This social care crisis is hitting very close to home
- Credit: PA
Away from work, it's adult social care I've been thinking about. In fact, that's been at the forefront of my thinking for some time.
In 2015, my mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer – a disease which, within months, had claimed her life.
I'll never have to worry about social care for my mum. But it's another story for her mother – my grandma.
A couple of years before mum was diagnosed, she and my dad took the decision to bring my widowed grandma down from Middlesbrough to live with them.
Obviously my parents did not factor in that one of them might not be around to look after her. Some of the final months of my mum's life were spent worrying about where her mother would live once she was gone.
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When mum died, my father tried again to get grandma, who will be 100 in four years, into residential care. We were told she could go on the waiting list for a care home.
Nothing happened. My retired dad, in his 70s and with his own health problems, asked why. Grandma was assessed again. This time, we were told she was not suitable for a care home, but for housing with care.
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We felt she was too frail and unsteady. My dad agreed to keep her with him.
With grandma becoming ever frailer, he asked for another assessment. Again, the verdict was housing with care. Yet grandma stumbles around with a frame and can barely lift a kettle, let alone cook her own meals.
Last week, she fell. My father did not hear and she spent all night on the bedroom floor.
She's now having to sleep in the living room of my father's house.
I'm wracked with guilt I can't take her in my home, but my wife and I both work full-time and we've got a four-year-old son. It just wouldn't work.
There's just been another assessment. Housing with care, again. She doesn't want that. She wants to go in a home.
I really do wonder just how vulnerable you have to be these days for councils to conclude care homes are the answer.
It's hard to see this as motivated by anything other than saving money. The concept of keeping people independent is great. But I fear it's not what my grandma needs.