Support for vulnerable family members

  • 3 replies
  • 13 subscribers


My mum was diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma cancer in January. It is spreading aggressively and she has now been given months to live. She has been in hospital for the last 5 days relying on oxygen and pain medication. Next week we will discuss with the palliative care team next relocating her to hospice.  

My youngest brother who is 24 was living with her in her council property. He is vulnerable and has suffered with mental health episodes in the past. He has not been sectioned but he was in a mental institution some years back when he had an episode. I believe he may suffer from Schizophrenia but he hasn't been officially diagnosed. 

I live in Dubai but I a back temporarily to be here to support my mum in her last days. In the long-term he cannot live with family, and I'm really worried that my mum passing will be a major trigger for my him.  I'm also worried about whether he will be rehoused in a suitable safe place. 

Please can you offer any advice on: 

1) how we approach supporting his mentation health at this time

2) how we approach conversations with the council regarding his rehousing

Any advice would be much appreciated.



  • Dear Marisa

    Thank you for your message. I’m so sorry to hear about your mum’s diagnosis and prognosis.  I can only imagine the impact this is having on you.  How are you, Marisa?

    I’m also sorry to hear the struggles that your brother has had with his mental health.  Can I ask whether he has any mental health support currently?  If not, it could be a good idea to get that in place.  You can find out more about this by following this link - How to access mental health services - NHS (  This could help to get the support in place that he needs now as well as after your mum passes, Marisa.

    In terms of your brother’s housing, Marisa, the following information may be useful in terms of whether he could inherit the lease from your Mum - Can you inherit a council property.  This link is to the Shelter website and they are expert at providing housing advice. They have information on their website and a telephone support line.   You can find their contact details here.

    In addition, his local adult social services team at the council could provide support either to live independently or to find a residential care setting.  You can find his local adult social services team by inputting his postcode into the following link - Advice local.

     Marisa, we’re here to help you with further queries and to provide emotional support.  You’d be welcome to contact us on the Macmillan Support Line to talk things through. We offer a listening ear. We also have a team of cancer information nurses, if you have any medical queries, and a financial help team who can give guidance on benefits, grants and schemes, and also personal finance, such as mortgages, pensions and insurance. You can call us on 0808 808 00 00, 8am-8pm, Monday to Sunday, continue to email us, or contact us on our online chat facility here.

    If you’d prefer face-to-face support, there are cancer information centres where you can drop in to have a chat with someone, ask any questions, and find out more about local support. To find out about local support centres and groups in your area, click here.

    I hope you found this information helpful, Marisa.


    Yvonne, Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.

  • Thanks so much for your reply. Appreciate the advice. The website is missing from the shelter place you recommended. Please reshare Thank you.  

  • Hi Marisa 

    I'm sorry you weren't able to access the Shelter website link I included.  I attach it below and hope you are able to access the information now. 

    Can you inherit a council tenancy? - Shelter England

    Yvonne, Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.