Looking beyond the horizon!

The first line is always the hardest…

So, my father is 97, frail and with all his marbles even if they roll a little slower. Mother in law 87 has just had a diagnosis for Alzheimers. My mother passed away at 98 this year with dementia having been in a home for just under two years. Father in law passed away some 15 years back having suffered from severe shingles and a stroke. They both presently live in their own properties. My wife, 59 and with arthritis, and I, 60 and wonderful, are no longer working and have the opportunity to move both parents to a house (they would own 50/50) where we can look after them as live in support whilst recognising that conditions change. Thankfully both sides of the family are supporting the drive to change the structure of life whilst it can be with the individuals blessings.

My experience with the administration of care goes back further with an aunt who passed at 101 and was in a home for just under 10 years with all the financial challenges that that brought.

We are looking into the box marked ‘unknown unknowns’ and trying to find the trip wires from all aspects of the journey we are embarking on.

My father is a ‘self funder’ and is wanting to financially support the services he receives. My mother in law is already on pension credit.

It would be glib to simply say any thoughts? as we are lifting as many of the stones as possible to ensure we don’t shoot our selves in the foot.

Providing company, care, entertainment, food, washing etc will in essence be as things have been with a growing engagement with local private and authority support. It is the asset preservation, employment law and funding issues where David stands in front of Goliath hoping he’s done his homework.

Pointers to appropriate guidelines etc will be gratefully received.

Hi Robert … welcome to the forum.

( Horizon … when a cosmologist and a carer look over the horizon , they both see a black hole ?
Only the carer would step over that horizon ! )

A posting that will be remember … if only for the carer , and the situations that they have to face over the years.

My hat goes off to you , sir !

Okay , to me , your postings screams out for expert advice from the real experts out there in this field … AGE UK !

So many considerations here.

My advice is to ( 1 ) famiiarise yourself with what’s available through their web site and then ( 2 ) visit their local
branch / set up an online session to work your way through the various options available … actual day to day care ,
benefits , housing , wills , power of attorney , inheritance … to name such a few !
( Fresh A4 notepad … and a couple of pens … in case the first runs out of ink ?
Perhaps 2 / 3 sessions given the ground that needs to be covered ??? )

We , collectively , could do just about that but … why not take advantage of the real experts out there ?

Let us know how matters progress … it will help add to our collective knowledge base for those who follow.

Others will be along to add their observations … and possibly ask some questions to be able to dig down further in the interim.

( ps. CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare … mention that to AGE UK … a possible solution ? )

( pps. That Green Paper … changing the ball game half way through ??? )


So you are now responsible for
Dad aged 97
MIL, 87 with dementia.

My biggest concern is your wife with arthritis.
As a fellow arthritis sufferer, she should be doing everything possible to REDUCE her workload, keep fit, keep active.
Having supported all four of our parents in their declining years, one thing is for certain.
The needs of the elderly are only going to INCREASE.

Do you have Power of Attorney?
Have they made a will?
Are there any other siblings?

Dad, at 97, has very few years left. (I liken it to sitting on a volcano waiting…)
MIL at 87 is also in the Twilight Zone.

Both are likely to need a nursing home at some stage, £1,000+ for those in my area.If he owns his house and needs nursing care, the value of hte house will be taken into consideration by Social Services, UNLESS he qualifies for NHS
Continuing Healthcare.

Moving them in to a new house together would be a huge undertaking. Do they know each other? Like each other?

Hi Robert,
I realise my thoughts aren’t about what you are asking for information on. However your plans, although sounding like a wonderful solution made me wonder whether you have considered the practicalities of daily living too.
As I understand your plans from your post, they are to arrange for Mum and opposite Dad to move into a house, owned half each where you and your wife will also live to provide the care. A mini care home with you and your wife on 24 hour/365 days duty?
Future duties could or will include:- Toileting, incontinence care (wiping bums of faeces),
Personal care (washing, dressing), providing meals and perhaps feeding by spoon and perhaps separate meals, (‘Not eating that, don’t like it’).
Cutting toe nails and fingernails, cleaning ears and teeth (false?),
Broken nights with calls to assist, wandering, falling, shouting, weeping.
Medical care:- urine infections (common in elderly I believe), skin care (sores in intimate places, which need to be regularly inspected), vomiting (possibly), diarrhea/ constipation (likely),dental appointments, GP appointments, hospital visits, hairdresser/barber.
Who, between you, is going to be on ‘day duty’ and who on ‘night duty’? Carers don’t usually attend at night, unless you have something ‘expensive’ in place?)
Are you prepared not to be able to go out together, or have to persuade both parents to accompany you with all the hassle that involves?
I could go on and on but what do I know? You both know your own parent and how much of your lives you are prepared to give up and how much dedicated ‘nursing care’ you are prepared to undertake.
What they both, individually, need right now, can only increase dramatically, perhaps much faster than you think.
However ‘right’ you get the financial, legal and future plans, the day to day stress on you and your wife cannot be planned for and will be far, far more than you presently imagine. As your wife is not 100% healthy, it may be very detrimental to her well being.
How about a ‘trial run’? Would it be possible for you to move in with one of them for a while (or vice versa) for a couple of weeks maybe? Then multiply any problems X2 (and X10 for future expectations) and see how you both cope?
Don’t burn bridges.

Afew random thoughts:

If they will own the new property 50/50 , what would your property situation be? Will you be paying them rent to live there?

What happens to the property after the death of the first one, then of the second?

Are you aware that direct payments cannot be used to pay family members for caring (except in very special circumstances previously agreed with the council).

If the purchase of the new property releases equity, were you aware that that money cannot then be given to anyone else. It has to be retianed by the parent to save for care fees. Having large amount of savings may mean they are no longer eligible for some benefits they would otherwise have got. Giving money away would mean the council could claim it back for care fees, even decades ahead under something called “deprivation of assets”

The one with dementia would not legally be allowed to buy and sell a property, unless there is a Power of Attorney in place. If there’s no POA in place then any financial transactions have to go via Court of Protection which is lengthy and very expensive, if they even agreed it.

Given wife’s health, I’d say no, don’t do it! Better to source residential care for both. Research local Homes and see if there’s one could cope with both. If self funding try get a discount for 2!!

Consider how a Council might view the arrangement. 2 adults living in same house might be considered a couple and assessed as such. Not sure if it would crop up, but worth thinking about you you could prove or disprove if necessary

If you “move in as live in support” what would happen to where you are currently living? Would you rent it out, or sell it?

As they get even older, you will need to “escape” to just be a couple, in your own peace and quiet.

It may not feel like it at the moment, but that is by far the most important thing to consider - the effect on you and your wife, not just physically, but mentally too.

We have bombarded you will all sorts of things to consider, most of us have learned the hard way. You do NOT have to agree with everything we’ve said, feel free to ask more on anything, or disagree with anything.

It’s a long journey, finding the best solution which BALANCES both their needs and yours. What may seem wrong may end up being the best, or vice versa. If you want more info just ask.

One of the big advantages of a GOOD residential home, is that they would never have to make another move ever again.

The home my frail mum moved into for what became the last year of her life, had both “care” beds, and “nursing” beds. Care beds for people who could still walk and manage their own personal care, nursing beds for those who couldn’t. When needs increased, staff who already knew them were also increased. With a nurse always on duty, i was told they could manage everything except uncontrollable bleeding, until she died.

Many forum members have arranged for a parent to go into residential care, but then taken them home or on outings very regularly, to keep in touch, but relieved that the ultimate responsibility rested with the care home, not them.

Thank you all for your considered posts - they are all appreciated.

To add some flesh to the bones.

My first aid training of old tells me to make sure I’m safe before turning to others, so for my wife and I we recognise that she time, me time and us time will be absolutely necessary to ensure our batteries are regularly charged. My wife is actively engaged in singing, vocal coaching and running a choir so diversion into the arts is her release now that she’s taken voluntary redundancy.

We share ownership in a coastal static caravan so that we have a safety valve nearby as well.

Our existing home will be rented out so that we have a fall back position. We are already accidental landlords due to my aunts properties so our home will join the small portfolio in a known environment.

Both LPOAs for both parents are in place and they are arranged for my wife and I to have joint and several powers.

Our parents Wills are known so that like any good business start up the exit plan is laid out.

There are siblings who are in the loop and supportive even if located across the pond.

We have draft care plans for each parent and an asset strategy that is to be shared with the siblings this week.

By having the parents own the property as joint tenants and my wife and I as family and by July '19 over 60 A’s live in carers then when it comes to a LA financial revue, when that eventually comes, the property should be disregarded. This should also be the case when one passes and my wife and I become joint tenants as well. If any one has experience of this scenario please let me have a Neros thumbs up or down !

As three households become one then monthly overheads per head reduce.

Rest assured having been involved in my mothers passing through dementia and my aunts similar prior passing we are under no illusion of the magnitude of the task ahead.

The bravest thing a person can do is to retreat and so we recognise there will come a time when we will have to fly the white flag and pass them over to the professionals. We have located a good residential and a separate nursing home locally for when that day arrives.

And yes, we’ll engage with Age UK as suggested.

I think I’ve picked up the salient points but if there are any glaring omissions or disagreements I’ll take the feedback.

Thank you all once again.

Your welcome , Robert.

Once that little lot has been sorted , your new specialist subject on Mastermind ?

( I trust the forthcoming Green Paper will not upset any aspect of the plans. )

That is a very well thought out plan, best I’ve ever seen, in fact. I hope it all goes well for you.

The lyrics start 1 minute in on this old Blue Horizon song………