One parent blind, other has dementia

My Dad is 83. Mum is 80. Dad has been having treatment for several months for macular degeneration. He is virtually blind in one eye and now cannot see much at all in the other eye. He has always driven but now sold car as he can’t see to drive.

Mum has dementia - both types. She already gets Attendance Allowance.

What help can they get?

How do I go about getting the help?

I have suggested Dad tries to get a letter from his consultant with a prognosis - seems there is little they can do for his eyes other than monthly injections which are not improving things.

They have been married 60 years and live together in their own bungalow - but the situation now is a recipe for disaster - eg: since my Dad retired at 55 he has always done the cooking - now he can’ see to do it and Mum is little help as she can’t turn the gas cooker on etc. Its (pardon the pun!) a recipe for disaster.

They have lost their transport as the car has been sold.

They need help now.


Hi Nigel.

First port of call … a Needs Assessment through their LA :

Getting a social care needs assessment - NHS
The Care Needs Assessment Explained | Age UK

Second link takes you to the AGE UK site.

Are both parents on AGE UK’s radar ???

If not , contact their local office … some still provide a " Watching " service.

If their health gets worse , the prospect of a care / nursing home will be on the menu.

Plenty of advice available if needed for that consideration … daunting as it will be.

Hi Nigel,

As they own the property they are living in, and are both over 60, then if one or other of them needed residential care, the value of the house CANNOT be taken into consideration as far as care home fees are concerned, so hopefully that will make all of you happier to ask Social Services (SSD) for help, starting with a Needs Assessment for each of them. Think of this as a “gateway” as there are often services in an area that are never advertised.

Do either of them have over £23,000 in savings? Or over £46,000 between them. This is the cut off point for Social Services providing funding towards care.

Are they both claiming Attendance Allowance now?
Do you have Power of Attorney for either of them? (Too late for mum, but dad needs to sort this out asap if he hasn’t done it already.)

Two further links which will be of immediate assistance here :

Online benefits calculator … are ALL current benefits / allowances being claimed ?

Power of Attorney … full sp :

Power of attorney - Lasting, enduring and ordinary | Age UK

Thank you for the comments. They have more money than the amounts mentioned so wont get any funding.
My sister and I signed Power of Attorney a few years back and Dad has already mentioned that he thinks we will now need to put that into play as he can’t read any paperwork etc.

It will be a huge change for him as he is “old school” and never discussed money etc. with my sister and I - but he can’t even see now to read his bank statements (all on paper as he will not use the Internet for banking etc!!) nor can he see to put the PIN in on his card when he goes shopping as I discovered when I took him a few weeks back.

They have been going for lunch regularly at the local Age Concern place.

I believe that in addition to AA my Dad should be able to claim PIP?

Is it the case that the house can’t be taken into account for care home fees if one of my parents are staying in the house?

What if BOTH ended up needing a care home?

On a practical level - what do people think Mum and Dad will need - they are really struggling with cooking and of course shopping as they no longer drive.


I believe that in addition to AA my Dad should be able to claim PIP?

Nope … AA and PIP are similar benefits … AA specially designed for those over state retirement age.


How much Attendance Allowance will I get ?

Attendance Allowance is paid at two rates depending on how often you need care:

The lower rate is £58.70 a week. You get this if you need frequent care throughout the day or night
The higher rate is £87.65 a week. You get this if you need frequent care throughout the day and night or if you are terminally ill.

You can spend Attendance Allowance as you want. You do not have to spend it on someone looking after you.

If you receive Attendance Allowance, you also qualify for a Christmas Bonus each year. This is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus, it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.

In view of their financial situation, it would be perfectly in order for them to spend some of that money on paying your properly to care for them, the going rate in my area is £10-£20 an hour. BUT this would mean that you wouldn’t be entitled to benefits yourself, and would need to become properly self employed, or it can be a minefield. Definitely get good advice before doing this.
Alternatively, why not organise someone else to do the “hands on” care at home? Start by using an agency to do the bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming etc. Then prepare a meal. Even if this only happened at weekends to start with, it would be a good start. Much better to be at home.

Once you are 60, if you are living there, the value of the home will be disregarded in any case. Google “Charging for Residential Care” or look at the Age UK information sheets.


My Mum has Alzheimer’s and MD. She is OK in her own home at the moment. She is also self funded. A good starting point for care has been a cleaner. Then we escalated to someone who comes in at lunch time and makes her a hot meal. Her AA pretty much pays for this. How bad is your Mum? Does your Mum need help with personal care? If so, then maybe help such as getting her up in the morning or to bed at night?

As with many of that generation she has resisted this, but it is what is needed to keep her safe and at home.

Have you tried speaking to your Dad’s bank? It might be that there are things they could set up for him to help him maintain independence over his finances as long as possible? Telephone banking springs to mind where someone can read out his statement etc?

Also look on RNIB website. There are lots of devices on there that can help with the sight problem. Mum has a phone with big pre-programmed buttons that she has managed to learn to use even with the dementia.

Good luck - it is so hard when it is both of them with probelms!

Hi Sally,

My Mum is not too bad. She just forgets things - people’s names, places she has been etc etc.

My sister has been to see them and my Dad is making an appointment with their solicitor as although my sister and I signed a Power of Attorney a few years back it seems it is a “medical” one and needs a certificate - so Dad is changing it to one that does not need the certificate?

Dad is meticulous with finances etc. All paper bank statements going back years are filed. Files for everything, He even keeps a “Cash Book” where all transactions are recorded! I helped him sell his car last week and discovered a book in the glovebox - he had recorded every drop of fuel and the mileage from the day he bought the car brand new 11 years ago!!

So, its all quite painful really - the prospect of going through it all with him looking over our shoulders!

Anyhow, my sister is contacting social services ref a care assessment.

2 biggest issues at the moment are cooking - not safe for them to use the hob - and shopping as they no longer have a car.

I reckon a carer a few hours a week to take them shopping would maybe be all they need right now.

As for banking I really don’t know. He has so much in several accounts - and he will not use Internet banking. Up until loss of his sight recently he apparently was travelling 6 miles to his Bank to get statements - every week without fail!!

Won’t draw cash from an ATM - has to go into the branch.

Dad is in denial though - wanting to postpone things in case one of the monthly eye injections might suddenly restore his sight.

All very frustrating TBH.

Hi Nigel.
Please go onto the .gov website and look up Power of Attorney. Are you aware that you can fill in all the forms online, print them off and then get them signed by the attorneys, (you and your sister?) your father and an independent witness who will swear that Dad understands. Then the papers can be put away until it is necessary to activate them.
There are two different powers. One for health and one for finance. The former allows you to have all information and make decisions regarding Dad’s health and well-being and the other allows you to take care of finances as if you were him.
You and your sister could act ‘jointly’ or ‘severally’, depending on how you word the form. Jointly restricts any finance to be handled together, signing a cheque for example. Read through the information very carefully.
Have you considered shopping online? I realise Dad can’t, but you could have staples delivered to them. Also, could dad manage a micro-wave? Perhaps no? What about a slow cooker? Could dad manage to put frozen or pre-prepared veg and meat perhaps into a slow cooker and put it on? Then a meal would be ready when needed without the need for the oven?
Have you contacted their occupational therapist? A great source of aids and helpful suggestions. My elderly Mum benefitted greatly from all sorts of free things to make her life, and therefore mine, easier.

Hi Nigel.

My mum has md and I just wanted to reply with few things I’ve found helpful as we are relatively new to dealing with the effects of md. Mum has had it quite a while but it was dry and she could see quite well but had cataracts in both eyes as well plus some changes from diabetes…long story short she had a cataract operation in Jan last year and had a huge improvement in her sight for about 9 months then I noticed a fairly rapid deterioration in her sight, I contacted the hospital, they confirmed the md had changed to wet and she is now on the injections. She alternates between coping fairly well and feeling very low. Her consultant has said the injections will hopefully help to stop any further deterioration.
As an ex nurse I think visual impairment with the fear of total sight loss is one of the biggest fears. Your dad sounds a lot like my dad was, he was used to managing things such as household bills etc and putting a brave face on things. You could ask if there is an eye clinic liaison person at the hospital at dad’s next appt. I have the number for one who is linked to our eye clinic but at the moment my mum doesn’t want to discuss things with her but its an option as they are often linked to RNIB and may have lot of suggestions for support.

I have put bump-on stickers on our cooker, toaster and washing machine etc they are raised stickers in various colours and are a big help for my mum. I used a sheet of the stickers you can find in the craft sections as I wanted the numbers for the hob which mum can see now depending on the light.
I also label groceries and keep a marker and some labels in the fridge door so I can quickly put a use by date on milk bread etc.
We were told that you can get assessed for magnifiers at some opticians and they can be supplied on loan, I’d already bought a couple of them as I didn’t know but worth looking into.
I also have some of the luminous green tape around light switches and you can get it in a nonslip tape to put along the edges of steps etc I’ve got mine from Amazon (and the bump-on stickers). I bought brightly coloured key caps which also help.
I read on the macular society that using dark stickers with light pens can be easier for some people to read. I’m looking to get some on ebay as the chalk pens seem a bit pricey, I want to use them to label mum’s daily medicine pots which I make up for her but your pharmacy can assist with any medication your dad might need made up ready.
There are also digital magnifiers some plug into the tv so the image can be viewed on the tv such as newspaper tv guide etc. Apologies if you already know a lot of this just thought a few tips might help.

Take care