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How to get Support for my Dad Caring for my Mum(4 Posts)
My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers in February of this year, although we were fairly sure she had that or Dementia for at least 6 months prior to her diagnosis. She is in her late sixties and my dad is 9 years older than her, and although he is very fit physically and mentally her needs have dramatically increased since the start of the first lockdown. She was prescribed medication in February which she began taking, then in April she got very depressed which made her symptoms much worse. My sister got in touch with the Psychiatrist who spoke to my parents over Zoom and changed her medication. This also coincided with some of the lockdown restrictions being lifted so she was feeling better mentally anyway but for a while she seemed to improve.
For a few months now I have noticed that her symptoms have worsened and she is no longer able to dress herself properly, she can't use any of the household appliances and it apparently takes hours for her to get up, have a shower and dress on a morning even though my Dad helps her dress. My Dad phoned me today to say that my Mum has had a bit of a "crisis" this morning and it's clear to me that things can't carry on the way they are.
I feel at a complete loss to help them, I'm 30 miles away, working and it's lockdown so I can't see them anyway. I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this and had any advice on how to make things easier for my parents? I wondered if getting carers in on a morning would help, but I know my Mum would feel humiliated as she is very much all there mentally, she just occasionally can't think of a word but it's mainly carrying out tasks that she struggles with. Sorry for the long post, I'm really struggling with this.
Hi OP, does your mum have a social worker? Has she had a care assessment? First stage would be to ask her GP to refer her for an assessment, usually a Physio or Occupational Therapist (or both) would assess how she manages daily tasks like washing, dressing, making a cup of tea, using the toilet. They'll look at her environment, maybe she needs her chair higher or to use a walking aid to get around.
All this information will determine the level of care she needs. Be honest, tell them everything, don't be shy. If you play it down and don't tell the truth she won't get help.
Also, I believe if someone is diagnosed with dementia, their council tax is free. Might be worth phoning the council to check. Good luck.
Thank you. I think Occupational Health came round before lockdown but she is so much worse now, so I need to speak to my parents about it again and hope they take me up on it!
This was very similar to my situation 6 months ago with my dad. Fast forward to now and following a fall that ended up with dad in A&E he now has carers on 5 mornings a week to get him showered and dressed. Mum was the resistant one, dad has accepted the help quite readily (which was a big surprise to me as I thought he would find it humiliating). Unfortunately it took a nasty fall to happen before she would accept help in to the house.
Like you I live quite some distance from my parents and they don't do technology - mum never rings me, I call the landline every day to check on them, sometimes mum won't answer as she's too tired to talk. I go down once a week as I see it as an essential visit for care purposes.
Some practical advice, and apologies if you've already done this but get health and financial power of attorney for both your parents now. You can do it yourself and don't need to pay a solicitor but you need to print off reams of forms and get a lot of signatures. It makes dealing with services so much easier, particularly when you live some distance away.
I got dad a fall alarm, again thought he might find it humiliating to wear but again I was wrong and he happily wears it.
AgeUK are very helpful and can guide you with financial help such as helping to claim attendance allowance. Your parents should be able to claim a discount on their council tax if their is a diagnosis of dementia. They will also guide you on how to get an assessment of needs (think that's what its called) for such as personal care.
Sorry for the long post but I just identified with your position so much and know how hard it is. I was quite surprised at how readily my dad finally accepted the help with his daily needs and he seems better for it; he has a good relationship with his carers and is interacting with other people apart from my mum, which relieves a lot a tension.