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retirement home, assisted living or what????


Registered User
Sep 18, 2015
Hi, looking for some help please, My dad has recently died, 31st August, he was my mom's carer, only he did such a good job we are now left picking up the pieces, so along with trying to cope with the funeral and the loss we are trying to care for my mom.

She has been deterating for about 18 months with significant down hill signs over the last 6 months. Dad was only Ill for a short time and had been covering up how bad my mom was. There are times when she is very lucid and you would not think there was an issue, at other times she has no idea who my brother and I are, that she is our mom or the length of time that she was married (57 years) she thinks she has been away and come back, they lived together in the same house for the last 44 years.

We are currently spending every night with her and almost constant 24 hour cover, only we can't continue this, there are only three of us, me (married, two kids and a full time job) my brother (married, just retired and has a young granddaughter) and my aunt who is 80.

Prior to my dad dying there has been no medical intervention or any tests done, we have had a private assessment done by someon recommended by the solicitor, the outcome of which was that mom should not be on her own. She has good and bad days but basically is very vulnerable.

We can't sustain what we have been doing, she is beginning to realise that's she is unable to remain in the family home on her own, but where do we go next, a retirement home is her worst nightmare, and I'm not sure she is at that stage, she can dress, shower and feed herself, but can't drive, can't do more than make a sandwich or breakfast. I'm not sure how assisted the assisted living apartments are? I feel if we go straight to a retirement home we have jumped a step, but also not sure how safe she is on her own, safe as in she may go out the front door and get lost, she may of course put the kettle on with no water in it. None of which she has done, but that's because we are here and won't allow her to.

Is there some sort of half way house? I also live an hour and 20 minutes away, and at some point need to return to work, and my family. Which makes me feel very guilty, as I want the best for her and the right sort of support.

Does anyone have any suggestions, or experience?


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
Hi Sailaway, welcome to TP
There are threads on here where people have encountered "problems" with the other residents in a retirement complex when someone with memory issues acts in a way they see as being inappropriate; knocking on door, wandering or just behaving in an strange way, retirement home are what they say homes for the retired not nursing or care homes.
The way you've phrased it in your post sounds like your hierarchy is a bit different to the normal way it's expressed:
Retirement home, you've retired and want to downsize, no health issues, independent living in a managed environment.
Assisted living, you live alone but get some assistance like daily visits for meds, food, just see how you are bit of a chat.
Care home, you live in a room in the home, the home supplies all your meals, washing or whatever basically a bit like a hotel with some medical/nursing care on hand.
After that comes homes for the totally dependant then those who need constant supervision.
From what you've said (and she'll only get worse not better) I'd bite the bullet and go for assisted living as a minimum and assisted living might mean you have to do some assisting yourselves, it's assisted not totally supported.
I see this is your first post so there's tons of stuff to say, but a retirement home is the first step, assisted living comes next then a care home.
I take it that as you've had "private assessment done by someone recommended by the solicitor," there isn't a money issue so you really need to manage the situation perhaps AgeUK, or the Citizens Advice Bureau might be a starting point depending where you are other help may be available.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
I'm wondering if extra care/very sheltered (they are the same thing) housing might be an option. Some are a lot better than others: the one my mother was in was a godsend, I know someone else whose own mother was basically evicted from hers. Mind you, it has a lot to do with presentation I think: my mother had serious arthritis and simply couldn't wander or bother other residents, so while she was in her own flat she basically never left it unless she was in a wheelchair.

And welcome to Talking Point.


Registered User
Sep 18, 2015
Thanks both for your comments, assisted living would be the choice really, but raise concerns about mom wondering. In addition we need to sort something quickly and at least short term so we can take a breath and sort the long term solution.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Welcome to Talking Point. :)

It must have come as a terrible shock to discover how bad she is if your dad was covering it up.
Why did you decide to stay with her 24/7? Is it because she was distressed and needs somone with her all the time? If so, then TBH I really think that she will need to be in a care home where there is someone on hand 24/7. Even in an assisted living place she will be on her own during the night.

My mum is in a care home and when she went in she was at the stage you are describing. She had not wanted to go into a CH and had asked me to promise that I would never do it. I did not make this promise, but promised that I would do my very best to do the very best for her.
Actually, being in a CH is the best I could have done for her. She is content - she does not realise that it is a care home (she thinks she owns it), she has made friends, joins in the activities and has put on weight (she had stopped eating as she couldnt remember how to even heat up a ready-meal) and I would say that she has thrived. Other people on here have had the same experience, so it is not just me.

Dont dismiss care homes out of hand. Go round and look at places near you and see what they are like. Talk to the staff there and the manager to get an idea of whether they think your mum would "fit in"


Registered User
Nov 5, 2013
West Sussex
Hi Sailaway
So sorry about the loss of your Dad and the situation you now find yourself in. Three years ago we were in a very similar situation, though our 91 year old Mum had just been diagnosed with Alzheimers.
We tried for six months to care for her 24/7 between us and it nearly broke us.
We all felt Mum was not safe to live alone and needed full-time care. Mum was then quite a strong - willed and vocal lady and would not consider going into care. She also refused to go to the day centre. SS organised the maximum four care visits a day but she would accept no help whatsoever from the carers.
We all felt we were waiting for a crisis and it came with a fall and a broken hip. This meant a long stay in hospital and eventually a move into a care home.
She isn't really happy there but I don't really think she would be happy anywhere.
But at least now we know she is well looked after.
I still think about when she was at home on her own - she must have felt so lost and alone.
Everyone is different and you will have to make the best decision for your Mum. This site will be a great help.
With hindsight I did realise that we were all suffering grief, especially poor Mum who had lost her love and knight in shining armour of nearly seventy years.
Look after yourself and your family too. If they were anything like mine I'm sure that is what your Mum and Dad would want.
Good luck

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