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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:
Juneday · 24/07/2023 10:46

@countrygirl99 families and disappointing relatives! We also have two WhatsApp groups for updates, MiLs eldest son doesn’t talk to middle son, and he hadn’t visited his DM for several years - has visited a few times since major incident - but even though we are 10 mins away never calls in for a proper chat about things or to offer help, we always offer a cup of tea or more. We haven’t seen him in person for 8 years - he lives less than 2 hours away. As a result middle brother and his wife being so helpful, visiting regularly etc I have formed a much stronger bond with DH SiL, but lost any respect for eldest BiL.

Lightuptheroom · 24/07/2023 12:23

@countrygirl99 we have the same issue with one brother. He just doesn't want to know and often makes excuses that he's too far away to be of any use. That would be understandable if he hadn't moved his father in law in to live with them before he died in January, yet can't be bothered to even briefly visit his own parents .His job means he comes into contact with a lot of elderly vulnerable people and we are often told how marvellous he is with them. But, our parents don't have any money and Dad is tighter than Scrooge over what they do have, so it's of no interest to him.

Lightuptheroom · 24/07/2023 12:25

My mum has started a new 'thing' - she now tells everyone she can't possibly leave dad on his own at all as 'someone' will come and take dad away and she will 'lose everything'

Again, according to all the professionals, this is all perfectly normal..

countrygirl99 · 24/07/2023 12:36

@Lightuptheroom that sounds a nightmare

Justmuddlingalong · 24/07/2023 13:44

DM in hospital, deemed to no longer have capacity and awaiting a transfer to a nursing home. I'm being visited by a mental health officer tomorrow. Can anyone shed light on what to expect?

Mum5net · 24/07/2023 14:09

MHO was v knowledgeable about capacity acts etc. Likely to have dealt with many elderly people in the situation you find yourself. They will focus on most recent events and distressing incidents and their wider impacts for DM and those who care or are around her. The one we met clearly knew we couldn’t cope any more with DM not coping and within six hours DM was under section.

InternallyScreaming · 24/07/2023 15:19

Totally pissed off that I have to deal with everyone and when I can't do it IMMEDIATELY I am the baddy

EmmaEmerald · 24/07/2023 17:21

OMD I feel trivial
so sorry for all of us

a long one here, sorry...thanks if you can be arsed to read it 😂

Today's been another bad day for me. Mum's had another funny turn - cba going into medical explanation. I dealt with it but later burst into tears telling her she needs more care than just me.

She appears to be unable to remember how much her health issues have impacted on me over the last few years. Is it deliberate, is it a way to avoid having strangers in the house by keeping on saying "Emma can cope"? Or is it that she feels she's the unlucky one (true) and I have no right to complain?

She is in that stage of frailty where something quite alarming can happen but then she can be fine ten minutes later, if anyone is familiar.

She then said to me that she feels even a respite stay will be like being in "prison".

I get that, but even if I remove myself from the equation - is it right for a frail person in their 80s, prone to attacks of severe palpitations, underweight, prone to falls etc - to just be living alone and only requesting help when "needed"? And some of that help comes from friends or neighbours, which doesn't sit right with me. Some of them have already pulled back and I don't blame them.

I know Mere was very reassuring on this re social services, but I do have this fear that if I do less, I will be accused of neglect or something.

I think mum is very upset now because she feels me asking her to look at 3 x daily care is about her being a burden. I think she thought me moving nearby meant I was happy to do everything?

It was more about me making my own life easier really. I'd have been staying here the last three weeks or so if I'd moved and that would be hellish.

I also pointed out that I need help with the housekeeping now but this mystifies her because she had two kids, part time work and kept a perfect house.

I cannot keep the house to her standards, well perhaps I could, but as she can afford to pay for help, I think she should. We have a fortnightly cleaner but that's not nearly enough.

It probably does seem resoundingly lazy of me. I don't know. These days I need a pill to sleep most nights - the doctor is okay atm but I am expecting it to be stopped any minute. The surgery has very much dropped the ball.

MotherOfCatBoy · 24/07/2023 19:08

@EmmaEmerald this is very hard. I think she can’t see how hard it is on you. My Dad said a while ago he’s got to the age where he « doesn’t want anything to change » and that’s probably what it is, she’s probably scared. But someone looking objectively at the situation should be able to see it’s a lot for one person. The only person I know who nursed a parent to the last (a father with dementia) also had very generous help from her own husband and sons (the person’s grandsons) so she was able to get some relief, they sort of did shifts. But if you are on your own it’s super hard.
I think asking carers to come in is very reasonable. So is looking for a cleaner. It’s back up, not backing away. If you are not sleeping that’s a big alarm bell, sleep is the foundation of everything else. 💐

Juneday · 24/07/2023 19:20

@EmmaEmerald you are not unreasonable, I can understand @MotherOfCatBoy point about her being scared - you are both stuck in that place that thankfully she hasn’t had a serious incident, and that all you want is to protect her but sometimes you would like to just sit and have a cup of tea maybe and let some paid help, cleaners and Carers take some of the load. I do think many of a certain generation feel family, and particularly the female family members, should be all singing all dancing but your health is suffering and you can’t be supportive of you are struggling. If you can try and put it that it is about your visits being for companionship not always housework 🤔. I remember when my mother came to stay when I had third child and two under 6… she wanted to play with them, bath them and chat. I was jealous of friends whose mothers ironed and washed and cleaned, but actually her enjoying her grandchildren was important for their relationship - my eldest stood and watched her drive away waving until he couldn’t see her. I can’t remember the washing 🤣.

thesandwich · 24/07/2023 20:12

@EmmaEmerald sounds like it’s really tough for you. Much sympathy. Please don’t feel you are being selfish or neglectful- as others say, you want to be a daughter not a carer- rightly so. Facilitate help that can meet your ms standards- I always say that I’m better at procurement than manufacturing when it comes to baking….. do what you’re good at. And your ms needs will increase- you need to keep your powder dry to be able to organise extra when she needs it. What happens if you go under?

EmmaEmerald · 24/07/2023 20:13

MotherofCatBoy JuneDay

Thank you both for your kind words. 

Re serious incidents, we've had several over the years, I don't think she sees how much of a toll that takes. She often expresses surprise at the details I remember from her hospitalisations - we don't discuss them for no reason obvs, but every doctor appointment features something important missing from notes and that she will have forgotten about.

Also, I think she thinks the daily chores of caring are part of what is meant when a person loves the other person? I don't love anyone that much that I'd be their housekeeper.

I ended dinner by saying "I am not wiping down the sink, if you want that kind of stuff done, you need to hire someone". Historically I have always kept to her standards tbh but I have hit my limit. She and my dad would both have a perfectly polished shiny sink after dinner.

In terms of companionship, that's a weird one because it's easier to have stuff to do rather than listen to whatever today's depressing chat is. But I suspect even if we get a three times a day carer, there will still be a lot to do, so that's probably okay.

She's calling someone about cleaning tomorrow - we have someone who does the odd deep clean since dad died.

She's just said again at dinner "don't worry, I don't think I've got long left". We can't plan on that basis and it's not true, and it hasn't been true for the last ten years. 

Re sleep, I'm a terrible sleeper at the best of times. I do wonder if I was more sensitive and more angry today because I had a lovely weekend, a solid night's sleep on a pill last night, then I pop to the shops, she had a funny turn and I walk back in to deal with something I feel should be dealt with in a care home? Once again I'm reminded of those hospital signs saying "smokers die younger" and thinking, I hope my vape has the same effect.

My sister has pulled back because she feels mum is being selfish and has unreasonably high expectations. I think that's true. 

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety decades ago, when it was something to be ashamed of. I do wonder if that affects my judgement in terms of what I can do. Or is it just sheer compassion fatigue. Mum also claims she never objected to a stairlift being fitted - that was a big battle actually. 

mum also asked at dinner "what do you actually want". I want her to be someone else's responsibility, I guess. Which is where a care home comes in, but my mother and sister both object to the cost and potential house sale there.

EmmaEmerald · 24/07/2023 20:17

thesandwich · 24/07/2023 20:12

@EmmaEmerald sounds like it’s really tough for you. Much sympathy. Please don’t feel you are being selfish or neglectful- as others say, you want to be a daughter not a carer- rightly so. Facilitate help that can meet your ms standards- I always say that I’m better at procurement than manufacturing when it comes to baking….. do what you’re good at. And your ms needs will increase- you need to keep your powder dry to be able to organise extra when she needs it. What happens if you go under?

Ooh cross post
hello sandwich nice to see you

tbh I'm not even feeling like the daughter any more and it doesn't bother me. There are a lot of problems in the wider family - abroad - she talks about that a lot, she isn't interested in anything because I think several small strokes have probably done for those parts of her brain.

now I've been living round the corner for three months but she's not seen the flat. It is tiny and not very interesting but even before the latest falls, she just wasn't interested.

MereDintofPandiculation · 24/07/2023 20:22

Also, I think she thinks the daily chores of caring are part of what is meant when a person loves the other person? I don't love anyone that much that I'd be their housekeeper. That’s a good point. My mother showed her love by cooking for me, making dresses for me, never by cuddles and nice words.

And of course if she’s 80+ now, then any paid work she did when younger wasn’t valued. At best it was “pin money”. (I can remember jobs being advertised with two salary rates, one for men, one for women.) So all the housekeeping side took on a greater value, and it’s maybe difficult to understand why you don’t regard it as a privilege and blessing to do two lots.

OP posts:
thesandwich · 24/07/2023 20:30

@EmmaEmerald thank you. With the past stuff like the stairlift- I used the royal phrase” recollections may vary” today to someone else… and you are right, mini strokes etc can have that effect. And I completely recognise the wanting your dm to be someone else’s responsibility. Choose your battles, protect yourself.

Stringbean70 · 24/07/2023 20:38

Evening everyone and I should be very grateful to join this thread. We are at the start of this process with my mum - I say ‘we’ but my two brothers live a 5 hour round trip from mum (cf. I live 3) so have left everything to me. A specific question - my mum set up POA years ago but there is no documentation I can find (she misfiled it/chucked it out by accident?). Do I need to complete all the forms again?

Also, mum has careers going in twice a day and a cleaner three times a week but really needs a care home. She refuses to even look at any and is adamant she is staying in her own home. She would be deemed to have mental capacity (even though she can hardly speak - sentences are full of “dead air - and her hygiene has gone out of the window) so I understand that I won’t be able to use the welfare POA in any case (just the financial one). Have I got that right? I am finding the whole situ utterly overwhelming and frustrating tbh

funnelfan · 24/07/2023 21:25

Welcome @Stringbean70 , pull up a chair and have a beverage of choice with the rest of the overwhelmed. Pretty much how I’m feeling today.

POA - I presume your mum would have gone through a solicitor to set it up, in which case odds are they may have retained details, depending on how long ago. I think your other option, if you can’t locate the solicitor, would be to ring the PoA government department and see what they say. Can’t be an uncommon situation. I think you’re right on the welfare POA and your mum will still have veto on moving if deemed to have capacity for the decision. The finance one should be good to go unless she set it up that it too can only be used when she’s lost capacity.

MereDintofPandiculation · 24/07/2023 22:52

@stringbean You're right that the Financial PoA can be used while the donor still has capacity (provided the right box was ticked) and the Welfare one can't

OP posts:
funnelfan · 24/07/2023 23:16

Thanks @MereDintofPandiculation !

Juneday · 25/07/2023 19:10

👍 thank you.

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