Below is an excerpt from a Which? consumer study about Elderly care. It reveals the challenging situation that so many of us find ourselves in when an older relative falls ill and is unable to take care of themselves any longer. Many of our clients and their families rely on Blair Cadell's guidance and advice in planning for, arranging or managing care in old age. We understand that every situation is different and our Personal Legal team have a wealth of knowledge and experience in assessing options and helping with decisions, including good knowledge of the care and nursing facilities in and around the Edinburgh area.
When Rachel's mother had a fall, the ambulance staff suggested she book an assessment. Rachel then had to sort out home care support services for her mother.
"It started gradually really. She couldn't remember what she had to eat the day before and then, because I used to do all her shopping and get it delivered there and I would be there to put it all away, she'd say, 'Well, why have you got me this?'and she didn't remember that was her favourite food.
"She had a series of falls and because of where she lives, which has no lift, she wasn't capable of getting up and down stairs without extreme difficulty. The other members within that building were expressing concern over her capability of looking after herself.
"The final time she fell over, one of the residents, who is a retired GP, said that he felt that we should call an ambulance, which we did. We had a paramedic and he said, 'Well you know, she's OK, but I would suggest that you send her for an assessment.' So that's what we did.
"I suppose I expected the first port of call to be her GP and he was very helpful, but there's a limit to the resources they have. They also don't seem to be able to point you in a central direction and say this is where the information can be found that you're looking for, or advice, or something.
"In order to get my mother to an assessment, we had to call the ambulance service, who then had to do a health and safety assessment. They then said sorry, we can't take her, so I'm thinking to myself, why can't you take her, when if she had a heart attack or something else, you would have taken her? But because she's going for an assessment, you're not going to take her. So that cost £300 in her ambulance fees."
[Rachel's mother was assessed as not being able to live by herself.]
"It literally went from last fall, assessment, she's incapable of looking after herself - and that all happened within three days. I couldn't possibly have her living with me because she has dementia, which makes her abusive and very, very hostile. We had huge problems even trying to get my mother there and back and basically they said that she needed 24/7 care, so I was given a booklet by somebody at the hospital while she was being assessed.
"I work, my husband works, I couldn't take any more holiday off. I'd already taken about four or five days off. I just couldn't cope any more. So I picked the agency that said, 'Yes, we can do it. I'll send somebody over.' I'm afraid the criteria was that simple, because I was that desperate.
"My mother had what they called waking nights. She would sleep during the day and be up until 2/3/4/5 o'clock in the morning. [The agency] add extra fees on for that because the carer cannot sleep, so it was three shifts of eight hours by different people from this nursing agency, but they weren't nurses as such they were just carers."
[Rachel's mother is now living in a nursing home and Rachel is happy with the care she is receiving.]