British Lung Foundation
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no where to live

Hi - I am brand new to this site. Was diagnosed with bronchiectasis two months ago but have had debilitating illnesses long before that, which I was managing - with difficulty. However, this latest' hammer blow' has meant that I no longer feel safe living alone and as I am only 58 - do not qualify for moving into most retirement homes. I really don't feel mentally old enough for to move into a retirement complex either, however I don't feel safe living alone (especially at night) in case I need help with my disabilities. I don't have any family that could help either. Has anyone any advice?


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20 Replies

Thanks Gordon57. I have contacted BLF and they have been very helpful, however, hearing from people who have 'gone through it' provides a different perspective. I really appreciate your input.

Hi, I also live on my own with no family to support mt mr. My local council have a mobile warden service and emergency helpline. I am not in a warden controlled flat and have to pay for the warden and helpline service. The warden calls round weekly and the helpline are also key holders, so, if I press the emergency button they can allow access to emergency services. You need to enquire if this system is available in your area, it does give peace of mind knowing you can get help if needed and maintain independent living. Take care, Richard.

Hi RichardAT

Thanks so much for your input. I am not a council tenant so don't know if that would make a difference to whether I would be eligible for any of the help you describe. I will look into it. Thanks again.

Hi swimmer - I was diagnosed with very severe copd at age 54. At the time i was living in a privately rented cottage half way up a steep cliff path. After a year or two of struggling - both for myself and my poor oxygen delivery man - I asked to go onto the council list to get either a ground floor flat or small bungalow. It took about 18 months as i waited until the 'right' place came up - small, easy access for my oxygen deliveries and within a mile or two of a GP and a small community hospital. I have been here almost a year now in a small bungalow. My neighbours are all in their 80's and 90's so i am ' the baby' on the block ;) I was visited by a community care worker on moving in, but turned down any offer of care for the moment as my teen daughter is still living with me. She goes away to university soon so i will then reappraise my situation, but prefer to remain independent for the time being. Basically this means doing loads of regular exercise to stay fit.

I would say i made the right move at the right time. While i can still look after myself for most things, i am gradually adapting my surroundings with the aim of living independently in my home until 'the end' - which i hope will be another ten or twenty years off at least! I have made small changes so far eg. downgrading to a single bed as it is easier to change and wash the bedding, having a small 'shower stool' in the bathroom so i can sit at the sink to clean my teeth, wash etc and also use it in the shower ( for chaps, if you pop a small mirror behind your sink tap you can shave sitting down too).

I am currently in the process of getting my small patch of garden covered with a membrane and stone chippings so that i no longer have to worry about gardening - you get the picture. Oh - i also plan easy 'cook' meals - all of which take no more than a couple of minutes to microwave, and then i just add a bowl of side salad. I do feel happy, safe and secure in my home, although in order to give my daughter peace of mind while she is away at uni, i am currently looking into getting some sort of emergency alarm / helpline system set up. I feel don't need it yet on a day to day basis, but it will be there if i have a sudden fall or decline etc.

If you are eligible to apply for council accommodation (ie you do not own your own home), then i would suggest that you look into applying for something similar to what i and Richard (above) have done. If you cannot move from your current home, then i would suggest still contacting your local council to find out about services that you can access while staying in your current home - both from the security/ helpine angle and from the occupational therapist home adaptations angle (stair lifts, shower or bath seats etc). Hope we have been able to give you some ideas, Parvati.

Hi Parvarti

Thanks so much for your indepth response to my question. I am not a council tenant nor eligible for a council flat as I have money to buy a small property from the pproceeds of a flat sale. The sale was initiated because I wanted to release some equity to help pay for my daughter's university education and have something to live on. I really don't want to rely on the state to support me if I can help it. ( I may have to lose some of my pride around that issue...)

I will look into whether my local authority (I am renting a room in a shared flat at the moment) provides the helpline system to people who live in the private sector.

To get one hot meal a day, I get the bus to the big local hospital not far away when I feel up to it.

I think it is the loneliness and anxiety that really gets to me so it is really great to have other people to talk to about this. Thanks again.

Hello swimmer, are you aware of Care Link ( They can provide you with a personal alarm, connected to them, so that when you activate it they ring you to check that you are okay. They can offer reassurance or contact your GP or emergency services for you. There is a small charge but they can offer peace of mind.

Thanks aunty mary, have just become aware of this organisation which will help with the medical emergency type situation. I would, however, also like to have people around me that I can trust - just to talk with or help out when things get tough.

hi swimmer have you got any accomadation for the "over 55s" near you we have quite a few round here usually they are a block of flats with a communal lounge if you feel like company but self contained if you dont and the level of care varies as to your needs from nothing to alot it doesnt matter whether you own your own property or rent you can still apply im still living with my youngest son but when he qualifies as a nurse in 2 years he will be off and i`m seriously considering it good luck anyway sandra

Hi Sandra

Thanks for your reponse. There are very few 55 and over facilities in my area (nearly all 60 and over) which is suprising as I live in Bournemouth where the population is quite elderly. However, I am able to move to other areas as I have no ties here so will keep on looking. Thanks again, Jan

Hi swimmer, I also think that looking at places for the 'over 55's' might be a solution for you. There are some really lovely developments around.. The flats are well designed so easy to get around and some of them have a 'manager' rather than a warden. Their policy seems to be that they won't provide care but would be a link in an emergency, contacting relatives etc. I do know that prices for these types of flats has gone down considerably in the last few years and for a purchaser that's good! Don't know what area you are in but there are places in is Buckinghamshire selling for around £80,000 upwards. Perhaps you could contact some of the Housing Associations such as Aldwyck, for advice.


Thanks Ann

I am not able to travel too far to look for places - I live near Bournemouth - Bucks would be too arduous a journey. But I will keep looking in Dorset, Hants and west Sussex as they are nearer.

Best wishes, Jan

hi, i hope you are ok just now? ask your doctor about getting a alarm in your home, i live in keny now but im from scotland i had a mex i wors i pendant round my neck when i needed help i buzzed my pendant & it rung through my home phone to cares & they came to help me, i know they do this all over u.k, or ask your nurse who you visit as you are entitled to feel & be safe, please let me know how this goes. :)

Thanks Betsyanne

I have just found out about the Careline Service and will keep you posted when I get settled.

Kind regards

Hi Swimmer, the red cross also help people too, try giving them a call and see what help they can give you. Members of the red cross came knocking on my door several months back asking for donations and they were telling me that they do alot of help to get people out of the house, go shopping for people who are unable to, etc. See what help they can give you and also contact your local social services. Alot of people shy away from the social services, but they were very goo with my mum and they have also helped myself too in the past. Two people to think of calling. Good luck with that. San x

Thanks so much for your input. Will look into both options.

Kind regards

your welcome, hope all goes well. San x

hello swimmer,i am a lot older than you, but i found myself in exactly the same position as you.sheltered housing was no longer "safe" for me,i didnt have any ideas at all,and i was very concerned.

i eventually heard of "extra care homes",i have been here for 6 months now,and have a lovely flat,live an independant life,but have a 3 course lunch each day,have personal care with showering etc,care is always available night and day.we have pendants to call for help,i was whisked off to hospital a few weeks ago in the middle of the night,it really does give me peace of mind.

maybe you are not yet ready,but its worth knowing about this as a possibility for the future,

all the very best,Maruth,x

Thanks Maruth

Apologies for my tardy reply but I have had family down visiting. Your set up sound great but isn't it expensive? A rough idea of costs would be helpful. I want to live within my means without resorting to public funds.

With thanks

yes,cost is a big issue,Swimmer, as an oap,i do get all the financial help i need, this is a social rent home,which means the local council fund those with low income.

i don't know the cost for the folk who live here privately and have bought their homes,obviously they also have to pay for any care they need,and for lunches etc.

i know that these homes are in place to keep us out of very much more expensive ,and fewer in number nursing homes..

i do hope you find something suitable for you very soon,accomodation is so important to those with our needs,

i could no longer cook for myself,told not to climb stairs,so this is truley a safer place for me.long corridors were seemingly an obstacle,but with a walker carrying my 02,they are managable.

sorry for the delay,in picking this up,but its been a bit of a week.!!

i wish you success in your search,and will watch out for your outcome.


Thanks Maruth for your reply and a thousand apologies for my very tardy response. I have been moving out of the flat I was staying in (renting room only and had no choice). I am renting another room in Hastings now and looking for somewhaere to lay my very weary head. The trouble is that most people who don't have a lung problem, do not realize how it can incapasitate you and are often less than sympathic.

Maybe I will just move into those warden assisted places and to hell with the money. I HAVE to find somewhere safe and comfortable to live asap.

Thanks again for your kind input.

Best wishes

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