Fidelity Cranbrook is an example of the advantages of an attentive companion making it possible for someone to stay in her own home with her garden and dog, in the same village that she had lived in since she married.
Widowed at 66, she lived in a village with sons and other relations in easy reach. Only when she approached 90 did anyone start to get anxious about her driving, her memory and a gradual increase in mild hallucinations.
The tipping point, when her relations realised that they had to ‘do something’, was when both her sons were going to be away for three weeks at the same time. No-one else was close enough to come and check that she was OK, or to help in the middle of the night.
After those three weeks, her sons agreed that they had had their first three weeks without worry for two years. So the live-in carers continued to stay with her. Fidelity Cranbrook was upset and resisted. Why? Because she wanted her children to live-in with her, not a stranger.
So a live-in carer was introduced.
But within a short time she did accept the carers, grew very fond of them and they had happy times together.
Yet her independent streak always made her offer to cook the meals and make the beds (even when this was beyond her).
At first, she would take her carers for a drive, show them the countryside, give them lunch at a selection of local pubs. Within 18 months, it was clear that she must stop driving, so the car key was moved into a drawer and she moved to the passenger seat. She still goes out to concerts, does some gardening and visits her sons, nephew and grandchildren, every day.