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Elderly parents

Give me a clue how I raise this with my mum

4 replies

Theas18 · 28/03/2013 09:04

Dunno if you are following my story... Mum is frail with health issues of her own. Dad is 89 and his main issues (amongst the usual batch of problems!) are vascular/alzheimers dementia and a tonsillar lymphoma for which he has recently had radiotherapy.

Dad is in the midst of the radiotherapy side effects and feeling pretty grim I think. Mouth so sore he can't have teeth in, can't really eat more than really smooth foods like yoghurt and even then the swallowing gets soe after a few mouthfuls. He's also quite deaf.

They are staying with us at the moment. Fortunately I'm working ! I really do appreciate that dad is hard work. Mum does lots for him that she's not really up to but wont admit (different agencies involved say things like " use the movelat on any aches" so she's creaming back/bum/knees 3x day and then the chiropodist says " cream his feet you are letting them get dry" etc etc - you can see how her " work" mounts up).

Dad clearly takes a while to process what you tell him, but she bombards him with questions or info- I've tried to tell her one person at a time talking and wait- hope that will help (eg I ask " what would you like to eat" and she's there with " you could have yoghurt you liked that , or we could mash some beans, or a weetabix").

The think I think she's now doing that is really not helping and leads to him getting cross and argumentative is feeding back what he would or wouldn't do in the past (IMHO in a peeved sort of way like she feels he does it deliberately, which he may do!) :

Last night he had a whole mug of warm milk and loved it. Hooray :)
But instead of " well done that's a good drink you've managed and enjoyed" we had " well you wouldn't have any thing to do with the milk I offered yesterday and I said I'd microwave it for you"...

I get that she's narked that he wouldn't have it for her and he did for me (I do a sales patter like you would for a kid " lets get this just the right temperature, and it's the blue top so that'll be really creamy" etc But I don't think the fact he wouldn't have it yesterday is anything but going to cause an argument. I bet he can't remember a bloody thing about yesterday let alone why he didn't fancy the milk!

Ditto " he wouldn't have his mouth wash " fine leave it and try again later. don't assume refusing it once means he'll never have it again!

How do I approach this. I really get how fed up she is- she almost can't go to the loo without him wanting to go too like a toddler. As ever carers are out of the question " he wont want it" is what I am told (but a this is X she's going to do your cream today as it's making my backache and we'll see if she helps tomorrow or not later, type of thing would probably be OK!)

OP posts:
glaurung · 28/03/2013 14:31

It's so tough Thea, but you have to do something or your mum's health will suffer too. PiLs were the same, with FiL refusing all help caring for MiL until he had a stroke. Funnily enough immediately afterwards when we had 24hr care and were dreading his reaction when he came home he was fine about it, but now he's improved a bit he's thinking he can do it all again, which he absolutely can't. If you refer to carers as 'friends' rather than carers might that help with acceptance? Otherwise I think you will just have to get tough. How long are they staying with you? If you could get some help in while they are at yours (easier as it's your house, so you ought to have more of a say what goes) then they may start to appreciate the benefits and be happier to continue it at home?

Theas18 · 28/03/2013 16:17

thanks glaurung. They are only here till Sunday, then my sis is taking them home (she's back from spain for a whole... week....but no doubt it'll be " terribly kind of her to help out" ...GRR!)

She's really got to accept help, though wont want to pay for it (isn't that always the way with old people) I wonder if a less formal arrangement of " friends" may be better- the chap who started as their gardener is now a friend and general "outside help" who also takes them to appointments if they are stuck too, they need an " inside" equivalent!

And she needs to stop berating him for what he did/didn't do yesterday as today is another day and he has little recall of the event he's being chastised for!

OP posts:
ProfessorDent · 29/03/2013 20:03

Well, the bombardment of questions is a no-no with someone with dementia, well, according to a book I'm currently reading by Oliver James: Contented Dementia. You can send them into a tailspin doing that. Thing is, spouses sort of want to organise their other half in a regimental way, and it's the worst thing to do.

Not sure your mum will take that on board though.

As for not paying for help, guess what, my Dad had that attitude! Cancelled home help of around £150 or less a week. But once social services get wind of it, they can pretty much force other someone into a home, albeit in our case they were pushing at an open door as Dad thought he'd be all footloose and fancy free. He didn't think what he'd be paying. Then what? Well, depending on your parents' savings, we're talking £800 a WEEK usually, forever and ever. So your mum's attitude is false economy.

gingeroots · 31/03/2013 10:05

Oh Thea what a tough one .

Could you sit your mum down and spell out the points ( you have so fantastically well described ) regarding how to talk to your dad ?

Maybe someone from Alzeimers ( sorry my spelling is shot ) soc could talk to your mum ? Have a support group for her ?

I once went to a brilliant talk organised by them .

And how I recognise the "you're letting his feet get dry " speak .
I'd be tempted to sound off at said speaker .

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