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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:
DahliaMacNamara · 25/03/2023 09:46

Very quiet in the cafe.

MIL has suddenly taken to telling everyone but DH, plus whoever goes with him, to bugger off. A couple of family members are travelling some distance to see her next week, so I hope they don't get the same treatment.

How are you and your family holding up, @KnittingNeedles ?

thesandwich · 25/03/2023 10:52

Hi @DahliaMacNamara . Your mil sounds challenging.
@KnittingNeedles thinking of you.
lots going on here… hospital admission, emergency call outs(
two in one night) and other grim stuff plus chasing discharge letters/ meds / tests…. For the usual” you’re lucky you’ve got a mother to look after”
cockroaches all…

Knotaknitter · 25/03/2023 10:59

I'm was hoping that when I finally completed on the sale of mum's house that I would stop seeing so much of her in my dreams. I wouldn't mind if we could chat but she's either totally unreasonable or without language. I can see that they are all dreams about responsibility and I thought it was probably tied to the house. It's been a week since completion and it's looking good, this is easily the longest I've gone without dreaming about mum-wrangling. I'm one refund away from being done as estate administrator as well, not that I ever lost any sleep over that.

funnelfan · 25/03/2023 11:30

Checking in but nothing in particular to vent about. We’re in a phase where things are grinding on undramatically. Which I suppose counts as doing well really. Cockroach to all

GordonBennett345 · 25/03/2023 15:30

I've been away in the sun, leaving sibling to cope with anything that comes up. Sibling has refused to offload to me, but that hasn't stopped me worrying a bit (about sibling more than mum tbh). I'm taking mum to 2 medical appts next week as well as visiting her and dad, and memory clinic the week after.

KnittingNeedles · 26/03/2023 08:55

Thank you for thinking of us. Dad died peacefully about 12 hours after I last posted, through the night. We were not there at the end and this was the right thing for us as a family. We said our goodbyes, went home, turned the phone off. Called back in the morning.

Mum is doing OK. Looking after someone with dementia single-handed for the last 3 or 4 years has been so difficult for her and at the point Dad was admitted to hospital we were starting to talk about carers, respite and even care homes. Mum now has a feeling of "freedom" which she is feeling really guilty about but on the flip side, has been out for lunch more in the last week than she has in hte last three years. She has lots of support locally and just seems to be drinking endless cups of tea.

The admin is what's taking forever - because Dad had a fall which led to his hospital admission and eventual death, the Procurator Fiscal (like the coroner in Scotland) is involved just checking it's all above board. Until they sign it off we can't get a death certificate, until we get the death certificate we can't book a funeral, or start the legal stuff of letting people know. So we're a bit in limbo at the mo.

The one thing I have been so grateful for is that about 5 or 6 years ago my parents organised power of attorney for each other, and took out a funeral plan. Not because the funeral is paid for - mum is not short of cash. But because they had sat down and nominated a funeral director, chosen a coffin, said that they wanted cremation not burial, chosen the music - everything. So we're not second guessing "what dad would've wanted" because he's told us.

SheilaFentiman · 26/03/2023 09:01

All the very best, @KnittingNeedles - I hope the admin parts get sorted soon.

GordonBennett345 · 26/03/2023 10:06

Thinking of you snd your mum, KnittingNeedles.

countrygirl99 · 26/03/2023 11:00

@KnittingNeedles 💐

I've got an odd problem with mum and I've no idea how to resolve it. Mum has taken to posting stuff to me - random photos etc . Which wouldn't be a problem if she addressed them to my house instead of a house at the other end of the village. Always the same one and I've no idea where she is using that number. None of my family have ever lived at a house with that number. I've checked her address book and it's correct. I've asked her if she has my address written elsewhere and she says no. She just gets puzzled how the wrong house number ends up on the envelope because as far as she is concerned, even though it's her writing, she couldn't possibly have written the address wrong as it's correct in her address book.

Knotaknitter · 26/03/2023 11:13

@countrygirl99 Pre-printed address labels or handy envelopes with the address written on already?

@KnittingNeedles I am sorry, the admin provides some distraction from the loss because you have something to do. The hanging around stage provides no release. Hopefully we're far enough away from Easter for that to not add further delays

notaflyingmonkey · 26/03/2023 11:33

@KnittingNeedles thinking of you.

I went to see the film Allelujah yesterday, having seen the cast and thought it was a feel good film. Had to leave part way through as it was so disturbing (the very opposite of feel good), and of course then had a nightmare about DM last night bringing back all the emotions about having dumped her in a care home, etc. I've now got that horrible hangover-type feeling, and churned up emotions again.

countrygirl99 · 26/03/2023 12:01

@Knotaknitter tbh I'd rather she didn't keep posting me random photos of relatives I've never met with a note on the back saying "I think this is x but I'm not sure". I might try stickers but there's a good chance she'll forget they exist. It's just awkward to keep apologising to the people who get the letters.

thesandwich · 26/03/2023 13:20

@KnittingNeedles thinking of you and your dm 🌺🌺
@countrygirl99 could you give the people who get the letters stamped addressed envelopes to your address? Plus chocs/ wine? I’m sure they won’t mind.
@notaflyingmonkey so sorry to hear about your cinema experience I’m sure I’d be the same. Hope you’re ok.

countrygirl99 · 26/03/2023 13:38

@thesandwich the nearest post box is nearly at my house so probably easier to stick with them messaging me and me calling round. I need to find where mum has the wrong house number written down. We had issues with phone numbers a couple of years back and she kept phoning DH's mobile instead of mine. She had the number written on scraps of paper in drawers all over the house as well as the address books and was usung those not the contacts list on the phone (though we didn't know). We thought sorting the numbers in the phone would sort it but it needed another 6 attempts to find them all.

funnelfan · 26/03/2023 16:18

I can sympathise with the scraps of paper and shoving stuff in drawers. I trawled the entire house for paperwork when dad died, thought I knew all the hidey holes. Even now, three years later, I find random old letters and envelopes popping up and laying about. No idea where they’ve been and now she’s got dementia mum has a legitimate reason for claiming no knowledge of them.

Newmum738 · 28/03/2023 07:14

Does anyone have any tips for managing care related stress and setting boundaries? It's very early days for us but the impact of the diagnosis and trying to balance work and all the care calls that I can only make during the working day are already taking their toll. I'll be reducing my hours from next week but not sure that will help much. Some wisdom for those who have been on this journey for longer would be welcome!

SheilaFentiman · 28/03/2023 07:57

Can you say “I will do calls between 10 and 11 Monday and Thursday” or whatever and try and stick to that? People might return calls outside of those slots but that will be your “outreach” time?

GordonBennett345 · 28/03/2023 08:59

We've just started getting mum a 15 minute daily care slot do one of her admin jobs that needs doing every day. We're also going to try having just one day a week where we deal with stuff we know is coming up. We're determined to have mum free days. There's often something unexpected that comes up though.

EmotionalBlackmail · 28/03/2023 09:20

I use 'Do not disturb' setting on my mobile to make sure I don't get disturbed by calls like that. I check and respond to them when I have time to, usually within a couple of days. If I had certain jobs like surgery or teaching I wouldn't be checking my phone at work anyway so I reasoned it wasn't any different.

GordonBennett345 · 28/03/2023 10:08

EmotionalBlackmail · 28/03/2023 09:20

I use 'Do not disturb' setting on my mobile to make sure I don't get disturbed by calls like that. I check and respond to them when I have time to, usually within a couple of days. If I had certain jobs like surgery or teaching I wouldn't be checking my phone at work anyway so I reasoned it wasn't any different.

Good idea re DND on phone if things are getting bad. I've started wondering "what would I do if I were 5 hours away?"

Ameanstreakamilewide · 28/03/2023 11:50

I have a question you might be able to help me with, please.

I'm a newcomer to this group, as my FiL has fairly recently been diagnosed with dementia. He's 76 and being cared for by my (currently, very spry) MiL and she's becoming a bit narky with him and resentful.

Now, i'm not judging her in the slightest, because i don't doubt (for a moment) how tough it is to be caring for a loved-one with dementia. But, my husband is in denial about how unwell his Dad is, and to some extent, i understand, because it's a horrible thing to come to terms with, but face it he must.
We saw his parents last week and my husband always says 'My Dad doesn't seem that bad. My Dad doesn't seem that bad' - almost in an effort to reassure himself, really.

My SiL is helping them a lot, because she lives in the same street, but i'm very conscious that all of the help doesn't conveniently land in her lap because her 3 brothers are content to let her do it all.
They all need to get off their arses and give their mum and sister a break, first of all and spend some time with their Dad.

Now, the issue that i don't want to raise yet within the family is professional assistance, because i don't want to put the cat among the pigeons.

My in-laws, through a series of things going wrong over the years, has meant that they still have huge debts and have already undertaken equity release of their house to pay some of those debts. Which hasn't really helped, as my FiL continued to take out loans and use high interest credit cards, etc.
And in hindsight, this was possibly the dementia 'talking', but nobody noticed, bless him. He told me the other day, that when he was playing on his phone, he was seeing adverts for 'free money', which absolutely terrified me.

So, as my FiL declines and my MiL increasingly struggles to cope, there is no money to hire in professionals; or for my FiL to become a resident in a care home.
Are there schemes provided for by councils, etc that would assist them, in their own home; like carers providing 'personal care', perhaps?

I should mention that they live in Kent, and also that i'm very grateful to this group for letting me vent; and also for any advice given.

countrygirl99 · 28/03/2023 12:18

@Ameanstreakamilewide my in laws had care fully funded by the council ss they had very little money. I can't remember the exact figures and they've probably gone up but below circa £13.5k it's fully funded (and any joint savings are split so work it right and it's £27k a couple) and below £23k it's partially funded. But they will fund what they deem necessary for personal care, not cleaners etc. House value is ignored as long as there is one of them living there.
Also look at attendance allowance. It's not means tested and can be used to fund any help needed.
Age UK are a good source of advice. They help ILs ensure they were getting all the benefits they were entitled to and also put them in touch with an advocate who could talk to the council about care needs with the voice of experience.

thesandwich · 28/03/2023 12:24

With a dementia diagnosis they are entitled to a reduction in council tax- alzeheimers society should be able to advise.
most importantly, does anyone have power of attorney for them? Could a block be put on by the bank?

Ameanstreakamilewide · 28/03/2023 12:50

countrygirl99 · 28/03/2023 12:18

@Ameanstreakamilewide my in laws had care fully funded by the council ss they had very little money. I can't remember the exact figures and they've probably gone up but below circa £13.5k it's fully funded (and any joint savings are split so work it right and it's £27k a couple) and below £23k it's partially funded. But they will fund what they deem necessary for personal care, not cleaners etc. House value is ignored as long as there is one of them living there.
Also look at attendance allowance. It's not means tested and can be used to fund any help needed.
Age UK are a good source of advice. They help ILs ensure they were getting all the benefits they were entitled to and also put them in touch with an advocate who could talk to the council about care needs with the voice of experience.

Thank you so much for such a comprehensive response, @countrygirl99, i'm much obliged.

I've been waiting to get this off my chest for a while.

@thesandwich My SiL now has PoA. The siblings didn't think it was necessary while my MiL still has capacity, but it turns out it's much simpler this way, for both parties.

EmotionalBlackmail · 28/03/2023 12:53

@GordonBennett345 yes, that's what a friend said when we moved closer to DM - you still don't have to be the one to respond to anything, even an emergency. I didn't pick up a msg about an A&E admittance until 8 hours after it had happened as it had come in about five minutes after my work DND started.

So hospital staff just had to deal with it. I ended up not needing to go at all in the end.

Practically speaking, if I had gone, I wasn't needed and it would have used up a day of my annual leave which I need for DH, DD and my sanity, so having Do Not Disturb on the phone is brilliant!

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