67, Mansfield

Brian’s 97-year-old mother suffers from memory loss and would be unable to live on her own without the support of her family. She is also partially sighted and has hearing problems.

"My mother gets no outside care except from the family and we really have to work together to do it. There’s no way my mother could cope for even a day without someone going in.

We have a rota and if someone can’t make their visit, the others are flexible and fit in. We run our diaries together and we make sure we don’t go on holiday at the same time. In the main, my brother does her shopping, and I deal with the money side. I’m 67 and the eldest son. It is fortunate for her that we’re fit enough to help!

Family care

We make sure she gets at least one visit a day, and my daughter-in-law cleans the house for her twice a week, changes the bedding and does her washing. While we are there, we cook a meal for her and we leave out the meals for the rest of the day.

We phone every day to make sure she’s all right and to remind her to eat. She’s stopped having meat because she can’t chew it, but she does eat soup and vegetables – and when on her own will eat chocolate and biscuits. The doctor says this is OK and as she has reached 97 things cannot be too bad.

My brother and I bring her to our own houses at the weekends where she stays for a few hours before we take her home.

Washing problems

Mum hasn’t been able to use the bath for well over two years as she hasn’t been able to get in the bath. She has a bath board to help her and every time we ask her she says she uses it, but we know she doesn’t because it’s in a cupboard in one of the bedrooms! So she just has a ‘strip wash’. She copes, and she doesn’t smell, however she is not keen on anybody else washing her. Even if she did, they’d still need a large shower or wet room to help her.

I was concerned that my mother could not fully wash herself and I contacted the local health centre. After an initial assessment, two months later a community care officer visited and recommended a wet room be installed. My mother was happy with this.

Long wait

After a means test we got a letter to say that my mother would have to pay nothing towards the work, but then we received a further letter stating that her case had been given a priority ‘B’ rather than an ‘A’, which meant that unless her circumstances change there would be a delay in prioritising the work. I’ve heard nothing since – that’s six months since we started the process.

"After a means test we got a letter to say that my mother would have to pay nothing towards a wet room being installed."

I know it is some time since we requested some help, but my mother’s health hasn’t deteriorated and we haven’t pursued it further. If she got worse, I would contact her doctor, and hopefully get the work started sooner so that she remains as comfortable as possible."

More information

Page last reviewed: 31 December 2015
Next review due: 30 April 2017