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Considering having elderly gran and uncle come live with us - advice appreciated, long story(15 Posts)
I have only ever posted once on here - read a lot but unsude if this is the right section for my post - let me know if not?
I am looking for some practical advice and hopefully some advice based on personal experiences of anyone in a similar situation. It a bit of a long one so have broken it down:
My gran (83) lives at her home with her disabled son (48). She has been his primary carer all her life. Approx. 8 months ago he had an incident where he choked on his food and now he is at risk of choking because this has happened once – so he needs food mushed up, blended and watched while eating – all fairly straight forward. He doesn’t speak and has low mental age.
However my grans mobility has decreased over the last two years and co-incidentally around the same time she had been struggling to cope.
So with the timing and him being in hospital re the choking, social services put a care plan in place for him, a carer comes in 3 times per day to cook for him and watch him eat and also take care of personal care, bathing, washing clothes etc.
It’s been a big adjustment for my gran who has been independent and doesn’t like getting help.
My uncles daily trips have stopped because the money is now allocated by the council to the carers so he doesn’t get out much, if at all and he lived going swimming, to the parks etc.
However her memory and own ability to care for herself is slipping considerably. She has various health issues, angina etc.
My gran has two other sons (my dad and my other uncle) both of who share power of attorney now – it’s a new thing introduced so they can make decisions and handle finances etc. My gran wanted this as she wants to know John is cared for when she passes – were a very pragmatic family it seems. The idea being my uncle stays in their rented family council house himself and a carer lives with him. I am not a fan of this idea for a variety of reasons – safety being utmost important. However that’s by the by just now.
There are also 6 grandchildren including myself (37). My gran pretty much raised me and I’ve lived with her a large portion of my life. Moving away from the home town 10 years ago (30 mins away now).
My dad rarely visits my gran, once since xmas, and seems to have given up helping with social services and my uncle seems to not be too interested in day to day stuff – but he is the main link with social services.
I admit to letting life get in the way with my own family troubles (runaway teenager etc) so have taken eye off the ball and only visit once per 3 weeks recently – not good enough.
I also am hesitant to visit because I was accused (by my other uncle) of stealing from my Gran. I’m a design freelancer on a great income, lovely home and a gran whom I love dearly like a mum – if there was anything I needed, I only need to ask and she would give. My dad failed to defend me when I was accused so I no longer speak to either of them. While I know I am innocent, no one else has been accused, ie carers or my bother or SIL who are in daily – just me for some reason. Apparently they think I am over reacting to being asked if I took money from her without her knowing and that them asking this is not actually them accusing me of stealing… I digress however - just to let you know there are issues there.
My brother stays two mins away and does her shopping and visits each day (or used to anyway).
After a visit tonight to Gran, it seems her memory seems to have gotten much worse, my sister in law refuses to help any more after a disagreement about the mobility car and my Gran doesn’t see anyone apart from my uncle’s carers on a day to day basis.
My gran has also been drinking – going from a few glasses of wine to spirits also and in larger quantities – I believe my brother is buying this with the shopping (which he does for her each week). I’m a firm believer in a wee drink is ok – she deserves it after the life she’s had but this seems excessive.
Together with a few “incidents” where she’s needed help from my uncle’s carers, her memory and general health and the lack of people visiting, im really worries about it and feel horrendous for not helping the last 6 months. I hadn’t realised it was like this and has thought people were visiting etc.
She has a home alarm link etc. in place but has fell once also. She uses a walker to get from room to room.
So my partner has suggested we ask my gran and my uncle to move in with us. We've considered it in the past but he was never fully on board and my daughters were younger (one of whom we have just got over some serious issues with. My daughters have now finished exams, one going to college, one about to do 5th year so no youngsters to think of.
I work from home and my partner is house hubby, this works for us.
We have the room, a spare room downstairs and a spare bedroom upstairs – it’s a large detached 6 bed house so no space issues. I can get the downstairs toilet turned into a shower room.
Personal care isn’t an issue as I bathed my uncle and looked after him when needed and I helped with personal care for my mum who was bed ridden with lymphoma.
I grew up with my gran – pretty much lived with her until the age of 8 then again when I was 15-18 – we are very close, more like mum and daughter.
The concerns & moving forward
How will my uncle and dad react to my idea – will this be a blessing in disguise for them or will they think that I have ulterior motives – it’s shocking to me that I even need to consider this as an option but if you knew them . There is no financial gain for me here – she’s not rich, just her pension and I earn a good living anyway.
How will we put this in place – where do we start (we’re in Scotland) – who do we approach, what about carers etc etc – it’s a switch in local authority if we do it.
I know my gran will say yes if we can get all the family in agreement – she just won’t want arguments, it stresses her.
Has anyone experienced anything like this with a family members moving in and becoming carers essentially and how do I deal with my other uncle and dad whom I don’t speak to.
I don’t want this to turn into an argument or blame game but they are not doing enough and not visiting. I have been remiss also recently and didn’t know extent of problems but want to fix it now (ive always been there for her in the past) – my gran doesn’t deserve to spend the last few years of her life stuck in a house 24 hours a day with the door locked (only people with the code can unlock it) with no one to talk to.
I think she will like to know that my uncle will be taken care of once she passes – my other uncle nor my dad are willing to have him which I find shocking as he’s their brother.
Any advice gratefully received. I’ve tried to give a lot of info but I’ll have missed a lot so if clarifications needed just ask.
Thanks in advance.
Think about how you will get a break from the daily caring. It will wear you out without a lot of help. I have found with a couple of friends that what they put in place was great for a while but then fairly quickly more help was needed so, as the elderly relative deteriorated they were playing catch up all the time. I hate to be so negative but I have seen friends in this situation and I am only relaying what they experienced. Your gran and uncle will sadly only get worse, not better, and you need to think about five, ten, twenty years down the road. Years will go by, family members will leave it all to you and in time you might be dealing with incontinence, dementia and who knows what and you will be getting older and more tired and you may resent the loss of freedom that you might otherwise have enjoyed having brought your family up. You would also have to reach an agreement with your family about your gran's house or other assets and that might be a nightmare too.
Why not start with having your uncle to stay at weekends and see how you get on? He would probably enjoy the change of scene and your gran could get a break
I would be loathe to get her to give up a council house and the great care package she has organised unless it was totally going to work. Maybe at weekends you could take your uncle to some of those activities he has been missing
It almost certainly won't be the way you imagine it. I care for my much-loved elderly Mum at home. It's bloody hard work. She has the dependency of a toddler because she has no mobility, failing eyesight, hearing loss, cognitive impairment and can't do anything for herself. If I'm not around, I have to get a carer in, in case she needs the loo, as my DH and dc have never been involved in her personal care, naturally enough. I have broken nights, huge frustrations with her during the day, there is no chance to do anything on the spur of the moment. I would say to anyone don't do it, if you can reconcile yourself to any other way round the problem. Having them 24/7 is a million miles away from visiting even 2 or 3 times a day. I couldn't bring myself to put Mum in a nursing home, so I know how strong the desire is to make everything ok again for elderly relatives, but it won't be a bed of roses. Sorry.
Thanks charlieiscool. In all honesty I'm not too sure what the other options are if I don't. My gran won't be here forever and I suppose it's that short term view Ive been taking. In terms of her things I couldn't care less if they want them. She doesn't have assets or own her house. Just some ornaments. To be honest she's given to us all all her days.
It's a big ask not to mention they would have to let go of everything that's familier. agree about getting uncle to stay and see how it goes. If they did move in and it was thank you much your uncle would have to go back on waiting list for house or end up in care setting which you don't want.
Yes social care costs are high even if you are on benefits so if you can afford to assist with basic outings I'm sure they would be well recieved
Who has power of autonery over uncles money and affairs? May help
If gran can pass these over to you if no other family close by.
Thanks meowli. I don't imagine it will be easy. We've spoke about the strain and hard work and till it will take. Do the benefits of knowing you're caring for your mum make up for the down sides?
Do you get any outside support or respite?
POA for my uncle is my dad and other uncle. That's how it's been setup.
I'm not thinking of assets or money etc. I'd be happy for them to keep pop and just have them living with us. It's just so unfair that everyone's abandoning her.
No o was just thinking someone has to be invade grab can't abd much harder to sort out after event. maybe have frank conversation with gran see what she says
I suppose what you have to be really sure about is your uncle - it could be a lifetime commitment with him.
I really respect you for considering this. It would take so much weight off your gran's mind.
It's debatable, Scot. I know I look after her better than any care home would (she has had respite breaks, but I would lie awake worrying about her), but it has been at great personal cost to me and the family. I have to use carers (paid for by Mum - she is self funding atm till her savings run out), otherwise I wouldn't get out of the house. It truly is a rock/hard place dilemma, when those you love can no longer care for themselves. I feel for you.
In all honesty it's the commitment to my uncle that is the area that gives me pause and I feel terrible for thinking that.
Don't feel terrible scotsmum you don't deserve that. You are having to face the reality here and consider your long term mental and physical health.
Is there a specific department within the council I can call etc? I've heard that they will do an assessment and I'm sure, if everyone is in agreement etc, that it would be take a bit of time to transfer services etc.
I also need to check into whether my local authority has more services that my uncles current (who closed his day centre and stopped daily outings). Is there a best section to call for that?
I really don't think you should feel bad about your uncle. His long term happiness and independence might best be served by some supported living arrangement where he can have company his own age and go on all the outings he enjoys. With the best will in the world you probably can't offer this and care for your own family. What you could offer though is an extra place where he can go and feel welcomed and loved.