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Care home, or care at home?

(6 Posts)
bigoldbird Fri 21-Nov-14 00:49:10

My Mum has been a widow for 5 years. She used to live 120 miles away in the family home. My siblings all live some distance away as well. About 2 years after Dad died she said she would like to live closer to one of us. There are many sheltered accommodation places here so she moved to be near me. I have popped in every day since she has lived here, unless I have been on holiday.

The last few weeks she seems to have given up and is eating and drinking very little. She has had blood tests which showed nothing, but refuses utterly to supply a wee sample. As she is 93 I am of the opinion (as we all are) that if she wants to go then she should be allowed to go in her own way and own time, but obviously we want her to feel cared for and as content as possible.

I have upped her care package to 3 visits a day and one from me, but when I left her this afternoon I felt that it isn't enough really. She has difficulty getting out of her chair to the loo so how is she managing?

I visited a really lovely care home earlier this week to discuss respite care. But she is quite confused and I can see her being upset and tearful if she wakes up and doesn't know where she is. I can't bear that thought as I fear she only has a few weeks left.

Does anyone have any experience of this dilemma and if so, what did you do?

Thank you for your thoughts.

VertdeTerre Fri 21-Nov-14 09:28:24

Oh OP what a horrible situation. We had similar with my grandmother (though she had a diagnosis and prognosis). The family took the decision to bump up her care to the maximum in the setting she was in, rather than move her to somewhere new, BUT she had the money to pay for that, and we knew that it would be for a few weeks, couple of months max.

I think your instinct not to move your mum is probably the right one, but only if she can be pain free and well looked after where she currently is. What would happen if she needed 24hr nursing care at the end? Could she get it/afford it where she is, or would she need to go to hospital? In which case, a move to a more homely residential set up might be the lesser of two evils.

It's difficult though without a diagnosis/prognosis. Have you talked to her about why she doesn't want to give a urine sample? Many older people have an understandable fear of going into hospital, but something like a UTI can be easily treated where she is. If she's decided to give up (and I entirely agree with you that it's her choice) perhaps some reassurance that you're not trying to get her aggressively treated in hospital might be what she needs.

Sorry that's probably not very helpful, it's an awful situation to be in, but bumping for you in case anybody else has ideas.

bigoldbird Fri 21-Nov-14 18:15:37

Thank you for the answer. Money isn't really a problem, only convincing my brother, who has power of attorny and lives 100s of miles away and an infrequent visitor, that the money needs to be spent.

Will try to chat to her again tomorrow about the urine sample.

It is horrible. I know my sister (also 100s of miles away) is on my side and will fight the good fight against my brother, but having to argue for every penny is another stress that I don't really need. As long as a care home had space we could move her in at a moments notice, or bump up the care to 24 hours, especially as it probably won't be for long.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Arkkorox Fri 21-Nov-14 18:19:12

Probably not much help but we lost my gran at the weekend who I lived with ( for nighttime help) and she had carers during the day. It make such a difference to her that she could stay in her own home the whole time.

VertdeTerre Sat 22-Nov-14 20:08:44

Oh OP that's awful about your brother. Taking the most charitable explanation, could he just not want to face up to what's going on? Can you get him to visit to see for himself? I'm glad you have your sister on side, it is terrible that you have to navigate these sibling relationships when all you want is to help your mum.

And Arkkorox, so sorry for your recent loss. I agree, it does make all the difference if a person is able to be cared for at home. I know with my grandmother that once she had passed it was a great comfort to the family that she had done so in her own bed, in familiar surroundings, cared for by people she knew. We would have happily spent any amount of money to make that happen.

OP I hope you were able to have some time with your mum today, and that you can get the money issues resolved without further hassle. It is a horrible situation, but it sounds as though you are fighting her corner and if this is the end, I hope there is some comfort in knowing that you are doing your best for her.

bigoldbird Tue 25-Nov-14 06:51:52

Arkkorox, I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

I spoke to my brother on Sunday and much to my amazement he is happy with the arrangements I have made. Mind you, he had spoken to my sister first so I expect she put him right (she is much fiercer than I am).

Mum continues to keep going, she has the constitution of an Ox seemingly.

I swing between wanting her to be at home and wanting her to have somebody on call 24 hours a day. I do what I can but work full time and have other family duties (4 children, one with mental health issues).

Both my siblings are coming over next week to discuss what is best.

Thank you for your thoughts, it is good to know that I am not the only one with these struggles.

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