In Keith’s words…
Martha lives in a bungalow that her husband had built in the 1960s. He died about 30 years ago and Mum’s been on her own ever since.
We all agreed that we wouldn’t want to see Martha go into a home, and that one day we’d move in there to look after her. And then we said, ‘The time to do this is not when she can’t manage, but while she still can,’ so we sold our house and used the proceeds to build an extension.
We didn’t build an annex: we just made the house big enough for us all to share. We put in a big new lounge, remodelled the kitchen, built another bedroom, and made lots of other changes. We spent our first night here on Mum’s 75th birthday and she’ll be 88 in March.
Care at home
Mum kept her bedroom and until recently she was pretty self-sufficient in terms of washing and dressing, but she got a bit slapdash – wearing the same clothes every day, for example. If we hadn’t been here, I think she’d be dead by now, because she would neglect herself.
Just before Christmas she spent a week in hospital, and after that social services provided a carer to come in every morning. Having them coming in has really bucked her up, because she has to make a bit of an effort for them. When they came to do the assessment they asked about Attendance Allowance and we said, ‘What’s that?’ and now it more than pays her contribution for the carer’s visits.
A better quality of life
Her quality of life is extremely good, far above what she would have if she was on her own. We just live as a family.
Her quality of life is extremely good – far above what she would have if she was on her own. We just live as a family - she’s got us. She’s not just sitting on her own – we are around nearly all the time. We still go out and lead our own lives, but she’s part of it all. Mum sits down to eat with us. If she fancies something different, Rita makes it for her. Our amateur dramatics group rehearses here and they all call her Grandma. She loves it!
Having peace of mind
We’ve given the family and Mum peace of mind, and protected this lovely property so that it can be passed on to Rita’s children. If we hadn’t done this, Mum would either be dead or in a home. I really can’t think of any drawbacks. Like any family we have the odd argument, but there has never been a time when we’ve regretted what we’ve done, which is pretty good in 13 years. And we’ve saved the government a fortune!”
There are practical and emotional aspects to consider before inviting an older family member to move in with you.
Practical issues to consider when sharing a home, such as space, impact on family life and the need for compromise.
We explain the legal issues involved in joint ownership of your home, plus Inheritance Tax issues and household costs.