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Is Sheltered Housing a good option?

(20 Posts)
fuseta Mon 26-Oct-20 10:14:15

My mothers husband died in June. They lived in Scarborough, miles from any family. My Mum is 89 and has already had several falls. After selling her house, my brother moved her down to Surrey. I suggested that she would be better off in a sheltered housing development, My brother, who is single (although he has a girlfriend) insisted that sheltered housing wasn't a good idea and that if she bought a non retitement flat, he would move in with her. Of course she was delighted about this and I must say that he has put the slant on it that sheltered housing is virtually a care home, as now my Mum says that she would hate to live in one of those places. They have already agreed to purchase a 2 bedroomed non retirement flat, which is all going through and then a few weeks ago he announced that he wouldn't be moving in with her full time after all and would only be staying with her 3 nights a week and that she will be fine with a panic button. After hearing this, I travelled to Surrey and I persuaded her to look at some retirement developments before signing any contracts. She looked at 5 and 4 of them she didn't like, but one of them was really lovely. Small and friendly. The flat was on the ground floor with french doors on to a lovely garden, pulleys in every room and the warden came and introduced herself. My Mum said that she liked it and then my brother said to her that if she bought that, he would never come and stay with her and why on earth would she want to live in one of those places. Of course she then agreed with him and said he was right and that they should proceed with the other flat. The flat they are buying is behind a row of shops and the only view is the car park. I hate to think of her being on her own and never being able to sit out on a nice day. The other thing to add is that in about 3 years time, my brother intends to buy a house with his girtlfriend, when her daughter goes to university. I can't think what my brothers motives are apart from the fact that he is currently living in a small flat and will have more room in the flat that they are buying, however he says that what they are doing is in Mums best interest. I have had to back off as it was becoming quite unpleasant, with my Mum saying that I was trying to spoil her happiness and receiving very bossy e-mails from my brother, shouting down every point I made.I can't see that money is the motive, as the flat will be in my mum's name and also my brothers girlfriend owns about 4 properties. So, we will just have to wait until she has a fall or they decide to go on holiday, to see how this is going to pan out. I must say that DH, DS and DD all agree with me but it is of no use! Any thoughts on this?

Shafiq12 Mon 26-Oct-20 10:52:25

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FannyCornforth Mon 26-Oct-20 10:55:10

Shafiq12 this thread is about sheltered housing confused

Tangerine Mon 26-Oct-20 10:58:48

From what you've written, I think I agree with you.

I suppose, if she buys the flat in her name as you've stated, there is nothing to stop her transferring to a sheltered place if things change with her health in the future.

Your brother will be elsewhere four nights of the week (with girlfriend perhaps?) so he won't be without somewhere to live.

V3ra Mon 26-Oct-20 11:17:44

Is the two-bedroom flat going to be another addition to the girlfriend's property portfolio in the fullness of time...?
It doesn't sound like it's being bought with your mum's best interests in mind, especially as your brother has changed his tune already about moving in with her.

How far away from you will your mum be if she needs you?
The sheltered flat, with support on hand plus a lovely garden, sounds much more suitable.

Hetty58 Mon 26-Oct-20 11:32:32

I suspect that it may well be that money is, in fact, the motive. Perhaps your brother is protecting his anticipated inheritance? People do - and your mum is 89, after all.

Retirement flats are notoriously bad value for money and difficult to sell on - so, from his point of view, a bad investment.

Another 'money reason' may be that, if your brother officially lives with her, the value of her property won't be taken into account should she need residential care.

Then, of course, there's that old sibling rivalry thing about who's 'in charge' of an elderly relative. Unfortunately, often, they can easily be persuaded (brainwashed/controlled) by relatives into a certain course of action.

Perhaps she would be wise to consult an independent expert about her options for housing?

FarNorth Mon 26-Oct-20 11:35:09

As long as it's definitely in your mum's name, I don't see there any more you can do.
Your mum is making her own decision.

JuliaM Mon 26-Oct-20 12:14:53

When moving an elderly relative into a new area, its a good idea to check out what provision there is available locally for care agency cover should it be required anytime in the future. This applies to both sheltered housing, which maybe warden controlled only with no other carers employed, or independent living in a place of your own. Most local councils no longer employ their own community carers, and use a brokerage system to provide care via the private sector instead. All well and good if you live in an area covered by these firms,if not, you are well and truely stuck and have to rely on relatives to help out, or move into a Care home for good!

luluaugust Mon 26-Oct-20 13:41:52

This has got to be to do with money I am afraid. Although your mum would be far better off in sheltered housing in a new area with no friends nearby, the fact is that when the flat comes to be resold it is unlikely to make the same money as an ordinary flat. I am sure the girlfriend has pointed this out to your brother. I don't know how far you are prepared to get involved but at 89 there will be more falls, probably on the days your brother isn't around. In sheltered accommodation at least someone else will be about. I agree all the way with JuliaM about local care it can be so hit and miss.

B9exchange Mon 26-Oct-20 13:56:32

It is a very difficult call, I do wonder about your brother's motives, but you say it would be in her name, so don't understand that? Having someone living with her for three nights a week would be much less lonely than some retirement properties. Is there really nowhere she could sit outside in the flat that is being bought?

My father moved with my mother (who was severely affected by dementia) into a retirement property, lovely French doors to the garden and onto a local park, warden on site, residents lounge, it seemed perfect. But things changed, the management company kept putting up the maintenance charge, the wardens kept leaving, and from a 24 hour onsite presence when they moved in, went down to the call system rooted to a call centre a 100 miles away. They are a nightmare to resell, it took two and a half years, and all that time we were having to go back and maintain the inside and pay the maintenance charges for the outside. In fact if a fellow resident hadn't finally decided to move into it, I can't imagine we would ever have sold it, we had dropped the price drastically but it didn't seem to make any difference.

sodapop Mon 26-Oct-20 14:04:48

I too would be suspicious of your brother's motives fuseta but your mother is free to make her own decisions. That said I would encourage her to seek independent advice as Hetty58 said. The property should definitely be in your Mums name whatever is decided.

FlexibleFriend Mon 26-Oct-20 14:05:57

Sheltered housing in our area is full of drug addicts and alcoholics of all ages, they no longer cater for the elderly. I wouldn't set foot in one that's for sure. As for retirement properties they are a financial disaster as even when the relative dies or goes into care the horrendous service charges remain in place. Many also insist the flat is sold through them etc.
The flat they are potentially buying doesn't sound great if it overlooks a car park but work on that and say if she's going to be on her own half the time then a garden or balcony to sit out on is a must and probably overlooking a road /childrens playground etc so she can people watch at the very least.
I think shooting all his ideas down isn't a good idea because he'll just dig his heels in. So if you really want what's best for mum chat to her and put ideas in her head, she may not have thought some things through. Just keep repeating to yourself you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

3nanny6 Mon 26-Oct-20 14:14:11

Very close to me there is a private place for retired elderly.
They buy either a one or two bedroom flat. It is inter- come entry and staff work in there for some of the residents that need a little bit of extra care, so help is always on hand.

There are overnight suites available for people that only have one bedroom so if they have a visitor they can book a suite for a night or more. The apartments all have a french door and the ground floor ones are open onto the garden.
Often when I have a walk up the road I will see a few residents taking a walk and they have told me it is lovely living in there.
I think it would be a lovely idea for the O.P. mother to live in a place like that particularly with staff on hand if needed.

fuseta Mon 26-Oct-20 19:25:10

Thank you for your very valid comments! I can see more clearly the reasons for my brother sticking to his guns regarding the non retirement property that they have decided to buy, especially if there would be charges if she no longer lived there and being a nightmare to sell. I must say though 3nanny6, that the development that my Mum actually liked sounds exactly like the one that you have described and so that is why I thought it would be perfect for her!

3nanny6 Mon 26-Oct-20 19:37:31

I think some of the retirement homes are lovely. The one I mentioned I have just remembered my old friend from school days had her mother living in a one bedroomed flat in there.
My friend was not wealthy and now her mother has died and she told me that the place was sold and the money divided out between her and her brother. My friend was so impressed with the staff and she still visits some of the elderly once a fortnight and bakes cakes for people.
It seems to me a very happy place, what more could anyone want at that time of life?

V3ra Tue 27-Oct-20 00:04:19

fuseta my Dad is in a privately owned extra-care apartment with help available onsite as and when he needs it.
He says he feels very safe there and we have no complaints.

welbeck Tue 27-Oct-20 00:20:34

where is your mother living at the moment.
would she contact her local Age Uk for advice on these issues.
she would benefit from an occupational therapist assessment, but hat can only be done in the context of where she is going to live, i think.
is she registered with a local GP. could ask them for a community OT assessment.
but it's difficult if she is being unduly influenced by her son. it sounds like he has got an eye out for his own gain, rather than mother's best interests.

welbeck Tue 27-Oct-20 00:28:40

also, how suitable is the proposed 2 bed flat from the point of view of accessibility. if she becomes less able, will it be convenient, or not.
i doubt her son will ever stay with her, that's just a ruse to get her to do what he wants.
i reckon she would be much safer and more content, relaxed, possibilities to socialise in common room, in the sheltered scheme.
what about renting such a flat, esp extended care type, or retirement village, like that one was it nottingham/sheffield outskirts, that was on tv a few years ago, where there was a project to team them up with infant school children.

MissAdventure Tue 27-Oct-20 00:46:34

My ex almost mother in law lives in a lovely sheltered place.
They all look out for each other, and can be as involved (or not) as they chose to be with the other people.
None of them have drug problems; in fact they are virtually all there because they have mobility problems.
She says she has more friends than she has had in her life, and they looked after her when her back was so bad she could barely move.
It's run by a housing association.

fuseta Tue 27-Oct-20 08:07:32

Welbeck, She is living with my brother in his flat which he is going to give up once they move into the 2 bedroomed one, which is all going through. You are right that she is being influenced by my brother and just agrees to everything he says! When he stays at his girlfriends or is at work, she is going to be so lonely, but all she can think about is the fact that he will be there sometimes and where she is going to put her furniture and hang her pictures. Whilst it is a ground floor flat that they are buying, it is a younger age group that live in them and as I say, it overlooks a car park and is behind a parade of shops and there is absolutely nowhere to sit out. So unsuitable for her, but they are both adamant that it is the right move. They live in Surrey and I live in Oxfordshire so I don't think that there is much more I can do!