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What on earth can we do?

(14 Posts)
Pleasemrstweedie Fri 28-Oct-16 20:10:14

MIL is 86 and lives alone in the family home, which is becoming increasingly dilapidated.

Two years ago she fell on ice and, although she did not injure herself, she has been out of the house on only two occasions since, the last being last Christmas Day. It is now not possible to get her out of the house and down a flight of steps to the road and she is too frightened to do it anyway.

Some time before this happened she was assessed by someone and offered a stair lift and bath aids, both of which she declined. She doesn't know who assessed her.

She is no longer able to cook or clean for herself, or do her garden. In fact she can't actually get into the garden. She also can't manage her medication and DH has spent quite a lot of time recently running interference between MIL, the GP and the pharmacy when MIL says she has no meds, or they are wrong, when actually she has a stash of the right ones.

She is clearly becoming increasingly confused. When DH comes home from a visit he is always upset. MIL is apparently making no sense and talking about things that didn't happen. Tonight BIL has called to say that her gas oven is faulty. He offered to get someone in to repair it, but she has refused and to,d him he should not tell DH. DH, who used to be a gas fitter, will go round tomorrow and check it, but he will not be able to fix it for her. Also she needed a job doing on the outside of the house. DH organised a builder to go and do it, but MIL said someone had already done it, someone who knocked the door. She has since told DH it cost a small amount, SIL it cost quite a lot and BIL it cost an extortionate amount. The job has not been done and we have no idea whether she has been scammed or has 'invented' the whole thing.

Over the last two years, we have all suggested getting some help, but she just gets angry and refuses. After months of negotiation, we managed to get her GP out to see her. He was supposed to give her a memory test, but he went at really short notice and no-one could get there to be a third party and he apparently didn't do it.

She's not safe in the house. She can only walk holding onto something and how she gets up and down stairs we do not know. There also appear to be continence issues.

Something needs to be done, but while she's refusing everything, what can we do?

MrTiddlestheFatCat Sat 29-Oct-16 18:21:34

Social services should be able to help. I don't know how you go about contacting them though, because when my elderly relative was in contact with them, it was after a hospital stay. A phone call to citizens advice or the local council may direct you in the right place. They then assessed her and got her the correct help that she needed. If she refuses all help, I don't know what you can do except ring social services without telling her, or by explaining that they won't do anything she's unhappy with.

Unfortunately it sounds like the situation is an accident waiting to happen, and it's very lucky that she has family to check on her. However, getting social services involved may trigger council help and may relieve the stress on your DH and the rest of you.

Sorry I can't be of more help but didn't want to read and run.

ElspethFlashman Sat 29-Oct-16 18:26:37

The person who assessed her for aids is possibly the Community Occupational therapist - that's their area.

The GP needs to go out again. Her capacity needs to be assessed pronto.

Pleasemrstweedie Sun 30-Oct-16 10:34:24

Thanks. It is an accident waiting to happen and if she falls or hurts herself. And finishes up in hospital, she won't be able to go back there.

I'll give Social Services a call and see what their position is and speak to the doctor again. That's going to be fun. After the surgery ignored phone calls and e mails, we had to threaten to report him to the GMC before he'd do a home visit before.

ElspethFlashman Sun 30-Oct-16 10:41:45

Also see if there's a health visitor for the elderly in her primary care trust. They may be able to have a visit and advise you.

Str4ngedaysindeed Sun 30-Oct-16 10:48:17

You poor thing . My mother is 87 and lives alone (although in a block of sheltered flats) she also gets angry and confused about medication and we have had all sorts of dealings with social services too. We had a terrible time with her gp dung a home visit under sufferance and terrifying her so we changed him - I threatened to make a formal complaint. Could you change hers? Sounds like some more serious involvement by ss is really needed here. Hope things do work out

Pleasemrstweedie Sun 30-Oct-16 18:17:51

Thanks for your support. It's a horrible situation, but I've got some ideas now of where to go to have initial conversations and yes, the GP will be going, if I gave anything to do with it!

Sugarpiehoneyeye Sun 30-Oct-16 18:42:41

Hello, when my DM, was failing, we contacted SS, they were fantastic, and organised an appointment with a hospital Dr., to assess her. They couldn't have been kinder. Also their advice was second to none. They cared about us, not just DM. Everything turned out fine, and we are all happy.
Contact them, you won't regret it. It's such a difficult time OP, my heart goes out to you. 💐💐

PettsWoodParadise Tue 08-Nov-16 21:53:55

When my mum became angry it was out of character. It turned out she wasn't getting enough fluids, had a UTI which was making her semi aggressive and in the end I called an ambulance. Turns out the GP had missed a host of stuff including chemical imbalances and infections. Best call I ever made. The hospital got her well and then we could talk about how to best support her after. It may not be as simple as that, but I kept putting off that call and wished I'd done it sooner.

Needmoresleep Wed 09-Nov-16 10:30:06

I spent three years knowing DM was not safe and waiting for a crisis. When it came, in the form of a broken hip, DM finally agreed to sign a POA, and I was able to move her into very sheltered housing "till she was better".

It has been fantastic. She has now been there three and a half years. In retrospect she was hugely stressed trying to cling onto her independence. Now she has a cooked lunch every day, a coffee lounge where she can pop down for a chat, her own flat, a 24 hour warden and a reception staffed from 6.00-am to 10.00pm, her flat is cleaned weekly, there is a laundry service, gardens, and a handyman on site. Good food, company and no stress means that despite the progressive Alzheimers, she is so much better and happier than she was. Its far cheaper than a home and life is much easier for me.

I would look at alternatives, and either try to sell them to her, or wait for the next crisis.

Pleasemrstweedie Thu 10-Nov-16 22:05:37

Thanks for all your responses. I've been gathering information since my initial post and I. And see what DMIL needs; a care assessment, an OT assessment, an alarm etc. However, DH has been to see her again today and she is still refusing all assistance.

Sugarpiehoneyeye Fri 11-Nov-16 09:12:11

You and your DH, need to firstly make an appointment, and go and speak with your MILs GP.
He/she, will advise you from there.
Chin up OP, it will, with the right help, be much easier soon.💐

Needmoresleep Fri 11-Nov-16 12:18:19

It is unlikely that a GOP would speak to you without a POA. But this does not stop you writing to him, setting out your concerns. There won't be much he can do without your MILs agreement, but at least he then has context should anything happen, and he could encourage her to consider the POA.

(I might add that once I had the POA I had to be pretty cruel to be kind and insist my mother moved etc. Actually I had little alternative as she would have needed 24 hour care at home but would not have accepted someone living in. This lead to a couple of months of her screaming at me, accusing me of all sorts of things and so on, which was awful, but things did get better, and she is in the right place.)

Sugarpiehoneyeye Fri 11-Nov-16 16:55:39

Yes, you are correct Needmoresleep, I did indeed write a letter first, which in turn led to an appointment. We also did have POA in place, but encouraged our DM, to have a free 'Winter check up'. 😄

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