Couple married for 67 years may be split up to different care homes due to lack of funding

91-year-old Frank Springett and his 86-year-old wife, Mary, are currently staying in the same care home in Wootton Wawen in the West Midlands


                            Couple married for 67 years may be split up to different care homes due to lack of funding

A couple, who have been married for 67 years and never been away from each other, face the possibility of getting split up and taken to different care homes because they have no council funding. Frank Springett, 91, and his 86-year-old wife Mary are currently staying in the same care home at Wootton Wawen in the West Midlands. Unfortunately, their family is going to run out of money to pay for their private care and Joanne Downes, their daughter, is afraid that the council will send them to different care homes since both their needs are different. Downes said that the local social services department has agreed to pitch in for her mother's treatment but has made it clear that her father is well enough to live in an apartment by himself.

The daughter is currently fighting for funding to keep her parents together and has told Mirror Online that separating them will destroy them because they have never been apart before. Frank is a retired factory worker and his wife used to work for the Solihull Social Services. Both lived in their own home in Chelmsley Wood until March 2018 when their medical issues forced them to go into care homes.



 

Mary has a serious case of Alzheimer's Disease while her husband suffers from a muscle stiffness condition called polymyalgia rheumatica. He also has Type 2 diabetes and is completely deaf. The 86-year-old woman's condition had kept getting worse leading to her wandering away from her home. Neighbors and even the postman have brought her back safely. Frank, on the other hand, has had four falls since he was put in the care home and now needs a frame to move around. His hands are also swollen because of arthritis.

Two of their children, Roderick Springett and Joanne Downes, are fighting to keep their parents together at Cedar Lodge. Gerad, their third child, died of a brain tumor in 2005. Joanne, 57, lives in Wootton Wawen and has said that because both her parents owned their own home, but they had not been eligible for any help from the council or otherwise to pay for their care home fees. The children sold the house for £156,000. The proceeds from the sale went to paying Mary's £975 per week and Frank's £925 per week. This translates to £8,000 for the elderly couples' care.

Joanne said: "The money is running out and currently stands at £106,000. Next year, probably in April, the couple's money will reach the upper savings limit at which the council steps in and gives financial assistance. That means we have roughly £60,000 to use up and then we are finished - and £60,000 will last about another seven months." She said that the plan for the immediate future is continuing talks with the Solihull Social Services on what would happen to the elderly couple if the money the children have for their care drops below the threshold of £46,000.

She said: "To date, we've had no funding from Solihull Social Services at all - which we understand because we have money to pay. They've said they'll pay £500 per week towards my mother's care - but that the family will need to pay a top-up fee of £475 a week. However, they won't pay anything for my father's fees because they say he can look after himself. They say he can live in a flat in the community with carers coming for him."

The daughter said that the reason she and her brother chose to put their father in the care home with their mother is because the care package that they had set up for Mary wasn't working. She said: "I asked social services how he would visit my mother if he lived in a flat and they didn't have an answer. I asked about my parents' emotional needs as that needs to be taken into consideration. It would devastate my mother if my father was not with her, and vice versa. They are a couple who have been together 70 years, married for 67 years and have never ever spent time apart. I cannot and will not accept that they cannot be together."

Joanne said that both her parents required round-the-clock care which Cedar Lodge Care Home provided for the elderly couple. Frank and Mary have also settled into their lives in the care home and have made many friends. In May this year, the day that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married, the elderly couple renewed their wedding vows with a vicar performing the ceremony. There was also a cake and a photographer to capture the moment. 

Joanne said: "The home they are in is a church home, something which is important to both my parents. It is kind and caring and that is the most important thing." Frank's GP has also supported the family's efforts to keep him in Cedar Lodge. The GP has also written numerous letters confirming this. Joanne said: "I don't know what we will do when the money runs out - I'm at breaking point, this whole situation is making me ill. I can't let my father know what is going on as it will kill him."

A spokesperson for the Solihull Council has said that they are working with Joanne to figure out a solution. They said: "We understand that couples who have been married a long time often wish to stay together when one of them moves into residential care. We respect their right to do so. In some situations, people decide to fund themselves, and we do our best to make them and their family aware of the financial implications of this. If people's care needs or financial circumstances change as time passes, we would reassess their situation. We would be happy to meet in person with the family to explain things further."