My wonderful Mum, who at 88 is still in good health but a little frail, lived alone in her bungalow but found the continual upkeep of the garden, plumbing, electrics, decorating, etc. a bit of a challenge and we were constantly worried that she may trip and fall, especially when she didn’t answer the phone when we expected her to. Her dread of assisted living flats and care homes was a major concern to us.
Her immediate reaction was NO! Over the last 12 months, and without putting any pressure on her at all, we have been discussing the pros and cons of living alone and living with family and, having spent more and more weekends away with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, the list weighed heavily in favour of making the big step. She had attended more and more funerals of old friends; she spent more and more time alone, and although she loved the bungalow that she bought and shared with Dad so many years ago, her memories, photos and keepsakes came with her and she now shares them with us.
The practicalities of the move were huge. Having had her own space for four years we could not expect her to live in cramped conditions. She liked to walk to her local supermarket, have a coffee, and get the bus back home; she liked getting the bus into town to shop; she loved to walk in the park, so we had to find a house that had all these facilities.
With a limited budget, a granny annexe was out of the question but a house with a definite divide upstairs so that she had a bedroom, an en suite and another bedroom that we could make in to her den was perfect. Added to that, a dining room downstairs that can be turned in to a bedroom should she get too frail to climb stairs was a must. The downstairs cloakroom can be made in to a wet room and the garden is so big that twice round is like a walk in the park and she has her own garden patch to do with whatever she likes. There is a town a mile down the road, and a bus stop outside. Only eight miles from her Grandson and family and half the distance than before from her other daughter and family, it is everything we could wish for, and more.
Yes, it has taken time and patience to find the solution to a problem that would not go away but would grow year by year. We have a house that she is happy in and that suits us all, and the fears we had for the future have gone. We have also acquired a top class chef who loves cooking for more than just herself!
We’ve got some ideas for helping elderly parents move in with you and top tips on adapting the house. Have you moved in with your Mum or Dad? What advice would you give – join our forum and let us know.