Dad died in July. Before that I had never really appreciated how much my parents supported each other and what a good team they made. Mum’s mobility had been poor for some time - she found walking desperately painful. But, without Dad to help her, going out became very difficult and managing the house was a real struggle. She also absolutely hated being alone.
Without the need to feed Dad, Mum stopped cooking, just managing on little snacks. She struggled to remember when or whether she had taken her various tablets. Then, within one week, neighbours found her collapsed on two separate occasions and had to call an ambulance.
I felt terrible. Mum lived an hour away. I managed to visit twice a week but she really didn’t seem to be able to care for herself. I was genuinely frightened about what lay ahead. If I’m brutally honest, juggling my job and my kids was fairly tricky, but when Mum couldn’t manage anymore, it was just awful. How are you expected to cope?
Then, by complete chance, I confided in a friend at work and it turned out that she had been in a similar situation. She gave me some brilliant advice – including speaking to Grace Care, a company specialising in independent care advice. After talking everything through I decided to focus on short-term options to help Mum live at home. I’d then have time to identify the best possible care home, if necessary, for the longer term.
I looked at meal delivery services, befriending services, local lunch clubs and care agencies that could help prompt Mum to take her tablets, provide companionship at meal times and help at home. I found out that Mum should apply immediately for Attendance Allowance and also how important setting up a lasting power of attorney is. I even got the contact details of an Independent Financial Adviser who specialises in care fees planning advice.
Taking control of the situation was such a relief. I really wanted to do the best for Mum – so I felt so much better once I knew exactly how to go about it.