens and oak panelled drawing rooms!
This was when the first real challenge of finding a care came up: funding. A wonderful care home is clearly not an issue if money is no object. But working out the best and most suitable care based on local authority provision and my grandma’s pension, comes down to cold hard numbers, long before any of the glossy brochures come into play.
It seems that the real first step is to try to square the circle of what the Welsh and Staffordshire local authorities will provide, how the pension and any other benefits fit in and then, how to arrange to move all of that between the respective authorities. Here goes nothing…