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How are you dealing with a 3/4 hour trip to see them?

(5 Posts)
harbingerofdoom Fri 07-Oct-11 22:44:05

My parents live quite a long way away. Luckily they have been pro-active by anticipating their needs so far.
When things go wrong they really do throw the system.
Mum fell off chair lift trying to get a spider (v. allergic to bites). In hospital then Dad,(older and frailer) gets a cold. Missed his naps for several days. Dad's cold leads to eye infection in his ONE good eye.WWYD

readsalotgirl Fri 07-Oct-11 23:19:05

Until last weekend I had a 3 hour trip to see my mum. However I found the journey very tiring and was increasingly stressed by the knowledge that if there was a problem I couldn't get there very quickly and that there were times in the winter when I wouldn't have been able to get there at all. I persuaded my mum to move to sheltered accomodation closer to me (10 minutes drive away). If moving them closer to you or vice versa is not an option then I think you do need to get a support network in place - do they have a care package in place ? Are there other family members close by who could help at all. We did get a cleaner to go in once per week and mum was fortunate that she had fantastic neighbours who really did keep an eye on her - however they too were getting older and mum really now needs more support than I could give her at that distance - eg going to doctors appointments or being there when the District Nurse visits so I know whether or not she really is "fine". it does help enormously if your parents are truthful about what is happening and how they are coping - mum omitted to tell me about some things until it was desperate because she didn't want to worry me or be a burden. You may need to refer to Social Services to get help or speak to their GP to get them referred in order to get care at home. If your dad is in hospital then ask to speak to the hospital social worker BEFORE he is discharged. You may need to take charge and tell your parents they have to have someone come in to help clean or cook or whatever - and that it makes you feel less anxious. I found mum was prepared to accept it if I asked her to do it to make me less worried. hope this helps.

harbingerofdoom Fri 07-Oct-11 23:33:16

readsalotgirl Thank you so much for your response. Up until my Mum fell off the stair lift,about 5 weeks ago they just had a cleaner for 3hrs/wk. Now they have got a full care package, meals,beds,appts and cleaning.
Hospital taking the eye problem very seriously as he is now more or less deaf.

They like the lady, and she does 2hrs Mon,Wed,Fri.No help whatsoever from anyone.

readsalotgirl Sat 08-Oct-11 00:37:32

That's good you've got a care package in place and that the hospital are taking the eye infection seriously. I found the distance a real worry but I have a friend who lives near me whose parents were not far from mine so about 3 hours away - she used to go once a week to see them but I just found it too much. It does depend on your circumstances and other demands on your time. My dh works shifts and we have no other family close by and my kids are younger than my friends kids - not old enough to be left on their own whereas hers were almost grown up. Having said that I just felt exhausted by 3 hours driving each way and dreaded it. I was also concerned about monitoring carers, cleaner etc from a distance - it is good to know now mum is only 10 minutes away. She herself admitted she felt she wasn't coping as well by herself as she had been and that she was feeling a bit lonely but it has taken the best part of 2 years to get her to agree to move. My cousin once said to me that as your prents get older you realise how precariously balanced it all is - which I think is very true - the real difficulty with not being close is when something major goes wrong so you spend a lot of time with your fingers crossed. Hope it all works out - this thread has been a real help to me and I hope it is to you too.

harbingerofdoom Mon 10-Oct-11 20:27:01

I think that they will plod on fine now,until the next 'mishap'. Sadly, at their age that usually means hospital.
Just can't do the journey in daylight under 4 1/2 hours,so we loose sleep getting up very early or sit there in traffic. Not really spring chickens either! So yes, even without any emotional ties any visit is tiring.
A while ago they tried out a retirement flat much nearer to me. Didn't like the whole 'thing' and went home. They are so stubborn and now refuse to leave,except in a wooden box!

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