One family's story: The 'dreadful' choices of care

John and Clare Merry
John and Clare Merry Photo: Family photo

John and Clare Merry are 76-years-old and have been married for 52 years.

A few years ago they both developed Alzheimer's and their family now faces a dreadful choice.

They can afford to pay for their father's care or mother's care, but not both.

John and Clare Merry, 52 years ago on their wedding day
John and Clare Merry, 52 years ago on their wedding day Credit: Family photo

John and Clare need to be looked after in different ways.

Clare moved into a care home after she fell and broke her hip.

The home costs £564 per week, of which Emma and her mum pay £257 per week - the rest the state pays because John is still living in the family home with a carer.

The live-in carer costs £710 per week, two-thirds of which John pays for out of his own pocket.

But the money will run out by the middle of next year

It has left their daughter Emma with an almost impossible decision - to sell the house and put her father into a home, despite a psychiatrist recommending he should stay where he is.

John and Clare will have to live in separate homes because it works out better for their mental health.

Emma says she feels her parents are being let down at a late stage in their life. She said:

I can't offer them the assurance that they're going to be cared for in the way that's best for them.

Clare Merry
Clare Merry Credit: Family photo

Our Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall has been listening to their story.