Care Questions : Article 3Care Questions : Article 3

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.3

"I am a single lady aged 72 without any close relatives. At the moment I am quite fit and can look after myself. There may come a time when I cannot however, and I have decided that I will go into a home for my final years. Where can I find out about homes in my area and the cost of staying in one?"

Answer : If you want to stay in your local area it is probably best for you to seek out the information locally. You can contact your local Age Concern Office and your local Social Services Office who will give you details about residential and nursing homes and the applicable costs. Age Concern have a Factsheet Number 29, which gives comprehensive information about finding residential and nursing home accommodation, including questions that you should ask when choosing a home.

It is a good idea however, to ask people in your locality, such as your GP or local District Nurse for their opinion on homes in your area. They are probably going into many of them in their professional capacity and will have an opinion on whether any home may or may not be ones for you to look at.

"My daughter says that I need to have a Carbon Monoxide Detector as well as a smoke alarm, is this the case?"

Answer : The simple answer is "yes". Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer. It does not smell, is invisible and can be fatal. Heating and cooking appliances fuelled by coal, smokeless fuels, wood, oil and gas, if they are poorly installed, incorrectly used, poorly maintained, or room ventilation is poor, can produce this dangerous gas. If this gas is emitted, a smoke detector will not pick this up.

Most accidents, there are about 50 fatalities a year, happen in the living room. Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased from hardware stores, DIY stores and some supermarkets. It is recommended that every occupied floor of the house has one. The cost of a detector is about £5 or £6.

"My Father is in his late seventies, he has some arthritis but insists that he is perfectly capable of caring for himself. He even shuns suggestions that we should be allowed to help him with his small DIY tasks. Have you any practical suggestions to make that he may consider as they would help him to keep his independence".

Answer : Assuming that he would not want to have an Assessment of Care carried out by his local Social Services Dep., which would be able to make practical suggestions, the following ideas may be acceptable...

"My Mother is not disabled but I would like her to have some help in her home and with her personal care, e.g. having a bath. There are several private care companies in her area, how can I tell which one is the best for me to approach?"

Answer : There are several methods that you can use to help you choose...

You could ask your Mother and her friends/neighbours if they have heard good reports of any local companies. Your local Social Services offices should have a list of Approved Providers which they can give you. These are companies/agencies providing care who have been inspected by the Local Authority to standards laid down by them. They are usually quite comprehensive and some authorities have the results of their inspection of each company on their Internet site.

You could approach an organisation called the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) and ask them for names and details of agencies in the area. They have a leaflet titled "Choosing Care in your Home" which includes a number of questions that you may like to ask of any agency that you approach. Their telephone number is 020 8288 1551. Or visit: