Caring / helping with elderly parents back in th UK

(7 Posts)
Chocfish72 Wed 03-Aug-16 14:14:01

So we are just getting to this stage... DH and I have lived out of the UK for nearly 15 yrs now. We each have parents and a sister each living back in the UK, both living relatively close to their respective parents. DHs parents have just visited for a week and we are both shocked to see how much older and more frail my MIL is.

My PIL are in the process of selling their house and looking for a smaller one. It's clear that my SIL is going to have to help a lot, at the same time as managing her own family and ft job. Her DH, my BIL, is an only - so the care of his parents may also fall on them in the future. While we sit here, twiddling our thumbs.

How do you all manage / approach this? how do you manage the relationship with the sibling that ends up doing the bulk of the care? Do you make joint decisions or leave them to get on with it? What about things like POA- is it practical to have someone who's living overseas named on a POA for someone living in the UK?

Our opportunities to visit the uk in person are limited: DH is a teacher so only has school holidays off, which is our only family time (we have 2 DSs) and I'm not working - so we can't afford to fly back often. And TBH we just don't want to - except if we have to. Neither of us can envisage moving back to the UK permanently.

I'd be grateful for any advice / experiences / practical tips.

SugarPlumTree Wed 03-Aug-16 14:43:32

I was the sister in this scenario and my Brother made it a nightmare for me, going as far as reporting me to social services for financial abuse ( obviously there was no truth in this ).

He was on the POA and the health one was in his name only. Health professionals raised an eyebrow at this and said as he hadn't seen her fir five years he could be in a position to make a best interests decision.

We also had FIL to deal with who was abroad, plus children and I was working and it be honest the past few years were hell, pushing me to the limit , damaging my health badly. FIL died nearly a year ago above Mum a couple of months ago and I'm starting to gradually recover but no longer working.

My position could have been avoided if my Brither handled it differently. Things that would have helped are for him to have listened to me and believed me. My Mum would not accept in her mind how much help she needed and would moan about me to him. She has Dementia and could be changeable from hour to hour.

They are likely to need to but in help and care in the long term and are going to need a number of weeks a year where they are 'off duty', getting this planned now will really help - possibly respite care at some point? In all the situations I've known the eldest person is not aware how much of an impact their care has on their local child and their family so be very aware of this .

Practical things you can do are things like organise on line shops , set up Amazon prime so you can help order things. Get parents to agree their GP can talk to you so you can liaise with them at times to take pressure off sibling. Research meals on wheels /frozen meal options . Encourage sibling to have a Carers assessment from Social Services which they are entitled to . Have a think about any adaptations that are needed for the house well in advance to them actually being needed. Get parent used to accepting outside care now if they don't already have any - it makes things easier in a crisis. Get assisted bin collection set up from the council so one less thing to worry about. if not already done , get medications set up into a dosset box and ask the local pharmacy to deliver. Get key safe set up on front door if there isn't one.

My situation was extreme and a supportive sibling would have made a huge difference so good on you for understanding that this will have a big impact on sibling and being proactive.

SugarPlumTree Wed 03-Aug-16 14:49:11

Also depending on situation see if there are any local lunch clubs and a local thing along the lines of dial a ride .

The financial POA was set up as jointly and severally (?) for everything except for the sole of the house . Google spreadsheets or spreadsheets in Dropbox that can be shared are useful. We used Dropbox a lot actually thinking back. My Brother never bothered to get himself set up,with the bank which he was supposed to do, it would have been easier if he had his own card on account really.

Chocfish72 Thu 04-Aug-16 07:57:50

Oh dear sugar, that sounds very stressful. DH has great faith in his sister to deal fairly with things - if anything, the issue will be stopping her from allowing it to take over her life completely!

scaryteacher Thu 04-Aug-16 16:30:33

Both my db and I are abroad, and mum turns 76 next week. Db should be back next year, and I will hopefully be back in 2019.

Mum has some good friends who keep me informed of any issues, and I have her out to stay for a month+ at a time a couple of times a year, so can keep an eye on her then.

She isn't at the stage that she needs anything set up, but db and I have POA (the one before it all split into Health and Finance), so it should be OK.

Bobochic Fri 05-Aug-16 03:25:43

Not easy. My sister and I are both abroad - though not far away - and our parents died in 2015 and 2016 while still living independently in their own large rural house/garden. My sister has not been in a position to do much as her own DH was ill with brain cancer (he died this spring 6 weeks after my father died).

TBH I have spent huge amounts of time at my parents' home in the past two years, both caring for them as they became frail and ill, and also clearing up their house for a sale. My parents weren't very realistic about the burden they were carrying forward. But maybe most parents aren't?

Optimist1 Fri 05-Aug-16 06:18:11

Having been the sister in your situation, I'd suggest you ask them how you can help with things. Acknowledge their efforts and the fact that they know the state of play with your parents; be prepared to let them be the "experts". Discuss proposed dates of your visits so that they can use these as a bit of respite if required. Sympathise when it's clear they've had a lot to contend with. Express your appreciation with kind words. Laugh with the sisters if your parents treat your trips home as state visits!

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