John T

61, Lake District

John and his wife noticed that her 89-year-old mother had lost weight and was finding living alone difficult. They decided their best option was for her to move into their home.

"We were lucky that we lived only six miles away from my mother-in-law, so we could keep an eye on her and we visited her at least twice a week to see how things were. We noticed that she was getting confused and unable to use her television and her hi-fi system to play her favourite types of music. She was living by herself and I went with her to the doctors – she couldn’t get there herself. The doctor noticed her weight loss and he decided to do one of the mental agility tests that they do and her scoring wasn’t as good as it could be.

"We wanted to give her her own living space so that we had our own living space still."

My mother-in-law is 89 and she recognises both my wife and myself, no problem at all, but her concentration levels are very, very low. We didn’t consider any other option but to have Mother move in with us, because family look after family. So we decided to bring her here to live with us or to stay with us for a short period of time and, in fact, she has never returned home. 

Her home is now with us

We wanted to give her her own living space so that we had our own living space still. So we decided to build a sort of lounge on the side of the house that is Mother’s bedroom and, as part of that, we got an architect in. We talked through what our needs were and he made the recommendations as to how we could alter and refurbish the house to provide Mother with a wet room bathroom. She doesn’t have to climb in the bath any longer.

One of the reasons why I haven’t contacted social services is that Mother and ourselves have combined savings, which means that we would have to pay fully for social services. But because we have to give her medication during the night, we get the full attendance allowance.

Being mobile

She is mobile with her Zimmer frame. She can wash herself, but she can’t shower or bath herself. My wife has to supervise that, although she can make her way to the toilet, etc. She can make a cup of coffee, she knows her way around the kitchen to get tea, but she can’t prepare a meal for herself so we have to prepare meals for her – which we do as part of our daily routine.

Our house is on three different levels and we made a decision to put a lift in. Because Mother is registered with the Community Mental Health and registered disabled, we didn’t have to pay VAT on the lift. It makes a big difference to her being able to stay at home. If it ever got to a stage, through old age and her mobility deteriorated and she had to be in a wheelchair, then the lift will most certainly help allowing her to get around the house."

More information

Page last reviewed: 31 January 2016
Next review due: 30 September 2017