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Elderly parents

What can we do to help MIL? Sorry long.

7 replies

LegoAcupuncture · 20/02/2013 21:36

MIL is 68, moved to sheltered accommodation last year due to different medical factors and the the added fact her three bed house was getting too much for her (and me) to look after.

She has osteoarthritis quite badly in her hands, foot drop and neck and back problems including osteoarthritis there. She wears a calliper and gets around with a stick or a three wheeled zimmer thing. She had a very bad fall just before she moved which spurred her to move into sheltered accommodation as she would have died if her BIL hadn't by chance called in, saw her and called an ambulance.

Lately, she has lost the feeling in her hand, the same side she has the foot drop, so she cannot feel when she is leaning against anything and has been falling over more. She was having a fall 1-2 times a month, now it's every other day. When she falls she crawls to the living room and calls us to come pick her up off the floor as she can't do it herself. This is often at 4am when she habitually gets up of a cup of tea //hmm

Sorry,getting long here. The reason for my post...

She lives in sheltered accom, there is a red cord system and she wears an alarm, both which she can pull when she falls and help will be sent to her strait away during the day when the warden is there, and within 15 minutes at night. She never pulls it! She is too proud to get others to help her, yet the whole reason she moved there was to get the help. She would rather crawl past the two cords she passes on her way to the phone than pull them.

Is there anything we can do to get her to start pulling the cords? Is there anyone we can tell her to see medically about the falling? She is waiting for an X-ray on her neck to see about the loss of feeling in her hand and seems to think this will fix I all. I've suggested she gets a Zimmer frame to steady herself on all sides when indoors as she just pus her slippers on without the calliper and doesn't use her stick so balance isn't great.

It's driving DH crazy and he is losing his patience with her as she is refusing to do the things that are in place to help her. He is now talking about suggesting to her she moves into a care home where she can be more closely watched as he is also very worried that she will have a similar fall to the last bad one and won't be as lucky.

Please help!

OP posts:
Hopeforever · 20/02/2013 21:41

Tough love

Reassure her you love her, she is special, but until she starts to help herself you and DH will have to distance yourselves.

Have guidelines in place such as

You will answer the phone to her, but only after 8am and before 10pm

You won't listen to her moan about X anymore until she has done Y. It us then her choice to do Y or not, but you won't have to hear about X anymore


Good Luck

WynkenBlynkenandNod · 21/02/2013 08:30

I find my Mum will listen to professionals more than me and only started wearing her alarm pendant after a talking to from the OT. Has an OT been round to assess her ? If not it would be a good idea.

And just thinking about is is there any chance she could have had a mini stroke affecting her balance? I think I'd contact her GP to voice concerns as a first port of call. They might not be able to discuss details with you if she hasn't given consent but can certainly listen to what you are saying.

LegoAcupuncture · 21/02/2013 10:49

We have tried the tough love before. This led to constant phone calls a week later every day saying she needed to go to A&E and then demanding we pay her the £2k she gave us for a car. A car which we use all the time to ferry her around and don't ask for a penny in petrol money. In exchange for the money we pay her life insurance premiums, this was agreed 4 years ago and she still holds it over us. But hats a whole different thread.

She definitely hasn't had a stroke, she's already seen a GP about it. I'm wondering though, should I make a GP appointment in her name and go see them myself/with DH.

OP posts:
WynkenBlynkenandNod · 21/02/2013 16:57

It might be an idea. We wrote a letter to voice initial concern. It didn't help much until she agreed in front of GP that he could discuss her medical issues with me but was there as background info.

I think Mum has Vascular Dementia and had been having bleeds in her brain which she wasn't aware of. Her balance has gone and I think it's as a result of TIA's . She's just had a CT scan and we're waiting for the results. Can a GP rule out TIA's without a scan of some sort ?

LegoAcupuncture · 21/02/2013 21:30

Is vascular dementia hereditary? I know her mother had dementia, so possibility.

I've sat in with her at the gp a few times, so they know me.

Thanks for the help, really appreciate it.

OP posts:
WynkenBlynkenandNod · 22/02/2013 07:33

I don't think it is exactly hereditary but if people share the same risk factors eg high cholesterol and blood pressure then it might be an issue. The Memory Clinic do ask if there are any family members who have/had Dementia as one of the questions during assessment.

Mum doesn't walk at all well, she shuffles and holds onto th wall. We had a fantastic OT round and after watching Mum walk she went back to look at her notes to see if she could find any reason for her lack of mobility. Once she found nothing in the notes she had a word with her colleague who is a physio with an interest in Dementia, she's coming out to see her next week.

I think in your position I would go and see her GP. I'd be wanting her to have a CT scan and an OT assessment.

whataboutbob · 22/02/2013 20:12

Hello just to add in my 2 pennies' worth, and I hope I am not being offensive but it sounds like she is being outrageously manipulative. If she is holding you over a barrel because of money, would you consider paying her back in installments? That way all your decisions could then be motivated by common sense not her blackmail. Reassure her you are still available when needed, but that there are certain things that you cannot always do for her, eg when there are already systems in place for her to receive help. I also second what Wynken says. Vascular dementia isn't hereditary per se, but the risk factors esp diabetes can run in families. My dad has all the RFs (diabetes, high BP, high cholesterol) but weirdly, has been diagnosed with Alzheimers not VD. I have been running around after him like a headless chicken for 2 years, and have been in counselling for the last 8 months. Only this week did I finally feel able to tell him I was busy, wouldn't be seeing him for 2 weeks, and no, not to come to my place as i wouldn't be able to receive him at the moment. Luckily i owe him nothing financially, as I know he would not be above using that. He has in the past threatened to disinherit me when we've had arguments. My response to that is that's fine, it's your money.
Good luck, I can only recommend you use kind but firm boundaries when necessary.

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