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Elderly parents

The Cockroach Cafe 🪳 Spring 2023

971 replies

MereDintofPandiculation · 02/03/2023 09:21

Welcome! I’ve done a really good clean of the place overnight, and brought in daffodils from the garden to remind us all that spring is around the corner and better times on the way.

Come in when you want to share good news, or to rant, or to ask a small question that doesn't warrant its own thread. Or just to hang out with others who understand what you're going through.

For newbies: why cockroach? Previous long term resident of "Elderly Parents" Yolo's DM attended a 'small animal event' in a nursing home, and was presented with a "small animal with a hard back" the name of which species she couldn't remember. Her ever helpful DB suggested cockroach, and it has become a toast on here. So 🪳 mes amis/amies, and may you all live to fight another day.

OP posts:
Lightuptheroom · 21/05/2023 11:52

Very much resonates @Mum5net we really don't want her to hurt anyone or herself. The hatred and venom are very real. My dad covers it all up as he thinks that if anything happens to her then he'd have to leave the house etc. We honestly think there may be a point where she tries to hurt him.
@Knotaknitter the professionals confuse me. There are a set of professionals involved in my dad's medical needs. They have witnessed and reported their concerns numerous times, basically because even now if any of them disagree with my mum and pay attention to my dad then she can 'flip'
At the moment, she puts all rubbish in the recycling bin and then rants when the bin men refuse to take it, because there is open incontinence waste in the bin. She starts screaming if my dad says that he's taking rubbish to the bin.
It always gets referred to her GP, who then directs it back to the social worker, who then tells us that my mum is very happy with the care/support she receives. The GP has occasionally called my mum in for an appointment, my mum will go and will then do either of 2 things , the GP was lovely and they laughed and laughed (no sign of any treatment or assistance) or the GP will be a useless b tard, devil incarnate, etc who 'doesnt know what they are doing'
Last week, they had a home visit from a GP, my mum agreed to it as this GP apparently knows our family, so that's acceptable to mum because the other GP apparently only exists to take my mum's driving licence away. Each time the GP has seen them, my mum will cut me off for a long time as the GP decides to tell them that their children have raised concerns.
The GP did 2 memory tests on my dad, as he'd activated a DNAR after a recent hospital stay.
Absolutely nothing on my mum. She's currently using my dad's walking frame as she says she has 'pain in her hip' this apparently wasn't discussed with the GP. My mum has what can only be described as a hole in the bottom of her foot, which she says is extremely painful. My mum decided the GP was there to see my dad and didn't have time to discuss anything else. My mum is a daily visitor to their local pharmacy. The deflection is incredible to watch.
She will stand over my dad and call him the foulest of names, he goes into his bedroom and cries and says his marriage is over, focuses on a phrase we hear again and again that she's 'going to lose them everything '

Last week we had constant telephone calls from her telling us that did we know he was leaving her, followed by hysterical laughter.
Usually, her phone call will state that she's leaving and never coming back, and then what will the lying b stard do (referring to dad ) .
Yesterday she rang my sister as my dad needed to put diesel in his car, his mobility has deteriorated to a point where he can barely stand. My mum asks us to do these things as she won't get in his car.

Yet the professionals don't speak to each other. they won't listen that she tears up appointment letters as she decides it's too far too travel etc etc. None of us live close enough to visit daily, plus we couldn't anyway due to working hours. The duty social worker asked me what my parents eat, was my mum at risk from leaving the cooker on? No because she eats fish and chips 7 days a week.

In isolation, all of these things would appear to be 2 elderly folk remaining fiercely independent, refusing external help, yet expecting help on their terms. Medically, my dad is supposed to eat a soft diet to prevent choking and aspirational pneumonia. My mum buys prepacked sandwiches instead and tells us there's nothing wrong with my dad, he's violently sick in front of her and she says she knows all about it and he just needs to drink water and her sister had tb over 60 years ago. She tells them she does all her own shopping - she will only buy trifle and chocolate mini rolls.

My dad will refuse anything that he decides costs too much, including the care alarm we had installed due to mum being unable to summon assistance for either of them as she's forgotten how to use the phone. Meals on wheels were cancelled as it was deemed 'too expensive'

One of my brother's insists that their world has shrunk.....

No one is joining the dots. (Apologies, that turned into a very long rant!!)

Mum5net · 21/05/2023 13:56

Ok @Lightuptheroom that level
of mayhem means must be pretty near to going on the emergency list for an assigned social worker who can join up the dots?
Could your dad afford to pay privately for two weeks of respite in a care home, near to your home, to give him a break from your DM?
With your dad ‘safe’ would it be fair to say that the wheels will come off DM’s wagon and she will be more erratic?
Sounds like she could be on track for a section if she’s not taking medication?
Maybe you have to force this crisis?
Really feel for you.
(For us when they were force separated it all escalated )

Knotaknitter · 21/05/2023 13:57

If you take their age out of it then it's straight up domestic abuse as seen all over the relationship board. You can't help someone that isn't ready to accept that help, it has to get bad enough so that the potential suffering of leaving doesn't seem as bad as the suffering of staying. I know strong and capable women who didn't leave after the first broken arm, it took another one to make them leave.

I wish I knew what the answer was, I really do.

Mum5net · 21/05/2023 14:28

I’d also record DF sobbing and stating his fears about not being safe , just in case you need to play to Gp/ SW, ( you may need to tell DF you are just taking some notes on your phone.)

Juneday · 21/05/2023 14:58

Reading these stories is so sad. I
We had a badly thought through hospital discharge where OT said MiL had capacity - as many have experienced, put on best voice and sounded lucid, even though I am convinced she told the OT she would go back to a house with relatives living with her. She went back to an empty flat but luckily with a care package. Luckily after two ambulance calls made by health professionals the SW visited and stayed and chatted long enough to conclude MiL didn’t have capacity. Maybe we have been lucky with SW I would like to think they all gave this amount of time and thought to things. We don’t have PoA on health so we don’t have influence but she has listened to family anyway. GP practise hasn’t been great, but eventually a new keen young GP visited and could see all the issues. Dementia nurse who rang said ironically even though she could see tell from my description MiL needed a new referral they bizarrely don’t have those powers. She was the most clued up and kind person and frustrated at the system. The paramedics said they are covering for all
this because they get called out to people they can’t help with a hospital visit so try to line up other help.

Another car story, elderly relative of someone I was chatting to had a phone call from relatives garage that every week they had to fix a wing mirror and suggested it might be an issue. Somehow the elderly persons relative persuaded them that she give her car away to someone who was in desperate need for their job and make other arrangements, without ever having to say it is your driving that isn’t up to scratch. I was once in a shop car park when an elderly person put their foot fully down on accelerator instead of break, smashing over a bendy bollard and into a wall - he got out unscathed and luckily no one else injured, car a write off. Staff of shop were so kind, and I like to hope that was the last time that gentleman drove, he looked very frail. My DD has been an awful driver all his life, I won’t get in a car with him any more after he nearly turned off a roundabout up an dual carriageway the wrong side last year - I haven’t told him. I just insist DH does all the driving when we visit.

Lightuptheroom · 21/05/2023 15:20

Thank you for your kind responses.
My dad wouldn't pay for anything, he has enough to do so but won't, wouldn't even agree to go to a day centre because they asked for £7.50 for it (including lunch) and then made up a very elaborate story about how the day centre make people sit at tables on their own and don't let them talk to each other! I was with him on the visit and we were separate so that the manager could chat to him as he's very deaf.
He won't even pay to go on holiday ever.
He has been financially abusive their whole married life. Unusually their finances are completely separate, but where she has only a small state pension and he has a full state pension and various disability pensions. As they've got older, this division of money has got more and more a source of resentment from her. She doesn't pay any household bills at all, but equally he wouldn't dream of surprising her with even a bunch of daffodils
He's always been a selfish man, went out to the pub on a Friday with his mates regardless of anything going on in the home, where she had 6 children in 10 years. It also meant she never worked outside the home.
He's been physically disabled for 48 years, now add to that prostate cancer, catheter, lung disease, heart failure. She loudly declares that she's not doing it any more. The problem being nobody replaces what she did do.
She now tries to give him away on a daily basis , because then we would realise 'what he's like'
Hes adopted a bit of a martyrdom about it all to be honest
They already have an assigned social worker, who won't reassess because mum's needs are apparently being met.
My dad literally wobbles across the room, yet the OT assessment concluded nothing they could do as he refuses to use a Zimmer frame.
Yes I agree @Knotaknitter it's like watching domestic abuse. I'm a DA survivor which probably makes it particularly hard to watch, as in this case it's my mum doing it to my dad. I don't understand why they've stayed together when they clearly make each other so miserable.

countrygirl99 · 21/05/2023 17:06

@Lightuptheroom it sounds like they abuse each other in different ways. It is tough. My mum was always very manipulative with my dad and has an awful temper on her which got very hard to see when dad got frail. Towards the end she was have a right snark because he wasn't doing his share of the housework, especially not doing the ironing. He had stage 4 heart failure and was virtually blind among other things, could barely get out of a chair unaided and regularly ended up in hospital after falls

WollyParton · 22/05/2023 14:54

MysterOfwomanY · 02/03/2023 15:59

I just want to pop in on the new thread to say how helpful (mainly lurking and reading) has been.
"If they've got capacity and won't be reasonable then you just have to step back and let the crisis happen" has been an INVALUABLE rule this past year.
If I have been asked to do something sensible and feasible (sometimes I even volunteer if the idea hasn't occurred to them) then I'll do it, but equally I am okay with saying no to the daft and impractical.

(FX: drops off some biscuits for the bad nieces, stepdaughters, friends and neighbours bench)

I love this quote! Thank you for sharing

BestIsWest · 22/05/2023 15:29

@Lightuptheroom that sounds tough.

I’ve spent the entire day on the phone or on hold sorting out an insurance claim for a lost hearing aid (probably gone out with the Welsh poppies and campanula in the garden waste after her mammoth weeding last week) and trying to speak to a GP as DM revealed a huge sore patch on her leg that must have been there ages.

She told me initially it was the site of her last covid jab (no, that was in her arm) then it was a fall. Who knows. I’ve emailed photos to the GP.

Thanks for the biscuits @MysterOfwomanY. Much needed.

countrygirl99 · 22/05/2023 15:59

I've got some nice almond biscuits my son and his partner brought back from Hong Kong. I can share with everyone on the naughty bench but I'm keeping the tea flavour gin for myself.

MissMarplesNiece · 23/05/2023 10:05

@BestIsWest My DM's got a sore on her leg atm. We dont know how it got there but suspect it was caused by one of the dogs. It's turned out to be a right palaver. DSis called GP who diagnosed cellulitis over the phone & gave antibiotics. Community nursing team have been coming in to dress it & said definitely cellulitis & more antibiotics needed.

GP wouldn't prescribe & wanted to see mum. Struggled to the surgery with her & GP said not cellulitis, no more antibiotics but suspected a blood clot based on her swollen ankles - DM has has swollen ankles for years & seen GP previously about these. There's a community DVT team in our area so they've been going to mum every day to give blood thinning injection. So that's 2 lots of community nurses going to DM every day.

Sore leg nurses saying leg definitely infected, more antibiotics needed. Dr on 111 prescribed these but said notes on computer very muddled 🙄.

Yesterday I took mum to outpatients re bloodclot. Dr there prescribed more blood thinners but said can't know if it's a bloodclot till next week when leg has been scanned. Why they couldn't scan there and then goodness knows.

Today I am exhausted. We were there for 5 hours and I'm (not) looking forward to another trip to hospital next week.

I NEED a glass of that gin, @countrygirl99 .

BestIsWest · 23/05/2023 10:18

Oh good grief @MissMarplesNiece what a palaver! It never seems to be straightforward does it. I always find that one call to the GP seems to generate another four or five appointments. Try and do something nice for yourself today.

GP was pretty clueless about Mum’s patch but has prescribed antibiotics , an emollient cream and a steroid cream. Of course the pharmacy was out of stock of 1 item so there was to-ing and fro-ing to the surgery about alternatives. Have to go back today.
Insurance co are paying up for the hearing aid thankfully so we have an appt for replacing it Thursday.

I fancy a glass of the gin too @countrygirl99 but it is early so I will settle for coffee. DH has promised me a trip to the local marina and fish and chips and maybe my favourite garden centre.

MissMarplesNiece · 23/05/2023 11:04

That's a nice treat @BestIsWest .

IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere · 23/05/2023 11:19

Thanks for the biscuits @countrygirl99 but you can keep the gin - can't stand the stuff!

I am such a bad daughter my mum doesn't have a clue who I am! I have said for a while that mum doesn't know me and my lovely cousin who always looks on the bright side has always said she does but she can't remember my name or the word for our relationship.

Fast forward to our latest visit. The nurse wheeled mum in to the dining room and we said hello in our brightest voices. She scowled, turned to the nurse and in a stage whisper she said "Who are they and why do they need to see me?" Then she realised my cousin was there and was full of questions about her family - all the while ignoring me as always. I mentioned a friend of hers who hadn't been very well and she started on a long ramble about Hairbrush having gout and clarified by using my family nickname and was most insistent when we suggested that she hadn't got gout! Then she turned to me and said "Next time you see Hairbrush ask her and she will tell you all about it!"

It could have been heartbreaking but my cousin was overwhelmed with the giggles and I was trying not to join in and stress mum by laughing at her so it ended well

countrygirl99 · 23/05/2023 11:23

@IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere years ago we were staying with friends for a few days and friend needed to drop some stuff off for her gran in a care home. We did it on the way to somewhere else and she thought I was friend and friend was friend's mum. Friend was right miffed as I'm 5 years older than her. Goodness knows what she made of me having to defer to friend every time she asked about "my" children.

Knotaknitter · 23/05/2023 12:38

@IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere I visit MIL every week. Sometimes she knows that she knows me from somewhere, the face is familiar but she doesn't know why. Some weeks she looks at me with no recognition, I am a random person who's brought fruit and she goes to sleep to get rid of me. On those weeks I wonder why I spend forty minutes in the car to be immediately dismissed once I've handed over the gifts.

She's got good recall of what Knitter has been doing, how her family are, the holiday she went on in October but that person isn't me.

DahliaMacNamara · 23/05/2023 14:01

MIL only recognises people she sees on a regular basis, ie several times a week, and that not all the time. Her granddaughters, who work and study in different parts of the country, stress her out no end when they come to visit. They're young strangers; no more than that, even though their pictures are on display in MIL's room. We mention them by name in their absence, but there's no recollection. When MIL remembers me as Dahlia, she often doesn't know who Dahlia is in relation to herself, unless I'm with her son.

An aunt who died with dementia used to recognise my sister and me when we visited, but not her own children. They were a very close family, all living within a mile or two of one another.

God, it's bloody awful.

Juneday · 23/05/2023 14:32

I will be interested to discover how much of time on relatives medicine course covers dementia. But family don’t seem
clear either - I got a text today from relative of MiL, as I seem to have taken on role of coordinator of news. as well as PoA And this person says ‘just wanted to know if she is getting better?’ Getting better? From dementia? I was polite in my response.

other frustrations 4 weeks ago I organised special refuse collection service so that we don’t need to go round and move the bins (although won’t be needed much longer), but when I visited this week the bin hadn’t been emptied…. Grrr. Also neighbour from upstairs flat now leaving son’s bike in tiny communal hallway. Will let that go for now… energy supplier can’t get their heads round a simple request to send bills to my address. Had to set up personal allowance with nursing home so that MiL can have a hair dresser visit, which she will be so pleased about. DH was told not to visit for 2 weeks to allow MiL to settle, but has decided 12 days is likely fine. The relief of having two weeks off daily visits, piles of dirty washing, cleaning, being told I am a bad daughter in law one day and laughing at me on another because she thinks I am lying about being married to her son and have grown up children, is clearly mine more than that of her family because I have had the biggest role in her life for years. When DH says she might not settle and might come home I bite my tongue. Can’t he see that I don’t want to go back there.

BestIsWest · 23/05/2023 14:33

SIL’s mother passed away at Easter and hadn’t recognised SIL for a few years. She always knew my brother though, up until the end.

Lightuptheroom · 23/05/2023 16:33

Sadly we've just been told that Mil is on end of life. She's 97 so we hope and wish for a peaceful ending but at least know that she's in familiar surroundings in her care home with staff that know her well

thesandwich · 23/05/2023 18:06

Sending hugs, gin and naice biscuits to you @Lightuptheroom . Such a mix of emotions. I hope she has a peaceful end.
and to all you folk dealing with dementia- what a cruel disease it is.
knowing how much you have all done for these elderlies- I recall just how much you’ve done for your dm, @IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere and at what cost.
and @Juneday i really hope she settles.
Ploughing through the sadmin here- so many lovely people- like the milkman😉 and others…… solicitor holding dms will- complete joke.
cockroach all!

SheilaFentiman · 24/05/2023 14:56

Sending all best wishes @Lightuptheroom

countrygirl99 · 24/05/2023 15:06


TheIoWfairy · 24/05/2023 17:41

@Lightuptheroom sending you hugs and cockroach resilience.
I've been absent for here for a while, though still reading your posts. My backside is still firmly on the bad daughters' bench but I'm settling in for the long haul until the inevitable crisis when I'm going to be expected to leap into action. For now, nothing useful to do so I watch and wait - and learn from your valuable experiences.

Newmum738 · 25/05/2023 06:46

@Lightuptheroom sorry to hear this. Hope this period will be peaceful for all of you.

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