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Elderly parents

Left my mum in hospital today, and it was like leaving a scared child

49 replies

CMOTDibbler · 23/04/2013 21:29

Planned surgery to fuse some more of her spine and hopefully get rid of some of her severe pain which isn't helping with her dementia.

I undressed her, put her in a gown. Tucked her into bed. And sat and answered for her when she looked so blankly at the anaesthetist and surgeon when they asked questions. She couldn't even understand being asked her date of birth Sad. Couldn't understand the menu card.

She looks so small now, so very, very old. But she's not - she's 72.

It broke my heart leaving her there when it was all so confusing to her. And knowing it'll all only ever be worse.

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CMOTDibbler · 27/04/2013 15:13

Thanks SecondComing.

Although I can manage to visit in the short term, its not sustainable - managing as a family is hard enough as it is, and this situation will get little better in the long term.

Dad said she was brighter today, but still in bed and not drinking enough. He took her a pudding from his delivery and she ate that - but was asking me to get her more till I pointed out that it wasn't going to help her diabetes was it Hmm

And he can't find any pants or nighties. I sent him more nighties for her weeks ago and said to hide them so she packed what she had out and he'd have spares, but no. I start to wonder about his state of mind sometimes.

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Needmoresleep · 27/04/2013 16:31

I agree about sustainability. The short term is one thing, but you need a solution which could work 3-5 years for both of them.

Is there any scope for them to "downsize" to sheltered or extra-sheltered accommodation people like this //

Nice flat where you can shut your own door, but lots of support in the background, eg 24 hour warden, restaurant, housekeeping, handyman, reception and other residents to provide company and support for your dad.

I simply asked everyone, GP, priest, everyone I came in contact with, for their ideas. Even the British Gas engineer. Community health staff will have visited most places and know what local options there are. Perhaps easier for me because my mum was on her own so there was really no question of her coping with a discharge home, in the way your dad might be able to "cope" with your mum.

The crisis then became quite a big project, but one that had a sort of satisfying conclusion. If there were an option which allowed on-site support for your dad, this enables him to provide better care for your mum and a better quality of life for him. For me it means there is a team who know my mother well and who I can phone or email. One day they will tell me she needs to move to a home but this now is put off until it is really inevitable.

It would also mean that should your mum need to move to a 24 hour care setting, your dad is not on his own.

Service costs are quite high, though much much cheaper than a care home. Attendance allowance and carers allowance are available, and though they may be reluctant to claim, if the money will make an important difference, they should claim.

And look after yourself....

CMOTDibbler · 27/04/2013 17:13

If they move anywhere, they are moving to where I live - I've already found sheltered, supported and care options here as I worry about dad just keeling over and being left with mum. I could cope with dad living with me in the short term, but not mum (I'm not evil, but she has no inhibitions about what she says, which is unacceptable around a 6 year old). Here, the town is small enough that he could easily visit her in the care home, go on a scooter to the shops (full of elderly chatterers) etc

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ssd · 28/04/2013 15:31


am so glad you're getting good advice here, it makes all the difference when you're pulling your hair out with it all and siblings dont do a thing

am sending you hugs, its so very hard I know ((((((((((((()))))))))))))))))


MrsMcEnroe · 29/04/2013 18:49

I was wondering if Age UK might be able to provide some advice and support? (Apologies if this has already been suggested).

QuintessentialOHara · 29/04/2013 18:51
LaBelleDameSansPatience · 30/04/2013 08:06

Hi, CMOT. I am following to see how things are going for you. And sending you lots and lots of good wishes.

CMOTDibbler · 30/04/2013 09:05

Thanks for the good wishes.

They are driving me insane. Absolutely frickin insane. Dad is insistent that as long as mum can get in and out of bed he can cope with her. And that she's coming home today Hmm And then he calls me because his catheter bag came loose in the night and got the bed wet, and he doesn't know how to change the bed or use the washing machine.

I have a new mantra 'they are adults, dad is allegedly of sound mind, and I can't make them do anything'. But it'll be me picking up the pieces again...

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Needmoresleep · 30/04/2013 09:16

Poor you.

I dont need to tell you that it sounds as if it will have to get worse before you can step in to make it better.

The watching and waiting is horrible.

CMOTDibbler · 30/04/2013 20:04

So it has, of course, gone tits up. He got her from the ward, thought they'd eat in the hospital cafe, and she refused to eat and sicked up the tea.
Got home, shes refusing to eat, drink, take medication or respond to him and has vomited a couple more times, and just gone to sleep the rest of the time.
GP will visit in the morning, saying 'she might just be exhausted' but as she's essentially spent the last week asleep who knows.

I have a nice brick wall to hit my head against..

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glaurung · 30/04/2013 20:34

Oh you poor thing. If she's vomiting though, it suggests it was too early to discharge her and I would hope the GP will readmit her tomorrow.

ssd · 30/04/2013 20:36

huge sympathies fro me too, its awful I know xx

LaBelleDameSansPatience · 30/04/2013 21:00

I am so sorry for your poor father, who must be living in a nightmare, and you, who want to help so much and can't ....

Have I missed something, or can't they both get Attendance Allowance and pay for some local help with bed changing and operating the washing machine?

Although AP should have had this for at least two years and I am stilll doing everything single handed. How did you contact the online counselling you told me about once? I so need to tell someone how it is and yet I mustn't complain to anyone I actually know...

(Sorry for self-indulgent moaning on your thread...)

shabbatheGreek · 30/04/2013 21:13

Apart from a few details you could be telling my story....

My Mum, 79, has Alzheimers. About two years ago she was given what she calls her 'stupid tablets!!' They halted the advance of the revolting illness.

Just before Xmas 2012 my Dad went for a biopsy on his jaw. He is almost 81 and worked for 50 years during which time he never had a day off work due to illness. A few weeks ago we got the news that he has agressive, untreatable cancer in his jaw, his ear and it is marching its way through his brain.

We have all rallied round - they refuse to leave the house they bought 40 years ago - they want to stay there and be together. Dad is also refusing to go to the hospice once a week - he says it is boring!! I go down each Tuesday and spend the day with them. I am currently trying to get slightly drunk after a day with them!!

Last week my Dad said 'Take your Mother out for a few hours before I take her out with a rifle Grin - not that he has a rifle you understand...he even bribed us with money each to leave him in peace to sit and watch telly!!!

Growing old is not good. I came on to message you to try and help and have ended up 'spilling my guts' about my own situation.


Theas18 · 30/04/2013 21:20

Don't know how I've missed this thread. How difficult for you all. Have a hug from me.

twentyten · 30/04/2013 21:35

Sending thoughts and hugs. Keep posting. You must look after yourself too- and your own family.

CMOTDibbler · 30/04/2013 21:51

LaBelle, they could afford the help, but are too damm stubborn to ask/accept it.
The counselling I did was with Spokzpeople - I just contacted them and paid for it. they were lovely, and it really helped.

Shabba - what an awful situation you are in. Your dad sounds ace.

Maybe we need a support thread for those dealing with a parent with dementia so we can all unload to those who understand

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shabbatheGreek · 30/04/2013 22:23

Sounds like a good idea CMO.

I always search for the humour in everything...I'm a bit weird like that!!

Mum put the kettle on today....I heard it switch off. 10 minutes later she put me two heaped spoons of coffee in a small cup and made me the strongest, coolest, brew I have ever had Hmm she brought in 3 little cheese biscuits for me. The conversation went like this......

Me: Oh ta Mum.

Mum: Dip those biscuits in your brew they are lovely Hmm

I put one biscuit in my mouth and tasted soggy, mouldy awfulness. Tried to put them in my bag without her seeing.

Mum: They are the last 3 in the pack I wouldn't share them with just anybody you know!! Get them eaten now!! THERE ARE STARVING CHILDREN IN AFRICA!!!

So even though I am 56 I ate the buggers!!!

IF tomorrow I have food poisioning I want you all to report my Mother to the police Grin

CMOTDibbler · 01/05/2013 07:48

Euch, theres nothing worse than the mouldy food thing. DH and I have a tag team system now to deal with manky milk/empty the kettle of scale/wash the teapot/ remove weird things from the fridge as soon as we get there, then I bleach the hell out of the downstairs bathroom while he chats with them.

Dad can't work out why the cleaning company need to send 4 people for a whole day to clean the house. I can, I once spent 6 hours cleaning in their kitchen and didn't finish

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BehindLockNumberNine · 01/05/2013 07:57

Oh CMOT and Shabba, what an awful situation you both find yourself in.

I have no useful advise to give either of you (my healthy dad died very suddenly aged only 65 after only 6 weeks after his diagnosis, my mum - whilst a difficult woman to deal with - is relatively healthy and lives in The Netherlands (am Dutch but live in the UK)
I am dreading the day mum gets too old to live alone, she refuses to come here (and why should she) but I cannot go over there.

I hope you both get the help you need and Shabba, I agree with CMOT, your dad sounds ace!

Needmoresleep · 01/05/2013 08:04

Two threads. One for support and one for gallows humour.

The title of this thread is fantastic. It sums up the dilemma. Underneath is a very scared child-like person struggling to make sense of anything. In my case it is weird how my mother is still able to press those buttons, even on days when she does not know who I am. I feel awful if I respond. She has reverted to being a scared and manipulative (said it..) six year old.

I am told it will get easier when she reverts still further and no longer fights for her independence. However further dependence is not something to wish for.

There are still some funny moments. Last week my mother was clear with the community memory person that she is no more forgetful than anyone else. She was then asked if she used a hearing aid or wore glasses. No, of course not. Both the memory lady and I looked at the reading glasses sitting on the table and then at each other.

Tomorrow is her formal diagnosis from the specialist. Presumably Alzheimers. It will come as a complete shock. She is very resistant to me going into appointments with her so I will leave it to the doctor to do the dirty but have said I then need to speak to him to discuss medication.

Shabba - I hope you had an extra glass for us. My dad died of a brain tumour. In his case it was painless and it was generally as good a way to go as any. (Four months from diagnosis, so a chance to say goodbye and hope, at least on his part, right to the end that treatment might shrink the tumour. There was some odd dementia but he retained good lucidity. He spent hours on his computer, I realise now that his study had become his retreat away from my mums illness.)

Needmoresleep · 01/05/2013 08:12

Further thought. It could be a long thread. My mum is physically very strong. Her mother suffered from dementia at about the same stage and went on to live for another 8 years. In my mother's case it is likely to be longer. In all I may spend more of my life looking after my mother than after my children.

Things are on an even keel now but in the bleaker moments this responsibility felt very oppressive, even though I am lucky (very, very lucky) that there is money to pay for care.

shabbatheGreek · 01/05/2013 08:50

I 'survived' the night Smile must have a stomach made of Iron!!!


CMOTDibbler · 01/05/2013 09:48

Well done on surviving! Must be good for our immune systems!

4 hours till I have a flight to do meetings in Germany tomorrow. Phone dad at 8.30 to find he's on his knees. And he finally accepted that he needs carers!

So, I've been on the phone and organised someone to do an assessment this morning (the care manager happened to be in the next village) to start asap.

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