Tuesday, 15 April 2008


When I first realised that Mum needed more sheltered/assisted accommodation, I worried how we were going to pay for it. True, Mum had a reasonably generous pension coming in each month from my Dad's old firm which topped up her finances nicely. But it seemed that every home I looked at charged almost double her income... and most of them were places I wasn't happy to show Mum anyway. I realised that I was going to have to sell her apartment and use the proceeds to pay for the shortfall each month. After a few selfish moments where I lamented my vanishing inheritance, I set to finding the best place for Mum at whatever the cost.

As my entries from last year show, I was lucky to find a place that not only surpassed all the other 'standard' and corporate homes I looked at but was also a little cheaper. We're still losing around £160 per week on top of Mum's pension, but that's a whole lot better than losing another £350 every week. Okay, I'll stop dancing around it - the place costs £560 per week and Mum's income is around £400.

Since December, I've calculated that the proceeds from selling Mum's apartment ought to see her alright for another 20 years. Of course, if her money runs out sooner, the State would step in to make up the difference (this is where you start commenting bitterly, those of you from the US). It's a comfortable situation for Mum and that's all that is important, but I'm aware of the irony that she'd get the same level of care if she had nothing (6 out of the 8 people in her household don't pay a penny) and that's all my Dad's hard-earned cash disappearing down the drain.

So I believed for the last 5 months. But then a couple of weeks ago I fell to chatting with a distant relative about Mum's situation.

"You need to buy a flat or a house with the money and the rent will pay for the shortfall," she said.

I'm such an idiot. Why didn't I think of that? I rent out a house myself, so it should have been obvious. The rent raised could cover the shortfall and we would still have the asset at the end!

I'm posting this not just to how dense I can be, but as an option for those in my situation. It's currently my intention to do something like this when I get around to clearing Mum's apartment and selling it (falling market permitting!)

It could be that there's a flaw in the plan. Judging by my past performance, I ought to see it by August.


Tilly said...

Using the rental on a flat/house to pay for your Mum's care sounds a fabulous (and very logical) idea. My grandfather also went into a home - and as he had been prudent and spent little on himself during his lifetime, he paid the full rate. Next door, lived a retired solicitor friend who had spent well during his lifetime and who paid next to nothing. Despite the vagaries of the property market at present, I'm sure it's a good long term investment and will give you peace of mind that hard-earned savings are not dwindling away.

I am so heartened by 'Wits End' and by Alzheimer YOY (NY) - it's really lovely to see how you care so much for your mothers. My brother is often unkind to Mum just because he can't cope rather than because he is inherently unkind. He rarely visits which makes it hard for us but more importantly, it's so sad for Mum who loves him to bits. I think my experience has made me overly critical of men who often leave it to wimmin (!) - and I'm not at all wimmin's lib-like, (only person lib-like!) so blogs like yours are a joy to read - and help to remind me that we are all carers simply trying to do our best.

Thank you for your kind comments on my blog - I'm afraid my postings are intermittent, and I still can't get the d*** lily of the valley motif in the centre of the title!!! Good luck with the property search - I hope you find something hugely rentable that soars in value!

Greg said...

If it's any consolation, I find your title motif quite beautiful (and poignant) as it is. Sorry I haven't got a solution for the problem.

That's a great example you give - almost a parable - about the two men in the home and the way they chose to spend their monies and where it got them. My Dad very much fell into your Grandfather's camp, both with his money and with his time. I hardly saw him in my childhood and he was very careful all his life with his salary only to die shortly after retirement. I am determined not to repeat that in my life. If I've nothing left by the time I'm dead then I'll have made good use of what I've earned!

At least your Brother visits your Mum - my Sister hasn't visited or spoken to mine for more than 2 years now. Mind you, both Mum and I regard that as something of a blessing, given her volcanic nature.

I'm glad you think the rental option is a good idea. I get hugely enthusiastic about breakthroughs like this only to overlook obvious pitfalls. That's another reason I thought I'd announce it here - to check I wasn't missing anything right in front of my nose.

I look forward to your future posting, whenever it comes, and I'm so pleased you find something heartening about mine.

G x

LSL said...

Hey, I'll skip the complaining I could do about the States, and just say that I'm really glad you've found a possible solution that could help in a few different ways. I'm not in your situation, but I could be at some point in the not-too-distant future. I appreciate you being so transparent with your process. Hope you're doing ok, G!

Greg said...

Thanks for appreciating the transparency. There have been a few occasions where I've hesitated about what I was going to reveal (bad behaviour, selfish thoughts, indignities) but this whole thing would be pointless if I left out one side of the balance. Anyone following me down this track needs to know that sometimes you don't get it right first time.

I'm okay, thanks, K. Still dreaming of travel, but you'll be another 5 excursions in before I manage to book a ticket. Where are you off next?