Advice please about relieving loneliness for elderly mum

My 93 year old mum has vascular dementia and has lived alone for many years. She has recently become very scared of being alone, especially at night. She has carers in for one hour every morning and I visit her daily, providing lunch on days when she has no other provision and often tea. Also, I sometimes have to go over to help her get to bed when she has fallen asleep in the lounge (I have cameras in her house so that I can keep an eye on how she is doing).

She returned from day care today and phoned me to say that she is going to sell her house and go to live in a hotel as she can’t stand to live alone any more. I have no room to take her in and she doesn’t like the idea of a care home. I also have other caring responsibilities which make it a struggle sometimes to cope with the calls on me.

I am considering advertising for a live-in housekeeper for her as I find it difficult to think of another solution. She has a large house with an en-suite guest room which would be suitable. Does anyone have experience of employing a housekeeper in these circumstances - I have no idea how to find someone trustworthy with a very vulnerable person? Also no idea how much pay would be expected with accommodation provided.

Mum is generally lucid, just has times of confusion, but is not difficult to get on with. Her daily carers seem to enjoy helping her.

Any advice on this, or other ways to help her, would be much appreciated.

Hi Geraldine.

Purely on the " Housekeeper " side , plenty of adverts / assistance out there … internet search … LIVE IN HOUSEKEEPER
FOR A DEMENTIA SUFFERER … although , I very much suspect that a nurse would be more appropriate.

If going down this route , someone would need to be the employer … and all that comes with that role.

Just a taster , the Government site on becoming an employer :
Employing staff for the first time - GOV.UK

Working time directive springs to mind as an immediate concern … as will be potentional sleepovers.

There are alternative schemes out there … I will add a few if needed.

Forum is quiet as I type … hopefully , others will be along to add their views.

Hi Geraldine .
My 96 year old Mum has vascular dementia and managed well alone until about 3 years ago when she decided it was too much struggle and moved into a care home, and we are very glad she did as the past 18 months her dementia has deteriorated hugely and she needs the 24 hours care. She wanders, falls and is very confused, and yet only a year ago was walking, sensible and enjoying life.

Sadly dementia does only deteroraiate, and can do so quickly in in big steps. I’d suggest you look at care homes now , firstly alone then taking her to the ones you like best. Some are like hotels and she might be pleasantly surprised and see them like being a hotel.

If you go the housekeeper route that person will need time off and either mUm or you will have to become an employer, upon which there are many regulations. You can hire such a person through an agency but fees will be about the same as a care home

Also if you find a care home now, she won’t have to move again, whereas any other option would lead to a home eventually and often after some crisis. Better to choose now at leisure while you can involve her, imho


And don’t panic about maybe having to sell her house. My mum’s fees are covered by her pension and renting out her house

AGE UK may be able to assist with the options available locally :

Perhaps even a befriending service … some areas still have this useful facility.

MrsA gives sound advice as usual, and well worth considering.

In the meantime you could also consider checking out local support services, not just for your mam but for you too.

Use the box on this link to see if any such services available in your area

We have an Alzheimers support worker, and the knowledge she has is immense. They also provide some day services during the week, but these are getting cut to the bone. They also hold carers meetings and many topics discussed at these including standards of local care homes. We had to go for EMI nursing which was difficult as hubby in advanced stages and just turned 59 yrs last week. Many places here don’t accept under 65’s. I know this not the case for you but trying to show that it has been listening to others that already been this route that helped us come to terms with things

x x

I think don’t rule out care homes. If your Mum is keen on living in a hotel, some of them are just like nice hotels? Have a good look around a few and see what you think? If you find a nice one you could sell it as being a bit like a hotel?

Another thought is that I had a work colleague who’s Mum in early stages of dementia and they had an au pair (she was a foreign student who was studying English in the UK). She wasn’t expected to do caring, but reminded the Mum to take her pills and did a bit of housework, provided company etc in return for board and lodging. Maybe not an option for everyone, but worked for them.

When Mum first moved into her care home, she did treat it very much as a hotel. We furnished her room with her beloved lounge furniture and so her room always looks and feels like home, but there is company and help available just outside the door or at the press of a button. She was free to go out, and go out she did exploring new area. We regularly took her shopping or to the park and for drives. It’s only now here dementia has advanced that she (and we) fully utilise the care aspects, the washing, the getting up, the feeding etc.
We are very grateful we got her settled there before the dementia took such a hold. I think it would be upsetting for us all if she had to move again - her home has dementia unit should she need it

Thank you so much for your helpful advice.

I found a care home specialising in dementia which has an outstanding CQC report. I arranged for her to attend day care to see how she likes it, but she has refused and I have had a very difficult day with her as she is very depressed by the idea of a care home and feels that the family is turning their backs on her by not offering her a home. My only spare bedroom is used by my own children (with their children) when they come to visit - they can’t come at the same time as we don’t have the room, yet mother feels that I am not being fair as she thinks she should have the room (even though she couldn’t manage the stairs!).

My only sibling lives a long way away so is not being pressured to offer her a home.

I feel that we have our own Brexit as I seem unable to find a compromise!

Aw, bless you.

You really don’t have to justify why you don’t want her to live with you. If it is not right for you, it is not right for you. Stick to your guns. If she brings it up just repeat really calmly that she can’t live with you because you need the room to have your own children to stay and you have responsibilities to them as well as to her. Then just let the rest roll of your back. Hold on to the thought that you are NOT being unreasonable.

My elderly Mum with mild dementia is also horribly lonely. But she won’t help herself by attending groups. I have suggested many things and offered to take her, attend with her etc, etc. But she won’t. She too would baulk at the idea of a care home although I think she would enjoy the company. So I have had to accept that she will have to be lonely. Sad as this is. There is only so much my sister and I can do. We both visit regularly, take her shopping, out for lunch to the cinema etc. But we can’t be her 24/7 amusement as we both run businesses and i have young children. I have tried to have her over whilst I work, but she kicked up such a stink last time because I was busy, that I am thinking this isn’t the way forward. She is OK living alone with help at the moment and this is her choice, so I feel I need to respect that… I still periodically keep trying suggesting things to her, but it is her decision ultimately if she doesn’t want to do them. The trade off is that she is loney, sad as that is.

Take care and try not to feel bad. xxx

Just going back to your comment about it being your own Brexit and you can’t find a compromise.

YOU really don’t need to compromise. You clearly support your Mum a lot. Be proud of this and not guilty that you can’t support her more. xxxx

Sadly, Geraldine, most dementia suffered get to the the stage where they NEED a team to look after them, it get s far too much for one person, no matter how caring and loving that one person is. Mum may WANT to come live with you but in these circumstances remember the forum saying that NEEDS trump WANTS, I.e. her needs must be covered before any of her wants or wishes are addressed.
So, in the circumstances try a an outside carer living in, but I bet Mum decides she doesn’t like that either.
Maybe initially the choice doesn’t need to be between a care home or living with you. Ask her what she would suggest as a half way house… maybe some kind of sheltered housing?

Try to let the guilt pass on by. It’s part and parcel of being a loving caring person in impossibly difficult circumstances. Stand firm, and read all the threads on how desperate those with a dementia suffere living with them feel. One to one care is a recipe for disaster