Anguish of 98-year-old couple denied a place in a care home

Leonard and Nora Boxall with son Michael
Leonard and Nora Boxall with son Michael

An elderly couple have been left distraught after being told that they are are not eligible for admission to a care home.

Ninety-eight-year-old war hero Leonard Boxall and his wife Nora, 97, are currently living in sheltered accommodation in Southgate, Crawley, but are finding it difficult to cope because of their advancing age and illness.

Nora suffers from dementia and Leonard, who has cancer, struggles to look after her, as well as himself. Granddaughter Amanda Boxall said: “Social services won’t allow them to go into a care home because they say they do not meet the necessary criteria. But they are finding it very hard to cope.”

Leonard’s son Michael said the situation was a strain on the whole family. His mother’s health had “really gon downhill” since she was diagnosed with dementia, he said. She frequently needed to use a wheelchair and his father walked with the aid of a zimmer frame.

He said the family had found a care home in Crawley, which had two rooms available and would have been ‘ideal’ for the couple. “But social services did an assessment and they were turned down,” said Michael. “But they can’t cope on their own at home. We’re not asking for their care to be fully funded. We’re very upset about it.”

He said his parents - who have been married for 75 years - did not want to be parted. “My father is 98,” he said. “He joined the Army in 1939 and fought in the war in campaigns in France, Germany and Italy. He was wounded and was taken prisoner. He’s been through a lot.

“It’s come to the point where they need extra care. We have asked for it and it has been turned down. We don’t know what to do now.”

They are calling on Crawley MP Henry Smith for help.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “The Boxalls are understandably worried about their increasing need for care. At the moment they only receive ‘light touch’ support. We recognise their needs have grown and they want to stay together so we have offered to help them stay in their sheltered accommodation home but with much more carer support to help with their daily tasks. This would be combined with visits to specialist day centres and the offer of residential respite to allow both of them some short-term relief. If they choose to go ahead with this, then we have assured them we will monitor their situation closely and, if they need even further support, then we can look at alternatives including care homes.”