Elderly Parents, Carers Check list, hints and tips.(20 Posts)
If you have been caring for an elderly friend or relative, please post any tips that you think would help others. Hopefully I will be able to correlate them into one post at a later date.
I will begin by my 3 tips, which would have made my life easier had I known them at the outset 5 years ago.
1. Nothing ever gets resolved by one phone call. Things sometimes drag on for months on end. I have a sheet for all the calls I have made with the following information.
Name, address, tele no of the institution you are calling. The person you spoke to and the date.
2. Keep a record of the persons details. You will be amazed at how many times you will be asked for it.
Not just their Name address tele no.
Date and place of birth and marriage.
Doctor details, current medication, NI number, Hospital admissions.
Try to get as many bits of paper together regarding utility bills, savings and bank details. Do this as soon as you are able, this way you can do things from home or work rather the waiting to visit.
3. If the person is poorly sighted or has dementia you can get their mail redirected if you hold POA. It cost 59.99 for a year and it means that, appointments don't get missed, bills don't go unpaid and the person stress is reduced.
I think prior to No 3 is get Power of Attorney.
We have not managed to do this for DM yet as it is another appointment we would have to deal with on top of all the hospital ones we are already struggling with. I got as far as reading the forms but concluded that DM didn't really know anyone independent who could sign to say she understood the implications of what she was signing so we would need a solicitor to deal with it. As we can only visit on a Sunday (no solicitors open) and DB is rushing back to work after hospital appointments, it has been neglected. We definitely need to add it to the list for Jan 2016.
With regard to POA, we asked a neighbour of my parents to sign. Do You possibly have a friend who would willing to sign? I completed one for myself recently and I also asked a neighbour if they would mind signing. They are only confirming that the person is capable and if they know you have your Mum's best interest at heart they probably would do it.
Once you have this agreement, it is worth filling the forms out on line. It is a much easier process now than it used to be. Make yourself familiar with the form, particularly the order that things have be signed.
I would keep it with you at all visits, so that when an appropriate opportunity arrives you can raise it with your mum.
I was lucky that after some reluctance my mum and step-father filled them out. My SiL could not persuade her mum, who had good mental faculties but poor health. This all changed earlier this year. My SiL now is on ADs and has Angina, purely caused by the mental and financial stress in trying to sort out her mums affairs.
The old lady had 4 hospital admissions in 6 months and is now in a home. My SiL is still paying for her sheltered accommodation 4 months later as well as care home fees. Even though she has the same L A as my parents, the help she has had has been very different. I found them incredibly helpful, but 5 years on, with cutbacks and staff stress her experience has been dreadful.
Dealing with call centres and utility companies has been a complete nightmare for her.
When you get PoA, if its done through a solicitor get lots of copies done by them. Its very cheap for them to notarize copies, but can be tricky otherwise. And everyone wants the original or a notarised copy.
Keep a list of all the phone numbers you may need - GP, local hospitals (I have the A&E direct number and the admissions and geratology wards pinned to my desktop), a care agency who can do short notice care and so on close to hand. It really makes a difference.
See if the local authority have a home repairs service. My parents have one, and its a flat fee of £16 an hour and they seem to do most things. Great to have a checked trade who won't rip them off.
Get a key safe fitted. Then you don't have to worry about paramedics etc having to get access.
Plan for worst case - do your research on care homes both in their area and local to you if its not the same so that at least you have an idea in case of a crisis.
Have your parents set up on your favoured grocery delivery site, and Amazon. Then you can get food or stuff delivered quickly when you need it. My Amazon order history has old man pants, urine bottles, crutches, thermometers and much more from ordering for them.
POA definitely, I'm having to go down the route of Court Protection Order for dad, a far more drawn out and expensive way. He no longer has capacity and he went quickly and although he was happy for me to do it for him, dsm kept resisting.
My tip is to get the email address of as many contacts as possible. Each time I've spoken to CASO or social workers etc I've followed it up with an email to confirm. it also means that if something crops up in an evening or at a weekend you can email to let them know. Far easier than having to wait to call in office hours and you'll always have a trail to refer back to if things get over looked or forgotten by them. As op says at the beginning, things aren't usually sorted by one phone call. My other tip is, if you have family who can help then get them involved as soon as you can. ive found out the hard way. People don't offer, they will sit back and let you do it all and once you get to the point where you need them to pick up they will often drag their feet and keep trying to pass it back to you after a matter of weeks because you know what you're doing.
All new to me, but MIL's care home said that if they are even an infrequent attendee at a church/synagogue etc then tell them too (with permission, naturally!). They'll get more visits and tend to rally round so more general support.
hi those are all really good ideas - especially sorting POA, but not just the financial one, the health and welfare one too. And I would talk about an Advance Directive too - it saved my dad SO much suffering at the end, when we could stop the paramedics taking him to hospital because we could show them that was not what he wanted. There is an excellent list on this site which I came across recently, and includes lots of the things you all mention plus more. www.agespace.org/stages-of-elderly-and-geriatric-care/do-your-parents-need-help/planning-ahead-for-elderly-parents/
That is a great link thanks.
Having the post redirected has earned its money back already. I had no idea how many unnecessary things were being paid for or advised on. Also how many appointments were missed.
Signing in. Need to start down this route I think so all advice welcomed and appreciated.
exit sorry to hear that you are having to join our gang. Is there anything in particular worrying you at the moment?
Where to go for help really. And what help is available. My dad lives alone but has severely restricted mobility. He fell over a couple of days ago and DH and I really struggled to lift him.
Exit, does your dad have any professional involvement now? When I was first starting down this path, I found that the local Carers centre were brilliant at signposting what services were out there, what they were entitled to, and they did all the form filling to get what they were entitled to.
first place to contact is your Local Authority Elderly Persons Unit. they will carry out an assessment and inform you about carers/aids etc.
the Red Cross operate a scheme called Home not Hospital and are a great source of information and offer a befriending service
you do not have to lift him yourself. in our area the ambulance service will send someone to lift an elderly person if you cannot manage.
does he have a care line. this is worn around the neck and he can press the button to summon help at any time.
if you are not claiming attendance allowance you should do so quickly. the first payment is backdated to the day of the claim. you can download the form and it does look a bit daunting at first, but it is worth persevering. try to keep your dads prescription list to attach to the form. this helps them understand the nature of his illnesses. attendance allowance is not means tested.
if you do not have PoA i would do that immediately. it has been invaluable to me. Particularly the Health and Welfare, when my mum was admitted to hospital after a stroke. It meant that the doctors were willing to carry our the no intervention and no feeding tube. These decisions are probably a long way off but understanding your dads wishes now will make it easier for you.
Thanks for your suggestions. He has no support at all. He is fiercely independent. A nurse goes a couple of times a week to dress his knee but they refuse to do anything else. They don't even put the bag of soiled dressings in the rubbish bin on the way out .
He has been in a respite care home a couple of times after he has been in hospital and in discussion with them they seemed to think that I did a lot for him. I don't think I do.
I was under the impression that if I claimed Carer's Allowance that my Dad would lose some of his disability benefits?
Yes he has a Care Line pendant thingy. He pushed it for the first time on Friday. The time he fell badly before that, he spent half an hour shuffling on his arse to the phone to ring me, as he didn't want to bother them. I pointed out to him that all they do is ring me anyway. When I went up on Friday morning he seemed to think the care line people would be coming out. He is clearly getting a bit confused in his dotage.
Suffice to say he doesn't like spending his money (except on his Granddaughter), he doesn't want befriending (I have a friend who does this and Dad has refused to entertain the notion) and is determined to struggle on.
He just looked so damned vulnerable, perched against his bed, naked, as if he was praying.
I don't know, bloody old age. Still, it's better than the alternative!
If your dad is 65 or older, then he can claim attendance allowance without it affecting anything else.
Waiting lists for SS care assessment can be long - over 6 months in my parents area, so def worth getting things moving. Whether he will accept it is another matter though!
I've found with the many times my parents have been in hospital that they will say anything to get out, so I always make sure the ward and social worker know exactly what the score is. I will also say 'the nurse says you have to...' have more help or whatever as what they say goes. Unlike my opinion!
The vunerability thing is hard. I remember taking my mum into hospital once, and there she was with her skinny little legs sticking out of her nighty and all scared and confused by it like a little girl, and I wept (and posted on the elderly parents thread) for the strong woman she'd been
I know it is so hard. Dad is an ex Ruby League player. Used to be fit as a butcher's dog.
He is 89 this year.
I must admit my stepdad sent the lovely Red Cross man away with a flee in his ear. He complains about being lonely, but said the bloke was nosey.
When I asked him what he meant, he said he wanted to know what I did in the RAF!!!!!!!!!!
Can I add one.
Every time you make a phone call on their behalf.
Log, date, time, name of person you spoke to and outcome.
Don't ever be afraid to ask to speak to somebody more senior.
I find, "I need this to be referred to a senior complaints manager" is quite effective.
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