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I am so worried about my nan

(15 Posts)
Titania Fri 18-Feb-05 15:13:56

Its really upsetting me. We are very close and talk everyday on the phone. I don't see her as often as I would like but thats what happens I guess.

Anyway for some time I have been concerned about her. If she thinks she has eaten too much she will make herself sick before she goes to bed. She has done this for years. However recently, she has lost a lot of weight and now only weighs 7 and a half stone. She was 9 stone a while ago(she is 4 ft 8 in height). She has also admitted to me today that she has got no bowel control anymore and frequently has to change her clothes because of it. She will not go to the doctors, even if I say I will travel down on 3 trains to go with her. I am so so worried about her. She has constantly got coughs and colds and over the past few months her state of mind has deteriorated a lot and she is clearing her house out ready for when she dies. She is 75 and I know she's hot going to live forever and yes I have accepted that she is getting old, but all this is really upsetting me. What can I do except be here for her?

Titania Fri 18-Feb-05 15:40:35


Bella23 Fri 18-Feb-05 15:42:42

Titania - bless her, she obviously needs help. Is there any way that another family member can help you to make her see the doctor? The doctor could even do a home visit.

macwoozy Fri 18-Feb-05 15:45:34

How upsetting for you. I thought maybe a home visit might help, or perhaps you could go to her doctor, explain your concerns and see if he has any suggestions.

Titania Fri 18-Feb-05 15:45:53

no. there is only her son (my uncle) and he has tried to convince her but she wont go. She will be cross with me if i call the doctor out to her.

Titania Fri 18-Feb-05 15:46:18

she lives 100 miles away from me as well

Helsbels Fri 18-Feb-05 15:49:19

it is soul destroying watching someone you love deteriorate in this way - I have just gone through it with my grandad. She is not too underweight for her height but it is worrying that she makes herself sick. I suspect it is a combination of age and loneliness. Please don't blame yourself - even if you are her only family, she may feel that she doesn't want to burden you. Do you have any other support? Loss of bowel control is so humiliating, I am not surprised she will not go to the doctor. I think you have to make a decsion and either go to the doctor/speak to her gp behind her back or respect her decision to carry on as she is. The only other thing is that it will get worse and you have to prepare yourself for this. I really feel for you but try not to take too much onto your own shoulders - this can easily happen and you end up neglecting other areas of your life where you are equally or even more greatly needed.

morningpaper Fri 18-Feb-05 15:49:50

How awful titania. Although to be honest I can imagine that if I had lost all bowel control I would probably want to die too.

I would try and see her doctor. She doesn't need to know. You could speak to him/her about your concerns and maybe he/she could call your Nan and ask to see her. Your nan doesn't need to know that you were involved.

Really sorry.

morningpaper Fri 18-Feb-05 15:50:28

Perhaps she is making herself sick because she is worried that if she eats food she will have uncontrolled bowel movements?

Titania Sat 19-Feb-05 07:54:09

I just don't know what to do. I can't go and see the doctor cos it's so far away. I don't even know who her doctor is. She rang me last night in tears asking if there was anything I wanted from the house when she dies.... She is always upset and id very very lonely. I managed to convince her to join a club to go and play bingo/do raffles etc with other elderly people in the town, which she goes to every monday, but she has no enthusiasm for going...It really upsets me to see her like this. I asked her what she was having for tea last night and she said nothing

saffy202 Sat 19-Feb-05 09:14:53

You could ring up your local social services dept and have a word with the duty officer. However it all depends on if she would be willing for you to do this? A lot of elderly people are understandably against this. If she were to agree someone would come out and assess her and see if there was any help available for her even if it is just meals on wheels or days at the day centre.

NB I have just read that she refuses to let you call the doctor so I doubt she would let you call SS.

Donbean Sat 19-Feb-05 09:31:35

Ok, practically speaking there is little that you can do. If you speak with the GP concerned he will not be able to discuss your gran with you, however you can voice your conerns to him/her.
If she has been making herself sick for years, although obviously not healthy behaviour it apears to be the norm for your gran.
Its the bowel problem and weight loss that has set off alarm bells with me, coupled with the deteriorating mental state.
If her bowel movements are uncontrolable because she is having the runs (and this is a change from what is normal for her) then she will be becoming dehydrated which in turn affects the power of coherency and may make her confused.
Additionally the weight loss sounds worrying.
It sounds like your gran knows exsactly what she does and doesnt want and hats off to that.
What is ahead of her if she seeks medical help is investigations and hospital stays. Not pleasant.
She apears to have an insight into this and has made her choice for whatever reason, to not take this route.
She must be respected for this, after all it is her body and her decision.
For this very reason, you should not feel bad or guilty for not doing more. The truth is there is no more that you can do other than what you are doing now for her.
Good luck with this very very difficult and heart wrenching time, ive been there and know a bit about what you must be feeling.

suedonim Sat 19-Feb-05 14:37:00

Titania, it sounds as though there's something going on with your nan that she's not able to deal with herself and she needs help. Can you find out who her Dr is from her son? Ime, Dr's and/or ss staff will listen to you, even if they can't discuss your nan with you and may have some good ideas. So your nan will be cross if you call her Dr. So what? It's not the end of the world and she may eventually thank you for it. Your nan may simply have depression, which is often mistaken for dementia in older folks, and is easily treated. Why not have a chinwag with your nan's son and make a plan of action between you? Best wishes, hope you get the situation sorted soon.

nappybaglady Sat 19-Feb-05 15:33:31

Agree with much of what Donbean says but alot of her problems may relate to depression. A simple antidepressant could start working within 2 weeks and then she may feel more able to face up to her other problems.

Loss of bowel control is a worry. Could be something wromg with bowel itself or something v simple like overflow diarrhoea ( common in elderly when they become so constipated that they develop a sort of mucousy diarrhoea) treatment with laxatives would sort this out but she would need a rectal exam to diagnose it.

If you cna find out which GP practice she is with you can certainly ring them and speak to GP/HV/practice nurse but they would not be able to tell you details about her without her permission.

Good luck

MummytoSteven Mon 21-Feb-05 14:30:17

titania - sorry to hear about your worries with your gran.

you might find it helpful to look at the Continence Foundation website. they also have a helpline as well - could you persuade your gran to call it, or they might have useful information for you? her not wanting to go out etc, could well be due to her bowel control problems. it would be helpful for her to be checked out at the docs - even if it isn't anything readibly solveable, then if she could be persuaded to use pads etc then at least she might be able to manage her bowel problems at little better.

if your nan is having problems with personal care, she might also be entitled to further benefits (Attendance Allowance).

like other posters have said, if your nan won't go to the doctor's i'm not sure how much you can really do, but I think for your own peace of mind you would feel better to phone up her doctor/HV/Social Services so that you feel you have done all you can.

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