Posted by Debbie Harris
Last year, this man's life was turned upside down.
John Wells (84) was living a happy life at home with his wife Celia. With lots of shared interests and hobbies, they enjoyed their times together.
Then everything changed.
Sadly, Celia had a massive heart attack and passed away. John struggled to recover from the loss, finding it harder and harder to cope alone. Then later in the same year, he suffered a stroke.
Still living in his own 4 bedroomed home, John is receiving help from a local home care agency. The carers visit him four times a day helping him wash and dress and preparing meals.
The stroke has had a massive impact on his mobility, leaving him dangerously unsteady on his feet. Unfortunately, using a walker has little effect and there have been three ambulance call-outs in as many weeks.
Obviously worried about the consequences of getting up, John is finding himself more and more confined to his armchair between the home care visits. He is unable to wash and dress himself - or go to the toilet unaided.
Although a little forgetful, John knows the names of his family and carers. He’s still got a zest for life and still enjoys a drop of wine in the evening.
John’s children – Louise and Peter – do what they can to support him. However, it’s difficult to give him the care that he needs. They both work full-time and have teenage children living at home. To make things harder, they live thirty miles apart.
Peter is trying to organise ongoing care. He needs to act fast and report back to Louise, but there’s so much information… and none of its clear.
If you are looking for care for an elderly and infirmed parent, does this situation sound familiar?
John’s wife’s death, and his subsequent stroke is not only life changing for him, but also represents a massive upheaval for the entire family. They really want to help, but obviously their circumstances mean they can’t.
It’s often the case, that the inability to look after an ageing parent, whose health is deteriorating, leaves families feeling guilty. If they start considering a care home, it makes them feel that they don’t care enough. But they consider it the best wort-case scenario.
Consequently, there’s an enormous amount of pressure to get these later life care decisions right. And, unfortunately, when you’re in this situation it’s easy to panic. Despite the best intentions, many people end up making the wrong decision.
This is why it is so important to think carefully before setting off on what could be the wrong path.
Here’s what Peter should think about when considering John’s care options:
Considerations when assessing elderly care options:
Autumna has found that many people paying for their own care, don’t take financial advice first, and actually occasionally run out of money, or end up paying much more than they may have needed to, simply because they were unaware of the various plans that are available for paying later life care fees.
As a homeowner, John has many financial options open to him to fund his geriatric care. And whoever he goes to for his advice, he should always make sure they are SOLLA accredited. SOLLA is the Society of Later Life Advisers.
At Autumna, we partner with Eldercare Solutions. They are SOLLA accredited and have a free advice line that John could call on 0800 082 1155. Alternatively they give a brief summary of the different ways of funding your later life care on this Autumna financial advice page here.
Type of elderly care to be considered.
Obviously John is already getting substantial home care help. Peter, his son, is finding though that John needs more care.
So he could opt of live in care. John loves his house and there is enough room for a live-in carer.
Live in care though costs very much the same as a care home. In a care home though, all bills are generally covered - food, light, heat etc. – possibly not John’s evening glass of wine - although some care homes will include this. With live in care, John would still have to pay these bills, and pay for the carer.
If people can afford it, this is generally the option they go for. Very often though, the right residential care home, with residents and staff who share the same interests as John, with good food served three times a day, and with an accessible sunny garden for example, can actually arrest any downward spiral someone like John might be on, and his physical and mental health will improve.
Finding that right care home though, or home care or live in care service easily, was always difficult until Autumna’s elderly care register came along.
It not only has all the care information Peter needs, in one easy-to-navigate, easy-to-compare place, but the format allows care providers to really show off their personality with staff photos and videos and virtual tours.
Peter wants to find some form of care that suits his Dad’s personality. Whether it’s a care home, home care or live in care, Autumna is the perfect place to find that match.
For free support and guidance on how to find the right care home, call the Autumna advice line on 01892 33 53 30 or check the care advice page here.
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