63, London

Neil’s mother is 90 and suffers from dementia. He finds a number of products help her in her everyday life, especially in the bathroom.

"My mother is fiercely independent and a constant refrain of hers over the years has been that she doesn’t want to go into a care home. She used to inspect care homes and I don’t think she liked them very much.

Small changes, big differences

One cheap, simple and clever piece of equipment is a key safe, which is a little box that you open by pressing a pin code. It's been installed outside her front door and it has her front door key and the key to the medicine cabinet in it, so the carers can get into her front door without my mother having to answer it.

She takes one pill in the morning and one pill in the evening and we were having concerns that she was forgetting to take them or overdosing. So she now has a carer coming in in the morning and the evening to make sure that she takes the right dose. There was also some suggestion that she was taking her pills regardless of the carers and they got a bit worried about that. So I bought a lockable medicine cabinet to which only the carers have access so that my mother only takes her medication under their supervision.

Another thing that my niece organised was my mother’s washing. She had for years been standing on a stool or something to hang up the washing because my mother’s not very tall and she no longer felt that was safe. So my niece arranged for the line to be lowered so that my mother could hang out her own washing without precariously standing on a stool.

Adapting the bathroom

"Spending about £1,000 on having the bathroom adapted will help my mother stay in her home, which is where she wants to be."

Her dementia is likely to deteriorate and then she will probably need more support, but she would like to stay in her own house as long as possible and spending about £1,000 on having the bathroom adapted will help her to do that. She wasn’t able to climb in and out of the bath anymore. That meant taking out the bath and replacing it with a shower that she can use with a flap-down seat on it, so she can have a shower while sitting down."

More information

Page last reviewed: March 2015
Next review due: November 2016