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Responsibility for Elderly Parents? Support thread right here!

(996 Posts)
Needmoresleep Mon 01-Sep-14 09:08:30

Several of us are on the same journey. Some more difficult than others, some longer than others, but none easy. Feel free to share tears, rants or laughter with others who will understand.

SugarPlumTree Mon 01-Sep-14 18:11:48

Hi there ! My topic of the week is legs. Horrible, red and oozing pus, my poor Mother. Bit of a shock to come back to. Not only are her legs in a right state but she has a UTI and has gone all paranoid.

Meanwhile, FIL who is 88 with various conditions has just flown back out to Spain today. He has agreed to sell his flat though and eldest BIL flying over to sort POA.

Needmoresleep Tue 02-Sep-14 08:05:19

Another day spent largely on my mother's affairs.

Good: SS were really helpful. Found me the Community Dentist Service. Also suggested I had a Carer Assessment, even though I live 150 miles away. This would apparently put me on the circulation list for newsletters and other information. I would then have a better idea of what was available locally. They also gave me contacts for the disabled parking sticker people and someone who gives out fob keys for disabled toilets, both of which might make taking my mother out easier.

Bad: banks. I want to transfer a fixed term ISA that has matured. (Or rather the FCA have ruled that the marketing was misleading.) Both banks have seen the POA. First bank is seeking my mothers signature. Person in the branch at the second needed to check with the manager whether my signature alone would be sufficient.

Don't they know. Bank staff should have basic training on issues around the elderly. Inter alia this might have avoided the first bank persuading a confused 80 year old widow from putting significant sums into a 5 year stock market linked product.

Needmoresleep Tue 02-Sep-14 08:28:43

Sugar also sorry to hear about the legs. It sounds awful from your description.

Latest health issue for me is depression. DM is settled and managing, but has decided that there is no point. I am trying to organise for someone to take her out regularly. She is fine if out of familiar surroundings, though the mood lift does not last as she is not able to anticipate, nor can she remember. I am reluctant to go down the GP route, as in many ways she is right. Dementia is awful.

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Sep-14 15:02:27

Glad you got the CDS sorted out.
TBF, the Nationwide in branch seem to be unfailingly patient and kind to my dad as he's untangled all the different accounts mum had, and in sensible products for them.

Sugar, have you made any progress with your mums legs?

SugarPlumTree Tue 02-Sep-14 17:48:10

Sounds like you have had a very busy day NMS. I think depressingly it depends on luck of the draw and individual branches with Banks etc. That's great that SS were helpful. I always found them pretty good but think that is also luck of the drawer.

Depression is really difficult and I agree your Mum has a point. I think mine feels a bit like that, there has been talk of downing all her tablets. There's no way my Mother would take any AD's as she's got a thing about meds.

I ran in and out to see her today as had DS's party, so I could take more photos. They are very slightly improved though still look vile. I suggested Brother get letter from Dermatologist she saw 2 years ago which he has. The Head of care has been away, she's assessing Mum today and he will be talking to her to tomorrow and asking them to follow Consultants advice. Basically they are now as they were when living at Home and not complying with prescribed regime.

whataboutbob Tue 02-Sep-14 20:16:42

Good thread NMS! Well, haven't updated for some time. Dad still at home with his private care package. It is costing an arm and a leg, but keeping him at home, and mostly he accepts the carers. His aggression has abated a bit since his antidiabetic medication was increased (he was running very high sugar levels, which just made it worse). He has also been started on an anti depressant, i did not meet the psychiatrist so didn't have the opportunity to ask why, he does not strike me as depressed but maybe that is also supposed to help aggression in dementia. Dad and bro's house still looks fairly nightmarish but I just don;t feel the sense of overwhelming responsibility I used to. I'm now visiting about once a fortnight, less than before and find I sleep better at night so that's good. But boy it still is draining, and drawn out. As NMS has said previously, the realisation that this could go on for years is not a happy one.
We are all trying our best. And my best wishes to all on this thread for the new school year. DS1 started secondary school today. It's been emotional.

whataboutbob Tue 02-Sep-14 21:39:20

Forgot to say, dad frequently goes AWOL and the police sometimes has to be called. Other times he just gets himself home. I ve kind of got used to that too, although the dementia team gets very twitched about it.

SugarPlumTree Tue 02-Sep-14 22:27:59

I'm glad you are sleeping better Bob, that is good. I think some Psychiatrists take a default position of depression being an inevitable part of Dementia. I hope all has gone well for DS today, it does make you feel you are into a new phase.

Jumped a bit here when the phone rang 9pm earlier. Was an update on FIL from his neighbour. Relations between her and SIL very strained and she clearly needed to vent. Bit fed up it is still coming from two directions.

whataboutbob Wed 03-Sep-14 14:07:36

Thanks sugarplum. One of the many less than pleasant aspects of having frail/ demented elderly relatives, is having to deal with other people's stress about it. One of the worst times I've had with Dad so far was that week where every single friend/ church acquaintance of his seemed to be ringing up wanting to know what was wrong with him, and what I was going to do about it. Just hideous. Now 3 years on my hide is a lot thicker. I jusr accept others will be worried/ inconvenienced at times; I can't deal with everything.
I agree it's unfair you've goT to your mother to worry about, and now your FIL.

SugarPlumTree Wed 03-Sep-14 18:03:46

Yes people expect you to wave a magic wand and be able to sort it but Dementia just isn't sortable in the way people think hen hey haven't lived th reality.

Another day of problems here. First of all a phone to ask if I could come tomorrow as she's refusing blood tests. I can't as running slight temp and have sore throat.

They have now swabbed legs and sent off. We felt they should be dressed but she's refusing that. Apparently she told my Brother she wanted to go back other place earlier . Thing is she is used to kicking off and getting moved so behaviour ingrained. She's really playing the staff up.

whataboutbob Wed 03-Sep-14 19:37:02

Yes, you've been here before. Maybe you should just sit tight, not panic- she will complain about stuff, but you've come this far, she s in a safe place. I'd encourage you to be helpful but firm in protecting your boundaries with the home staff.

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Sep-14 20:55:45

Maybe the smile and nod method is called for? We are doing this with my mum and her knees - not telling her she's not going to have anything done, just 'oh, we'll wait to see what the dr says'

Something you'll all appreciate - my local newspaper tells me there will be a barn dance for those with dementia this Saturday. The mind boggles

SugarPlumTree Wed 03-Sep-14 21:08:11

ROFL at the Barn dance, I have a vision of that !

I have had a discussion with the Nurse today and was helpful bit said several times that Brother us Health and Welfare POA. I said to her we are getting calls re FIL (trying to nip those in the bud) i'm buying a business, DH is gong freelance and we need to help DD decide on options post GCSE this term.

She did seem to get it after that so hope they will continue with contact being my Brother. On the subject of him, He was filling me in about his conversation with Head of Care but had to vanish as was getting texts, seems he has got someone pregnant...

The problem is with her legs as Nurse was saying today,worse case is amputation so that kind of raises stakes. They have now swabbed and are waiting for results which is the first thing I said when I got back and saw them so fingers crossed can get the right antibiotic and things improve.

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Sep-14 21:13:58

OMG your brother never ceases to amaze does he!

furrymuff Wed 03-Sep-14 21:21:23

Hi all, can I join in? I'm slowly taking on more and more responsibility for my elderly grandparents. My grandad is 91 and has suddenly started deteriorating health wise in the last couple of months; my granny is 93 and has advanced dementia, although she does still seem to know who I am. Her memory has completely gone now.

Currently trying to sort out a package of care for her, and have the Financial Assessment Team coming round in the morning to assess how much funding she'll be entitled to. Her social worker thinks she needs 3 x a day assistance.

However, she hates strangers coming in and gets aggressive sad - I've tried to explain to my grandad that if he goes in to hospital again for any period of time she needs to get used to people coming in - does anyone know whether they ever get used to having strangers in the house, or does it just get worse?

Sorry for rambling on, I saw this thread come up on Active and didn't realise there was a dedicated thread, am ridiculously pleased to have found you all!

Needmoresleep Wed 03-Sep-14 23:18:22

Welcome, if that's the right word.

In my experience it can get a bit easier. Either the carers happen and the elderly person gets used to them or the dementia gets worse and the person loses some of their fight.

I tried to see it as my mother fighting desperately to cling onto her old life and independence. In her case she had a fall and so was immobile for a while so care was inevitable. Once it happened and she moved to very sheltered helpful accommodation she realised things weren't so bad. Plus it became clear that she had been quite lost, stressed and lonely on her own.

The transition from her living on her own to me taking POA and her living in sheltered with carers coming in was pretty awful. She was frequently aggressive and abusive.

So sorry. No easy solutions and it all sounds very familiar. But stay with us and others may have further ideas or at leaat be able to offer sympathy.

Oldieandgoldie Thu 04-Sep-14 00:10:14

Apologies for grammar etc, it's late, I'm tired, and I've had a glass (or two!).

re the legs, my mum had very similar, and was hospitalised several times. Eventually she was taken off warfarin, and put on to a modern substitute, and what a difference! She's had no trouble with her legs since.

re the bank, we had no trouble with any bank...except Barclays. Like you they kept insisting on a visit/signature from my mum. Even though I have POA it took several months but we got there in the end without getting my mum involved. At one point everyday for a week or so I was visiting the local branch telling the manager how to do his job, and he was telling me I was wrong; other branches were also involved, but still he refused to listen and insisted he was right. It was a nightmare. We withdrew all the money ASAP and transferred to another bank. No apology was ever received from the local bank.

re home help...my mum and dad were very(!!) reluctant to have any help at all. Eventually we reached crisis point (crisis as in we were racing up the motorway while my dad was dying, and mum was still refusing anything and everything!)...it was awful! Keep trying to gradually introduce some help/care if you can.

Many many sympathies to everyone going through this. My mum is now in a home, she's not at all happy about it, but unfortunately there's no alternative. It slightly easier now (twelve months on), but it still varies, visit to visit. Take care of yourself (mainly!), and your family. And vent on here, and Talking Point (the Alzheimer's forum) when necessary.

Xx

Oldieandgoldie Thu 04-Sep-14 00:14:35

And yes, we've had the screaming abuse and aggression too.
Eventually, as hard and horrible as it is, you become immune to it.
Or so you think.....
Unfortunately you cannot dictate how your mind/body reacts to certain situations. sad

Oldieandgoldie Thu 04-Sep-14 00:16:44

re the legs, she also had MRSA, caught/developed in hospital!

Old age is the pits! sad

Needmoresleep Thu 04-Sep-14 09:45:12

Thinking about the abuse and transition, three good things happened to me.

1. Health care professionals were very clear to my mum that they welcomed the fact I was there and they felt I was being very supportive. Just as well. She used to sit in hospital waiting rooms telling everyone how awful I was.

2. She thought a lot of her priest, who was great and who helped persuade her to sign the POA.

3. The manager of her sheltered housing had an impressive quiet authority and was able to tell my mother to behave.

I found it a huge learning experience. My mother was never easy and my approach as a child had been to go with the flow and not confront. As Oldie says, at some point you sort of become immune. Part of the problem was that having always had the upper hand by mother was really reluctant to give way to me. Plus this awful dementia thing that any reasonable discussion leading to a workable solution is immediately forgotten. Ditto with the rows. My mother would rip me to shreds one day, saying awful things, and next day would be all smiles.

Having a POA was really important. It meant I was able to say that though I was listening to her I had a (legal) duty then to decide in her best interests. So though I cut back the carer time as she became more mobile, someone was still coming in each day to prompt medication etc.

(On carers it is a matter of luck. There have been two who have been fab and who have established a rapport. The others have tended to be low paid and jobs worth, unwilling to take a wider responsibility if not actually on the task list. Eg her sheets weren't changed for 4 months because no one spotted it, and I now have to do a trawl of her flat when I go down to ensure there is toothpaste and other basics.)

I think my advice would be to consider what is achievable. If you don't have POA so cant impose, you really can't take responsibility and will simply be banging your head against the wall. If things are bad you might need to suggest to SS that they appoint a guardian, even if it takes things out of your hands, so decisions can be made. Or perhaps get your Grandfather to sign a POA and have your Grandmother ruled as not having capacity.

After the crisis was over I found myself withdrawing for about six months, only seeing my mother when absolutely necessary. I felt guilty but think it is common. It is better now. She has the support she needs, Plus we have bought a small holiday flat near her, so I can visit her without having to rush her out to the GP or whatever other chores. (Based on this experience our game plan with in-laws, if and when the crisis hits, will be to try to rent an out of season holiday chalet, so we have a base and there is scope to stay overnight before a busy and difficult day starts.) Tricks now include limiting outings to coffee in busy places where she can watch the world go by, which she likes. Bringing along DH or DC when I can as they are more relaxed with her than I am. Bringing a small gift each time. Packet of biscuits etc, so the visit starts on a positive note.

SPT, congrats on your future auntiehood...and MN now allows you to post photos....

And nice to meet you Oldieandgoldie.

ChasbutnotDave Thu 04-Sep-14 13:53:26

I'm unfortunately experiencing the abuse and aggression from my mum which is hard to deal with even though I know it's the dementia and not her. She refuses to discuss anything she doesn't want to and if the matter is pushed she gets angry.

Last weekend was much worse though, she was attacking me and DH for nothing, it was just really horrible and made me realise the children may have to stop seeing her much sooner than I thought.

I don't have POA and money and other affairs is one of the things she won't talk about. She was due to have a financial assessment but that got cancelled as was a review of her care needs. We've managed to get the care needs appt reinstated the week after next.

My main concern for my mum alongside the dementia is she won't let her carers help with personal care and can't/won't do it herself. Opinions from professionals vary from it being self neglect to "you can't force her." My worry is she'll end up in hospital which is what happened to her before. sad

My mum rang me this morning and asked me if mood swings are part of the condition.
This was a slight step forward in that she seemed to acknowledge the dementia rather than her usual old age bad memory theory.

It's a horrible, sad, scary place for us all to be in and I'm not really sure what I should/can be doing.

SugarPlumTree Thu 04-Sep-14 16:20:27

Hi to all. Mum went through fits and starts of accepting the Carers. FIL however seems fine with them despite saying he didn't want them. There's a lot to be said for familiarity smoothing the way .

Lots of sympathy to everyone experiencing aggression. I had the phone slammed down on me earlier but feel fairly immune now. It is easier though now she is into a residential setting so I know she's safe.

Chas is there someone you could get onside about the POA who your Mum might listen to? Mine listened to the Memory Clinic. My children have stopped seeing her for the moment as they got distressed by her last year. DD has seen her once since but DS not.

The bit when they are at home but refusing help is very difficult, you have my total sympathies. It all hinges on whether she has capacity, which is a tricky issue as capacity can fluctuate. You like to think there's a set pathway to deal with all these issues but the reality seems to be that it just depends on the Health professionals involved. It might be an idea to ak for a Carers assessment for you.

GP been into review Mum. We produced letter from Dermatologist who treated her legs 2 years go when bad so there is a good care plan in place. Need results of leg swab though really.

SugarPlumTree Sun 07-Sep-14 02:58:32

Well shit hit fan with FIL as I bloody told them it would if they sent him back. He is currently in a bed in a corridor in a Spanish hospital awaiting decision in morning whether they will admit or not. He fell, hit his head with nasty wound and doctor says he nearly died, suspect not out of the woods yet on that from, time will tell. We need to medically repatriate him somehow. DH probably flying out tomorrow, or should I say later today.

Why why why do siblings not listen?

Blondieminx Sun 07-Sep-14 03:23:14

signing in for the "still up and worrying about the parents" hour... SugarPlum good luck with the FIL repatriation process, it sounds like you have so much on.

Do you find that everything just swirls round you at this time? I'm shattered but brain still turning everything over, trying to find a solution to it all?

My DDad has cancer, he also has severe leg ulcers - the district nurses come every other day to dress them but he's bandaged from knee to toe sad He's really not good but after a real crisis and a number of falls we now have some additional carer support. It's so bloody fragmented, no one turns up when they are supposed to either. He's determined to stay at home but is getting really grumpy and shouty ... it's awful Furry that agression is SO hard to deal with isn't it.

My mum is awaiting a knee replacement and is at the end of her tether with it all.

Sending brew and cake and sympathy to everyone on this thread, it's so bloody hard isn't it.

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