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Elderly parents

What home assistance is appropriate for MCI or early stage dementia?

9 replies

falstaff1980 · 18/09/2023 15:46

My mother has MCI, and every day there's at least one mishap due to something being forgotten, misplaced, or left open. Today's was a missing bank card, she probably forgot it in the local shop's chip-and-pin machine (I'll be calling the bank later to cancel the card if the shop doesn't have it).

I can't quit my three-year-old daughter, wife, and my full-time job in order to be omnipresent and able to deal with these problems immediately when they occur. The best I can do that's sustainable is visit for a bit after work each day, and/or have my mother over to our place for supper.

What things have people found that have worked?

(note: you might have seen my other posts about my sick father, he's still in hospital, coming back tomorrow possibly and will be on palliative care, before he went in to hospital he was able to remember things for my mother, but that's not going to continue now).

OP posts:
tescocreditcard · 18/09/2023 16:02

I assume your mum is walking to the shops. Could you order what she needs online and give her a small amount of spending money each day?

countrygirl99 · 18/09/2023 16:32

This is possibly the hardest stage to manage as it's often not a consistent problem. If someone has trouble cooking or cleaning you know what you have to manage. My mum has early stage alzheimer's but has no awareness of it and doesn't think she needs help. But she has lost bank cards a couple of times this year, had a mouse infestation in the kitchen that she didn't realise was a problem, has been ripped off for a garden job that she booked without talking to us, has called out British Gas because she's switched the heating off and then thinks it's broken etc. Often you don't know what is going to hit until it's too late to avoid.

Shellingbynight · 18/09/2023 16:44

The issue is that ideally your mum needs someone there all the time to remind or reassure her 'in the moment', a role your dad was fulfilling.

When my mother got to a slightly later stage I had a carer come in for a few hours a day to get her breakfast and lunch, and also take her shopping and to appointments (the carer also did the laundry and cleaning). I used Home Instead who were brilliant.

You could consider that type of solution, either now or a bit later, it provides some routine and practical help but it wouldn't answer the issue of her popping out somewhere and losing her bank card. That kind of thing is almost impossible to deal with unless the person has a constant companion.

I hope your parents have both done a Lasting Power of Attorney?

falstaff1980 · 18/09/2023 20:37

I do have power of attorney, came through not a moment too soon for both my parents. Sounds like I’ll just have to accept that mishaps will happen, will look into pursuading her to accept a daily visit from a professional.

OP posts:
AnnaBlush · 23/09/2023 01:01

I think getting a professional in- who can start to build a relationship with your mum would be a good idea. Perhaps the person could be introduced as a helper/ cleaner for both your dad and her ( if that makes her more likely to accept)
The professional could then assist with tasks for them as a couple eg groceries, cooking

Also would it be helpful to get an emergency ‘button’ - put in - so your Mum can get use to idea and learn it before her capacity reduces. Again you could base the need on your father if that made her any more comfortable with idea
I found carecall a very good company

I also think it is very important you start to prepare yourself for what is to come .Caring for someone with dementia is demanding- but it helps if you have insight into the disease and can learn techniques for de- escalating .

Word of warning - in my experience the biggest care package ( in the community) you can get for someone with a dementia is 4 visits per day ( 315 min and 1 30 min)
Unless you can argue to get carer respite / a sitter for two hours once a week. Bear in mind that if the state can’t secure the carers - then they will offer direct payments- so would be good if you already had identified carer local

Ihateslugs · 23/09/2023 01:30

Technology might help initially, it certainly allowed my mum to live at home alone for a number of years before I introduced a carer - paid for by me using my POA to access mums money.

Many devices require internet connection so the first thing I did was get mum out of the house for an afternoon so I could install a router from her phone company. I hid it under a cupboard so mum could not see it!

Hive heating - allows you to control the heating from your house. I left the old disconnected thermostat in the hall so mum could fiddle with it and still feel in control.

Ring door bell and security cameras - alerts to my phone when anyone called at the house, I could then intercept if they were scammers or cold calling. The cameras enabled me to see when mum left the house and when she got back, I livd about half an hour away so was prepared to get in my car if she did not return home as expected.

Also has cameras in the lounge and kitchen so I could see that mum was out of bed and pottering around safely.

A key safe - so I could get a neighbour to let mum in if she lost her key or let emergency services in if necessary, great peace of mind.

I also installed a Call Blocker from a company specialising in support for dementia ( True Call). I input the people I wanted to be able to call mum, everyone else got a message telling them to call me ( gave my mobile number) if they needed to speak to mum, with held number calls and overseas calls were barred completely.

My mum decided to turn off all electrical appliances at night, even pulling out the fridge freezer to unplug it so I had cages or blank plates fitted over the plugs so she could not get at them. Somehow people with dementia seem to ignore plugs and sockets if they cannot see them

Had to get rid of the Virgin TV package as mum got confused with the remotes and kept switching between Virgin and the Smart TV then she’d phone me to complain that the tv was broken! I taped over the unnecessary controls on the tv controller so all she had access to were the five main channels and the on/off button.

I scratched off the cvc number from her debit card to stop her buying things over the phone and made sure her credit card “ got lost” - eventually she stopped asking about it.

It’s really hard but Mum managed to live alone for six years after her diagnosis until Covid caused too many problems for me to cope with and after a hospital stay following a fall at home, she was discharged to a care home.

Helpwhatwouldyoudonext · 23/09/2023 01:36

@Ihateslugs

💐 from a stranger - you've done a commendable job.

countrygirl99 · 23/09/2023 06:19

A@Ihateslugs great ideas and I've noted them for future use. My problem is getting mum to accept anything as she thinks she doesn't have a problem. She even threw away her expensive hearing aids when dad died because she had forgotten having her hearing tested and thought they were dad's. Various items to help have been thrown away because she doesn't like them or thinks now dad has died they aren't needed when they were for her not him.

Ihateslugs · 23/09/2023 15:35

countrygirl99 · 23/09/2023 06:19

A@Ihateslugs great ideas and I've noted them for future use. My problem is getting mum to accept anything as she thinks she doesn't have a problem. She even threw away her expensive hearing aids when dad died because she had forgotten having her hearing tested and thought they were dad's. Various items to help have been thrown away because she doesn't like them or thinks now dad has died they aren't needed when they were for her not him.

My mum was the same, she once took all the food out of her freezer because she did not know who had bought it! She thought someone had replaced her food with theirs.

I really loved my mum and miss her every day, she was such a remarkable woman who gave me and my siblings a wonderful childhood. So I will do anything to help others who find themselves looking after people with dementia - technology is so useful nowadays.

I found a lot of advice from the online forum on the Alzheimer’s Society forum, Dementia Talking Point, they also have some useful articles and a helpline.

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