Edith, 82, had been a school head teacher and had lived in the same house for 45 years. Her son, David, lived 150 miles away, but did his best to visit a couple of weekends a month.
Sadly, Edith had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago and since then a neighbour had kept an eye on her, recognising when she needed more support and liaising with David if she had any concerns.
Between them and with agreement from Edith a package of care had been arranged and a personal alarm purchased for her. This worked well for quite some time, enabling Edith to remain at home and offering her son and friend peace of mind that help would be called if it was needed, which indeed it was on one occasion when Edith slipped from her chair and was unable to get back up.
However, three years later Edith was becoming very anxious being on her own. During the night she would call her son or neighbour several times. Her neighbour would stay the night when Edith was particularly anxious or her son would visit for a few days, but they both realised that this was not a long term solution. David found himself not knowing what to do.
David contacted Eldercare who booked an appointment for him to speak to a Care Adviser, Judy. David explained the situation to Judy who listened carefully and enquired further about Edith’s health and care needs. She determined that Judy would be expected to privately fund her care no matter where this was provided. They explored Edith’s capacity to make a decision about her own care and the care options available to her, both at home and in a care home. David felt a care home was a big step to take and didn’t feel that this would be his mother’s preference, although he confessed that it wasn’t something that they had ever discussed. Judy suggested that he speak to his mother about having live-in care and also about staying in a care home for a couple of weeks’ respite to see what she thought about it. Then if David wanted to take things further, he could commission Judy to undertake a detailed care search.
His mother surprised him by saying that she would like to go and stay somewhere for a little while so Judy agreed to research care homes registered for the level of care that Edith required based on her care needs and also within their budget. A few days later Judy sent a report to David with details about homes offering residential dementia care that were happy for someone to stay on a short term basis. Accompanying this was additional useful information. David liked the sound of three of the homes and went to view them. He called Judy to tell her that he thought there were two that his mother might like and he was due to take her to have a look at them the next day. It transpired that his mother liked the first one she viewed and even asked if she could have lunch. The home manager was happy to oblige and Edith immediately appeared to warm to her.
David called Judy a few weeks later to update her. His mother had completely come out of her shell during the respite stay; she was smiling and any anxiety appeared to have dissipated. She had on his last visit been happily singing along to the entertainment and was also eating more enthusiastically. David had spoken to her about returning home and said he was told in no uncertain terms that his mother wasn’t going anywhere!