Things took a further turn for the worse in recent weeks, when their youngest child, 18-month-old daughter Perla, was rushed to hospital via ambulance suffering a mystery illness.
Patti took to Instagram to share a photo of the stricken tot, explaining: “Perla wasn’t well – the ambulance guys were so wonderful, as were the doctor and the nurses at the Children’s Hospital. She’s home and taking it easy. Not serious, so lucky.”
Patti and Bert's sixth grandchild Alby James Newton Welsh was born seven weeks early and Lauren confessed on Instagram that it had been "a long journey".
"We are so grateful to the amazing @dr_stephencole and the wonderful team at @frances_perry_house. It has been a long journey and we are so thrilled to have gorgeous Alby here safely. He is 7 weeks early but doing really well."
If that wasn’t frightening enough, Patti and her 82-year-old husband – who is dealing with ongoing heart problems after a quadruple bypass in 2012 – were said to be “distraught” last week after reading headlines involving their 43-year-old son Matthew, who lives in New York with his wife Catherine Schneiderman, 27.
The disgraced actor has made his home in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which is usually classed as a quiet, more affluent section of the Big Apple.
But since the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest in the city as protesters clash with NYPD officers, Matthew’s haven has descended into lawless chaos.
Patti is believed to have “read with dread” headlines on the New York Post website that allege the once-safe streets have been overrun with “drug addicts and sex offenders”.
“Three hotels … housing hundreds of homeless men during the pandemic have turned the area into a spectacle of public urination, cat-calling and open drug use,” the newspaper reports.
A local nanny complained that she no longer feels secure walking around with her two-year-old charge, and said she “was offered crack” by a group of men.
“Like any mother would be, Patti was disturbed by this and wants her son to come home,” says a source. “She had been hoping for news of another grandchild, but instead she is picturing her son and daughter-in-law under siege.”
It’s widely reported that Patti and Bert don’t enjoy a close relationship with Matthew after he fled to the United States in disgrace after physically abusing his ex-fiancée, Aussie actress Rachael Taylor.
But, we’re told, the parents have “never stopped keeping tabs on him via the occasional phone call and what they read in the media”.
And with both of her children struggling, Patti’s at breaking point.
“She feels helpless – her kids and grandkids are her world” says a source. “It’s one thing after another, but for now she knows her priority has to be looking after Lauren’s kids while she’s laid up and just hope for the best with everything else.”