Readers respond to an article by Simon Hattenstone about finding the right care arrangements for his 93-year-old mother
Simon Hattenstone’s article (I didn’t want anyone else to look after Mum – until I realised what she wanted, 27 December) almost exactly mirrors my mother’s story. Aged 94, frail but still living independently in a small cottage in London, she fell in late November and spent much of one night on the floor, in pain and disorientated. Hospital followed for one week at St George’s, Tooting. There she received the most amazing care with the doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff all meeting my expectations of the amazing NHS at its very best, even during these trying times.
But it was evident that she couldn’t return to her house alone. Luck struck. A close friend had recently died and her carer was available to move in with my mother. Outcome? An elderly woman who seems more contented and at ease than previously, perhaps because the worry of living alone at a great age has now been taken away. She has support, friendship and the most amazing care, and she’s still “at home” – that being her greatest desire of all.
But here’s the bit that Hattenstone’s article doesn’t address: money. In my mother’s case, and I’m assuming in Hattenstone’s too, there is sufficient family income to cover the costs of a live-in carer. For most this simply wouldn’t be an option.
a system is devised, and funded, that would offer all people dignity
and independence in old age, we can’t rest easy. It’s so good that
Hattenstone’s mother and my mother are now thankfully content and well
cared for, but that should, in a civilised society, be the lot of all
older people. It clearly isn’t now.