Former land girl Phyllis Elwood was devastated when the Surrey care home she’d lived in for two years closed indefinitely for ‘refurbishment’.
Most of the residents moved on quickly to a sister home, but they wouldn’t take Phyllis because of her physical needs. Her daughter Christine said: “It was like a sinking ship. In the end there was only mum and one other lady left there with no proper night staff. Mum cried and cried.”
Though unable to walk unaided, Phyllis, 92, is mentally alert and loves having her family – including Christine and her two brothers – close by. Needing to find a new care home for Phyllis at short notice, Christine and her family identified one that was suitable – but the local council wanted to move her to an alternative home much further away.
Christine, who visits her mum most days, said: “It became a battle because we wanted mum to stay near her family. Where the council wanted her to go, she would have been more isolated and we wouldn’t have been able to visit so often.”
The family contacted R.A.B.I, who agreed to meet the costs of the top-up fee shortfall. Christine said: “Paying for residential care has taken every penny mum had, including her savings and most of her pension. What R.A.B.I does makes all the difference. We don’t know what we would do without them.”
R.A.B.I has given out more than £1.1 million to the retired, sick and disabled this year*. CEO Paul Burrows says the charity is committed to looking after farming people throughout their lives, not just when they are working.
“In today’s world there are so many challenges people must face in later life and health issues can be draining, both physically and mentally,” said Paul. “But help might just be a phone call away. We support farming people of all ages, including retired farmers, farmworkers and dependants. Once a farmer, always a farmer, that’s our motto, and I urge people who don’t know where to turn for support, to get in touch with us.”
This year, R.A.B.I has paid out more than £214k towards home help costs and close to £100k on disability aids, equipment and adaptations*. The charity has also given out more than £92k towards care home top-up fees – the difference between how much a council is willing to pay a care home and the care home’s fee to self-funding residents*.
Paul said: “Most of us will need to rely on care at some point in our lives, if not for ourselves, then for loved ones. Demands on the care sector are already great, but things are only likely to get worse with a rapidly rising older population. We understand the anxieties many older people face and we are committed to offering long-term support to families in financial hardship from the farming sector. It’s simple; we’re here for the long haul.”
* In 2017 R.A.B.I paid the following for the period January 1 to September 19 (unaudited figures):
Pictured above is Phyllis Elwood at age 92 and as a land girl (centre). On the right is R.A.B.I CEO Paul Burrows.