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Worried about PILs

(7 Posts)
ElephantsEye Sun 21-Jul-13 21:40:18

Is there any kind of objective way of assessing whether elderly people can look after themselves or not?

FIL is 90 and can look after himself. His physical and mental health is still very good.
MIL is 86 and cannot look after herself. She is housebound due to poor mobility. She has a range of medication to take daily, including a strong, opium-based painkiller.
FIL is trying to look after her and for the most part is doing an extremely good job. He copes with cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping (still driving!).
They are in their own home, we live nearby and visit frequently.
However, MIL is a very difficult 'patient', and is putting excessive demands on FIL. EG, she won't take responsibility for taking her own medication. Her appetite has dwindled away; she drinks very little (and usually protests when food or drink is put in front of her). We've tried explaining that her headaches may be due to dehydration - but she still refuses to drink.
She has carers night and morning to help her with toileting (FIL helps the rest of the time).
She talks a lot of rubbish, eg insists she has taken all her tablets - but hasn't (they are in a nomad box so it's clear to see). She claims she drinks 'plenty' - but FIL says she asks for tea or coffee then drinks only 10% of it. She told the carers tonight that she was in terrible pain and that she has 'no more painkillers' - yet only 10 minutes earlier she was refusing to take her painkillers, claiming that if she took them she would vomit. The only time we've been aware of her vomiting was when we were present and she appeared to be trying to make herself vomit.
Their GP visits from time to time. FIL has told us twice recently that MIL phoned to ask for a house visit, then phoned back to cancel it. MIL is adamant she did no such thing.
She's rude and argumentative all the time, and my FIL is at his wit's end.

DH is an only child. He doesn't have any PoA.

Any suggestions about how to proceed?

fubbsy Mon 22-Jul-13 14:23:39

Have they had any input from Social Services? Your PIL are entitled to an assessment of their needs. If they have not yet been in contact with SS, you can refer them yourself. Phone their local council and ask to speak to the duty social worker for adults. Tell the social worker everything you have put on this thread.

You might also want to contact Age UK. They have an advice line 0800 169 6565.

ElephantsEye Mon 22-Jul-13 20:57:46

Thanks fubbsy.

SS assessed them back in April and as a result the care team now come in. There was also an Occ Therapist, and a physiotherapist. Both visited only rarely and with little apparent effect, I must say.

The GP referred MIL to a geriatric unit for assessment for rehabilitation. That was 6 weeks ago. As soon as the appointment was made, the SS team withdrew. MIL has had to wait 6 weeks for the assessment so for 6 weeks she's had no specific 'treatment' or support other than the care team. I know these things have to be rationed, but even the GP was surprised at how long she has had to wait, and the immediate withdrawal of the other services.

The assessment is tomorrow ... here's hoping for something positive to come out of it!

Meantime I'll check the AgeUK site.

fubbsy Tue 23-Jul-13 09:14:26

That sounds strange that SS went away when she was given a medical appointment. In theory, they are supposed to all work together. I suspect that SS withdrew to wait and see if MIL's services will be paid for from an NHS budget, rather than their own. It's a sad state of affairs with all the cuts.

My FIL got a certain number of sessions with the physio (6 or 8, I can't remember). Whatever she said to him seems to have worked: 9 months later and he is still faithfully doing the exercises. The OT only visited once, but she recommended certain adaptations to the house and arranged for them to be done. Good thing is FIL and MIL both find the adaptations helpful.

GL with the assessment today. I hope they say something sensible.

ElephantsEye Sun 28-Jul-13 13:03:19

Well, MIL had an assessment during the week. Based on what she's told us, she was asked to walk - they wheeled her everywhere. Also, infuriatingly, just as she was due to be seen by the physiotherapist, she had to leave because the patient transport service arrived to take her home!

She now has a letter inviting her to a follow-up appointment - but that's another , yes SEVEN, weeks away.

The geriatric dr has been trying to contact DH (keep missing each other on the phone) - left a message to day there's nothing to worry about, but of course another 7 weeks to wait IS something to worry about in our opinion an he will tell her so when he finally gets hold of her.

DH plans to write to MILs GP to see if anything can be done in the meantime. She's (reasonably) content as long as she's waited on hand and foot 24/7, but FIL is already at his wits end. We'd be prepared to pay for physio/chiropractic/ etc privately if it would help, but we need professional advice about what's appropriate for her. FIL is a different matter.... he just needs respite!

ElephantsEye Sun 28-Jul-13 13:14:59

wasn't ; apologies for other typos (not like me!)

ElephantsEye Sun 25-Aug-13 16:15:27

Getting clarity, slowly. The appointment 7 weeks later is for a follow-up check. Meantime she now has appointments for physiotherapy. She's had one so far and seems OK with it. They've arranged an MRI scan to have a closer look at her injury.

She's making slightly more effort to get around the house but not enough to make a difference to PIL.

Thanks for support so far.

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