private sheltered housing

Rosemary Fox

Registered User
Dec 13, 2004
East Yorkshire
My mum has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, she was living in Lancashire, but moved nearer to me into a private sheltered housing scheme, five months ago.

It is a purpose built ground floor apartment in a three storey building built for the elderly population in our locality. Mum has been unsettled by the move and still cannot remember that she has sold her bungalow and moved to be near to me, even though this was what she requested to do before we knew she had started with dementia. She keeps thinking that it is time she went back "home", although accepts that it is her memory, which is failing her.

That aside I am managing to care for her very well, with the support of my two children at weekends which is when I am at work.

Mum is very happy living near to us and is coping, in the apartment with our support. She was allowed to keep her little dog on the proviso that she exercised her off the premises so as not to cause fouling of the communal gardens. We expected there to be a problem with this immediately, but she is managing fairly well although she does not always follow the rules.

The reason I am making this posting is because ever since my mum moved into this establishment she has had a problem with the outer main door, she, for some reason does not always close it properly, ie lock it, she leaves it ajar, which is upsetting the resident "house manager" who works 9 - 5, and other residents who have commented to the management of the group.

I am being harrassed with letters from the management in relation to this problem. I think they are implying that my mother is not a suitable resident, as she leaves the door open thereby causing a breach to the security of the building, and that I should be looking to remove her from her apartment (they have not actually put this into words, but I feel this is what is being stated), and that it is only a matter of time.

Mum owns this apartment and paid a lot of money for it, and pays a service charge weekly. I advised the establishment from the beginning that my mother had problems with her memory, and even asked whether the house manager would be able to promt my mum to take her medications, because of her memory problems, this unfortunately is not possible as the house manager is not allowed to get involved in this way with the residents. ( I know I'm rambling)

I have suggested to the management that they fit a stronger closing mechanism, which would pull the door closed from an ajar position, but they seem reluctant to do this, and have stated I am avoiding the issue.

Does anyone know what my mums rights are in this situation as she is certainly no where near requiring 24 hours care in a residential home. She would be so upset if this was forced on her at this stage in her illness, as would I be. She manages fine on her own with input from her family. I can not believe that she is at risk of losing her home because of this door problem.

Hoping some one can help

Many thanks Rosemary
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Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Rosemary

just a few thoughts, no real help really, I'm afraid...

Firstly the front door.

It is crazy that the place won't fit a self-closing mechanism, in my view, regardless of whether your Mum leaves it open or not. Purely for security.

Regarding telling them about 'memory problems'.

There is a difference between memory problems and dementia. Had you told them she had dementia they might not have agreed to her buying the place [that is if they could have stopped her].

I agree with them that it would not be appropriate for a house manager to be responsible for any medication in any way for a resident. In the same way that at any working establishment, pain-killers are not permitted to be in first aid cabinets these days. Too much responsibility.

Your Mum's rights?

I'm not sure, but there may be specific clauses in the contracts for the sheltered housing. What you need to consider is her safety and security - and that of the other residents.

Perhaps you can arrange some help from social services, etc?

These are all just my views!

Best of luck. It is a difficult time for all of you.


Dear Rosemary

Your Mother is more than 'suitable' for the apartment. The manifestations of AD are not, and that is the concern of the building manager, I suspect. In the longer term, as the dementia progresses it will be necessary for Mum to have many hours of carer suppport. Have you looked into any of this as yet. You need to make sure she is in the 'system' for the future. The harsh reality is that eventually she will not be able to live there without carer support and her safety is of paramount importance.

I would suggest you investigate the possibility of a more efficient locking mechanism and come back to the building management with your suggestion, a sort of fait accompli. It's worth a try. And anyway, who is to say that it is always your Mum who leaves the door unlocked. Where's the proof? There will be times when others leave the door, (it happens) therefore it's not secure is it? ALL of the residents have the right to security and it is the management's responsibility to change the inefficient lock. I live with a similar arrangement of security for the front door of this apartment block. As a result of negligence one evening, somebody gained access and tried to break in to the opposite apartment but was fortunately, (or unfortunately, for him), chased by me. The police subsequently caught him. Somebody had simply allowed access via the door entry buzzer without asking 'Who?'. Things happen.

You should also be aware that the administration or supervision of drugs will never be the brief of the house manager - even appointed carers do not have this responsibility. It's all about the legality of things, the world of the PC and litigation. Although if Mum had a carer dropping in, she could check that the medication had been taken by reference to the supply. There are ways and means.........

And do, as Nada, says refer to the Alzheimers Society address she provided. They proved very helpful to me when faced with a legal issue.

Good luck


Registered User
May 20, 2003
Hello Rosemary

This is interesting as the Government are hell bent at the moment at reducing the number of people livign in care homes by supportign them to stay in their own homes.

This is said to be beause thats what people have said they want. It is also a fact that with huge increases in older people and therefore huge increases in peope needing assistance due to old age etc etc it is cheaper to enable people to stay in own homes or sheltered accommodation (esp if they buy it themselves or rent). Rathe rthan provide care homes for them.

I dont know about your Mums rights to do with housing - but as a patient with a diagnosis she has rights to care and advice. The GP is the persoon who knows about htis and can refer to local agencies and you can always make an appointment to see him yourself to talk about your worries. Once a CPN or similar can advise you - she may help with the practicalities for your Mum now - where she is now. If it loooks like her home will not be suitable in the future - given she does have a prgressive illness (though its progress maybe slow and or unpredictable) - it may be that another sort of accommodation will be better - sorry ! - there is something called 'Home for life' now - where technology & design has future proofed sheltered accom ( incl the care needed in dementia) . Every area differs in what it has on offer jsut now. The government are investing mega amounts of money in LAs to build all sorts of Sheltered accomm - to rent or to buy. they are pulling the plug on lots of Day Care Centres where they can offer 'commmunity services ' instead. Bristol is an example of this (in the area of Learing difficulty & older peopel too but not dementia - yet). some Day Care will be kept I think - its not beign debated publicly umtil they decide to close a place that is.

So... I would try to get some help from 'health & SS' . look at any contract or the deeds for the flat jsut ot be sure your Mum wont be at risk - so long as her ownership of flat is secure then htere may be a lot that can be done to asist her.

Ther eis an organisaton called The Cinnamon Trust - their reason for beign is to help older peopel who are pet owners and not in bestof health. They arrange for volunteers to take dogs for walks , drive peopel & pet to the Vet or I woul dguess accommpany pet owner when they take their dog out for a walk - for safety or so they dont get lost. I wsa a volunteer for them once. I cant make any guarantees about them or reccomend but thier Newsletter is great for amy animal lover !! they ahve a sanctuary in cornwall (Helston) - the dogs & cats etc live together with home loke accommodation - arm chairs TV the lot !!! I digress - maybe a good model for a human care home !!!!!!!!!!


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
it's really all been said,but it boils down to a stronger door closer and do talk to Mothers GP.
Always the first port of call to enter the complicated system of caring, the GP.

Rosemary Fox

Registered User
Dec 13, 2004
East Yorkshire
Thanks everybody, you have all been helpful. I will contact the AD helpline, plus I have already decided to speak to Mums GP after the Xmas hols, as she does need to be involved with the medical services eg psychogeriatrician over this side of the country and all that that opens up.

Mum is getting many hours input from myself and my two children currently. She will in the future need more than we can offer, but she is OK right now. I did state to the sales people that mum was suffering from early dementia, and not just memory problems, it was when I was discussing the medication that I stated short term memory problems, I, or my children give my mum her medication, luckily she is only now on them all once a day .

She manages her dog very well, and does not get lost yet, what she does occasionally do is let the dog out in the garden 1st thing in the morning, but she was asked to do this once that I am aware of by the house manager (advised to me by the house manager) to try and stop her going out in the later evening with her dog via the front door, mixed signals or what! We know that she will have to give up her dog eventually, as I said we are amazed she has managed so long.

I have already suggested and forwarded some information re door closures, but the management responded by stating I was avoiding the issue, which I can assure you I am not. I have just suggested this again, as you are correct, my mum is not the only person leaving the door open and I have already advised both the house manager, on many more than one occasion and the management of this fact.

I am fully aware that my mum will start to deteriorate and possibly in the not too distant future, but I will support her decision to remain independent as long as is possible, of course if the safety of my mum or other residents becomes such an issue that any alterations can not remedy, residential care can only be the next step. I just do not want this forced on her unless that is the only option.

Thanks again