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elderly mum and inadequate home(41 Posts)
I'm really struggling here and would appreciate some other perspectives. My mum and dad are in their 70s and live in their own home with my brother who is 40s. DM had a stroke a couple of years ago and is almost wheelchair bound. She can walk with a frame but has so many other health issues, it is hard for her. She is very weak.
After her stroke my DB became her carer and gets money for this and he does her meals and hoovering etc.
My problem is she cannot get upstairs and uses a commode. She has no washing facilities, no available shower and does not sleep in a bed - she washes her hands at the kitchen sink. She sleeps in one of those adjustable chairs.
After the stroke I tried to get them help from the council to get a grant for a downstairs loo but my parents and brother refused because the council wanted to 'stick their nose into their finances.' So it was a no-go. I then begged my dad to get a loo put into a downstairs room but he wouldnt and she has to use this horrible commode.
Anyway she has gone downhill healthwise recently and cannot get off the commode without help and my DB refuses to do this which I understand as it is embarrassing for both of them. My dad helps but he is not in good health but he empties the commode which my DB wont touch.
I dared to mention that they should move into a bungalow or get their house (it is really rundown) updated and DB went mad and said he has to do all the work and I live in my ivory tower and dont do anything.
Thing is I was not attacking him, all I said was can we work together to persuade our parents to update or move. I appreciate he does the meals and hoovering but he has lived their rent free all his life and pays no bills at all.
I do their banking, sorting out doctors, collecting pills, food shopping so I do contribute.
He totally blew up at me and my DM was on his side because she does everything he says, so I was sent packing when all I am doing is thinking of the future. My dad is not in a great shape so I'm thinking of the future when they both might need a downstairs bathroom.
They own their home and have not done any work on it since the 80s. Things have to break before they get mended if you know what I mean.
Am I a bad person for wanting bathroom facilities for my DM? I'm feeling very hurt by his comments that he is the one doing everything when it is not true. Ok I moved out and have my own house and kids, but I work full time whereas he has never worked in his life.
A quick relpy - In an ideal world I would 'sack' him & get carers in for now. Then see if they can get a bungalow without him.
Ring Adult social care and ask about care providers. Ask for a referall to O.T Occupational Therapy. They could possibly put a height adjustable commode in. So easier to push up from.
Is there room for a stairlift?
Is there room for a bed downstairs?
Mum should have a Stroke Liason Nurse also, that is hers for life. It might be worth ringing her.
Why is DB worried about people asking about finances? Its for his parents benefit.
I'd suggest writing to their GP. It's how I got things kick started for my parents when things started to unravel but they were both refusing any help as 'they were fine'.... Tell the GP everything - you'll feel like you're throwing them all under the bus a bit but sometimes you've got to take a hard line in order to bring about change
Also if he were to get the sack
& move out your parents could get Wiltshire Farm Foods delivered, your dad could heat up the lunches. Carers could oversee breakfast/supper.
Some daycentres provide transport & have bathing facilities.
If your mum has no access to a shower or bath, no help with personal hygiene and struggles to use the commode safely I'd say she needs a care assessment and I'd be calling in social services. Your brother may have the best intentions but this sounds like she is vulnerable and this is borderline abuse - neglect and financial. I appreciate it's a very difficult situation for you but at this rate something serious is going to happen like a fall, or an infection due to poor hygiene. You may need to make yourself a bit unpopular. Can you get dm on her own? Or df?
The cynical side of me says your brother is concerned he will loose his carers allowance and actually have to get a job... he can't be her carer if he's not prepared to do basic things like help her to and from the toilet. Your dad will get to a stage (soon I suspect) where he is no longer able to do these things for her. Maybe you should speak to your mum and dad on their own firstly. It's a hard enough conversation without someone losing the plot at you
I had a conversation along those lines with people involved in the care of an elderly relative. I asked the HCP 'hypothetically', if I was concerned 'hypothetically', what would the next step 'hypothetically' be? I wanted to raise awareness of a problem without actually reporting anyone. It worked, and interventions were made.
I don't think anyone is going to intervene in terms of 'sacking' your DB though. Do you mean carer's allowance, or Does he get paid separately as well?
Thank you so much for all your replies and you have given me some much needed advice.
When DM had her stroke we had carers coming in at first but they stopped them (DM and DF stopped them) as they did not want to pay. That's the problem I have - they don't want to pay for care.
DB does not get any other wage, only the carer allowance from the government.
I'm going with my aunty to the council next week to ask about accommodation. The other problem I have is my mum will not move without her dog and cat and gets upset if I mention it.
Could you frame it as making things easier on your brother 'as he works so hard???'
Mine are both elderly and have carers going in. The SS will ask them to fill in a form about any capital they have coming in to pay for that or any adjustments to their house.
I am moving mine to a flat from their bungalow soon as this is the right answer for them.
Your mum needs access to a toilet and shower etc and carers to come in and do that for her.
Your brother is not thinking straight, and none of them are thinking about the right answer for their needs apart from you. Even with POA though you can't force the issue, you are there to help them with their decisions.
I would sit down with them all and spell it out. It's not fair for your mother to not have access to proper facilities. The right answer is for them to move to a property that is all on one level.
I feel for you, it's a difficult situation as it is. Even more so when siblings are not aligned with the right practical answer.
im a district nurse and am confronted by these sorts of situations on a daily basis - I can just share advice from my own experience.
Your mum and dad are probably not just listening to your brother - they will feel safe and secure in what they know and have always done, they probably don't feel in control over anything but the house and hold onto this even to their own detriment. Try not to get frustrated or offended at them not thinking as logically about their needs as you do, there will be many factors to their behaviour. If they make a choice just go with it, as long as they have the capacity to make that decision.
Your brother was probably letting off steam by shouting at you and more than likely regrets it, he probably finds the whole thing frustrating & difficult too.
If your district nurses arn't already involved then ask for an assessment, they will have access to equipment/beds etc that may be useful and refer to appropriate services depending on what is relevant and helpful. Your mums at risk of pressure area damage, health issues from sleeping in a recliner etc so support would be useful - and often people take advice from outsiders better (even if its what youve been saying for months!)
It is frustrating, and you can see crisis coming and all you want to do is desperately help as you can see how you can make this so much easier...but in the end its their choice.
Do you live nearby, and how often do you see your parents? I presume she was provided with the commode by health / care services because that was the solution she and your dad agreed on. Is someone helping her have a proper wash / get dressed / checking her skin to ensure she is not at risk of pressure sores etc.
Tupper - they will not pay for carers or for a stairlift or any modifications to make life better.
When she came home from hospital, she had a bed in the front room but they sent it back as they would be charged for it.
It is so frustrating as DM says she is ok and can sleep in a chair but she's making do to not upset anyone.
I believe care costs are capped at a specific amount per week, and the assessment is to make sure they do not pay too much. Would that help them tolerate it, do you think?
It is frustrating, when your loved ones are not getting the standard of care they need because family and they themselves are, effectively, blocking it.
Ladylap at the moment I am going round 4 times a day/night to help her with getting up off the commode as she has problems with her legs/foot. DB helps a bit but cant help when she is on the commode as he gets embarrassed.
She had a wheelchair, hoist, a bed and a different commode from hospital and everything got sent back after a week or so because they did not want to pay the hospital.
The commode she has now was purchased afterwards but I am not sure where she got it from.
SIB09 thank you for putting things into perspective and I think you are right. They do not want the hassle and feel safe in their surroundings even though they are not adequate anymore.
i've got a long struggle ahead of me I think.
You know she is entitled to attendance allowance which is not means tested. Then yes she could pay for the carers out of that or for cleaners etc.
What happens when you want to go on holiday or away for the weekend??
This is crazy, the carers will wash and help her and make sure she is taking the medication etc. My sister and I rely on them as we are both single parents who work full time and my parents carers are amazing and honestly a weight off my mind.
Can't believe they won't move or adapt the house for your mum. God I feel so sorry for her and you x
I really feel for you and your mum. Do you have any idea of their financial situation? Sounds like they have enough savings to ensure they don't qualify for means tested things but not enough to feel confident about spending their money because they a worried they might need it down the line.
You shouldnt have to pay for equipment if that makes any difference to their decisions? The district nurses or community occupational therapists will have access to 'loan' equipment (usually sits under local authority) as its for a health need and can order as required where a need is identified. This includes beds, commodes, hoists the list goes on. Cost should not be a factor. I'm guessing even if she got to bed this would alleviate some of the leg/foot problems and have a knock on effect in other areas. Its hard and frustrating but try to let it wash over you if they are adamant, you can only do what you can do x
And loan equipment does not have a financial assessment element
Social services because I'm not sure they would even have to pay for adaptations such as a downstairs shower?
Carers allowance is about £65 a week, and the care has to be for at least 35 hrs. Attendance allowance paid to the person cared for is about that (I think). I wonder if your brother gets your mum to pay him the AA? That's fine and perfectly legal but maybe not the best use of the money if they are turning away other help.
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