34 and considering what to do with elderly mum

Hi all.

I’m 34. My mum is 76.

My elderly stepdad is slowly dying of late-stage pancreatic cancer. He and my mother live in a 3 bedroom council house, 4 hours away from me and my partner’s house.

This isn’t about my step-dad.

After my stepdad goes, I am wondering what to do with mum. I know that she can stay in that house - but the right thing to do would be to “give it back” to the council to find a family who need it. She also outright says that she does not want to live in a 3 bedroom house by herself.

She has expressed tat she wishes to move in with us. Well, she seems to teeter-totter between wanting this - and being in denial and talking about living here for a “few more years” with her husband… but my stepdad was given a prognosis by his Dr of about 6 months. I know it could be more - but not years.

Mum is Filipino and I suspect that she has always had some kind of mild learning disability - because after +30 years living here in the UK, she still cannot speak or understand the English language fluently. She also always has had difficulty in learning tasks that should, over time and repetition, become easy, such as learning how to use her Doro mobile phone, how to use the TV and DVD player etc.

She is quite traditional and timid, in a way, in that she has always bowed to both of her husbands. Her first husband, my dad, forbade her to work when she came to the country for fear of it affecting the benefits they got.

This happened with my stepdad, too. So, she always remained as a house wife, completely and utterly reliant on the Husband. She never worked so she never learned to do things for herself. She hardly has any savings. What little she has is shared in a joint bank account with my stepdad. If his mind were to “go” before he dies, and he were to take the money out, she would have nothing.
(I tried explaining to her that her own pensions [she has 2] should go into her OWN bank account. She wasn’t bothered/didn’t see the problem. I gave up.)

She does not even understand/remember how to use an ATM machine. She is almost, utterly helpless.

I give all this background info because I have a problem and would welcome any insight.

I love my mum but I don’t particularly want her to live with me and my partner. We have a small house which is just right for us 2 alone. If my mum were to move in, there would be little to no privacy and nowhere to “escape” to, when she annoys me…

On the other hand, I am certain that she would be very vulnerable if she were to remain living alone.

I expect the council/housing association would let her stay but really entice/cajole her into moving into a smaller place. I just hope that it would be a place specifically for older persons and not just some random flat…

As I said, she has no income or much savings to speak of. And so I also feel resentful that I am now in a position to perhaps pay for her - who never worked, nor put one advanced thought to the situation she is in, now - to live in an assisted retirement facility. I don’t think that’s fair.

Aren’t I terrible? Oh well. There’s no direct question I’m asking here. I guess I just wanted to get it out…

Anyone who has been in a similar situation - how did it work out for you? Help!!

Mum is 76 so entitled and will have access to benefits for housing rent etc. So income/capital will not be a problem. She will not become homeless overnight. I would not worry about the language issues it’s surprising when people needs to communicate what they can manage. The our many ways to communicate with people which doesn’t need speech. Mum could remain in the home that her choice. She can’t be forced out housing benefit bedroom caps don’t apply to pension age people.

You certainly do not need to look after Mum. You have your own life so don’t disrupt it. You just need to become knowledgeable about what’s available to Mum when the time comes. Mum can have a needs assessment which can be started now. And she will have a care plan that gets undated as things change.


Mum may not wish to do much for herself but that doesn’t mean you have to do it.

The bank as Mum’s pensions go into the account that’s really good. At least she would have them regularly. If Mum has carers they would get money shopping pay bills for her. She would just sign for this action to take place.

Everything can be sorted!

If mum lives with you, caring for her will dominate your lives until she dies.
I would suggest that she downsizes to a smaller council flat or similar, in the area she knows.
If she has a needs assessment from Social Services, they can arrange the support she needs.
You MUST NOT contribute towards any aspect of her care.

Thank you for your reply.

It sounds ridiculous but I will have to wait until after stepdad has gone to have mum’s needs assessed. He will raise a stink and say I am “getting involved” where I shouldn’t. Neither one of them plan anything in advance, in their lives. But I will definitely look into this, thank you. I already have a 2nd appointment with mum’s GP for memory assessment…

I wish she could have a council flat in my town. Not sure how that would work, though. But surely there would be more interest in a 3 bedroom house situated just under an hour away from London - than a flat or bungalow in the North West…

I couldn’t afford a care home if we needed one, anyway. I could barely afford a retirement apartment for her if she wanted one - but we went around one together and she didn’;t like it anyway :confused: of course

Thanks for your reply.

You are still wrongly assuming you have to pay towards mum’s costs. This is wrong. You do not have to contribute one penny!

There are many types of retirement housing options for the elderly. And for those who need funding benefits are available.

Mum will NOT be penniless or homeless. There is pension credit also available. When the time comes Social Services will be also available as a needs assessment. Will identify care and housing options. This is where every Mum will live.

There will be options on the above housing where you are.