In Pam’s words…
This is going back probably two years now. We suspected things weren’t right with Mum – she had a broken hip and also had surgery for something else. We noticed that my mother wasn’t coping very well with correspondence and her finances, and that kind of thing, and we were having to take over more and more of it.
Conversations were becoming a little bit awkward and she didn’t seem to fully understand what we were talking about.
Mum lived on her own in a three-bedroomed house. When she broke her hip, we moved the bed downstairs because it became obvious that she couldn’t get up the stairs. She didn’t want to do that, so we had to persuade her that it was going to be a temporary issue, even though we knew it wasn’t.
The beginning of a decline
From then on, for the rest of the year things started to deteriorate and she started neglecting herself even more and then ended up having several stays in hospital.
We got in touch with social services to say that she needed more care at home when she came out of hospital and they agreed to her having carers to visit four times a day. They still wouldn’t provide any care at night.
Then Mum broke her arm in the night and ended up back in hospital again and then went into rehab. We felt that she needed supervision overnight, so we decided to go down the road of looking into her going into a care home.
Care homes – where to begin?
When you’re in a situation where somebody is ill and you have got to make all these decisions, you have lots of emotions going on. We had no idea how to find a home. We were just told to look in the care home book and if we needed any more help, to ask the Citizens Advice Bureau. We thought, well what are social services here for? Surely it’s here to guide us, but it didn’t. We didn’t even know there were different types of care home.
We only had a few days before Mum was coming out of her rehab home, so we were under a bit of pressure. We started off close to where we live, picking homes near our local area, thinking it would be more convenient for us if Mum was local. We picked out six or seven different homes, then I looked up the Quality Care Commission website to see its report on them. It inspects the homes and also asks residents, and family and friends what they think about it.
Most of the ones we saw were actually very good. There were a couple we just thought ‘No!’ as soon as we walked in the door, but on the whole they were all quite good. So we decided which one we liked the best and that’s how we came to our decision.”
[If you are in a similar position to Pam and haven't yet seen our care services directory, this is a place where you can search for local care homes across the UK and filter for specialist requirements, such as dementia support.]
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