Thread: Aging Parents Board: All Saints / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
I'd like to hear from other Shipmates who are dealing with parents who are getting old and frail. In my case it's my 84-year-old widowed father. His mind is still sharp, but it's getting harder and harder for him to maintain his independence. (And forget suggestions of hiring an aide! - he's one of those Suck It In and Tough It Out guys).

Seeing Dad's condition and his frustration over it is very frustrating. How do you cope with such a situation?
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Sorry Squirrel I have no answers - I'm in a similar position myself and I find it both frustrating and painful.

Huia
 
Posted by Nicodemia (# 4756) on :
 
Having been in that position myself in the past, and now approaching rapidly the same situation as I grow older and can't do much, I have complete sympathy with you.

However, can you break it down into what exactly your father finds difficult? Getting up, dressed and around? Getting food for himself? Getting to the bathroom as necessary?

You don't sound as if you live in the UK, so I can't suggest the help we have here. But Occupational therapists have been so much help to me, with aides for specific tasks, I can recommend that route.

Otherwise, can you talk to your father about living in a Home as though it is in the future, not like tomorrow, and get him gently used to the idea?
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
Speaking as someone young/elderly, but with increasing age-related disabilities to go along with other disabilities I offer the following:

1. An every-two-weeks housekeeper. Mine does the floors, dusting and cleaning, changes sheets and does any other laundry outstanding. She also drinks coffee and while working hard, she maintains a constant chatter with me while I drink my coffee.

2. Food preparation - this is a toughie, as I have long cooked from scratch abhorring sodium and sugar-saturated offerings from the supermarkets. I now do a major cooking twice a week, dedicating a day to the task. Not all at once, but one or two different dishes at a time which I freeze in meal sized portions. Sometimes I just get fed up with the cooking and I may end up doing one thing a day, but the food all gets done shortly after purchase. I shop once a week for fresh food and twice a month for household stuff and tins.

God bless my humble microwave.

3. Bathroom and hygiene I shower every other day*. It has been years since I have had a proper bath. The handy thing about being already disabled means that I have already grab bars and bath seats in place. If he doesn't, get them installed. * and do a sink bath on other days. Except in India, where I shower every day

3(b) Toileting. I learnt years ago that sitting for both functions was the way to go. I find it easier now that I am older to wear sweat pants rather than trousers - they're easier to pull up and put in place than flies, belts and suspenders. Although suspenders have their use, especially if you sit a lot.

Incontinence is a problem - especially urinary incontinence. Especially when I go out, I find that wearing a Depends -like product gives me peace of mind. I seldom wet, but this is in case I do - or cannot use a toilet where I am.

This is perhaps too much information, but it is the perceived hidden shame of aging.

The bottom line to all this is that, as you age, you cannot expect to do everything you used to do, at least not in the way you used to do it. A little inventiveness can prolong independence.

My prayers are with your father.

eta clarification.

[ 30. December 2009, 10:16: Message edited by: PeteC ]
 
Posted by Hiro's Leap (# 12470) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PeteC:
This is perhaps too much information, but it is the perceived hidden shame of aging.

[Overused]
Courageous, honest and helpful words PeteC.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
I don't know about offering advice, but I can certainly offer sympathy and support. My sisters and I are dealing with our 81 year old mother who is sinking further into dementia. We saw the first symptoms about ten years ago. Mom has now achieved what I call Zen Enlightenment. Her memory loss is such that she has no consciousness of the past, no anticipation of the future. There is only the Now.

My youngest sister has placed her and our step-father in an assisted living facility. It's very nice but terribly expensive. As difficult as it is to consider, mom's doctor has said that a heart attack or stroke would not be the worst thing that could happen. [Votive]
 
Posted by Jigsaw (# 11433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Hiro's Leap:
quote:
Originally posted by PeteC:
This is perhaps too much information, but it is the perceived hidden shame of aging.

[Overused]
Courageous, honest and helpful words PeteC.


 
Posted by Jigsaw (# 11433) on :
 
Well, bravely and realistically said, Pete C.
And to Squirrel: yes, I have an elderly mother-in-law who is housebound, dependent on carers, and lives 250 miles away, and I tried to support my late mother in her completely irrational and b-minded wish for independent living.
I think the key is: if the elderly person (assuming they are competent to decide) has made the decision on how they will live out their life, we must accept it, however hard it is for us who watch. It may not be what we would choose in their situation, but it's their choice.
It is hard, though, to watch their frustration at the physical deterioration, as Squirrel has said. So keep the lines of communciation open, and be ready for a sign that they're ready to consider other options. All good wishes
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
Right. They have the privilege of making their own decisions.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
2 down, 2 to go, God bless 'em.

Mama passed a few years ago after a 7-year fight with lung tumors at first benign then cancerous. Extreme smoker to the bitter end. Mom-in-law passed a couple years ago after declining health over the past 20 years, culminating in needing help for daily living and a final couple years of constant debilitating pain.

Both had their times at the end where they certainly didn't seem rational at all. But then, also, toward the end, they didn't have 100% say in their own lives -- they needed their kids to care for them and some decisions had to be made with/for them that I'm sure they'd never have agreed with if not driven to it.

Daddy and dad-in-law are left to us. More later on that...
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
Right. They have the privilege of making their own decisions.

Well, yes, but...

[Tear]

The hard part is when they make bad decisions, like totally TERRIBLE decisions,* and you're starting to suspect there's a dementia thing going on, but you can't get sufficient proof of it to override the bad decisions--even with the power of attorney etc. they so thoughtfully put in place years ago for just this eventuality. And then when the inevitable consequences come, you have to choose. Do you let them suffer (damn hard to do, esp. when one elderly parent is making bad decisions that affect the OTHER, possibly incompetent, parent)? Or do you drop everything, re-arrange your own life and finances (and those of your family), and rescue them? All the while trying not to bite anyone's head off. And then the cycle repeats itself.

I just don't know.

* bad decisions such as
hiring total strangers off the street to do nursing care, without even a background check;
handing over one's checkbook and bank card to said total strangers;
refusing to let relatives know where various financial assets needed for health care are squirreled away;
insisting on driving without depth perception;
etc. etc. etc.
 
Posted by Jigsaw (# 11433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
Right. They have the privilege of making their own decisions.

Well, yes, but...

[Tear]

The hard part is when they make bad decisions, like totally TERRIBLE decisions,......* ,

* bad decisions such as
hiring total strangers off the street to do nursing care, without even a background check;
handing over one's checkbook and bank card to said total strangers;
refusing to let relatives know where various financial assets needed for health care are squirreled away;
insisting on driving without depth perception;
etc. etc. etc.

Aye, there's the rub. If it comes to some of these things (particularly if these decisions are made by the supposedly more competent of a pair of elders but could cause harm to the frailer one) I would try and intervene. And I have done. In the UK at least, there are usually people (carers, GP, Trading Standards, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, etc., ) that I have phoned and expressed concern. Because of client confidentiality, I don't get a direct promise of action, and quite right too, but sometimes, just that oblique expression of concern I made has lead to something being done to remedy the situation.
Not a lot you can do, though, about where they give money to cowboys who call offering house repairs, gardening jobs, and so on at a reduced rate and who don't leave receipts or a business address.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Right. And I remember the elder in question coming home chuffed for having passed his driver's test--AGAIN--at age what, eighty-seven? And half blind.

I'm sorry, but you can't do a proper determination of somebody's competence in any area singlehandedly in only five minutes. (Their incompetence now, that may be immediately apparent.... )

That's where we had trouble, because the various Powers That Be all insisted that if they couldn't spot a problem with him in the five minutes they were willing to take, one must not exist.

[ 01. January 2010, 04:51: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Poking my nose in with no advice or help whatsoever, apart from sympathy and solidarity as I have watched my father for the last year go from being a wonderful friend - albeit somewhat frail - to being stuck in a home, doubly incontinent, sometimes he can feed himself, sometimes he knows who I am, sometimes he can hoik himself out of a chair to a frame to shuffle along.

The diagnosis is vascular dementia - brought about my frequent mini-strokes that we probably don't know occur.

I go visit as often as I can and - yes - he lives in the "now" - Campbellite I love the Zen Enlightenment expression.

I have had so much worthless advice from well meaning friends who want to "fix" the issue and they tell me how to structure the visits, but I just want to throttle these friends as how do you converse with someone who has pretty much lost the power of speech and has no memory of anything - what he had for lunch or indeed if he has had lunch - to the childhood memories. People really want to fix something - and while the best of intentions, it is really hard to listen to. That said, there are things that can be done for people where the dementia is not so severe - writing things down, pictures, ??

My mother prays daily for his release. She is a brave lady and while she winds me up, I admire her courage and strength. Me, I stopped praying long ago but I echo the sentiment in my own spiritual way.

I have reorganised my mother's finances - we have an interesting situ whereby because he is not violent, he is not entitled to funding for his care. The money comes from his bank a/c - not sure what happens when that runs dry. I expect the Well-Fair state will kick in. So, she has re-written her will such that if she got knocked over, dad would get nothing ... which stops it going to the grubby hands of Gordon Brown. If I had the energy, I would start a rant in hell about the injustice of someone having paid their stamp and taxes (UK) all their lives only to discover that it doesn't cover certain sides of old age. I think "Call Me Dave Cameron" has an idea to combat this situ.

But yes, ensure finances are in order. Obtain power of attorney while you can. I don't know how, but ensure that the papers are in order for it to kick in at a certain point - and in a way that protects the aged one. My mother has drawn it up for when she goes loopy so we don't need to worry about court orders.

There are solicitors who deal with old age and can advise but wills and power of attorney is something that can be managed - according to the old-person's wishes.

The original q: how do you cope? The answer, I don't. I rage and grieve for my father who is not yet dead and is ravaged by a cruel disease. I put my parents first in all I do - within a certain level to ensure my sanity. I have excellent relationships with neighbours who are often the recipients of a bottle of wine - and are quietly keeping an eye on mum. For example - has she opened her curtains in the morning?? I have phoned the GP on a couple of occasions - wow did I feel treacherous - but there were things I needed to do / say / hear.

I remember my memories which are wonderful, I talk to my parents about my childhood. I don't know if dad ever connects with what I say but I am thankful for great memories, and so impart my gratitude and hopefully make them feel good about what they did - and also talk about "now I am grown-up" so that with my mum, she is aware she is dealing with an adult (I wish!)

I am not old in my opinion (haha), but I know at some stage I need to prepare for my old age and I wonder how many of us spend our lives in blissful denial of impending infirmity, and wonder whether there is a better way of preparing for old age?

Sorry, what a glum post. How lucky am I to have had great parents. Better to be troubled by frail elderly parents who did good - then be washing hands of bad parents.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PeteC:
Speaking as someone young/elderly, but with increasing age-related disabilities to go along with other disabilities I offer the following:

1. An every-two-weeks housekeeper. Mine does the floors, dusting and cleaning, changes sheets and does any other laundry outstanding. She also drinks coffee and while working hard, she maintains a constant chatter with me while I drink my coffee.

I arranged for a housekeeper for my parents, through the area agency on aging. They had a program where they had housekeepers who were bonded and insured, and they did the background checks and such. And, as a bonus, they trained the housekeepers to spot signs of sudden and possibly decline (e.g., the burners on the range on, with nothing cooking). The housekeepers would report such things to the agency, who would call a designated family member.

I told my parents that they could fire her if they wanted, after she came out the first time, but I would appreciate it if they would let her come out at least once. They were more than a little bit annoyed, but as I did not offer to pay for the service, they were not mortally offended. They let her come, and she came out every week as long as they lived.

You might be able to find something similar where your parents live. It made a big difference.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
There was an element of making sure Mama and Mom-in-law had opportunity to enjoy the music of their young adult years, during their final years. The same way I did with the residents of the dementia wing at the nursing home I worked at years ago.

Never had actual dementia with either of them -- meaning, no diagnosed, obvious-to-a-layman dementia. But both had such pain to bear for so long, and some questionable circulation at times, and heavy medication/lots of medication. So it seemed to us there were some of the... mechanics? processes? traits? of dementia kicking in, sometimes.

It seemed more than just the pleasant nostalgia of listening to the old music; it seemed to soothe and cheer like a drug, itself. They seemed to need it.

One of the things my daughter did for her grandmother in her final months was to stop by once or twice a week, to do some housework and to sing the old hymns.

And there were times my poor mother, in her final days, seemed barely able to draw a breath -- but if you popped her some vintage Elvis Presley or Conway Twitty in the sound system she'd be dancing in her bed.
 
Posted by QLib (# 43) on :
 
My mum is fiercely "independent" despite being severely sight-impaired, hard of hearing, crippled by arthritis and now confusion and memory problems are creeping in as well. She lives in a special block of flats with an on-call emergency service, has carers in night and morning - my sister (who lives a 5 minute drive away) calls in pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day - and occasionally takes her out shopping, if the weather's fine, or brings the shopping in.

The thing is, it's OK when it's OK - if everything's routine, then Mum can cope, but as soon as anything changes, things can go very wrong, very quickly.

It's becoming a huge strain on my sister, though she has 2 grown-up children nearby who also help. But really, Mum's "independence" is at the price of my sister being on the end of the phone and running all her errands.

And because mum's sense of proportion gets skewed, especially when she's ill, she's likely to call my sister out to discuss something completely trivial (which could have been dealt with on the phone) and then not call immediately when something quite serious happens, because she doesn't want to be a "nuisance" - but, of course, some problems get much bigger when left unattended for a few hours.

I keep wondering if I should move closer, as I can only really help out at holiday times - and the strain on my sister is starting to be a serious worry.

For Brits - let me reiterate the advice about Power of Attorney - get it sorted before things are desperate. Most banks are bloody awkward about it; you need to sort out the hassles whilst your elderly relative is still mentally competent.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
The way power of attorney works has changed since the introduction of the new mental capacity act in 2007. There are now at least two types, one financial only and one that delegates other decisions like health care (I think). If this is going to be relevant to you, worth checking out the state of play early.

Currently in the UK, I think your savings need to have reached below £16,000 before social services fund the bulk of care - but there is a sliding scale before this of the proportion they pay. Again, well worth investigating the actual limits and so on. Government initiatives in play at the moment, mean you can get an assessment done - and work out if you want the care organised by the social service or in some circumstances you can have the money paid over and organise it yourself. This can mean the difference between paying for a home or a live in 24hr carer for example. Oxford aunts, for example, are about £700 a week for someone who will sleep in, cook, drive etc with one day off a week. £700 a week is about the going rate round here for a care home.

Also you have the right to a carers assessment, if you are doing a lot for the person concerned. This can *sometimes* lead to a little extra money for stuff, also links to carer support in your area.

Re inheritance tax, the limits are quite high - something like estate valued over £325,000 or joint if linked to deceased spouse (£650,000) so I am not sure how often that is a relevant consideration.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
Yes, the Power of Attorney stuff changed. I had one for an elderly lady which I registered with the Court of Protection when she finally went beyond make decisions - this happened just before the changes and my understanding is that it is still ok. The old lady is now in a Nursing Home and I am fighting my Primary Care Trust to get full funding - just past the first 'Checklist' stage and going into a full assessment later this month. Wow, am I learning fast. [Ultra confused] And all to protect her house for the beneficiaries of her will. It feels so pressured and I am sure I could not manage if there was any other major event in my life.

Both my mother and my mother-in-law had dementia - both have died.

It feels like a continuous fight to get what one feels is due for one's elderly relatives / friends. The only bright bit (if you can call it that) is that when my mother-in-law was dying we suddenly realised that The Brain Bank would like her brain tissue for research into dementia - the hospital knew nothing about this but the doctors treating her were very interested in the idea and cooperated fully - it was all set up within three days - just before she died, when and the Brain Bank immediately stepped in to do all the necessary paperwork and collection. Mrs W and I felt that something good had come out of many years of pain and frustration.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
As someone who has aging parents on the opposite side of the planet, I can't offer much in the way of practical advice, just sympathy.

My mother (now aged 82) has been in the geriatric ward of their local hospital for eight years; she gradually developed a form of dementia (not Alzheimer's) starting in the mid-1990s which took in turn her balance, short-term memory, continence and mobility. When she got to the stage where she was having falls from which Dad couldn't pick her up by himself, she went into hospital. For several years now she's been completely bedridden, and I doubt that she even recognises Dad, although he visits her twice a day, every day.

He's in relatively good health (he'll be 85 next month) although getting a bit frail, especially since breaking an ankle a couple of years ago, and still drives (he bought a new car last year). He won't get help with the house or garden, despite my entreaties ("Dad, what you need is a serf ...")

I can only offer [Votive] for all those who are in this predicament, whether as putative carers, or those needing the care.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Elspeth, you have my sympathies. My father had the same sort of illness; not every patient with a senile dementia has Alzheimers. My father lost memory and almost every learned function, with speech being the last to go. All this was gradual at first, but then accelerated. After caring for him for 18 months or so, he became too much of a burden for my mother. The decision to move him into a nursing home was made by her, my siblings and me without any difficulty. And our spouses were part of it all; don't forget them, as by the time your parents reach this stage, the in-laws will have been around for quite a while, too. Although Dad resented it at first, after a very short time he did not really know where he was. Fortunately, there were signs of all this happening, and one of Gee's solicitors was able to do the necessary documentation to enable proper management of his affairs once his capacity had gone.

Gee's mother went very suddenly, so there was no problem. Neither my mother nor Gee's father shows any signs yet of mental incapacity, although his father had to move to a nursing home last year. My mother is still quite independent in most respects, but the time may well come sooner rather than later. Again, the documents have been done in anticipation.

I think the real answer is not to leave matters until they have reached the stage of urgency. Nor should there be a "family conference" with all the dreaded overtones. Lots of casual and general talking starting well beforehand will reach a consensus of what is to be done, and what will be the trigger.

Strangely, my father could always remember Dlet, who he was and how he fitted in, although he was born just a few short weeks before Dad went to the nursing home. The quirks of the human mind are all but infinite.

Madame

My first individual post!
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
Gee D and 'Madame',

Can you please maintain seperate identities. It gets very confusing when more than one person uses an id. We request that 'Madame' finds a suitable screen name and registers on her own behalf.

Alan
Ship of Fools Admin
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Does anyone know where i might go to help my dad's case? His gentle sweet docile dementia is rendering his case to receive funding for his home fees a non-starter. If he was aggressive, hostile and uncooperative, then we would have a high probability of getting funding.

He will have to pay for the funding out of his savings until - I forget the figure - it may be the £16k mentioned above.

It is not really about the money tho, when his money runs dry (or down to £16k) then social services kicks in. But the principle sucks. He has worked all his working life and paid his stamp and taxes so should be getting something paid. I would concur that his pension payments go towards his keep - just not his savings.

Anyway - I have 3 thoughts :
- get him reassessed - he has deteriorated greatly since he was assessed in November - and we are allowed to have him reassesed at any time.
- write to MP
- if our case is rejected, then to go to appeal (we will be allowed to do that)

Oh how we fail our elderly. I thought the welfare state was for cradle to grave?

I am more angry about the principle - that despite being told that he is not allowed home as he is not safe, he is not entitled to continuing care payments. There is a massive contradiction in the system.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Have they not found him a placement or a care package in his home ? In which case go to your mp. If they have the placement / care package, and you simply don't want him to have to spend his savings - then I think you are probably on a hiding to nothing.

The health care is provided free at the point of use, and all the medicine. But socal care *funding* will not kick in until his savings decrease.

If he were sectioned under the mental health act - due to his dementia - then I think they might be obliged to fund housing upon his discharge. (Which might be what you have been told re whether he is docile or not.)
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Think² thanks for your thoughts. I think I am just really fed up with the system. He has not been sectioned as such but the consultants / doctors made it clear that they would not discharge him from hospital to his home - but only allow him to leave to go to a care home. On no account was he to return his home.

I think it is the contradiction that is galling. On one hand, he is declared as needing specialised care - he was rejected by one home as he was too sick and they wouldn't provide such care. On the other hand, he has to dig into his savings.

I know that sounds really tight - the bottom line for me is that it is what is best for dad and I would move heaven and earth to ensure he is properly cared for.

I happen to agree that his pension should go towards his carehome - but not his nursing care etc.

I agree - that we are probably "on a hiding to nothing" but we really have to try for him. Mother - very upset. Brother - ranting and struggling with the contradictions in the system.

I think I am really angry about the whole system that really lets down the elderly - and vulnerable people - eg unemployed, those who are long term sick, etc.

But ... it is only money and I have to keep reminding myself that. And furthermore, it really isn't a huge deal of money.

Will try the MP route tho. The whole thing has a bad smell.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
If he wants to come home, and they won't let him home - they need to have done a mental capacity assessment. They potentially can use that instead of the mental health act.

Might be also worth arguing the toss over whether he needs to be in a home - orwhether he he needs a 24hr carers in his own home plus district nursing input. Costs of staffing at home are not necessarily more than a care home - and at least it is a familiar place.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Beenster, I don't know where your father lives, but as you talk in £ sterling, I'm assuming it's the UK. When my mother first went into the local NHS hospital (in Scotland - that may make a difference - I don't know), it was to the ordinary medical ward, initially for observation. When they needed the bed, she was transferred to the secure geriatric ward, and assessed by medical staff, social workers and so on to establish whether that was the right place for her. They decided it was, and she's been there ever since.

If your father needs 24-hour medical care, that may be the best option for him. If it's an NHS facility, they shouldn't take his savings (unlike the local authority); in my mother's case, everything except toiletries and nightclothes is provided.

I hope things work out for the best. [Votive]
 
Posted by Poppy (# 2000) on :
 
Beenster, your father is going to have to pay for care until his savings run out. It sucks but that is how the system works. Dementia beds are in really short supply which makes the choice of a nursing home pretty well non existant. You can request a reassessment if you think he has got worse over the past few weeks but you are not going to get free care unless he is in hospital or sectioned. If he falls over or gets flu or gets an infection so that he has to stay in hosptital that is the cheapest option, but not one that anyone would want.

There may be an intermediate care bed which would get him out of hospital and into something that is a bit like the old convelescent hospitals but they aren't in every PCT and they are for medical needs rather than long term care needs, but you never know, it is worth asking around. Try your local Age Concern and Citizens Advice Bureau for information on the local situation.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
I have to rush out now but will come back later this morning with what I think are some useful comments and possible links.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Poppy:
Beenster, your father is going to have to pay for care until his savings run out. It sucks but that is how the system works. Dementia beds are in really short supply which makes the choice of a nursing home pretty well non existant. You can request a reassessment if you think he has got worse over the past few weeks but you are not going to get free care unless he is in hospital or sectioned.

Poppy: that is not my understanding. People in Nursing Homes do get fully funded care if they have a Primary Health Need – that is where it gets difficult to convince the NHS! But it is possible.
Around our part of East London there are vacancies in nursing homes - but not all homes are rated above 'adequate' and this may deter Local Authorities from placing a person who needs nursing care.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
Some of this is probably old hat to you – but here goes, it may help someone.

We have recently had our request for fully funded nursing care turned down – at the first stage, the 'Checklist' assessment. We have appealed and have been given a full assessment later in January. If that fails, we will take it to the Ombudsman. If that fails there is another option which I mention below. I am not living in hope but owe it to the old lady for whom I hold Power of Attorney.

I knew it would be a real struggle so I was, and am, determined to take it all the way if necessary.
To be honest, so far I have found most people very helpful – but we are only part-way through the process.

I contacted the top person in my local Primary Care Trust in the first instance: she passed it down the line to a second 'manager' who passed it down to the relevant local manager. I have found it important to copy my subsequent letters to all of these people, whilst dealing with the Manager of our local 'Continuing Health Care Team, Older People'. When people are accused of negligence, as was the case with us, they tend to jump if they know their boss and their boss' boss know about it.

Things changed in July / October 2009 in a government attempt to rationalise procedures across the country – so you may find, as we did, that the nurse/s who administer the assessments are not up to speed with the new guidelines. Thus the assessment may become fundamentally flawed, making an appeal easier if the decision is negative. In any appeal you should ask for a full assessment straight away without a second Checklist assessment.

I see you had an assessment in November (2009?) so you may know this – but look into the procedures. You don't say whether this was a Checklist assessment or one using The Decision Support Tool. But, for example, did the nurse suggest the description within each health domain, starting with the most serious – this is my reading of the guidelines, whereas our nurse started with the lowest level and, of course, everyone could agree with that! Did she give other people, especially you, an opportunity to challenge / suggest which level of need your father met? I had to constantly pull her back – and only agreed with one of her descriptions – and she did not always record my disagreement.

Yes, you can ask for a new assessment if there is a deterioration – and if this was anticipated, it should have been noted.

Rather than rehearse it all here, the following link will give you Department of Health Guidelines / User Notes / The Checklist and The Decision Support Tool (full assessment). Loads of reading but it has to be done. Documents dh 103161, 103328 and 103329 here

Beenster:
quote:
Does anyone know where I might go to help my dad's case? His gentle sweet docile dementia is rendering his case to receive funding for his home fees a non-starter. If he was aggressive, hostile and uncooperative, then we would have a high probability of getting funding.
This is exactly our case! And many others, too.
As I go through the process I am trying to keep in my mind that the assessment is made as if no medical intervention is in place: our nurse did not realise this and took no account of it when I read the paragraph to her in the Checklist meeting – thus the administration of the Checklist was flawed. Page 8 paragraph 29 of the User Notes for the Decision Support Tool state: “Needs should not be marginalised because they are successfully managed ….” - also in the Checklist guidelines at page 4 paragraph 18.
So medication to keep a person calm does not mean full funding should not be given. Don't know if your father is receiving quetiapine or something similar.

Beenster:
quote:
It is not really about the money tho, when his money runs dry (or down to £16k) then social services kicks in. But the principle sucks. He has worked all his working life and paid his stamp and taxes so should be getting something paid. I would concur that his pension payments go towards his keep - just not his savings.
Couldn't agree more. But if a family home is involved, it is more difficult.

Is your father not receiving any care funding – surely, if he is in a Nursing Home (not just a Residential Home, or he is in an EMI bed in a Home, he should be receiving the 'NHS funded Nursing Care' – about £130 per week?

There is a firm of 'Medical Lawyers' who say they can help. As I have no connection with them, I think it is ok to post a name here. If not, please would a Host remove it and I will send it by PM to Beenster. Cheselden Continuing Care (in Cheshire) could not take on our case yet as we are in the process of an appeal. They apparently will do an initial assessment for free and take on the case if they think they can win. No idea about fees.

I started with a really helpful document from The Royal College of Nursing and others - go to the RCN web site and download the PDF document entitled 003031-1 'Guide to Fully Funded NHS Care'
This outlines two test cases (Coughlan and Grogan) and gives the text of a suggested letter of appeal to the local PCT.

Lastly, if you happen to be in the London / Essex area, I would be happy to meet up to share experiences.

Sorry I have gone on. Hope some of it is useful.
 
Posted by Poppy (# 2000) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
quote:
Originally posted by Poppy:
Beenster, your father is going to have to pay for care until his savings run out. It sucks but that is how the system works. Dementia beds are in really short supply which makes the choice of a nursing home pretty well non existant. You can request a reassessment if you think he has got worse over the past few weeks but you are not going to get free care unless he is in hospital or sectioned.

Poppy: that is not my understanding. People in Nursing Homes do get fully funded care if they have a Primary Health Need – that is where it gets difficult to convince the NHS! But it is possible.
Around our part of East London there are vacancies in nursing homes - but not all homes are rated above 'adequate' and this may deter Local Authorities from placing a person who needs nursing care.

In theory fully funded NHS care in nursing homes is possible but rarer than hen's teeth around here in the home counties. The eligibility criteria for LA care has been set at critical, so an elderly person needs to be in a close to life threatening situation before there is any input from social services. My experience is from a LA perspective as that is where I work.

If you can tackle it from an NHS angle and medical need you probably have more chance of getting somewhere. Good luck.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
Yes, it's very rare. But there are 4 fully funded people at the Nursing Home that I am in contact with, so I understand.

Surely Social Services have an obligation to fund a person (subject to financial considerations)?

As I understand it, the approach for fully funding is to the Primary Care Trust - the assessments take place by a multi-disciplinary team/group which includes a Social Worker and family member / legal representative as well as the NHS Continuing care nurse.

Or am I wrong?

I am not giving up yet. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Poppy (# 2000) on :
 
The LA only has an obligation to fund a resident for social care (e.g. care home, carers going into the home, respite care, meals on wheels etc) if they have less than the threshold in savings and they fall into the eligibility criteria that has been agreed by that council. Most councils only fund critical and severe. The authority I work for only funds social care for people who fall into the critical category.

For a bit of bedtime reading you could have a look at this consultation paper which gives an outline of the criteria towards then end. All this is in the context of govt thinking about funding and provision of social care within 'Putting People First' and 'Fair Access to Care (FAC.)

Don't know if that helps.

Edited for carp code

[ 06. January 2010, 18:39: Message edited by: Poppy ]
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
Thanks.

To be clear - are you referring to people who are relatively healthy but who decide to go into a Residential Home?

I suspect that I have not come across such people - only those who are 'too ill' to stay at home and are eligible for part-funding by the NHS. And therefore, I thought, were eligible to have their social care needs met when they fall below the savings threshold.

I will have a read of the document.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
Wait a minute - I have remembered some assessments by a Social Worker - I think I'm with you now. The crucial point is the level of need for social care, as opposed to nursing care.

Forget it - I think I've got it.

Sorry for being dim.
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Oh thank you so much for all your thoughts. Most kind, much appreciated and all insights helpful.

One other practical conversation to have - is to try and find out whether someone should be a do not ressucitate, what to do with organs, etc.

Wondering how other people are getting on??
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
My mother-in-law's brain tissue was donated for research into dementia. The Brain Bank (several locations in UK) or Alzheimer's Society will help. Has to be done soon after death, of course, set up beforehand link here The donor need not have had dementia - 'healthy' brains are needed as well.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
My mother-in-law's brain tissue was donated for research into dementia. The Brain Bank (several locations in UK) or Alzheimer's Society will help. Has to be done soon after death, of course, set up beforehand link here The donor need not have had dementia - 'healthy' brains are needed as well.

God bles her. My grandfather had dementia and I fear others like my mother might get it someday.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
My father's been in hospital continuously since April for various reasons, most recently for a minor stroke following two lots of surgery. He's 82, my mum is 87 and she doesn't feel she can cope with him at home, even with a large care package.
The complication is finding some type of home that will meet his needs; he doesn't fit any standard categories. He has very little vision and a lot of sensory loss in his hands and feet, and limited use of his dominant hand following the stroke as well, so he can't really manage personal care with any level of independence. However, he's fairly mobile with a walking frame, so he's not a typical nursing home patient. His mental health needs are also confusing people; he doesn't have dementia, and is still capable of holding detailed intellectual discussions on some topics, but he has almost certainly had undiagnosed mental health problems for most of his life and his tendency towards paranoia and obsessive ideas is getting more noticeable.
The manager of a home which I think would suit him is assessing him on Tuesday and I'm desperately hoping he won't be in a weird mood and put them off...
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Aravis that is really hard - no helpful advice but I hope you have a productive visit. Does sound like your dad would benefit from some external stimulation - radio ?? The home dad is in plonks the residents in front of the TV all day. Personally, I am sure dad would be happier sitting in his room listening to classic fm all day - but that is not practical. For you, it would be worth enquiring whether something could be provided to keep his active brain utilised. Anyway I wish you well.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Thanks, Beenster. I have suggested the radio with headphones on the ward he's currently on, but he isn't keen on the idea - he has had concentration problems recently and I think it bothers him when he feels he can't keep up with or take in what he's listening to. It's different having a conversation because he can spend as much time on things as he wants (within reason!) and ask people to repeat things.

Another problem has been professional and personal boundaries - as an occupational therapist, though not based in a hospital, I know some of the staff involved in his care and one or two of the other patients on his floor. It's odd when they have goal planning meetings for him and want family members present; everyone goes round the room introducing themselves and of course I say, "Hi, my name's Aravis and I'm the occupational therapist...no I'm not, I'm J's daughter..." and I have the added dilemma of whether to discuss him at these meetings in professional language or to say things more colloquially.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
You could say things twice, once each way? That would certainly keep the others in mind of your dual role.

How did the assessment go?
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
If they don't already know you're an occupational therapist, announce that you are, and that you're the Token Family Member.
 
Posted by Avalon (# 8094) on :
 
We have 5 aging relations we have had varying concerns over - 2 sets of parents and a childless, unmarried aunt of my husband. The last 15 months have been chaotic. I've lost track of the hospitalisations but 3 of them have had lengthy, complex stays and one of those has had a further 3 or 4 trips. One more comes up next month and that has involved us in finding respite care for frail, dependant father. In fact the only one who hasn't threatened actual hospitalisation is well into his 80s with very little sight remaining. The aunt is 400km to our south, one set of parents are 500km to our north and the other set over 1,000 km to our north.

I don't know how we'd survive if it wasn't for a brother on one side who is a nurse and a sister on the other who volunteered for committees on aged care to learn the system for her mother-in-law.

Even then all plans can go astray if the aging one does assert their decision making on failing ability to discern. I think paranoia may go with the territory without being, necessarily, a sign of undiagnosed mental illness. The sister, who does still sit on aged care committees and values her reputation there, found herself in the mortifying position of having the aunt accuse her of bullying her about her affairs (she would visit, sort out all the unpaid bills and have them paid), was sent a terse letter from the aunt's solicitors revoking all the arrangements put in place for her pending dementia and ordering her to cease using it (which she hadn't) and was finally accused of stealing her will. Supposedly the aunt had taken it out to wave in her niece's face and explain why she'd cut all her family out and that's when it must have been stolen. Niece has no recollection of any event even vaguely like this. The cleaner has also been sacked, accused of stealing. Whole family is now too scared to visit for fear of what they'll be accused of stealing, the solicitors can't speak to any of the family and the aunt doesn't have a coherent and consistent story on the phone. The solicitors may have had one or two will changes and power of attorney changes too many and asked for a medical assessment.

I don't think I have any answers on helping or standing beside someone in the aging process. I seem to have done more than my fair share of getting them offside pushing for arrangements about driving, housing and finances which seemed workable. It seems to be a bit like the unexpectedness of dealing with children sometimes. Children with the car keys in the driver's seat. On occassions I've looked at one or the other of them and thought, "I know what you were like as a child before you were taught some social conditioning about behavioural boundaries". There seems to be some reversion to before then. That really scares me both for them and for what's in me for my own future.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
I don't know if my parents are in a "younger" age bracket (both eighty), but what I have with my father is a lot of fear of doing things, that he would have done twenty years okay. It is as if his social conditioning (which he often rebelled against as an adult) has taken over. To put this in perspective, my father as a child was not allowed to do many things in case he became excited.

Jengie
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Avalon, i truly undedrstand the fear of the future issue. I would so want to be shot if I reverted to the monster I was when I was a teenager.

Some of the stories - well one wonders how people carry on. Some things are so very very hurtful. And endlessly so.

Avaris, been wondering how you got on?

Me, am looking forward to the olds at the weekend. I want to have difficult "finances" conversation with mum so she ring-fences her assets. As to dad's finances, I am coming to the conclusion that "it is just money". Really irrelevant in the scheme of things. Far more important that he is cared for well and is comfy.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Good news! [Yipee] I heard today that the care home is willing to accept him, on a month's trial (from his point of view and theirs). I was really hoping this one would agree as it's not too far from either us or Mum, who can get there independently by bus, and it's also near enough the churches he attends for people to take him to meetings, which he really misses. Our vicar's mum has lived at this home for a couple of years so I know it is reasonably OK. I don't know how soon they can take him.
He's not looking well today and wasn't eating much when I dropped in after work, but hopefully that's something minor. We couldn't have much of a conversation anyway as he's on a 4-bed ward and two of the other men were on oxygen this evening, which is rather noisy. One of them has a nasty chest infection - not sure about the other. [Votive]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
My sympathies with everyone. We are wrestling with my parents-in-law at the moment - they are 90 and 88, and still in possession of all of their marbles. However, he is going blind and insists on driving, and she has just had major surgery and is insisting on getting back to her normal routine. They are people who have lived exceptionally productive lives, and old age is annoying the heck out of them.

They live in the family house, which is a nightmare - multiple levels, freezing cold most of the time, and far too big for two. They are beginning to think about moving into an eldercare village, and we would desperately like it if they moved nearer us (we're the main support people). There's a big village about 4 minutes walk from our house, close to shops, on a good bus route, they have friends there...

Its hard for everyone - my partner's siblings (there are six of them) all try and push their opinions, but none of them lives in the same city (or even in the same country for 3 of them). The p's-in-law hate being "bossed", fair enough since they're still quite mentally capable. My partner is the meat in the sandwich.

So tough to be losing your physical capability when your mind is still fine. They're fighting tooth and nail to keep control of their lives, even to refusing in home help after the surgery.

My mum has been a huge help to us, because she can say the things we can't, even though she's a relatively spring chicken of 75.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Does your mum know anyone in the eldercare village? Could she make a few hints about how much better it would be?
I sympathise about the driving. I think my dad's macular degeneration (which was severe, and meant he was told by his doctor to stop driving) probably saved his and Mum's life; he'd had a few accidents by then through indecision or lapses of concentration, one of which was serious and wrote off both cars. Scarier still was when my uncle developed Alzheimers in his 50s and continued to drive; physically he was OK but he had very little appreciation of danger. I was in the car once when he suddenly decided to race another car on a foggy night on a winding country road. I seriously thought we might die.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Yikes! [Ultra confused] Aravis, your loved one developed a little dementia and turned in Indy Man?

[ 24. January 2010, 02:21: Message edited by: Janine ]
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Yep. Fortunately my aunt persuaded him to stop driving soon after. I don't remember how soon - that was about 15 years ago now.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
My sister-in-law had a horrendous driving with f-i-l experience last week. They were going to the hospital and she was driving. He's a notorious back-seat driver and kept shouting, "why aren't you turning?" or "what are you waiting for?" The answers to these questions were, twice, "A truck", and once "Three pedestrians". Each time he answered, "Oh, didn't see them."

I think when it gets to the stage that you can't see a truck in front of you, you should perhaps consider giving up driving. Maybe?

My mum lives in another city so doesn't know anyone except us and the in-laws. Her advice was general, but well-received.

She is so organised about her old age that all my friends fall over in awe - she moved out of the family home several years ago, into a much smaller house. At the time she shipped half of everything to my brother in Australia and moved the rest to her little house. Her comment - whatever is in Australia is your brother's, whatever is here is yours. She keeps everything up to date, hoards nothing, and has a great time.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
I am feeling very guilty. I have spent the last week pretending to be on holiday so I didn't have to speak to my father.

I have used the time to draft and send him a letter saying it is not convenient for him to visit in March. One of the issues is that, like the man Arabella mentioned he just doesn't see things and he's planning a 5 hour drive here along a road which ism't driver friendly, arriving in the city around rush hour.

The guilty feeling is because I know he enjoys being here, and despite his grumpiness and bloodymindedness he's still my dad.

I'm not looking forward to the fall-out after he gets the letter.

Huia
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Huia - I sympathise. I am constantly in denial about guilt. I know I do my best and sometimes that means saying no or doing nothing to help.

We make decisions and have to live with them, but as long as you make the best decision at the time (and try to be kind in the process), that is all you can do.

To me, feeling guilty is ok and it is normal. i don't fight it but I won't be ruled by it. I accept it as part of the process. And get on with life.

I don't know if that makes sense but having to write such a letter sounds really difficult.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
All you can do is all you can do. You can drive yourself nuts re-playing all your less-than-stellar decisions and all the times you should-ah could-ah would-ah done things differently, if only...
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Janine, you said better what I wanted to say, thanks!
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
He was OK about the letter when we talked on the phone.

I sent him a cd to make it clear I was't dropping contact, so all is OK.

Huia

[ 28. January 2010, 04:38: Message edited by: Huia ]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
He was OK about the letter when we talked on the phone.

I sent him a cd to make it clear I was't dropping contact, so all is OK.

Huia

Good news for you, Huia. It's hard to do such things, but sometimes necessary.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Had an interesting conference-call with my sisters last night about the way our father's grumpy hot-tempered secretiveness about his household finances is driving our stepmom crazy.

So not only are they having problems paying for medicines, but he may be at the point where he will flat-out refuse to reveal basic information about his finances, things that must be revealed if they're going to get some help from organizations like Catholic Charities.

We're talking about hovering at the mailbox to intercept bank statements, and never letting stepmom see anything from tax documents to credit card bills. We're talking super-grumpy, beyond-curmudgeonly cutting remarks at her grandkids, refusal to engage with them in anything remotely like a grandfatherly way -- when he's been their grandpa figure all their lives. We're talking keeping his "office" (the extra bedroom) locked and carrying the key on his person.

Any individual, single incident she described could have all sorts of explanations -- perhaps he was having a bad day, or she'd never shown the least interest in all these years of marriage/why start now, or she knew he had XYZ baggage when they married...

But all the several things, trends, incidents she described, taken all together, paint a pretty weird, extreme picture of Daddy.

If she wants any peace, she will need to step up and separate her finances from his -- deal with her own (very small) Social Security check -- go to the banks and the IRS herself to request documents that involve her --

She's going to have to gather up a lot of gumption and energy she may not have right now, being ill. If she needs help/support/transportation to do it, it will be us, her stepdaughters, most specifically my in-town, homemaker sister, who has time to help her. I mean, her own two daughters are either timid/dependent/car-less, or just now on a new full-time job and unable to help during business hours.

Even if they were not at a transition-point many elderly hit -- needing help with finances and/or medical expenses -- What would StepMom do if Daddy keeled over right now?!?! How would she handle business if she doesn't know a thing about their business? She doesn't even know if he has a burial policy...

One can only imagine the bubbling nuclear kettle waiting to go off when if/when Daddy perceives his own daughters tag-teaming him, on his wife's "side" against him.

Whooooooooooh.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Woo Janine, that sounds serious. One might almost think he has something to hide.

Definitely endorse supporting stepmom to separate her finances - I don't know about the States, but here, if he died, any joint accounts would be frozen until probate was sorted (which can last months, particularly in blended families).

My mum pointed this out to me a few years ago when my spouse was seriously ill, and we took her advice to have an individual bank account each in addition to our joint accounts. Not that there's a lot in either, but it means you can immediately get automatic payments redirected to the individual account in event of a death.

Also, your Dad's behaviour suggests a quite abusive pattern of economic control. If its a new-ish pattern, I would be wondering about brain changes. Might be time for a family meeting with him and stepmom with you guys and her children all present. Check out his worries.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
It's his brain getting checked into tonight -- he's back in hospital after excessive confusion over the trip taken today, to drive Stepmom to a new doctor's office.

From what I heard about her -- the recent scary hospital stay for her was actually, mostly, down to CO poisoning. They have no flame-type heat in their home, it's all electric; and a simple drive in the car, if that was the source, would not have messed her up so badly that they thought they would lose her, while not obviously affecting Daddy. They think she did it to herself by smoking 2 packs of ciggies a day even while on oxygen. [Eek!]

As for the tangled mess of debt and inheritance that may be behind Daddy's financial weirdness -- frankly, I don't care about it. Not from the POV of an inheritor. I will help as I can, but by God I don't care what relative may control what property in his stead.

[ 29. January 2010, 00:18: Message edited by: Janine ]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
That's good. I wasn't talking about inheritance, I was talking about your stepmom's ability to pay her bills in the event of your father's death. My mum was anxious for us to sort it, because she got caught when my dad died. It didn't last too long because it was a simple situation, but it caused her a lot of pain at a time when she didn't need it.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Oh, yes, I understand where you were coming from. I see problems for StepMom, not least because she hasn't much income at all unconnected with Daddy's Social Security.

Today's saga installment:

After overnight observation and nothing special found from all the tests -- X-ray, several blood tests, a CT scan of his head, electrocardiogram --

Coordinated, by the way, by the doctor who usually ends up with folks who have no family doctor or GP of their own, a lady we're not pleased with at all since she bungled our mother's hospice coordination in her final very painful days --

Anyway, they cut Daddy loose yesterday afternoon, but he had nowhere to go. StepMom has had enough, has collected her final straw, does not want him back in the home. Since it was hers before they married, he could push the issue legally if he wanted to but he'd not win.

Point-Man middle sister -- the one who doesn't "work", hah, she works plenty, but doesn't punch a time-clock, you know what I mean --

She got on the phone to some of his brothers and sisters. None of them felt they had any room for him (despite probably 5,500 or 6,000 sq. ft. of homespace and 8 spare bedrooms between them).

"Why should he leave? That's his house, she should leave!" Um, no, she told them, that's her house.

"Oh. Well, we have no idea where he can go."

There's the old home place, my deceased Mamman's house -- but they use it for storage now and did not seem eager to remove the equipment and extra furniture from it so Daddy'd have somewhere to stay.

He was pretty dejected, until my sister said "You know, Daddy, we were kind of hoping you would get an apartment in town and be closer to us." His countenance lifted a bit after that.

My home and my sister's home are both at and past capacity; she at least has a sofa, so Daddy is parked there for the weekend. Other sister out of town actually has an extra home, an historic building a couple hours from here -- and that may be an option, but it would put Daddy hours from his community and doctors.

We are not comfortable with him driving, anyway, at least until some sort of resolution re: his current possible creeping dementia -- and the little car we bought for him & StepMom when theirs died is actually in her name, since he was in hospital at the time, so she's got that. Good for her, I say, 'cause she'd never be able to get one on her own.

Sister describes standing around Daddy's bed at hospital, herself and StepMom, and Daddy's two sisters and surviving brother: "Daddy said he wanted me or Uncle C. to hold his valuables (wallet, ID, a little cash etc.). StepMom -- Daddy's WIFE -- had to hand her HUSBAND'S wallet over to his brother, rather than safeguarding it herself. Uncle C. took it home."

Wouldn't shock me if that was StepMom's final straw. It certainly is symptomatic of the weird way that extended family acts toward outsiders. Even if you've "married in" many years ago, the moment there's trouble in Paradise the blood-kin can do no wrong and you can do no right.

The FG's illustration is, if I suddenly decided to live life on the street as a drug-dealing bank-robbing prostitute, the Family would side with me against him, making it somehow his fault.

I say, soap operas are no match for Real Life.

There is no waiting list at a respected elder/disabled apartment community nearby; that's something he should qualify for. Also, Daddy has an appointment for the usual medicine-related blood tests at the VA clinic Feb 11. Sister called them and arranged for a psych eval at that time.

More later.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
Sister called them and arranged for a psych eval at that time.

Any way that could be done sooner? I know it's less than two weeks away, but given what you've said, I don't know that I'd want to wait that long.

Although, thinking about how those things usually go, your sister probably did an amazing job getting it arranged even that soon.

I'm so sorry for your StepMom and your Dad. [Votive]
 
Posted by The Magenpie (# 12746) on :
 
My late Mother in Law lived to 98 and still had her faculties to the end. However she was blind and going deaf but insisted on living in her own home, fortunately near us so we could see her regularly. She had to spend a month in a nursing home following an illness (she had heart failure)and this only succeeded in accelerating her decline; the home was immaculate, the bedrooms very modern and the staff were superb BUT it was the lack of mental stimulation from other residents which frustrated the m-i-m the most. I recall my grandparents wanting to die at home as to be "called to the Lord" in a nursing home was a humiliation. We asked my m-i-m to live with us, but she declined on the grounds that it wasn't fair to us (I thought the world of her).

If they have their mental faculties, then their own home is the best option for them, not necessarily us.

As for not letting on about their financial means, that is a hangover from victorian society, what we may call "minding our own affairs". My father in law lived to 89 in a house I would have condemned. When he died he left an estate of nearly 7 figures which shocked us all and benefited the revenue. How I wish he had used this money to help my mum in law to manage a little easier (she was still washing in a twin tub when she passed away).
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
My Daddy's apparent over-controlling, secretive and/or paranoid behavior about financial matters may stem from:

1) His having little or nothing but a lot of debt he's trying to manage on his small retirement income, and it drives him nuts; or,

2) His actually having squirreled-away secret assets that he is trying to protect from... whom? He had big IRS trouble in years past, which he blamed on my mother's mismanagement... but, since he only sent home half his pay when he worked overseas, what did he do with all that major income he kept all those years? Swiss bank accounts? (Hope it wasn't Nigerian bank accounts, Heaven knows where it ended up, then...) It takes two to waste two separate piles of money... or,

3) He himself, in his own name, has nothing, but his siblings have the portions of his assets and/or inheritance from the previous generation's estate, which are thought of as his, but they hold it in their names to prevent
* a) the IRS
* b) his own wasteful/gambler's ways or
* c) current spouse from getting into it?... or,

4) None of the above, he's just being the way that nutty family is... Pappa Charlie took a 2x4 to a cousin (who IMO likely needed it, but really, a 2x4?!?)... They want zero communication with you and tell you nothing about the goings-on when their kids and grandkids hit milestones but they get flaming mad because you don't send them wedding announcements... None of them will even pass the time of day with the "outlaw", the widow of the brother who died, but she's the one who takes responsibility for the family tomb (I have taken it on the past couple years, hope to make it mine entirely. She's got enough on her plate.) They don't take care of her needs in any way, and she's a widow with kids still to raise, but she's been keeping bright the resting place of their blood kin...

It can drive you nuts if you think about it too much. And I wonder why my hair falls out...

Sister will be looking into moving up that appointment for check-up & psych evaluation if she can, but considering all the regional VA has on its plate since the destruction of Katrina in New Orleans, she did a minor miracle to get that appointment as quick as she did.
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
I'm not quite clear whether this is a general thread on aging parents and I'm not even clear whether I want "advice". I may just want a place to vent.

I visit my parents 2 to 3 times a week, dedicating 5 or 6 hours each visit to things like just being with them, doing lots of small "housekeeping" items (they live in an assisted living facility) and "business" items, taking them out for meals, meetings, and recreational shopping which my mother loves.

My mother is a complainer. She always has been and it's not getting any better as she gets older. It's the same old memes that she's been repeating for most of her life: everyone is against me, the government is conspiring to take our money, you children are conspiring to take our money, the doctor is conspiring to take our money, the assisted living facility is conspiring to take our money, etc., etc.

Today it was five hours of extra-intense, extra-anxious paranoid complaining. I could tell when we arrived that she was in a bad mood and I put it down to "cabin fever". It's about 5 degrees Farenheit here and they won't go out (thank goodness for that!) when it's so cold.

But I'm worn out. It's hard not to feel like "I should fix this untrue, paranoid scenario for my parents". I managed not to let my buttons be pushed during the visit but now I want to variously punch someone in the face, sleep for 48 hours and consume two pounds of chocolate.

What drives me even more crazy is other people telling me that I should consider her situation and see things from her point of view. I truly think that I sympathize as much as I can do without actually being in the situation myself. I really do "understand" (as much as I can) that they have lost freedom and control and autonomy. Heck, we moved 3000+ miles to a different country to be with them; is that not considering their situation? But I honestly don't think that there is much more I can do since I can't wave a magic wand and make their disabilities go away.

Since all the anger and venom gets saved up for family, I also get to hear from others what wonderful, positive people my parents are (actually my dad is, for the most part.)

Where is the :scream: icon when you need one? Thanks for listening.
 
Posted by QLib (# 43) on :
 
Janine - my gran thought she had loads of money, was paranoid-tught with it, used to say her only regret was that she couldn't be in the room when the will was read out. Turns out she didn't have any more than we knew she had - a modest house, a modest amount of savings, bringing in a modest income. But fixation on money seems to have the special curse of driving people crazy - or crazier than they would be otherwise.

Seeker - that is so hard - a good friend of mine had the same. Ironically, the mother finally developed Alzheimer's and had a change of character for the better for her last year or two. I hope you can find the strength to find a way through this.

My mum now has an additional cross to bear - she has long had a problem with constipation and managing it with medication of various kinds has been difficult, but now it seems to be becoming impossible. I won't go into detail, but it seems to be all or nothing, if you get my drift, which is extremely unpleasant for all concerned and distressing and humiliating for her.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Is she hasn't already had one, a continence assessment from a district nurse can be helpful - they can advise on management and also prescribe regular deliveries of the right type of incontinence wear if appropriate. May also tell - from descripztion - if your mum might have a degree of rectal prolapse (which can be operable).
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
When you can't get your body to do what it's always done reasonably well, that's a big disappointment.

My Mom-in-Law, in her final years, had so many health problems and so many medications for them and so many medications to help her control the side effects of the other meds -- it's a miracle she kept it together physically and mentally so long as she did.

She used to tear up and call herself stupid because she couldn't perform various feats of strength and balance she'd have been able to years before. She was petite, but had always been Rosie-the-Riveter all her adult life. As a preacher's kid, I imagine she'd been expected to do a lot even as a child.

There's a hidden blessing, I suppose, in fighting a problematic physical condition all your adult life, before you age -- If you've always been coping with something that needs a lot of management, such as a hindered ability to walk or chronic Crohn's or something, at least maybe it doesn't come as a total shock when you're 95 and can't manage a marathon any more.

Has anyone else noticed how small your elderly parents get -- physically, you know -- when you're grown and caring for them? Just as your early-childhood school is so much smaller when you visit as an adult -- just as those jeans you wore in high school look so very tiny when your age and waist size have caught up with each other 25 years later...

When I saw Daddy in his hospital bed this latest time, his wispy white hair had taken on an upright surf-wave sort of position over his head. He looked like a Munchkin.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
{P.S. Seeker: I realize the topic isn't the same, but the process of so much vile stuff spewing out of their mouths works the same way with some of my older relatives who are extremely racially prejudiced.

I sympathize -- all I can do to deal with it is let it roll like water off a duck, and live my life as I live it no matter what they think.

I harbor no illusion that I'm going to change them at their ages; if in a time or place where I have some control I can ask them to refrain from the worst of it (my home, my car, whatever) but those times are of necessity few and won't change anything, y'know?

You have my empathy for sure.}
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
{P.S. Seeker: I realize the topic isn't the same, but the process of so much vile stuff spewing out of their mouths works the same way with some of my older relatives who are extremely racially prejudiced.

I sympathize -- all I can do to deal with it is let it roll like water off a duck, and live my life as I live it no matter what they think.

I harbor no illusion that I'm going to change them at their ages; if in a time or place where I have some control I can ask them to refrain from the worst of it (my home, my car, whatever) but those times are of necessity few and won't change anything, y'know?

You have my empathy for sure.}

Thanks for the empathy. I do see what you mean because there is something physically exhausting about being in the physical presence of someone who is extremely angry for 5 or 6 hours - which was the case yesterday. I think it takes a lot of physical energy to actually b angry too. (Goodness, I'm getting tired just thinking about it!)

I am under no allusions that I'm going to change my mother. Which is the difference between me and another one of my siblings. One of the staff at the retirement center (not a healthcare professional) to whom my mother complains a lot also tries to change my mother and to "get" me to change her. I firmly believe that one is on a hiding to nothing when one tries to "change" other people. I can't even imagine how exhausting that would be.

Now that I write that, though, I think some of the exhaustion comes from unconscious "buying in" to the idea of "You should make me happy". Yesterday we had the same endless discussion about "Why won't you take me to see other retirement places; any place would be better than this." Answer: "a) I said I'd take you when you want to go, just tell me and we'll look; b) I personally think this is the best place within a 500 mile radius; c) You weren't even happy in your dream house, so why would you be happy here?" (Point c is true but I don't say it out loud!)
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Try it.
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
Try it.

I have said this when she is in a better mood. I don't try it on the "Everyone is conspiring against me" days.

It occurred to me that your "tangential" connection with what I'm saying and with your racism story may not really be all that tangential at all. It's very likely an inner unsettled-ness, "I am disquiet and insecure inside myself and I have no idea why" which gets projected outward on to allegedly evil others who are "trying" to degrade "our" lives.

The angry energy I've seen from people expressing racist ideas is very similar to my mother on her bad days.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Becoming paranoid and accusing everyone of everything is apparently quite common in extreme old age (and also, interestingly, in younger people who have a bad infection). When it happened to me the first time I took the accusations personally and found it very upsetting. Fortunately when it then happened with another relative I recognised the pattern and was able to step back and see it as an illness rather than a personalised accusation. It is very hard to do this, though, especially if it is someone you are close to.
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Becoming paranoid and accusing everyone of everything is apparently quite common in extreme old age (and also, interestingly, in younger people who have a bad infection). When it happened to me the first time I took the accusations personally and found it very upsetting. Fortunately when it then happened with another relative I recognised the pattern and was able to step back and see it as an illness rather than a personalised accusation. It is very hard to do this, though, especially if it is someone you are close to.

Chorister, I know that and this is what everyone keeps telling me. But my mother has been doing this all her life. I could tell you stories.

All of us kids were grounded for 2 weeks once when she misplaced her scissors. Reason for grounding: We hid her scissors in order to drive her crazy. (Mention "scissors" at a family gathering where mom is not present and watch the jokes fly!)

She went 5 months once - about 20 years ago - not speaking to me because she asked me what I thought of a dessert and I said "It's a bit too sweet for my taste." Reason for cold shoulder: "All of you family are against me and I can never do anything right."

Then there was the time my dad said "I don't think there are cardinals out this time of year" and she didn't speak to anyone in the family for a week. Reason: "Everyone is against me."

I think she is paranoid because she is paranoid, not because she's old. And she's not really that old, just disabled.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Ooh, Seeker, just a scary thought --

What happens when someone is paranoid --

Either "classic" paranoid/schizophrenic, or so extremely negative and anxious that it comes out as a persecuted feeling anyway --

And then as they become older they enter a time of dementia, with its so-often paranoiac expression?

[Eek!] What does paranoid squared look like?
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
Janine:

It's the second thing, not the first.

And I don't think my mother is demented either. She's on a lot of heavy pain medication, including some controlled substances and there are periods when she is just "high".

That said, I want to put in a defense for the elderly. I dealt with my parents' Medicare Part D this year. Remember I'm coming at this as a "foreigner" with no experience. First of all, I had to learn the difference between Parts A, B, C and D. Then I had to get a list of the medications my parents are taking. Probably about 30 in all.

Then I had to figure out which was the best plan. My sister - who is a nurse with a lot of experience in pharmacology - and I did this together. Her expertise was needed about what the drugs are for and I think my background in institutional finance helped in trying to determine the most cost effective plan; the issues were more like reading a financial prospectus than anything medical. Even so, there were so many choices and so many permutations, it's hard to know if we got the absolute "best" one. We also tried to find a provider with decent service. Meanwhile, my parents had a pile of mail marketing these insurance services to them. My mother literally gave me carrier-bags full of the stuff. I would not exaggerate to say that the pile would have been over a foot high if I'd stacked them up.

So, we have older people with chronic illnesses, sometimes in a significant amount of pain, and we want them to deal with all this efficiently. And, if they can't, we say "There, there, they are becoming demented." You know what? I didn't really want to cope with it and I found it stressful. And I'm fairly confident that I probably coped with it better than about 90% of the population. Life is crazy sometimes.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Seeker963:
Chorister, I know that and this is what everyone keeps telling me. But my mother has been doing this all her life. I could tell you stories.

Yes, I had taken on board what you were saying. And I appreciate that some people are always like this. However, I was making a general contribution to the thread, rather than addressing a specific post.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
If they aren't already on their way to Dementia Land, wading through the nasty piles of paperwork having to do with Medicare & Plans may kickstart them on their way. [Ultra confused]

If someone ever managed to make paperwork from insurance companies and government insurance easy to understand, written as normal people speak, I might have a heart attack.
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
quote:
Originally posted by Seeker963:
Chorister, I know that and this is what everyone keeps telling me. But my mother has been doing this all her life. I could tell you stories.

Yes, I had taken on board what you were saying. And I appreciate that some people are always like this. However, I was making a general contribution to the thread, rather than addressing a specific post.
I misunderstood! I apologize.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
If someone ever managed to make paperwork from insurance companies and government insurance easy to understand, written as normal people speak, I might have a heart attack.

But they don't WANT the paperwork to be easy to understand. That way people will make mistakes, buy overpriced insurance, and/or insurance that doesn't cover their meds (so the Insurance Co. won't have to pay out for them.)

Insurance companies are not in the business of providing health care. They are in the business of making Money. And the best way to do that is to collect as much in premiums as they can, and pay out as little in coverage as they can get away with.
 
Posted by Seeker963 (# 2066) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:
Insurance companies are not in the business of providing health care. They are in the business of making Money. And the best way to do that is to collect as much in premiums as they can, and pay out as little in coverage as they can get away with.

[Overused]
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Of course. Businesses run on profits.

I don't see government entities that claim to "provide" health care as any better, though. They seem to run on increasing themselves.

********************************************

I am so, so tired. We will try to move all of Daddy's belongings to a storage facility Saturday.

At this point, he's camped out on my sister's sofa; he has no privacy or space to call his own. He's lively from time to time, but often rather dejected-looking. He can't work up any enthusiasm for the elder-apartments in the area, because he wonders if StepMom will somehow strip his pension away in a divorce settlement. He wants to stay in limbo until StepMom is settled.

She has continued to say odder and odder things in telephone conversations we've had with her, trying to organize all this.

She doesn't want Daddy there without police escort; she plans to get a restraining order... To restrain him from what? Being a curmudgeon and secretive about his money? He's never laid a hand on her, and it would be very very hard to build up an abuse case out of how he's supposedly been speaking to her and handling the household bills.

She told my sister that she knew Daddy had been messing about in her house while she wasn't there, because she saw some papers and things had been organized. (Me, I would just be happy that the Neatness Fairy had stopped by.)

Sister is a believer, she understands that a "soft answer turneth away wrath" -- but she did speak up quite reasonably, stating that Daddy cannot drive, had not been anywhere away from Sister since he left the hospital, and that we did not drive him to their house.

To which StepMom replied, "Well, he's so evil, he probably thought of some way to do it." [Paranoid]

Some way to spirit himself -- unseen by either the folks he was with on this end or the folks at his old home on the other end -- 20 miles up the bayou? [Paranoid]

Shoot. If he had a talent like that he'd surely not be in the pitiable situation he's in now.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
<< cue Mission: Impossible theme >>

Tomorrow morning, several family members will suit up appropriately for the (hopefully dry) cold --

Then they will convene for breakfast at a little diner/truckstop place near Daddy's home -- former home -- about 20 miles up the bayou. They will have some breakfast, and a sheriff's deputy will meet them there.

All will roll to Daddy's old place, to load up a truckful or two of his belongings, while the deputy is there to witness how folks behave and make sure nothing untoward occurs.

Actually, we'd never have asked for the deputy, except that StepMom's rambling invective has been getting weirder and weirder, and she was the one who mentioned not wanting Daddy there without police there.

The latest weirdness consisted of denying that Daddy's usual prescription drug package had arrived by mail this week. This after StepMom had already told my sister that it had. Twice. On two different occasions. This was apparently a simple lie she told, because when she appeared to want to wriggle out of the big Saturday Move-Out tomorrow, Sister asked if she could at least drop by (alone, no Daddy) to pick up his meds today.

And, after pushing for Daddy's stuff to be moved out ASAP, multiple times, she suddenly doesn't want to come up with a time that's convenient for her, to have us out there to pick up his stuff. One thing she told Sister today was that she was in no hurry to have us retrieve his stuff, because she is now "finding all kinds of stuff I never would have thought of".

Apparently it has just dawned on her that she can rifle through his stuff, and she suddenly would like it to stay a while. Let's hope she doesn't change the position of years and suddenly start to enjoy handling his guns.

She had asked that we come tomorrow. Those who are able to be there for the morning have made arrangements to do so; those of us who are available after lunch are going to be on standby, waiting to hear how the first round went.

Why wasn't she cutting loose with this sort of stuff before she decided it was time to dump Daddy?

I always knew she was a weak sort of person in many ways -- never held it against her, I have my own weaknesses -- but she was able to act like a civil, adult person all these years. Why is StepMom going to pieces now?

We can't waffle around waiting for her. We cannot stack the lives of five separate extended-family households in some sort of holding pattern, forever circling the airport of her mind.
 
Posted by Otter (# 12020) on :
 
One guess is that dealing with Daddy going to pieces was forcing her to hold herself together. Now that he's gone, she's lost that. Or it could be a reaction - now that she can relax a little, she fell apart a lot; hopefully to be followed by a return back toward normal. Ish.

Good luck on the stuff-pickup.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
It's hard to say exactly what's the deal with either StepMom or Daddy. Perhaps he's "behaving" for us, while she's gone completely to pieces in the freedom of not worrying about him any more. It makes her look nuts and him look normal, if a bit deaf.

It's as if she's reveling in the glamour being the star, inside her head, of the soap opera of her own life. Her own daughters have said some things that indicate they feel she's gone over some sort of edge these past few days.

After work and appointments this morning, FG and I checked in to see if there would be an Afternoon Contingent needed for the Great Haulage.

Apparently all went well and smoothly and Daddy was successful in packing all the stuff he wanted into the boxes and trucks -- after the sheriff's deputy made StepMom leave the area.

He could do that -- it still being Daddy's residence, even though he's in the process of moving out. One wonders if the deputy had to actually threaten to arrest her to get her to go, or was it more like "Take my advice, clear out for a while, ma'am"? I figure Sister will have more to say when she has time for a conference call or email later, not wanting to blather details in Daddy's hearing.

After they complete Daddy's business at the selected storage facility -- neither of us has room to store a couple truckloads of his household items, and they need to be gone over and cleaned and re-boxed, or whatever Daddy wants to do with them, anyway, after years of steeping in cigarette smoke -- after that , all will head home to Sister's house for a nap. Frankly, although Daddy is "beat", I bet they're all tired.

Will be attempting to slip some $$$ into Sister's hand later today -- it's not as if it costs much to feed Daddy, and he has his little retirement income for meds and personal expenses -- but there's at least more gasoline being burned since she took him in, and more washing being done, and more cooking than she's done for years, with her sons all grown and Bro-In-Law working out of town at times.

Not to mention, I have no idea if she paid for the storage or Daddy did. I bet she did.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
My project all day, after church, has been to wash a mountain of clean laundry.

That is, I'm running all Daddy's clothing through sometimes two or three washes, using a disinfectant even -- not because anything is dirty, but because it's taking that much effort to wash the cigarette smoke out. And he doesn't even smoke, he quit years ago. I guess it's all from StepMom's 1.5 packs a day.

Even after all that, some particular items -- whether because of fabric, or where they'd been stored, I dunno -- some items still reek. I have festooned the carport with coveralls, and the Botany 500 is in the fig tree out back. A couple days outside may help.

You know how a sound, a color, a scent, will sometimes drag you back to another time? The last time I had to resurrect a mountain of otherwise perfectly lovely clothing, fighting to rid it of years of smoke buildup, was when we shut down Mama's home in her final days.

Deja vu. Or deja phew.

It's different, because Daddy's certainly not in the agonizing final few days of a battle with cancer. Assuming we keep him on track with his health concerns, he'll be with us yet awhile.

It's still been a much more melancholy and deeply touching experience to wash the man's clothing, more so than it should be.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
I had a conversation last week with my sister regarding Mom. She said that Mom still recognizes her as family, but has no idea who she is.

She also said that Mom referred to our step-father (to whom Mom has been married for over thirty years) as "Daddy".

And while my sister was taking Mom out for a ride, she kept commenting, "Sure is hilly around here." (This is in Memphis, it's almost as flat as Kansas) Sister asked "What do you mean, It's hilly around here?" Mom said, "Well, it's a lot more hilly than back home."

"Where's back home?" sister probed. "Autumn Ave" Mom replied. Mom hasn't lived on Autumn Ave (in Memphis) since 1953.

From the sound of things, Mom has regressed to where she is happily living in 1939. At least it seems to be a happy place for her.

For Rena [Votive]
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
This recognition thing is interesting. I've seen this with an elderly lady who lived next door to us over 10 years ago - she has advanced dementia and lives in a nursing home near where I work, so I occasionally visit her at lunch time. It's a year or so since she's been able to say anything more than "yes" or "no", but after a few minutes recognition quite clearly comes into her eyes when she looks at me, though I don't think she knows who I am or understands what I'm saying.
The other interesting thing is that, though she mostly mutters completely unintelligibly, the muttering is very definitely in her native Lancashire accent!
 
Posted by harmony hope (# 4070) on :
 
I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to all of us trying to deal with ageing parents - the practicalities and the emotions involved.

Janine, do hope your situation improves soon.

Harmony Hope
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Something made me really consider the elderlies and possible dementia yesterday.

Was out with the FG last night, grabbing a quick inexpensive supper at Sam's, of all places. (You can get a lovely kosher/beef hot dog with all the usual trimmings, if you want them, and a drink the size of a shower stall, for two people, for like $6. [Big Grin] )

Anyway, one of the other dozen shoppers in the cafe area was this striking, lovely, middle-aged lady. I knew for sure I know her. But I couldn't remember where from.

It wasn't this great awkward moment, I wasn't right next to her... but, still! If I knew her from some of the churchlady events over the years, it would be appropriate to greet her with a hug. If I knew her from her work in a doctor's office, where she'd been part of the group taking care of me, there's another type of greeting.

Y'know? It actually dwelt on my mind enough to bemuse me, to stop me from greeting her at all, and to make me not the best conversational partner for the FG, over our chili kraut onion conies...

I'm sure that's an experience everyone has.

When you either start into the beginnings of a form of dementia, or at least start fearing that you are "losing it"... Does that bemused preoccupation strike you more and more? When you're operating with less and less input, from the mind/memory and from the environment?

What a strange feeling! It could be a very scary feeling, if it happened often, or in a vital situation. Rather than just over a hotdog, y'know. [Smile]
 
Posted by sebby (# 15147) on :
 
I had the wonderful and hilarious experience of a 95 year old vicar (not retired) running a parish and behaving like something in 'Last of the Summer Wine' (UK subscribers might understand). Beautifully dressed and elegant, he would preside over meetings and then drive hair raisingly fast into town in a way that would have shamed a teenage boy racer. Ignoring double yellow lines (and amazingly tolerated by traffic wardens)he convinced me of the existence of the Deity by his total unaweness of traffic lights with seeming impunity.

As a teenager I was convinced that extreme old age was just a bag of laughs and that we were the same in spirit. I understand that this was rare but it made me lose fear of old age.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Janine, I had that experience on a train. I knew I knew the smartly dressed woman sitting across from me, but I just couldn't think from where. So I gave her a smile and said "hello" in a friendly fashion and she smiled politely and said "hello" back.

Clue no. 1 - she obviously didn't recognise me, either!

So, as she was about my age, I decided she probably had kids ages with mine, and I must know her from some child-related activity way back. I figured we'd both known each other as jeans-and-T-shirts mums, and it was her smart suit that was confusing me. I kept surreptitiously glancing at her thinking - Mother-and-Toddler? No. Tadpole swimming? (Mentally envisaging her in a swimsuit) No. Library story group? Maybe.

Eventually it got too much, and I leaned across and said "I'm terribly sorry, but I just can't remember where I know you from." and she replied "I'm a politician" and the penny dropped!

I'd been trying to conjure up mental images of Wendy Alexander erstwhile leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, in a swimsuit.

(Ok, I know this doesn't work as a story outside Scotland, but substitute Hilary Clinton for Wendy Alexander and it might make sense.)
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by sebby:
As a teenager I was convinced that extreme old age was just a bag of laughs and that we were the same in spirit. I understand that this was rare but it made me lose fear of old age.

I guess we'll know for sure when we get there.

Some call old age "God's waiting room." We find ways to amuse ourselves while waiting for the doctor. I'm sure we'll find equally amusing ways to occupy ourselves while waiting for God too.

As for me, I find consolation in Tennyson's Crossing the Bar. Judging from the notes following the poem on the link I quoted, so do countless others.

There's an audio clip of "Crossing the Bar" to the lovely setting by Gwyneth Walker. The choral group to which I belong sang it in concert two years ago. (That's my group in the clip, but that particular recording was made several years ago, under a different director, and before I joined the group.)
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
We sing that in worship - - a 4-part harmony arrangement. [Smile]

My Daddy seems to be settling in at my sister's house. I drove him to pick up a bicycle the other day - - he found a great retro-looking one, meant for touring around the neighborhoods. It has a basket and a cup holder! He's looking for a little exercise and a quick ride to the nearby stores. Maybe a little more independent feeling, since he's not driving any more.

Ebeth just mentioned her father on the prayer thread -- sounds like she may be entering that territory where we start to parent our parents.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Well, Granddad's with the Lord, Grandma's in the final stages of Alzheimer's, and Mom's trying to executorize whatever executors execute.

And everybody's sleeping for the first time since ... ?

Granddad got very very paranoid and nasty when he was septic--we figured it out after some major antibiotics returned him to his normal level of curmudgeonliness on a couple of occasions. But of course everyone's situation is different.

Hey ho. Now to deal with a boss who either a) thinks that it's abnormal and somehow company-disloyal to have to deal with dying relatives, or b) thinks I am lying my fool head off about having (had) such. Classic line: "Why do you want to go out to see him now--why don't you just wait till he's dead, and then you'll get the cheaper bereavement fare?"
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
Of course you only get the cheaper bereavement fare if you're willing to travel at the absolutely most inconvenient time. As I discovered when I requested it when my mother died.

"That fare is only available for the flight which departs at 5:45am". Yeah, we're bereaved folks, so we really want to get up at 3:00am to catch a plane. And while I don't remember the exact amount, the fare discount definitely wasn't enough to think that it was anything but a way for them to put an extra body on an underpopulated flight.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I seem to recall a thousand dollar fare dropping to $677 or some such nonsense. And that was twelve years ago when Great Grandma died. For a flight that scheduled normally would cost between 120 and 200 dollars.

Just so compassionate.

[ 13. June 2010, 06:49: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
I think the whole bereavement fare thing is a ripoff, too.

What the airlines do is take the full fare economy and reduce it by a third or so. These days, it is cheaper to look for seat sales. If you don't have time or inclination, using a good travel agent will save lots of money. And they'll move heaven and earth for you if informed of circumstances.
 
Posted by ebeth (# 4474) on :
 
Here sorting out Dad, making decisions, etc. He's confused and grumpy. I apparently use the "wrong spoons" etc. Yeah... Took the car key from him yesterday. He needs dialysis, a new living situation, a knee repair and a less private attitude.
Yeah, it pretty much sucks...
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Here's the update on my father.

Heck, he just bought a bicycle a couple days ago -- then he goes to ER yesterday afternoon and does his dying-and-getting-shocked-back trick. Hadn't even ridden his bike yet...

He's doing fantastically well today, for a guy who keeled over yesterday!

He figures, if he can survive hospital food, he'll live.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PeteC:
I think the whole bereavement fare thing is a ripoff, too.

My father died when a Northwest Airlines plane crashed on take-off from Detroit. When I showed up in Boston to get to Detroit, they at first put me in the First Class upper deck of the 747. Then an apologetic flight attentdent showed up and asked me to move down to regular first class.

My memory isn't all that clear, to be honest, and for all I know, I ended up in Business class or Coach.

In retrospect, I should have refused to move from the first seat. Their idiot pilot killed my father and hundreds of other people, except for one very young girl.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Saw my dad in hospital last night. He seems worried/preoccupied about a pacemaker one doctor wants to install. He couldn't tell me much about it, and seemed unsure about when they wanted to do it. He said he had thought they wanted to do it last night(?). He was stacking and fiddling with several brochures about post-heart-attack concerns and rehab and so on.

I told him they'd need to do a lot more explaining before they'd jump up and install the thing. I said they'd need to make their case to him about why they felt it was needed. I said they'd have to draw it all out like a football play on a chalkboard.

IMO, I inherited my rock-like head and my (usually passive) aggression in equal measure from both parents. Who was that tentative, quiet little man and what had he done with my father?
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
My parents are 82 and 78.

Up to the past year, they have been "elderly" but still in control of day to day life.

In the last year, they really have changed.

Dad was in hospital recently for a large tumor removal before which he had been quite sick.

I visited him most days in the hospital and he said "the thing that stresses me out and worries is me is the bills - I find dealing with that very tiring".

So I told this to my mother. Said she would have to take over the finances but if she needed help, to ask.

She asked today. She said they keep losing things and mucking up paying the bills and don't understand what's going on; especially with their Superannuation. [Frown]

They have asked me to do it. But they want to pay me to do it (I was a trained and experienced Bookkeeper in a past life). I shrugged it off as a no,no, but they insisted.

What would you say? I'm not sure about the whole thing.....

Aging parents are an anomaly to me (I'm only 35). They raised me, loved me, have and continue to support me in many ways...

I actually have time this year to help....but next year may not be so easy....

To see them drift away from reality is both a sad and beautiful thing.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Roseofsharon (# 9657) on :
 
I think paying you would leave them with some feeling of independence and control over their circumstances, which may be important to them at this particular time.
Would it work for all of you if the payment took the form of a donation to your favourite charity?
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Paying you would probably give them a feeling of being in control. there's also the point that they would like to contribute, and money is perhaps the only way in which they feel able to do that. I would let them give if it makes them happy. People lose so much as part of the aging process; let them have their own way over this. [Votive]
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
Thanks for your feedback Roseofsharon and jacobsen. I think you're probably right...


[Votive] [Votive] for all those going through the transition from life to death with their parents.
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
My father has had some medical setbacks recently and now requires more of our attention. One thing that I have noticed has been that, while I'll gladly try and help him, old negative feelings from years ago often plague me. Let's face it, my dad was not the best husband in the world to my mother, and memories of some of the stuff he did back then really bother me.

Has anyone else experienced this?
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Re: letting the elders pay -- I used to let my elderly grandmother give me a little gas money or buy me lunch, when I'd do errands for her or carry her to doctors' appointments. It really seemed to make her happy. Now she's gone on, it's a happy memory for me.

My sister and I are now privy to info about Daddy's condition that he doesn't know yet. His doctor confided to Sis that they'd found a little self-contained, easily-removed bladder cancer.

He asked that we say nothing until he can gather info and pictures and have all the details ready to present, complete, so Daddy can only have a day or two to be worried before they coordinate the procedure needed. Rather than uttering the dreaded "C-word" a week or more ahead of time, y'know, and leaving Daddy to stew and worry for days and days.

That's a tough situation. If it were me, I'd want to know all, immediately. Sister has Daddy living with her, I trust her to know when it's time to agree with the doctors and when it's time to ignore them. I'm certainly not going to jump up and spoil the deal. If it weren't something that would be dealt with in a matter of days I might have a different opinion, however.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
If it's any comfort, Janine, two men I know* were diagnosed with bladder cancer about five years ago - they were both treated immediately and have been clear ever since; in fact they'll be declared Officially Cured next time they go for a checkup. If it's caught early enough it's one of the easiest cancers to treat, apparently.

[Votive] for your family, especially Dad and Sister.

Jane R

*not related to each other; pure coincidence that they were diagnosed at the same time!
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
The Dr. sounded really upbeat about it -- found early, easily removed, etc. It's just hard for me to get my head around not blabbing all info immediately.

Daddy goes in 4 days to discuss it and see the Dr's diagrams and details and such.
 
Posted by W Hyatt (# 14250) on :
 
After having to face similar decisions with my parents, I can sympathize with the difficulty in knowing what to do in general or in any particular case. It's tough because love pulls you in two different directions: respect for their right to know and fear for the stress it might cause them.

In fact, as a result of what my siblings and I have been through, I've already given my kids permission to blab to me or not, whichever they thinks works better, if and when they are helping to take care of me. I've also warned them that I can't promise how I'll react since I might have dementia, but at least they'll have my permission. I just hope I can remember to remind them as I get older.

I also hope everything goes well enough for you and your family that it all becomes a moot point. [Votive]
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
My mother is staying with me temporarily while she recovers from double hip replacement surgery in January. She's been with me for 10 weeks, since May when her Medicare 100 days rehab stay ended. It was expected to be a 1-3 month stay with me. The goal is for her to be able to reach her feet (with some bending) so she can dress herself.

Today she called her doctor to find out when she could expect to be recovered. He says 6-9 MORE MONTHS.

My mother can be a hard person to get along with.

I don't know how to cope. I don't know what to do except to keep on coping. I feel like my life is on hold for a whole year. I hate this, except I can't let myself feel very much, otherwise I wouldn't be able to cope.

Advice, commiseration, thoughts, whatever, gratefully accepted.

[Help]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
quote:
Today she called her doctor to find out when she could expect to be recovered. He says 6-9 MORE MONTHS.
We had something along those lines with MIL. She had one hip replacement and was in rehab ward in hospital for six weeks after that and then in respite care in a nursing home near hospital for some weeks. She was taken to physio etc by car from there.

She then went home and we received a late night call from hospital near her home that she had dislocated the hip. It was fixed under a light anaesthetic but they recommended some respite care. While packing up for this, I discovered the exercise sheet she had been given, carefully hidden in the middle of a pile of magazines in her wardrobe. (Cleaning out her house is a whole other tale of woe!)

She finally admitted she had done no exercises, no walking, not even to letterbox , but had stayed in bed all day every day since her return. No intention of ever moving if possible. Muscles could not hold replacement hip securely because they were without exercise.

She was admitted to low level hostel care and has steadily gone downhill ever since. She's dislocated that hip seven times. It's extremely painful and has had two more replacements of the same joint. Now suffers dementia.

I give all this as background because I have seen what elderly people in this situation can be like. Is your mother doing rehab with professionals? Is she doing her exercises. Is she following guidelines regarding bending etc to help hip? If she's like my MIL, you would need to actually see the exercises being done. She religiously told us that she did them when she had absolutely no plan to help herself in any way.

Six to nine months sounds an excessively long time for recovery, regardless of where she is staying. Can you go with her to doctor for assessment? At least you would hear what was said, rather than what she understood or perhaps even has decided not to pass on.

Where I lived at the time was totally unsuitable for her to stay. I could not have lived with her as long as you say your mum has been with you already. I think you need to get some professional answers from the doctor or therapist as to cause of this time. Perhaps also investigate some sort of respite care if that sort of thing is available to you. I'm in Australia so don't know about such things for you.

Meanwhile, is there anyone who could have her for a while or be with her so you could get away for a weekend etc. Best wishes to you in a very hard situation where in one sense you are damned, no matter what you do.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
Thank you, Lothlorien.

quote:
Six to nine months sounds an excessively long time for recovery,
And that's counting from now, which is already six months on, making it 12-15 months total.

Inspired by your post I asked my mother if I can talk to her surgeon myself and she said yes. Part of what I will do is ask him to support me in encouraging her to find a doctor for an in-person evaluation up here. (I live 6 hours from where my mother normally lives, hence 6 hours away from her doctors.)

She says that he says no particular exercises are required, and I want to grill him about that too,and what the recovery process is, and what the odds are that in another 6 months he'll be predicting 6-9 more months again.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
She does walk daily (slowly, which is all she can manage).
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
Turns out the doctor meant 6-9 months from the date of the surgery. So 3 1/2 more months from now will make nine months. That's easier to cope with.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
Seeing as this has been bumped, I thought I would take advantage and ask for advice in dealing with my mother (or just vent). Her hip replacement op is now off, after the surgeon changed his mind on how to deal with her coming off warfarin. She seems to be taking that as final and is talking about getting used to the pain and painkillers and investigating mobility scooters. I hope this is just a short-lived phase and she will at some point start thinking of other hospitals again, possibly with a cardiac unit attached, where they might be more used to people on warfarin. I guess I should let her go at her own pace, but it is so frustrating. [Help]
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
To clarify: it is frustrating watching her suffer and cope with a restricted life, knowing that it is not necessary and that a relatively common operation could solve a lot of her problems.

It seems so unfair that Dad, having fought every inch of the divorce, is now blissfully happy whereas my mother seems to be having to deal with one problem after another.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
JoannaP, I'm sorry to hear you and your mother are going through that. Would it be possible for you to do some research on hospitals, and then present that information to her?
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
[brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

My parents are both in their eighties and doing very well most of the time. Mum is slightly forgetful and Dad does not walk as fast as he once did.

However Dad is a total introvert and as he is getting older he is getting worse. The problem is that this means he wants family to work as an interface between him and the rest of the world. Yeh he has always done this, but he is getting worse.

After several weeks of imperfect connection to the internet, he rang me, and I told him to ring his suppliers. He did so and they recommended a new modem which they duly sent.

Now instead of finding someone around locally to install it, he brought it across to my flat for me to tell him how to. I gave him instruction along with my mother and told him that if he had any difficulties he was to ring his supplier.

So he has difficulties (basically he had a USB connector before and now needs an ethernet) so what does he do. Because I have told him not to ring me but ring his supplier, he waits until today when he normally calls to tell me. So I have to tell him to ring his supplier.

Also he has a local guy who services his computer who I am sure is quite capable of sorting him out if he does not want to ring his supplier.

So I am expected to diagnose at 50 miles away what he should do. Have you tried looking at the back of a PC from fifty miles away! Also given his ability with electronics communication is difficult. I can't say "look for an ethernet connection".

Then to make matters worse, he has learnt his best friend is ill. Does he pick up the phone to him and ask how he is? Does he heck. Does he ring another friend who is close to his best friend and local? Does he heck. He rings me, gets me to check the details and only when I have feed back that his friend might like a call does he think about doing it.

[brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

Jengie
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Did I ever give y'all a link to this poem (4th one down)? I've sent copies of it to older churchmates when they've lost their spouses; they told me later it was greatly appreciated, and asked that it be used in subsequent funeral services.

Much as we don't want to dwell on it, fact remains most of us will still be standing when our Elderlies pass.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
Four more months.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Is that in line with the +/- 3.5 months you mentioned upthread, or do you mean the Dr. has added four more months?
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
The latter.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
[Votive] Autenrieth Road
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
Now the Dr. is saying "not sure when, but it will come." I have given my mother a date by which to go home whether or not she is fully flexible. She will have to learn to manage. I wish I could be a more perfect daughter but there it is, I'm not. I will be helping her with some things like buying a TV and a refrigerator, and going down to visit her regularly.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
My parents are both still alive - although the most recent spouses of both parents have passed on. I think hell will freeze over before they get back together, though. Course, if they did get back together, they could at least check up on each other, which would lift the burden off me for at least a few years.

Not that it's a big burden; they're both still fairly independent. However, they do tend to confide in me their fears about their deteriorating capabilities. And I'm not sure how to handle that, because, funnily enough, I'm scared by the thought of my own deteriorating capabilities too (and I'm only 36).
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Autenrieth Road:
Now the Dr. is saying "not sure when, but it will come." I have given my mother a date by which to go home whether or not she is fully flexible. She will have to learn to manage. I wish I could be a more perfect daughter but there it is, I'm not. I will be helping her with some things like buying a TV and a refrigerator, and going down to visit her regularly.

Autenrieth, you've done loads and loads. And it's far better to give someone a clear message and boundary, rather than a lot of hinting and sniping and trying to force them to make a decision based on what they think you probably want. Sounds like you've taken all the emotional responsibilty. I hope I can be that brave when it's my turn. (and it will come... )
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
What Taliesin said, AR. You've done a lot and are willing to help with the logistics and practicalities of the move. You're not neglecting her, you're just keeping yourself sane so you can continue to provide what help you can. And sometimes a bit of distance (and another set of eyes) makes it easier to see what to do.

I remember when my mother (sliding into dementia) moved into an assisted living apartment and I watched my brother (who was her daily caretaker at that point) trying to get her to decide where to place the wall-lamp for her desk.

She kept getting distracted by things on the desk, he got increasingly frustrated because she wasn't giving him definitive feedback on the best place for the lamp, and I was stifling the urge to say "For fuck's sake, Pete, that spot seems to work, just pound the nail and be done with it! She's past the point where she's actually going to sit there and type letters, so it doesn't really matter."

[ 16. November 2010, 11:26: Message edited by: jlg ]
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
Thank you, Taliesin and jlg.

Jessie Phillips, I used to be terrified of cancer. Then, sometime in my mid-twenties, I decide I was probably going to die of cancer and accepted it. I haven't been scared of cancer since. (No, there's no reason to particularly think I'll die of cancer rather than anything else, but the mental acceptance is what was important.). Perhaps there's some exploring the terrain of diminished capabilities you could do, and thinking about what is worthwhile in life even as some parts of it get harder.

The monsters we have to slay are not usually dramatic, and the victories we win often go completely unrecognized, but there is great courage involved in accepting the human condition and carrying on in a loving manner regardless.
 
Posted by Enigma (# 16158) on :
 
Both my parents are elderly, ill and frail, living at home together, fiercely independent but struggling. I find it very difficult to know what to do to support them. They say they want me to live my life yet I know that the more time I can spend with them the happier they are (or less depressed with old age!) Any advice on how to achieve the right balance? I am single so probably in their eyes have no family responsibilty and therefore more available. However I work full time and have a fairly active church and social life. At what point should I step into the role of parent/carer for them?
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enigma:
Any advice on how to achieve the right balance?


It seems to me that finding the right balance starts with accepting that you only have 24 hours in a day, and you're not going to be able to do everything you want to do, or everything you think you ought to do, or everything other people expect you to do. That has to be okay, or you'll make yourself crazy.

There will be times where taking care of your parents will mean that you don't do some other things that you want to do, or ought to do. And sometimes taking care of other things will mean that you don't do some things for your parents that you want to do, or ought to do. You really can't do it all.

For me, accepting that has always been hard. But it's true. And there's no way around it.

Once you've accepted that, you need to figure out if you have a tendency to do too much, and you're likely to wear yourself out and become exhausted and resentful, or if you have a tendency to do too little, and you're likely to find yourself feeling awful one day because you missed out on doing things that, in hindsight, you really wish you had done.

In either case, figure out what you ought to do, and what you want to do, and what you can do. Then make out a schedule for doing it. Having a schedule makes it easier to set limits if you tend to do too much, and it makes it easier for you to discipline yourself if you tend to do too little. It provides a measure of structure and predictability for yourself and your parents. They'll know that they can count on you for that much, and you'll be able to count on time for the other things in your life.

The schedule also gives you a framework for knowing when you need to get more help. If your parents need more help than you can fit into the time you've committed, then you either have to figure out a way to commit to more time, at least for a while, or you need to use part of the time to figuring out how to get more help for them. If they can't keep up with their laundry, and you can't do it for them, can you hire it done? That sort of thing.

Emergencies will come up, where you have to throw the schedule out and just do whatever has to be done. Hopefully not too often.

That's my thoughts on it, anyway. But maybe something else would be better for you.
 
Posted by Jessie Phillips (# 13048) on :
 
Thanks for Autenrieth Road's post.

Since I last posted, on the plus side, both parents appear to have put better social safety nets in place. I suppose my big anxiety is that if they can't afford to pay for their own care, then neither can I - because I am in a much weaker position financially than either of my parents are.

Of course I don't want my potential inheritance to be eaten up by care costs. Having said that, as it stands, they are both reasonably fit and healthy, which means that their current care costs are low. They both have pension and annuity incomes that cover those costs with plenty left over. This means they do not currently pose a financial burden, and it even means they're in a position to bail me out if necessary. And that's worth more to me than the possibility of what I might inherit when they die. So let's hope that they stay healthy for as long as possible.

And let's also hope that the pension companies don't go bust. The way in which an elderly person's pension plugs the gaps of the state welfare system for their working-age children, and the anxieties that go with it, is something that it's remarkably difficult to get people to talk about honestly.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Copied over from another thread:

quote:
Originally posted by no_prophet

He's living alone at 84 in interior Mexico in a primitive Indian village (bad water, low cost, third world type conditions, but glorious for the healthy rich, which means lower middle class for Canada), more than 15 hours travel via 3 planes from family in Canada. My mother died down there 2 years ago after they lived there for 20 years. He's sold his house without telling anyone (I got a text message) and says he's moving back to Canada, but then says he's not because it is expensive and cold. But then he is. He says he can't afford rent, which is his way of saying I don't want to pay it and 'may I live with you'.

Went through the sandwich thing, with children on the one side and spouse's now deceased parents on the other. Loved them and were closer to them than my own.

I suspect there are any number of shipmates dealing with such stresses of older parents. This is enough to sink my boat some days - was on the phone for 6 hours today with him, more than 15 hours travel via 3 planes from family in Canada. My mother died down there 2 years ago. He's sold his house without telling anyone, with sisters (brother is conspicuously absent) - and need a phone call with God just about now.

At any road, I'm thinking there's something just quite good about knowing of others' stories and adventures in situations like this.



Grits responded

My parents moved in with us around 1993, I think, when they were relatively young (early 60's.) It's had it's ups and downs. Lord, how I miss my privacy, but they have been a lot of help, too, over the years. My dad died a few years ago, and that would have been so much more difficult if they had still been living alone in another state. As it was, they were right here, and no one had to be displaced to care for him or after he was gone. I know it made that situation much easier for my mom.

I assume I be caring for her in the future (she's turning 79 this year and still very healthy), but at least I'll be in my own home. If your dad's already 84, you're not looking at too many years to deal with him. Surely with two sisters, you can figure out a way to parcel him out fairly, working out some kind of equitable schedule. If not, try to find out his actual financial situation and see if you can find him a place he can afford on his own, perhaps near you or one of your siblings.

I'm sorry you've already been through this once. My husband has two brothers and a sister, so I hope it's going to be easier to care for his parents when the time comes.



No_prophet then said

--I guess this should be moved over to the other thread, which I missed! --

One sister is on track and helping. The other is not. Neither have the personal nor financial resources to help. In comparison we're rich (though not).

I've got two places he can afford, I would even pay part rent, but he says it is too expensive. So the decision becomes whether he wants to come back or not, money be damned. He has to come back here because as a returnee he can have health care. The sisters are 4000 Km and 2500 Km away, Canada is a big country. My brother lives in China, where he chooses to to not connect with us. MY second sister recasts the thing as his independence, and we have yet another go around. The decision to stay or go is to be made today. Off the church, then I am to talk to him about whether he's returning to Canada or not. I hope.


 
Posted by no_prophet (# 15560) on :
 
He authorized me to put a deposit down on an seniors' apartment where they serve one meal per day. After 6 hours of phone calls, was able to get this to 'make a decision to return or not and we'll live with your decision.

Had been looking at seniors' apartments for months and this came open so it was now or never.

I was immeasureably helped by running into an old family friend who I haven't seen for a year or more, and he told me to get to the simple decision of 'come to Canada or not'. I will take it a providential that we bumped into each other, because with out that, I would not have been able to say this clearly and get the decision made.

Now the next thing is moving him the 5000 km here, 8500 if it's driving.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
no_prophet, that sounds like good news. Best wishes with the move.

Jessie Phillips, I was much happier once I resolved that I had no reason to expect any inheritance from my parents whatsoever: their money (what they have of it, which isn't much) is theirs to spend as they see fit.

On the home front, my mother is now back in her home, and I'm in my home, and they are four states apart. Hooray.
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
I've been putting off joining this thread, but I think the time has come...

Mum and Dad are 80 & 81. Dad has been increasingly struggling with his memory for a couple of years now. Mum managed to get him to go to the doctor last year, and at the appointment he answered all the doctor's questions to assess his memory with no problems. However he's been again this week and found it far more difficult - when asked about the date/time of year etc he got it completely wrong.

The doctor is doing bloods etc to rule out any physical cause and assuming these come back clear, will be referring Dad to a Memory Clinic.

I have no idea what a Memory Clinic is or does - anyone have experience of this. What sort of thing might they do and, most importantly, is it any help?

I don't know how all this is going to work out for our family in the longer term. There are 6 of us kids, so in theory none of us should be shouldering anything alone. However one of my brothers is in long-term rehab after head injury last year - Mum makes the hour and a half train journey to see him most weeks. Two of my brothers and one sister live quite near Mum and Dad, and my other sister and I are further away. I have small children.

I think I'm going to really struggle with not being able to help as much as I want to. And I'm very aware that one of the disadvantages of being a larger family is that it's easy to get out of the loop, and drift away from it all if you're not one of the close-at-hand people. I don't want that to happen but I'm also severely limited in what I can do.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
(((birdie)))

My three siblings and I all live far apart, and far from my parents.

When we first started this odyssey with my parents (it goes back more than a year before my mother came to stay with me temporarily last year), me and my three siblings had a couple of conference calls. Well, not quite a conference call: three of us together on one phone, talking to the fourth in turn, and relaying what was said. (Three of us siblings had converged on the parental family home; the fourth lives in another country. We made the calls from our motel room; adding my parents' opinions to the mix on our planning at that point would have been a mess; hopefully you have a more functional family.

Since then we've kept in touch by email, and we usually copy the other three on emails we send between us. That keeps everyone in the loop.

As the person doing the most direct hands-on care for the last ten months, I've really appreciated the moral support from my siblings, telling me I'm doing a good job, calling me up just to say hi, and so on.

One of my brothers, while far away, has been taking care of helping with finances--not by giving money, but by giving advice to help my parents dig themselves out of a deep hole. He also has driven three times (across half the country, and as I'm in the US that's a LOTof driving) up to my mother's apartment to help with various things (most recently, to pick up my father's belongings after he walked out on my mother taking not much more than the shirt on his back. Like I said, I hope you have a more functional family than I do.)

One principle I've had in this whole process is to be grateful for whatever my siblings can do or choose to do, and not to think they should do more or different things.

There are things you can do from a distance: talk with your parents and siblings, both about the situation and just about nice things as a break. Maybe you can find out information about memory loss and Memory Centers. Maybe occasionally you can go stay locally, and give the close-by siblings a vacation. You can ask them what they would find helpful. You can send gifts, either large like a spa day or a gift certificate for dinner out or football tickets, etc., depending on your budget, or small, like notecards, a book, a jar of jelly, etc. This isn't meant to be exhaustive or prescriptive, just brainstorming, but maybe some of these ideas help.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Birdie

Mum went to a memory clinic a couple of years ago, she was having minor memory problems, the sort in most people you would not worry about but in Mum it was troubling her because she was no longer managing to keep the church books.

They do a number of tests to decide whether someone actually has a level of dementia. My mothers was slight but marked if I noted. They put her on aricept and for the first year or so monitored her progress and then transferred her to the local hospital when there was no obvious further decline.

If dementia is diagnosed they also will send your father for a driving check. My recommendation would be that you get him to have a driving lesson or so, to bring him up to standard on modern driving. My view is we should all be required to have lessons every ten years and maybe resit the theory exam just to keep us up to scratch on the driving regulations.

Jengie
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Thanks to those who have posted their experiences. I am finding it a really sad little inroad into my life as I watch mom lose her memory. It is not significant at the moment and I don't see her as being in danger - eg turning on the gas and not lighting the hob. But the amount of things she forgets - I have told her things over and over again - some long time ago and some the day before.

My father is in a home with dementia - he is a very docile chap and smiles with delight when I visit and also if I utter the immortal words "Don't tell him Pike". I struggle but I am so blessed. I have these times to talk to him about happy memories that he has given me and what a great dad he was. I don't know what he takes in, but I have the opportunity to have beautiful conversations - that is a gift and I am thankful.

My siblings are very hands-off. I have done what I can to engage them in supporting my mother and they remain very very hands-off. I have a poor relationship with my siblings and haven't got the energy to have another round of conversations and agreements with them as to how visiting can be shared - only for the agreements to slide. I am bored with non-excuses, bored with the yes yes yes - and them not delivering on the agreement - and furthermore, bored with other relations who see it as my responsibility to get my horrible siblings who bullied me through childhood in line.

I must try and persuade my mother to go to a memory clinic. I think that will be a hard admission for her but if they can measure how she is now, then we will have a basis for seeing if this is how she is or whether she is on a decline - and then maybe something can be done.

Sorry this is a bit whingey - I don't have any helpful suggestions to anyone else but just feel endlessly sad at the status quo.

All will be well.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
I'm posting this partly to bump this thread back in to activity, because (I fear) some of the concerns raised here are all too real for some other shipmates who haven't seen it.

Personally I am the only son of a now elderly mother (aged 88), who lives alone since my father died a few years ago. But I live in another country, at least for the next few years, and none of her other relatives live in the same State as her.

What she wants is for me and my wife to come and live near her, but we are very reluctant because we know that she would be very demanding - "family should fully look after me, because they are family" . But she was never much help to us when we needed it, notably when our children were small. And anyway , her town is one where we wouldn't want to live long-term, as it lacks intellectual and cultural activity. Fortunately it is a nice place to visit/ holiday for sunshine and beaches, which we do several times a year - and our children likewise.

Although she is remarkably healthy and independent for one of her age, and certainly mentally alert still, she is starting to creak at joints, and as she is officially a "War Widow", in Australia this entitles her to a lot of free medical treatment. So in the last few years , she has had a series of operations in the (vain) hope that they will restore her to full physical fitness the day that she leaves hospital. When this doesn't happen she gets even more frustrated.
 
Posted by Landlubber (# 11055) on :
 
Tukai

I have the mirror problem - my Mum wants to come and live with us.

Fortunately, my husband has always had a more realistic grasp on what is practical which counters the guilt I feel and that has helped considerably. (I am away for work most of the week and all her friends and the rest of the family live hours from here.) As a result, we have said that if she wants to move to sheltered accommodation nearby we will help her. To be fair, she really does need to move or have her house adapted. However, she won't make the decision to do either - possibly because she still hopes to be taken in by me or one of my siblings. (She is mentally competent so no-one can or should make up her mind for her).

So we wait until something changes ...
 
Posted by St Everild (# 3626) on :
 
It is so difficult, isnt it?

My mum started with mild symptoms of dementia last November-ish, went to a memory clinic and was started on Aricept. In February my dad was taken ill (he's chronically ill anyway - for the last 20 years) and my mum (who by then was very much worse) was taken into hospital as she was dehydrated, refusing to eat and he couldn't cope.

Eventually a CAT scan showed 2 brain tumours. She died last night, having never come home from the hospital.

They live 200 miles away from me and my sister lived further away than that. My mum was the sociable outgoing type...my dad was not and is not.

I have absolutely no idea what the future holds, except that if he continues to live where he is, neither I nor my sister will be able to offer much support due to the distance and length of time it takes (even when the roads are clear) to get to him.

He would do better to move nearer one of us...but which one, and into what type of home? (Did I mention that he is stubborn type?)
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St Everild:
She died last night, having never come home from the hospital.


I'm so sorry to hear that St Everild.


[Frown] [Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
[Votive] St Everild
 
Posted by Roots (# 16193) on :
 
Last year, dad, 88 then, fell through the door of a fish shop and broke his hip. Because hospitals were far away, they put him in a car for a 350 mile journey and we thought we were going to lose him, as we had heard at that age, they dont survive such things....especially when in hospital, he keeps trying to escape from the bed and sees trains coming through the walls and keeps ripping the oxygen mask off "I wasnt a pilot! I was in the Navy!!!"

But the old goat was found to be suffering from a lack of alcohol and hadnt been having his daily tipple and once that was rectified by smuggling wine in, he recovered, and the next year, he was waiting for me (with a tape measure in his hand) to do some work around the house and was up and down ladders all the time.

Mum, 87, does her own washing with a twin tub and refuses an automatic machine.

Such lovely people...am on my way next week to see them after two years and cant wait!
 
Posted by Landlubber (# 11055) on :
 
Sr Everild, for comfort, strength and wisdom [Votive]
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
Having just got back from a week-end away for a family wedding, I realised that I am more comfortable with having to "mother" my mother; making sure that she has got everything, looking out for ramps, planning ahead so I can tell her what we are going to do instead of expecting her to make decisions etc.

It feels both more comfortable and sad, if that makes sense. But most of all I am grateful that we can still go away and have fun together.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Yes that makes sense.

There are a whole lot of little griefs with relating to aging parents. For me a silly one was when my mother first did not check I was ok when I got up in the middle of the night. She kept doing this when I visited well into retirement but eventually she became so deaf so she did not hear me moving around and therefore no longer disturbed when I was.

I am used to it now, but there is also something poignant about that absence.

Jengie

[ 05. June 2011, 16:20: Message edited by: Jengie Jon ]
 
Posted by Eleanor Jane (# 13102) on :
 
Hello again all,

I posted a few months back about my mother who has terminal (stage four) cancer. I'm sitting at work feeling a bit sad and ick 'cos she's been getting much frailer over the last few weeks.

She has a bad fall and injured her knee and has been falling regularly since then. Last night she fell in her bathroom and couldn't get back to bed for hours then was too confused to work the telephone. The hospice nurse has been to sort her out with lots of things including a 'lifelink' alarm so she can just press a button to call an ambulance.

It's hard seeing people we love go downhill, be less able and competent... [Frown]
 
Posted by Marama (# 330) on :
 
A crisis has arrived, though it may not be as bad as at first feared. MIL is in rehab after a fall, and may or may not be able to go back home. So far, as expected, sooner or later.

What has stunned me is the response of one of our adult daughters, very strongly suggesting that we should give our jobs, and return to look after MIL. (We live in another country, at least for the next couple of years.) She knows that my relationship with MIL has been tense for 35 years, but says it's my duty. I really don't know how to cope with this. Other daughter disagrees.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Has she considered the very real possibility that MIL may feel exactly as you do???
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marama:

What has stunned me is the response of one of our adult daughters, very strongly suggesting that we should give our jobs, and return to look after MIL. (We live in another country, at least for the next couple of years.)

You could always tell her that, as you are out of the country, you have nominated her to take your place. She may then rapidly change her mind. [Big Grin]

I know from family conversations in the past that there remains a lingering black-and-white view of care: from the days when it was either 'in a (ghastly) home' or 24/7 by a close relative. These days there are so many options, designed to suit all circumstances, residential, sheltered, part-time, carers in your own home, day centres, respite care, etc. etc. and plenty of advice to make sure which option you choose is the best one for your relative. It sounds as if she is harking back to the past.

I also wonder what convenient excuse she will come up with in the future (when you are old) as to how and why she can't possibly do what she is demanding that you do, one generation earlier.
 
Posted by Eleanor Jane (# 13102) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marama:
A crisis has arrived, though it may not be as bad as at first feared. MIL is in rehab after a fall, and may or may not be able to go back home. So far, as expected, sooner or later.

What has stunned me is the response of one of our adult daughters, very strongly suggesting that we should give our jobs, and return to look after MIL. (We live in another country, at least for the next couple of years.) She knows that my relationship with MIL has been tense for 35 years, but says it's my duty. I really don't know how to cope with this. Other daughter disagrees.

Humph! Maybe you should suggest that you strongly feel that it's *her* duty to give up her job and look after her grandmother!

How to cope? Just say no. Your daughters (both of them) don't get to tell you how to live your life, I think.

Other good suggestions above.

An update on my situation... Mum has been in the hospice for the past couple of weeks. They've been feeding and looking after her well, but she's had some really bad days with pain. And she seems to be getting weaker very quickly.

She'd like to go home, but struggles with getting in and out of bed (even an adjustable hospital bed). So, we'll see...

Also, we're going on a two week overseas trip and I'm a bit worried about how fast she's been going downhill recently. I guess we just have to pray and try to enjoy our trip.

This is a complicated situation (have ill/ aging parents) and different for everyone in some ways.
[Votive] for us all.

Cheers,
EJ
 
Posted by Nanny Ogg (# 1176) on :
 
Just got back from visiting my mother who has dementia following a series of minor strokes. It was a shock to see her so frail and helpless. She can't use her hands (no grip), is unable to walk and has lost her ability to speak apart from yes and no, although she does try to talk to us.

I was grateful that she recognised me as through my ill health I hadn't seen her since December. She still has her sense of humour as does laugh and smile.

The nursing home have a "hands off" approach if family are visiting. I found it difficult at first feeding her and giving her a drink, but I saw it as a privilege as it was a very intimate time.

Strangely her illness has brought us closer together (we used to argue all the time). I guess healing her body is not possible, but healing our relationship is a blessing
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
Well, Dad has been to the memory clinic, had a couple more GP visits and finally been diagnosed with Parkinson's.

He had a fall at the weekend and was taken to hospital - he told me on the phone this evening that actually it was the third fall of the little walk he went for, but the only one with an audience - right outside the village fish & chip shop, the customers and staff of which rushed about and called an ambulance.

He's now under strict instructions not to leave the house alone!

I'm hoping to get over there for a couple of days with the children over the summber holiday. It will be nice to see Dad in his familiar home environment rather than him visiting here - I feel I'd get a better idea of how he is.
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
Went to my parents' place today for the day. Dad has deteriorated markedly from when I last saw him, just a month ago. To the point I'm not sure he should be left alone in the house, but I'm also very aware that I'm not on the spot enough to know if this had been a particularly bad day (I had both my kids with me and they are very tiring!), or what.

My mum is very fit and active and, as they say, 'wonderful for her age' but her age is nonetheless 81. If Dad continues to deteriorate at the current rate I don't know how long it will be before she's not able to look after him herself, which will be devastating to her.

Bother it.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
Marama -
while I agree with the advice above 100% (don't even consider 'having' to move job, house and country or even feel guilty about it)
I just wanted to mention what jumped at me - is your daughter just sad that you went abroad and left her and is using 'duty to Grandma' as a way of expressing that? Still not a reason for you to move, but you might want to talk about it...
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by birdie:


My mum is very fit and active and, as they say, 'wonderful for her age' but her age is nonetheless 81. If Dad continues to deteriorate at the current rate I don't know how long it will be before she's not able to look after him herself, which will be devastating to her.

Bother it.

[Frown] [Votive] birdie


I'm looking after my Mum this weekend at my brother's farm to give him and my SIL time off.

She's 91 and has severe dementia. This week she went on to baby food as she's forgotten how to chew.

This is exactly like looking after a baby - and every change is another slip backwards.

I want to ask anyone who's been here - what's next? Will she eventually be unable to swallow? (She often pushes the food back out and seems to find swallowing hard - and the doctor and dentist say there is nothing physically wrong) If so does that mean she'll starve or will 'they' tube feed her?
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
At her great age, I would hope that you and your siblings could refuse any inclination of the medical staff to tube-feed her. That is a complete indignity which she would not understand. Even younger elders otherwise in their right minds will attempt to dislodge the tube.

Prayers to you and your Mother.
 
Posted by sabine (# 3861) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

I want to ask anyone who's been here - what's next? Will she eventually be unable to swallow? (She often pushes the food back out and seems to find swallowing hard - and the doctor and dentist say there is nothing physically wrong) If so does that mean she'll starve or will 'they' tube feed her?

I participate in the care of my 91-year-old parents. My mother "died" once and because my father had told no one about their advance directive, the EMTs were required by law to paddle her back into a heartbeat and then she went on a vent until--by some miracle, even the doctors say--she revived.

If your parents haven't already made a living will or advance directive, it may be too late if they are not of sound mind. But you might search through their papers or call their lawyer to see if they have anything on record about receiving or withholding nourishment in the event that their doctor determines that this would not prolong life.

I can also say that I used to visit a woman in a nursing home who was being fed through a tube. She mentioned that she desperately missed the taste and satisfaction of food. So some of us decided to give her other senses a treat. We brought her lotion for her skin, some scented infusers, music to listen to, etc.

sabine
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
Boogie,

I did know some-one from church who had early onset dementia and, yes, he did lose the ability to swallow. [Frown]

I second what PeteC said; "they" ought not to tube feed her against the will of her next of kin. I am fairly sure that tube feeding is a form of medical treatment under UK law and can therefore be refused.

[Votive] for you and your brother & SiL
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
This week she went on to baby food as she's forgotten how to chew.

That happened to my mother also, who had Lewey Body dementia.
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
Boogie, my experience of tube feeding is in the case of a child unable to swallow (my daughter, 3), so not exactly the same issue, but if it gets to that point and you need any info about the practicalities feel free to ask.

We did NG for the first 17 months and now she's gastro fed.

[ 13. August 2011, 17:33: Message edited by: birdie ]
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
My dad's in hospital this week and they are determining if he is strong enough to withstand open heart surgery or not. Either way one of us siblings or in-laws will have to move in and help with mom as she has dementia. I'll take my turn with the rest.

There are 6 of us sibs, and the reactions vary widely. Some are weepy and upset. Some are take charge and bossy. Some are whiney because they don't talk to others due to grudges and are hence left out of the loop except in a round about way. Me? I don't know! It almost seems I have waited a long time for my parents to pass on and end an era, and I feel guilty for thinking that. I would be upset if one of my sisters or my brother were dying, but not my parents. My love for them is flawed, and I know that. I do the best that I can and have always been a good daughter. My children love their grandparents, which is one of the highest gifts I have given them considering my background. But when it comes down to it all I can do is what I always have done and leave my dad to God's care.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Taliesin:
Marama -
while I agree with the advice above 100% (don't even consider 'having' to move job, house and country or even feel guilty about it)
I just wanted to mention what jumped at me - is your daughter just sad that you went abroad and left her and is using 'duty to Grandma' as a way of expressing that? Still not a reason for you to move, but you might want to talk about it...

Since Marama's MIL is also my mother, I feel I can comment on this. Yes, I think daughter's reaction involves a good deal of what you suggest. That's the bad news.

The good news is that aged mother's condition was not a s bad as we had feared. While she did go temporarily deluded, it transpired that this was not the result of a stroke as we had feared, but of a combination of [prescribed] painkillers, pain from a previously undiagnosed hairline fracture, and a urinary tract infection. It therefore passed off with time and addition of appropriate drugs and subtraction of others. So no long-term ill effects, and she has returned to her own home in reasonably good condition. As Australia's aged care system has provision for 'at-home' help fro a few hours per week, she is managing OK 'on her own'.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:


The good news is that aged mother's condition was not a s bad as we had feared. While she did go temporarily deluded, it transpired that this was not the result of a stroke as we had feared, but of a combination of [prescribed] painkillers, pain from a previously undiagnosed hairline fracture, and a urinary tract infection. It therefore passed off with time and addition of appropriate drugs and subtraction of others. So no long-term ill effects, and she has returned to her own home in reasonably good condition. As Australia's aged care system has provision for 'at-home' help fro a few hours per week, she is managing OK 'on her own'.

Phew!

What a relief for you. UTI's often cause strange delusions in the elderly.

I hope she continues to do well.


[Votive]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
I'm bumping this thread up, as I bet it's still a concern to others as well as to me in 2012.
 
Posted by bib (# 13074) on :
 
Diet modification is common in people who have neurological conditions or who have had strokes. Such regimes are usually supervised by a Speech Pathologist to ensure that the person is still able to eat without choking. It does not mean that the person has to be treated like a baby. Sometimes it becomes necessary to insert a peg for feeding where safe swallowing isn't possible. The patient is always able to refuse diet modifications, but in my experience it is more of a problem for families than patients.
 
Posted by maleveque (# 132) on :
 
Thanks for the bump-up, Tukai, because I need to vent.
My dad is in a nursing home. He has Alzheimer's, Type 2 diabetes, macular degeneration, and very low kidney function.
My mom has been dealing with social services re: Medicaid payments for his long-term care. It's all messed up and she gets bills from the nursing home, which is unnerving even though the nursing home people say they are working on getting it all sorted out.
She called me today in tears because the house needs lots of expensive work that she is putting on credit cards. She didn't have hot water for days, now has a new water heater that the technician would not turn on because the chimney vent was completely blocked. So now she has to get someone to clear the chimney.
We have talked about her selling the house. One complication is that my mid-fifties brother lives there too. In general, that's good, but he's been living there more or less for free for years. And now I doubt he could afford even a little apartment.
I said again that she has to sell the house, which she accepts in the abstract.
There are lots and lots of complicating emotional issues as well, including bad feelings about her having put my dad in the nursing home to begin with.
Then she drops the bombshell that she hasn't filed taxes in two years. Oh Lord. "I don't owe them anything." Yeah, well that's not really relevant, is it? And are you sure about that?
Arrrggghhh! Thanks for listening.
Anne L.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread, and for the "bump" as I had missed it before.

I have my 92-next-week-year-old mother living 2.5 hours away (by car; longer by public transport) with my eldest brother who is her full time carer. She is basically bedridden but mentally sound. He is eccentric and a social misfit but does a cracking job of caring for her. Our other brother lived with his partner 20 minutes away from them and did a lot of practical things for them, visited Mum every day when she's been hospitalised at times, and managed all her financial affairs. But at the end of November this brother died unexpectedly. [Tear]

We're now trying to pick up where the paperwork was left and setting up Power of Attorney while Mum is still with-it enough to grant it. She and my brother tick along fine but it's a fragile situation; what if she is hospitalised again, or something happens to the brother who is her carer? It's a bit scary. [Eek!]

It's also motivated me to make sure Mr Nen's and my affairs are as in order as possible; we plan to update our wills, for a start. Is it really the case that in the event of a spouse's death any joint bank accounts are frozen (I'm in the UK)? [Eek!] What steps do you take, then, to make sure utility bills etc are still paid? Maybe this should be the subject of another thread but I'm relatively new and scared of doing the wrong thing here. [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
Nenya, you are probably aware of this, but since my paranoia is why I earn the big hosting bucks,* I just want to remind you and everyone that the ship is not a place to get reliable legal advice.

Gwai
All Saints Host


*lies
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Eek! [Eek!] Have I said the wrong thing again? [Eek!] *Runs and hides*
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Nenya:

Don't feel too bad! You have asked a perfectly sensible question. Our host is just warning you (perfectly correctly) that the Ship is not a source of reliable legal advice.

That said, here are a couple of hints that may help you to obtain such advice.
(1) Ask your bank - they should know about the conditions on your account, and even now should tell you authoritatively without charging for the information.
(2) I don't know about Britain, but in Australia (which has a broadly similar legal system) a joint account, if it is set up so that either account holder can sign without needing the other to co-sign, does not form part of a deceased estate. On the contrary, the surviving holder carries on as sole owner without any requirement for probate or other delays.
 
Posted by Morlader (# 16040) on :
 
Not offering advice, just recounting recent UK experience...

As I was "putting my affairs in order" last year I researched the joint account situation. My partner and I have an account in joint names to pay household bills: I was told that the surviving partner continues to operate the joint account without delays/probate etc. as Tukai said.

HTH. But get advice, not least because there may be grey areas around direct debits.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
This is several years ago now but my grandfather was told by his bank manager to make his bank account joint so that, in the event of his death, my grandmother would still be able to get at the money. It worked so well that Dad did the same about a week after my grandfather died.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Among other places, my Mum has been grateful for advice from Age UK
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Some really useful comments and pointers here; thank you. [Smile]

Maleveque, my eldest brother (in his 60s) has also lived in the family home for many years, sometimes earning a bit of an income and sometimes not. He helped Mum nurse our dad at home till he died, and now he is paid to be Mum's carer, but once she no longer needs one I don't know what his plans are. [Eek!]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
I apologise for the double posting. I'm just embarking on applying for Power of Attorney for my mum and would be glad of a few shared experiences from people who've done it. It seems a very longwinded process; once it's filled in there's another long form to register it. And is it the case, as someone told me last night, that you then have to approach every single financial institution she's involved with and supply them with a copy, plus your passport and two utility bills, to register it with each one? [Eek!] I hate paperwork and am so out of my comfort zone... [Frown]
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
We filed for Power of Attorney - yes, the forms are long, but really straight forward to do (you can fill most of them in on-line, then print them out). Once they were sent off it took about 3 months to come back as registered. We are in the process of getting copies made, you can't just photocopy it, each page needs to be signed to say it is an accurate copy. A friend who is a solicitor is doing that for us.
Luckily my father-in-law has only one bank account, the same bank as us, so I don't think that should be too difficult.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Phew - that was a difficult few days. Mum fell out of bed on Saturday night - luckily my niece and her husband were on hand (both are paramedics) so no hospital trip was needed. She has no memory, so the trauma was all mine! We are all very keen to keep her out of hospital or care home - she is happy and comfortable with us. (She lives with my brother and SIL and I go to look after her so that they can go to their boat for respite) It takes us nearly an hour to get her to drink a cup of tea - there's no way they'd do that at a care home.

Must get a bed guard sorted (We have a good crash mat so no bruises or breaks, thank goodness)

This is hard [Tear]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Prayers for you, Boogie. It's a hard time and emotionally and physically draining for you all. [Votive]

You sound at much the same place as we are with my mum. She is basically bedridden but has all her mental faculties (apart from being rather forgetful of recent things) and my eldest brother is her full time carer. She wouldn't get one-to-one care even in the best nursing home, so we plan to keep that situation stable for as long as we can.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Prayers for both of you, Boogie and Nenya. Been in both at home and nursing home care for my dad who died some years ago. It's very hard watching illnesses and colds and yes, falls too. Recovery never returns them to quite the same point as before, there's always that bit more deterioration.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
We filled in the forms for power of attorney for my mum at the weekend, all certified and witnessed by a family friend. The next stage is for me to fill in another load of forms and send it off to be registered. A lot of my problem is lack of confidence really. The forms are fairly straightforward, but Mr Nen has to sit with me to make sure I'm doing it all ok. [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
Hello all.

I'm dealing with a tricky situation with an aged uncle that lives alone in London and pretty much refuses to come here to Australia so his family can care for him.

Just a couple of questions for those of you that live in England and know something about English law.

1) If he becomes physically and mentally incapacitated but has no family that will care for him in England, is he appointed a legal guardian by the government to care for his legal affairs?

2) Is it normal for people with no relatives to go into nursing homes in this case? Or would the government arrange home help?

Also, do any of you know if the postal system in England can arrange for postal redirection to a foreign country? i.e. If he came here for a visit, would the postal service be able to send his post here?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
All should feel free to answer Evensong with their opinions, but another of those host notes that the Ship is not a place to receive legal advice, and does not stand by such advice given on it.

Gwai
All Saints Host
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
I will not hold the ship nor anyone responsible for legal advice. Scouts honour! [Big Grin]

It's just so hard to operate from so far away....just trying to get some ideas.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
I'm finding it hard enough to deal with some of Dad's stuff when he's in the North Island and I'm in the South, different countries would be a nightmare.

Huia
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
Evensong, the only thing I can say from experience of such a situation is that Nothing is Automatic. Is there anyone who sees him regularly who would be aware if he was failing to cope, and be prepared to take the time and effort to get social services involved?

In the case of my late FiL, if the woman who originally just came in a couple of hours a week to clean had not been prepared to organise a great deal on his behalf, he could not have continued in his own home. Even so, his children, having got Power of Attorney, were in process of rescuing his finances and structuring them to pay for residential care when he died.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Rang my Dad today. He's sounding so frail. Then I got a call from the community Nurse saying he will get more help from tomorrow and next week will be assessed as to whether he should go into care.

It's hard to watch him going downhill, both physically and mentally. He's been in pain recently and I think it's only because of that he's more willing to consider it. I'm sorry about the pain, but I'm relieved he will be looked after better than just having a carer.

I'm sending him some crunchy lemon muffins tomorrow - I hope they help raise his spirits as they are his favourites.

Huia

[ 31. January 2012, 09:13: Message edited by: Huia ]
 
Posted by Zacchaeus (# 14454) on :
 
Evensong - I've never heard of legal guardian so can't answer anything about that, people can have power of attorney to deal with the business of incapacited people but I have never come across a state appointed one, the ones I have known have always been family and friends who have applied for it.

The carers/care home situation I can only say it depends. It depends on the local authority and how physiclly and mentally incapacitated he is and of course if he is on social services/medical radar in the first place, many do slip thorugh the net.

If he is a home owner and goes into any sort of residential care then he may have to sell his home to pay for it. Again the rules around who pays exactly what depend on circumstances.

It really needs an expert to inform his family of the possibilities.
 
Posted by Beethoven (# 114) on :
 
As far as the postal redirect is concerned, I don't *think* the post office will forward stuff to another country. Their website is usually pretty helpful, though.
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
This page from the Royal Mail website says that it is possible.
 
Posted by Drifting Star (# 12799) on :
 
Evensong, normally the relevant Adult Social Services department (county council or unitary council function) would go to the Court of Protection and ask for themselves to be appointed as legal guardian.
 
Posted by FooloftheShip (# 15579) on :
 
This is the link for the government page on the court of protection. It might give you a place to start.
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
G'day again folks.

Many, many thanks for your input. I've relayed alot of it (and bookmarked the links) to my mum (even more aged than my uncle is but in better health) that is currently looking after him in London.

I never thought of the power of attorney issue (even tho I have power of attorney of her affairs here ) and recommended she get him to arrange one with a relative that is a solicitor in London.

She has alerted the social services and asked the neighbors to look on him occasionally.

She is disappointed he is not coming back to Australia with her when she returns shortly but has done her best to set him up so he has people he can call if he has another nervous breakdown.

[Votive] [Votive] For all those living with these difficult issues.
 
Posted by Evensong (# 14696) on :
 
My mother left my uncle a few days ago to stay with my sister in California before returning to Australia.

She gets a call from him at 3am begging her to return as he can't cope. [Frown]

So she's going back to London (with my sister in tow this time) to help him pack up and sell the house and come to Australia.

It's sad he is in such a state. But I'm also pleased and excited that he has finally consented to moving to Australia.

It'll be great for my kids to have a great uncle around. They've only met him once.

And as my father passed away 18 months ago and my mother has been a bit lonely, it will be a perfect arrangement for them to live together.

[Yipee]

Now we just have to pray he doesn't change his mind again!
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
OMG sister-in-law is in her organising mode (think Flylady on steroids or the tanks of an an invading army and you'll get the picture), and is so sure she know what's best for Dad. I'm not saying she's wrong, but I felt so bulldozed last night I hung up on her.

Dad has gone into respite care and there is a possibility that it could become permanent - which is what she and my brothers want. I have mixed feelings. It would be safer if he were in care (set fire to the house 3x) but i don't know if he's considered to be sufficiently with it to make a decision. If he is he may discharge himself if his leg gets better, and no one can stop him. If he thinks she's bulldozing him he will dig his toes in and do the opposite, just because he's bloody minded (even if he thought it could be in his best interests). Being a chip off the old block, I have some sympathy with this reaction, but it's not what she's doing that worries me. its the way she's doing it.

If there's anything in reincarnation I'm coming back as an orphan with celibate siblings (if any).
 
Posted by Enigma (# 16158) on :
 
On a positive note, sometimes there are magic moments when the family are together and all realise that older age can bring seriously amusing incidents and conversations. This week that happened - and whatever the future will bring there was a lot of laughter that will help us on our way. I mean all generations involved. [Smile]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enigma:
On a positive note, sometimes there are magic moments when the family are together and all realise that older age can bring seriously amusing incidents and conversations. This week that happened - and whatever the future will bring there was a lot of laughter that will help us on our way. I mean all generations involved. [Smile]

There were times in Dad's early stages of Alzheimer's that my mother said, "I have to laugh or I will cry."
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
Dad's had a horrendous weekend. Saturday morning his legs just stopped working. Mum's been having daily help to get him up and put him to bed as she couldn't do it alone (she's nearly 82 for heaven's sake). When the carer arrived they couldn't get Dad moved with the two of them either. Long story short, he's gone into hospital for intensive physio in the hope they can get him moving again. He's miserable in hospital. Says he wants to die, and I believe him. Mum's in bits, although I think she would deny that until blue in the face.

I'm planning to go an see him tomorrow. [Frown]
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Oh Birdie [Votive]

Huia
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Frown] birdie

[Votive]
 
Posted by Enigma (# 16158) on :
 
Birdie - prayers [Votive]
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
Well, a few hours after posting that, Dad died in hospital yesterday afternoon. He'd started to perk up a bit, and then a little while after visiting, died suddenly, quietly and peacefully in his hospital bed.

Unexpected in the context of this particular hospital admission, but not a huge shock, to be honest.

[ 27. March 2012, 09:22: Message edited by: birdie ]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Oh Birdie, I'm so sorry to hear this. Prayers for you and all affected.
 
Posted by Ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
[Votive] rest eternal for Dad Birdie, and prayers for the rest of you.
 
Posted by Jack the Lass (# 3415) on :
 
So sorry birdie [Votive] [Frown]
 
Posted by Japes (# 5358) on :
 
I'm so sorry, Birdie.

[Votive] May Birdie's dad rest in peace and rise in glory.

[Votive] For all the Birdie family.
 
Posted by Pants (# 999) on :
 
Birdie and family [Votive]
 
Posted by The Weeder (# 11321) on :
 
Birdie, I am so sorry. You are in my prayers. [Votive]
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Dear Birdie -- there's no good way to lose your Daddy... but I've seen worse. God's blessing and comfort on you all.
 
Posted by Auntie Doris (# 9433) on :
 
Oh birdie... ((hugs)) for you and all your family.

Auntie Doris x
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Here we go again. Aged mother (nearly 90) has just been taken to hospital in a confused state, as happened last year.

Although I live ~3000 km away (in a different country, indeed) , the good news this time is that (a) I was planning to visit her this month anyway, as there is a family wedding to go to elsewhere in Australia, and (b) a phone conversation to the hospital this evening established that she was sitting up having her dinner, which suggests it is nothing too serious like a heart attack or a stroke.

Will see for myself in a few days time.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
I hope she's better soon, Tukai. Could it have been something to do with medications? I know MIL was none too careful of hers before she was in nursing home. Worst was insulin. Sometimes two or three doses, sometimes none and she couldn't say what had been done. Her diabetes was much better controlled in nursing home, but she also took or didn't take other stuff too.
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Does anyone have any similar experience that I am having with my mother? She keeps insisting that my father (who is in a home with dementia) has a few days to live. That deadline passes, and the new diagnosis is given - based on what she feels and not what the doctor says. First time, I rushed home to find dad fit and well, second time - I tried to allay her fears by unpacking the scenario and she got majorly cross with me (she does cross in capitals, bold and underline - it's scary).

I'm not sure how best to deal with it - it's having a significant impact on me, she claims she doesn't remember what I have told her or asked her (although she remembers some things suprisingly).

I've spoken to dad's carers and they say he is fit and well - minor issues emerge but generally speaking he is hale and hearty.

I've not heard of this behaviour before, so I'm at a loss (as well as being at my wit's end)
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Your mum has not got mild dementia has she?

If so she maybe covering it with reasoning from immediate circumstances. The fact your father is not at home quite possibly would imply to her he is in hospital and then she creates the scenario from there.

When you reminder her that he is in a home, then she remembers that, but will then try and reconcile the two.

Jengie
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
This is totally weird. Dad has difficulty remembering where he is, and sometimes doesn't make sense (not unusual in someone his age and state of health). Talking with him on the phone the other day he was telling me about a radio interview on a fairly complex philosophical topic, and was able to explain the subject and differing points of view.

My doctor said it's not uncommon, but it threw me. I'm glad he is able to keep up with his reading too as time hangs heavy for him sometimes.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lothlorien:
I hope she's better soon, Tukai. Could it have been something to do with medications? I know MIL was none too careful of hers before she was in nursing home. Worst was insulin. Sometimes two or three doses, sometimes none and she couldn't say what had been done. Her diabetes was much better controlled in nursing home, but she also took or didn't take other stuff too.

Thanks for your concern.

No,it wasn't her medications, but a different problem, namely a urinary track infection. Apparently with "little old ladies" who get this problem, their body chemistry is such that it leads to temporary mental confusion. Something to do withe the kidneys, I gather.

Fortunately, by the time I got to see her a few days later, the hospital had treated the underlying problem and discharged her with mind intact.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Mum was delirious with that on a couple of occasions, although I'd forgotten that till you mentioned it. I know of another with similar problems. Add in some dehydration and things really go haywire.
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Thanks Jengie Jon. Yes, I've been concerned about dementia with ma - but I'm not able to confront that possibility yet. I was hoping I think that there might be other options and this behaviour was expected. Dad has been in the home for several years and this "he is dying" business has only emerged within the last month. She managed previous blips much better - but she has always been deeply pessimistic.

UTIs are very scary with the ensuing confusion - men can get them as well and dad gets them fairly regularly - always responds very well to treatment. They can be hugely alarming tho initially.
 
Posted by Spike (# 36) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beenster:
I'm not sure how best to deal with it - it's having a significant impact on me, she claims she doesn't remember what I have told her or asked her (although she remembers some things suprisingly).

This sounds very similar to my mother a few years ago when she was in the early stages of dementia. Some things she would remember remarkable well, and others she would forget almost instantly. In those early days, she was aware it was happening, but would make things up to cover up for it. For instance, I would make arrangements to take her to visit a relative. I would even phone her before I left home to remind her, but I'd get there to find she'd forgotten all about it. The response would be something like "yes dear, I know you said you were coming, but I've changed my mind" or I'd arrive to find she'd gone out shopping.

Her frequent belief that your father is so ill may be part and parcel of the same thing as my mother suffered similar delusions. Again, your mother may well be aware of this and her anger at you is her way of covering this up.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Remember dementia is a symptom, not a diagnosis and has multiple cause UTIs being one of them, but drug cocktails can be another.

Jengie
 
Posted by Balaam (# 4543) on :
 
Please pray for Mum and Dad.

Mum dementia of some kind (test results on her condition should be coming back today) She has started walking outside in her nightie at 6am. Dad is near to cracking under the strain of caring for her.

Mum can no longer do the cooking, and Dad can't cook, though he's trying his best. On top of that he has weak knees and is going to have tests done on a heart condition at the hospital at the end of this week.

Help has been offered by family and friends, but dad is too proud to accept it yet. We feel helpless, unable to do anything.
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Another call, another announcement that the end is nigh for papa from La Madre.

I don't want to kick her into touch in case she is right and also it is cruel, I don't want to change my plans, cor this is hard!
 
Posted by birdsoftheair (# 15219) on :
 
we have been looking after Aged P fora while now but he has een discharged from stroke rehab with mild short term memory loss and aphasia which is shorthand for full blown dementia. [Waterworks] We were prepared for some loss of function but not this and are both struggling to come to terms with this new phase of his life. How do you cope? We were so not prepared for this level of responsibility. [Help]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
birdsoftheair - talk to your GP, talk to the District Nurse, talk to whatever the social care provider up there is now called. Do it now and make sure they listen. Get the help you need before you all go under with the stress!
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
Is he living with you? Make a list of all his care needs and they are currently being met (or not).
Have the list to hand when talking to anyone official. It helped us a lot realise that the amount of care my FiL needed was more than we could cope with and gave the Social Services a very good start in the case for residential care.
We didn't realise quite what a strain we had been under until he moved into the care home. It was such a relief to go & visit and not have to spend the first hour cleaning the flat, and washing and dressing him.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Birdsofthair, is there a system wher you are for getting needs assessed to work out what help he needs (and you would need to support him?).

I realise he may not want to go into care, but there is a limit to what you can do. I know for example that to my father we are still his children (in our 50s and 60s [Roll Eyes] ) so the caregivers at the home are listened to far more than we are (they are lovely and I don't mind this at all).

[Votive] for you and your father.

Huia
 
Posted by birdsoftheair (# 15219) on :
 
Thank you folks. We did get the local GP and community nurse in and they arranged personal care over the weekend. But he has taken a down turn and is mostly just sleeping all the time. We are getting good support now but it was such a shock when he came home and didn't recognise his own house. Sorry for the slightly frantic
tone of my post.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beenster:
Another call, another announcement that the end is nigh for papa from La Madre.

I don't want to kick her into touch in case she is right and also it is cruel, I don't want to change my plans, cor this is hard!

What was the outcome of this, Beenster?

I'm just back from a weekend of visiting my mum in hospital - she had what they are fairly sure is a mild stroke last week. But may be discharged today. I hope everyone here is coping with their respective situations ok...
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
Talked with my sister this morning. She tells me mom is falling further behind. Her dementia is now to the point that she hardly recognizes anyone, ever her husband (my stepfather) of 35 years.

I am grateful that she no longer knows that she doesn't know. [Votive]
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
What was the outcome of this, Beenster?

I'm just back from a weekend of visiting my mum in hospital - she had what they are fairly sure is a mild stroke last week. But may be discharged today. I hope everyone here is coping with their respective situations ok...

Nenya sorry to hear about your mum - lots can be done for after care these days after stroke - and I hope you have a supportive GP.

My father - well third time was not the false alarm and he passed away a month ago. I said my goodbyes. Sorry for not updating, I forgot I had posted this and I was utterly crazed with grief. I think my mother was reading that he (ie his soul) was on his way out and didn't know how to analyse it. I miss him, despite the 3 years of dementia for prep, I miss him.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Votive] [Votive] Beenster [Frown]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
So sorry Beenster. [Votive]
 
Posted by Hedgehog (# 14125) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:
Talked with my sister this morning. She tells me mom is falling further behind. Her dementia is now to the point that she hardly recognizes anyone, ever her husband (my stepfather) of 35 years.

I am grateful that she no longer knows that she doesn't know. [Votive]

Campbellite, I am so sorry for both you and your sisters. My mother went the dementia/Alzheimer's path. I saw her forget the things she loved, and then the people she loved.

But you and your sisters need to brace yourself because it just gets worse. The horror of the disease is that it always finds a way to get worse. My mother then forgot the basics of self care and, eventually, eating before she was finally given release in death. Even knowing that they are not aware of what is happening (thank God) it is so tough to watch that happen to somebody you love. My prayers for strength for you and your sisters. [Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Beenster, I'm sorry to hear this. [Votive]

quote:
I am grateful that she no longer knows that she doesn't know.

Dad had Alzheimers. I truly think any form of this or other dementia is much harder on the family than the sufferer, once it passes a point, possibly different for each sufferer. Dad knew something was wrong in the early stages when he, a guy with many degrees etc including one n horticulture, could not quite remember the name of one of his beloved plants. Later on, when in a nursing home he no longer knew. On my first visit to him there, he informed me that mum was shopping and would be back soon. With progression, he no longer knew me, although he always knew his grandchildren.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
A quote from the mother of a friend of mine, at her 80th birthday lunch -

"Do you think those little ones at the next table are twins?"
"Yes they are, and they are your great-grandchildren".

You have to laugh so's not to weep [Eek!]

Mrs. S, praying for all [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:
Talked with my sister this morning. She tells me mom is falling further behind. Her dementia is now to the point that she hardly recognizes anyone, ever her husband (my stepfather) of 35 years.

This will sound odd but there is recognise and recognise. For a while I rang regularly a friend J, who was nursing his wife through dementia. At the time I do not think she would have recognised J as her husband. However she always had a crisis when I rang for some reason, even when J chose the time so she would be in bed and sleep. I think she was jealous.

J was in his eighties and I was definitely not into anything apart from friendship from anyone at the time as I needed time to heal after a disasterous relationship. So it was totally wrong headed but you could not tell his wife that.

Jengie

[ 10. July 2012, 21:09: Message edited by: Jengie Jon ]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beenster:
My father - well third time was not the false alarm and he passed away a month ago. I said my goodbyes. Sorry for not updating, I forgot I had posted this and I was utterly crazed with grief. I think my mother was reading that he (ie his soul) was on his way out and didn't know how to analyse it. I miss him, despite the 3 years of dementia for prep, I miss him.

I'm sorry to hear this, Beenster. Thinking of all those who have these hard situations to face, it's really tough. [Frown]

My mum is recovering though still in hospital as the physios wanted to do some more work with her. I think this is a Good Thing, but have no doubt she's pretty fed up about it.
 
Posted by Beenster (# 242) on :
 
Thank you for your sympathies, I'm touched and it means a lot.

Whilst dementia sucks, I did have a few opportunities to have conversations with dad that I might not normally have had for which I'm grateful - but it is a cruel cruel thing and I think dad set free of the prison that he had found himself in.

Coping with aging parents is a terrible way to be. I now have a mother to "cope" with and she is (and has been) demonstrating difficult behaviour but I'm giving her a very long rope to work her way through - but also a wide berth as my first priority is to myself.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
It's a hard balance, a hard line to draw -- how much to interfere, when or not to do something. I know what you mean, Beenster, about the feeling that the parent had found him/herself in a cage.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
My mum came home briefly but my brother (her fulltime carer) was unable to cope and they both fell as he was helping her from bed to commode. She's now back in hospital. My brother's sure that with rehabilitation for her and extra help for him he'll be able to cope but I remain unconvinced and think the time may have come to think about a home. Nothing is certain yet.

I hope everyone else is coping ok.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
On Friday I'm going up to see my Dad who is in care. His mind is sort of OK but he confuses the place where he was brought up with the place we lived as a family at times. We can usually tell where he means by the context, so it's not too bad. Sometimes he forgets the name of my brother in the US too, but he is aware of that.

He is much healthier now than he was before he went into care as he is eating more balanced meals. He still enjoys music too and, at his request I've bought him a CD of traditional hymns - which sounds strange for a life-long atheist, but he says they at least have a tune - cue to rant about 'modern music' [Roll Eyes] .
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
It sounds as though your dad is happy in care, Huia. They said in the hospital my mum is undernourished so I do wonder quite how good the care is that she's getting with my brother. [Confused]

My brother is 65 and with no family other than my mum and me so I see years ahead of this for myself. Mr Nen insists that I don't need to feel the same responsibility for a brother as I do for a parent, but who else in the world does he have? [Frown]
 
Posted by Enigma (# 16158) on :
 
Why is it that when you plan to have a holiday both parents fall ill??? Neither of them want to bother me but Mam in particular is breathing badly so dunno what to do. Doctor has said no antibiotics ride it out but.............
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
No antibiotics, Enigma? Was it viral, then? Or not an infection at all, but more a... "mechanical" problem, a problem of function? Allergies? Or, did Doc feel a strong antibiotic would tear her up health-wise worse than the breathing problem? (I'm curious about that, since I see every day the wrestling doctors go through about when to use antibiotics and when to wait.) How are they now?

I'm approaching 50 myself, and though I've never forgotten one of the kids' names (yet), while they were all still home I did fall into the "Roll Call of Mother" frequently -- "Bob! Barbara! Bill! George! Belle! Whoever the heck you are! Come and get this toy off the porch before I break my neck tripping on it! I swear I'll toss it in the trash!"... and one of those named was the dog...

Even now I do a kind of subsurface mental count of the kids, sometimes. It's as if I want to reassure myself where they are. I try to imagine, through those quirks of memory and communication, what it must be like to forget one's children's names, and then to forget the children altogether. So hard, so sad.

So far so good with my Daddy and FG's dad, "Father God". Sister cares for Daddy, he lives with her. FG Sr. lives with us... or perhaps we live with him... Eh, it's a big house [Smile] .
 
Posted by Enigma (# 16158) on :
 
So anyway - antibiotics now for Mam finally but heartbreaking to hear her cough - how many bouts of bronchitus and pneumonia can a body stand? Not really happy to leave for a couple of weeks but at least my brother and SIL now back from hols. You can never relax though, can you?
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
My mum needs to go into a nursing home and I'm hoping that she will be able to come to one close to me, if they have a space and she gets better enough to make the journey. I saw her in hospital yesterday and she's very unwell with a urinary infection. Also coughing a lot. [Frown]

I love the idea of her being nearby - she is 2.5 hours away by car at present. Just trying to take on board what it will mean to be the person who needs to run if there's a problem... [Eek!]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
A bump, as advised by mine host.

Off to Australia again to visit my aged mother. Although she is in no worse shape than most of her age(90), she persists in seeking out medical and paramedical treatments that will make her "improve her condition". Despite her protestations, her mind is still sharp (as is her tongue!), and she has the money to do this, so we can't just tell her that there is no cure for old age.
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
Does anyone here have an aged parent who drinks excessively? I do. How do you deal with it?

BTW: if that applies to you, you might also wish to check out the thread I've started for children of alcoholics.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
That's frustrating, Tukai. My dad is not in good health and has been in a nursing home for two and a half years. He hasn't suggested spending money on treatments (it's all going on the home's fees anyway); his version of not accepting old age was being convinced God would heal him of things. "If God gives me back my sight. No, I should say when God gives me back my sight. It's my fault he hasn't because I don't have enough faith. I do believe he will do it because it would be a witness to all the people here..."
Meanwhile I'm sitting there, making non-committal and vaguely reassuring noises, and shouting inside my head, "It's nothing to do with faith, it's just that you're 85 and things like this happen when you're old and you have about a dozen other things wrong with you anyway and what you really want is for God to knock 20 years off your age!"
And then I say goodbye and drive back to work after my non-lunch break and, if it's already feeling like a long day, shout it all out loud in the car instead.
[Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
Here's a US resource I stumbled upon recently. Nursing Home Inspect is a webpage that makes it easy to find and compare the results of nursing home inspections.
 
Posted by Niteowl (# 15841) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
Here's a US resource I stumbled upon recently. Nursing Home Inspect is a webpage that makes it easy to find and compare the results of nursing home inspections.

Thank you for posting this. Lots of good information to make an informed decision if need be.
 
Posted by Enigma (# 16158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Aravis:
That's frustrating, Tukai. My dad is not in good health and has been in a nursing home for two and a half years. He hasn't suggested spending money on treatments (it's all going on the home's fees anyway); his version of not accepting old age was being convinced God would heal him of things. "If God gives me back my sight. No, I should say when God gives me back my sight. It's my fault he hasn't because I don't have enough faith. I do believe he will do it because it would be a witness to all the people here..."
Meanwhile I'm sitting there, making non-committal and vaguely reassuring noises, and shouting inside my head, "It's nothing to do with faith, it's just that you're 85 and things like this happen when you're old and you have about a dozen other things wrong with you anyway and what you really want is for God to knock 20 years off your age!"
And then I say goodbye and drive back to work after my non-lunch break and, if it's already feeling like a long day, shout it all out loud in the car instead.
[Roll Eyes]

Shout very very loud and then carry on. Older age seems to bring different ways of thinking and apparently it's the younger generation who are wrong. It was ever thus apparently.....
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
To update... my mum died at the beginning of September and we've just spent three days clearing her house and rehoming my eldest brother, who was her carer, in his new flat.

quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
Does anyone here have an aged parent who drinks excessively? I do. How do you deal with it?

I fear my brother drinks excessively... and he has taken the place of a dependent parent really, having lived most of his life in the family home and never having to cope for himself. [Help] He is 13 years older than I am and looks at least ten years older than that... I was mistaken for his daughter last week. [Roll Eyes]

Nen - trying to adjust to family changes and process grief at the same time.

[ 06. November 2012, 16:30: Message edited by: Nenya ]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Frown] Nenya [Votive]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
[Frown] Nenya [Votive]

This.
(We may have more in common than a liking for tag-lines, Nenya)

The Dowager Mrs. S called me last night to say her oldest friend (and my godmother) had died. She was 91, so not unexpected but still - as always - a shock. All these deaths of friends are preying heavily on TDMS's mind, and she's worried she's losing her marbles too. Heaven help us - but then, you know, it will. [Votive]

Mrs. S, quietly confident that this will indeed be so
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
After my Mum was called fussy by a carer at Dad's care home she has been unhappy about several other aspects of his care.
The result is that another home has been found for him. Social services approve and a room is available.
Mum and Dad will see representatives from the new home tomorrow to work out a care plan for him.
Mum is much relieved even though it will be a longer journey to visit him.
I saw him last week. He was fragile and confused though thank God he knows us and has long term memory.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
I hope your dad is happy in the new home and that you all feel good about it, Tree Bee. [Smile]

Boogie, Mrs S, thank you. Mum was 92 and oh so ready to go but I miss her so much.

Nen - having a blubbery few minutes. [Waterworks]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
So sorry Nenya. [Votive]
 
Posted by churchgeek (# 5557) on :
 
I'm a newcomer to this thread. I'm not sure what I expect from posting here, because I'm not a caregiver to my parents - they don't need caregivers just yet. They're actually only 71 (mom) and 70 (dad), so not that old either. But my dad has dementia. The hard part for me is that I'm on the other side of the country and only get to see my parents once a year. I just was back home last week. Dad's definitely gotten worse, but I don't think I saw the worst of it. He's still highly functional; he just gets confused sometimes and has been having verbal trouble for several years now.

He only just retired, partly because he was having trouble at work because of it (one co-worker was even calling him stupid). It makes me angry, because dad has always had some problems (seems to have had a learning disability) and he's actually really intelligent. He's also worked really hard his whole life, both at work - he spent most of his career fixing people's appliances in their homes, but took an early retirement from that when the company started treating its older employees badly - and at home, since, being working-class, my parents often couldn't afford to pay to have the car fixed or work done on/around the house. I wish he could enjoy his retirement! I think he is enjoying it, but not the way he should be able to.

And my poor mom, I know this is very hard for her. She was telling me about how others in her family whose spouses suffered dementia used to call it Alzheimer's because "dementia" sounded too much like "demented." But I don't think there was dementia in my dad's family. Maybe I just don't know about it. All 4 of my grandparents were mentally sharp right up to the end. My mom is convinced that nothing can be done for dementia - is she right? I don't want to see her and dad use up their money and time chasing after treatments, but if there really is anything that might help, it would be good to try.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Churchgeek, there are so many different types of dementia that it really is impossible to say if anything can be done - for some forms there are treatments and for others there are none. In the first old people's home I worked in there was a woman who was put on a particular drug and improved by leaps and bounds - it was just a simple vasco-dilator. I would suggest having a diagnosis made by a geriatrician and then making some decisions.

My prayers for your and their situations anyway.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Churchgeek, I'm so sorry to read about your Dad.
As WW says, it's hard to give specific advice as I don't know your Dad or the form his dementia is taking.
One thing we've learnt with my Dad, though, is not to ask him too many questions.
If he struggles to answer we can see that it frustrates him.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enigma:
Shout very very loud and then carry on. Older age seems to bring different ways of thinking and apparently it's the younger generation who are wrong. It was ever thus apparently.....

This describes our lives at the moment. My in-laws, 93 and 90, have been very high functioning public figures (surgeon and UN rep). Its only recently that deteriorating bodies and, in my m-i-l's case, advancing confusion, have slowed them down.

What's brought me to this thread is her increasing insistence that none of her children comes to see her enough, repeated endlessly and with bitterness. Now, in the case of the three elder daughters, that's a bit of mission, since they live on the other side of the world. They're not the ones being complained about, though, its the two (of six) siblings who live in the same city.

My partner and I, and her youngest brother, visit every weekend, and usually once during the week. We make food for the week, attend to any heavy lifting and make sure that any doctors' visits are organised along with transport. My partner rings them every second night or so. Between us we get them anywhere important and make sure we understand what's going on. All three of us are working fulltime in pretty stressful jobs.

Last night my partner talked with her father on the phone and discovered that he is really worried about mother, who had a bad fall. She had driven herself to the doctor with notes from father on what happened (there are so many things wrong with this scenario that I'm shuddering thinking about it). Underneath the story was the criticism of us for not knowing it had happened (they didn't let us know).

On top of this, my partner's next-oldest-sister is stirring the pot about getting them out of their house and into a rest home (something I, as a social worker, am not that keen on since they know their house). This sister is spreading the agitation around the siblings.

I think my in-laws are mostly doing amazingly well. They're still able to cook and care for themselves, and they have solid support from us and their (star performer) neighbours. I think my m-i-l is becoming depressed, but given her problems with heart disease there isn't going to be a lot that can be done about it except reassure her.

Any suggestions about how we can deal with the constant "you don't visit enough" stuff? Without us moving into their house. [Ultra confused] Both of them have/had siblings who lasted to nearly 100, so they're not likely to die any time soon.
 
Posted by churchgeek (# 5557) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tree Bee:
Churchgeek, I'm so sorry to read about your Dad.
As WW says, it's hard to give specific advice as I don't know your Dad or the form his dementia is taking.
One thing we've learnt with my Dad, though, is not to ask him too many questions.
If he struggles to answer we can see that it frustrates him.

Yes, so far I've noticed that my dad tends to start laughing (like a nervous laugh; I have a nervous laugh myself) when he can't think of words. I try to just let him express himself however he needs to, because I imagine it would be frustrating for him if people finish his sentences for him. But I mostly only get to talk with him on the phone. If he doesn't feel like talking, he'll pass the phone on to my mom. If he wants to talk to me, then I just give him all the time he needs.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
Churchgeek, I can only speak from my own experience. My heart goes out to you and your parents. I've seen a close relative's dementia, of the Alzheimer's type, as it has progressed (as others have said, there are different kinds). What this disease does is to take away the connections we rely on for memory. It may be a terminal disease, in that in the later stages people may forget how to breathe or swallow, but the rate of its progress varies from person to person. I think it well worth pursuing diagnosis and any treatment available, as I understand that there are new drugs for some types of dementia which delay its progress.

I hesitate to paint its picture, as it's not pretty, but here goes: It's particularly confusing and distressing at first for the person concerned, as they know that they're forgetting, and they don't understand why others give them less respect and allow them less autonomy than they used to have. When they reach the point when they neglect themselves as they forget to wash, or to eat, or to sleep, perhaps also how to use the toilet, they may need 24 hour care with a set routine. Specialists know how best to care, to encourage and to stimulate their minds so that they're able to maintain as much independence as possible while being kept safe. This is usually provided within a residential home. The down side of this, apart from the cost, is before the disease has progressed too far: the unfamiliar surroundings and people, and the feelings of being trapped and maybe abandoned (they may immediately forget that visitors have been) are distressing.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
Please forgive the double-post, I want to give you the reassurance that there does come for many people the point of living in the 'now', of a serenity and contentment in the moment which is tangible, although not expressed in words.

My relative is comfortable, she's not in pain, and she's no longer in distress.
 
Posted by Hedgehog (# 14125) on :
 
My mother had Alzheimer's. If that is what your father has, there are medicines that can slow the progress of the disease. At least, there were five-plus years ago when I was watching over Mom's decline. There may be even better ones now.

One thing I had to learn with her was how to handle the repeat question/comment. Mom would ask me the same question five or six times in as many minutes. Saying things like "you already asked that" or "I told you already" are not helpful. If they could remember the answer they wouldn't ask again. I trained myself to respond to each question as if it was the first time I was asked. Sometimes Mom would catch me--after I repeated an answer she'd say "I already asked you that, didn't I?" and then I just smiled and admitted it.

I sincerely hope your father's problem is not Alzheimer's. But, if it is, treasure all the moments that you can.
 
Posted by Roseofsharon (# 9657) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Any suggestions about how we can deal with the constant "you don't visit enough" stuff?

One method I've seen work (to some degree) is for the confused person to keep a large notebook as a visitors book, in which anyone visiting writes the date, time and duration of the visit, and what they did together. You could try this if your mother is amenable and, while it is still possible, get her to write her own little note about the visit on the same page - or sign your entry.

Of course, the important word in the quote is 'enough' - even a daily visit may fall short of the amount of contact she would like, and I don't know how you can supply that.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
I hesitate to paint its picture, as it's not pretty, but here goes: It's particularly confusing and distressing at first for the person concerned, as they know that they're forgetting, and they don't understand why others give them less respect and allow them less autonomy than they used to have.

I remember my grandmother going through this - she did get very upset at not being able to remember things that she knew she should know (if you can follow that), but that phase passed and she was became very happy in herself; it was just far harder for those of us who could remember what she had been like (and it was not until she died that I realised how many memories I had suppressed to enable me to cope). When she repeated a question after 5 minutes, I was tempted to give her a different answer...

[Votive] for all watching loved ones go through this and for those (including my mother) who fear it
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Roseofsharon:
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Any suggestions about how we can deal with the constant "you don't visit enough" stuff?

One method I've seen work (to some degree) is for the confused person to keep a large notebook as a visitors book, in which anyone visiting writes the date, time and duration of the visit, and what they did together. You could try this if your mother is amenable and, while it is still possible, get her to write her own little note about the visit on the same page - or sign your entry.
This sounds like an excellent idea, although there's always the danger, of course, that she is so convinced you don't come very often that she will also be convinced that you are making up entries and forging her signature. [Roll Eyes]

I also wonder, Arabella, if you and your partner could take a leaf out of Hedgehog's book when it comes to the statement about you not visiting enough. Treat each one as though it were the first time it was said and you may find yourself able to answer pleasantly and conversationally with a simple, "We come twice a week, Mum" or even, "How much do you think is enough?"

This did work well once with my mum, who did not have Alzheimer's but did get confused from time to time. It had always been our habit to visit her and the rest of the family in between Christmas and New Year, until she instructed us not to because of the illnesses that are around at that time, the cold, the wet, etc. Come the New Year we were in trouble - "You didn't come at Christmas." "You told us not to, Mum. You said it was too cold and wet and everyone gets poorly at that time of year." Pause. "Oh. Well, I didn't mean it quite like that." [Roll Eyes]

Plus I think older people can simply lose touch with what it's like to have full and busy lives. We spent three intensive days moving my brother (65 going on 95) into his new flat and there was no real concept of Mr Nen and I having to use annual leave from work to do so and therefore we needed to make full use of the time and start at 9am rather than lunchtime which was his preference. [Roll Eyes]

The "a home or not a home" is a tough one. I felt my mum would have been happier in a nursing home for some years before she died but was overruled by the opinion of everyone else, including Mum herself. You can only do what you think best at the time.

Nen - unsure of a lot of things at present.

[ 11. November 2012, 11:32: Message edited by: Nenya ]
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
Has anyone else here dealt with the issue of conflicts between caregivers? In my case it involves my wife and I verses my sister in law.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
No personal experience, Squirrel, but I've heard people talk about theirs. Is it about the person you're caring for, the care itself, or how you share the load?
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thanks for the suggestions. My partner has just had long conversation with her father, all in German, so his marbles are still all in the bag (they were both brought up speaking English)! Good to remember there are still lots of strengths in amongst the struggles.
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
No personal experience, Squirrel, but I've heard people talk about theirs. Is it about the person you're caring for, the care itself, or how you share the load?

It's how we share the load. She and my brother live upstairs from Dad, who gave them a newly-refurbished apartment for a very cheap rent. My wife and I come over sometimes on weekends to relieve them. Dad doesn't need much direct care; mostly you just give him his meds, heat meals and make sure he's OK. My sis in law whines we don't do enough, and makes it sound like Dad's a basket case. He isn't, but she likes to play the martyr.

However there is the slight complication that both my wife and I engage in something she doesn't do right now- work. So it's really only feasible for us to come over on weekends. But that's not enough for my sis in law. We love her and my brother, but my dad's need for care is putting a strain on our relationship.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
It sounds to me as if there is more to this than meets the eye, Squirrel.

Perhaps your dad is more demanding day by day than it seems.

Perhaps your sis-in-law feels as if she has no life of her own as she always has to be there for him, particularly as she doesn't work and if she's there 24/7.

Perhaps your brother doesn't do much to help.

Perhaps she does like the martyr act, perhaps not, but it may be worthwhile to encourage her to give you the whole picture and let her know that you are there for support, albeit to offload from time to time. It must be affecting her relationship with your brother and your dad as well as with you, and that's a great shame.

There may be other ways around it than your filling in more weekends. Maybe someone could call around regularly to give her some time out, or your dad could come with you on a holiday or for a week's respite in a residential home, for example.

I hope this helps a little.
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
I think there's a certain resentment of my wife and I by my brother and his wife. We have more money, own a house and take the occasional vacation. They don't, largely because we are more educated and therefore have better jobs. My brother never followed up on his chance at an education, while my sister in law has an in-demand skill, but is VERY picky about what type of work she'll do. We're also much more frugal.

Some of this resentment goes back many years before my father became ill.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
So pre-existing relationship difficulties are feeding into this then, Squirrel, with jealousy and resentment possibly rearing their ugly heads. I venture to suggest that these exist within most family relationships to some extent, as people compare themselves and their situations with those closest to them. The thoughts and feelings often don't fully surface until there's a row, often a minor one: everyone calls what they've been thinking for years, and some never speak to each other again.

You might decide to remain at arm's length as much as possible if you think that whatever you do it won't be right for her. That doesn't help her relationship with your father or theirs with you. It might be worthwhile speaking to your dad and brother individually, to see how it's affecting them and whether you can work something out between you.
 
Posted by Sandemaniac (# 12829) on :
 
Just got back from a couple of days at my parents, who we live about a hundred miles from, between Christmas and the New Year, and I've got to come here...

Mum is 62 in February, she should be retired, but as a result of the economic slump the investments she'd made are all worth little more than what she put in and as a result is having to continue to work part-time in a job she loathes. She's taking tablets for osteoporosis and steroids for fibromyalgia, which do not mix according to the data sheets, and the steroid's side effects include the possibility of depression (5%ish) Found most of that out by reading the data sheets, as she's very prone to not telling you (or not being able to tell you) what's up with her. She is supposed to be resting on Doctor's orders (fat chance - she won't let herself, which is one of the things that scares me about me getting older, because I often spot I'm doing little things the way she would, but work won't give her the time off now she's part time.

Dad is twenty years older, three hip replacements down the line, and getting very unsteady on his feet. With the dodgy legs and an arthritic spine he's finding it very hard to get around, and can no longer do all the things that Mum relied on him for. As they've a huge garden, over an acre, and grew all their own veg that's a lot. He's also prone to attacks of bronchitis.

Add into the mix that my brother left his long term girlfriend and house in the spring and pretty much turned up on my parent's doorstep with all his crap, and is now treating the place like a hotel.

On Christmas Day Mum cooked dinner for the three of them, and Dad was so ill with bronchitis that he just couldn't eat it. Brother crawled out of bed, ate it, and went straight back to bed to sleep off the previous night's skinful leaving Mum to clear everything up on her own. She responds by having a Christmas breakdown (these have happened especially at Christmas in the past at stressful times - said brother has often been the trigger, he's ill-tempered, prone to thinking that he has a right to sponge off his parents without anything in return).

So we arrived in the middle of this... Mum a sobbing wreck, my brother expecting everything done for him, and Dad just about functioning as a human being as the bronchitis shifted.

On top of all that Dad fell out of bed and cracked his head the first morning we were there, and couldn't get up again. Scarily, this is possibly the best thing for Mum as it forced her to do something. Then, the next day, he was fixing a door panel in his car when the wind caught the door and he got another crack around the head. So on top of everything else he's got a sore head, feels really disorientated, and ends up in his armchair in a sorry heap.

By the time we left, having done what we could (the Knotweed is at work today, so we had to go), Mum was functioning again, just about, but she's struggling to cope with work and Dad and the fibromyalgia as it is, she struggles to eat as it makes her face numb, so with my brother on top of all that we really don't know what the hell to do. We can't get him out, we can't find him somewhere to live because of his dogs (and I don't suppose he'd go easily as he has a cushy number right now). Even then, Mum still has a shedload to cope with, and gets rather less sympathy from the third offspring than she needs.

To top it all off, I've been jobhunting for eighteen months, and not visiting them very often was one of my coping strategies, because Mum just drove me bats about it... so there's me being selfish too, and it looks as though I'll have to spend more time visiting them, which will in turn make it harder for me to cope with the stress I have...

Christ all fucking mighty, where do you turn?

AG
 
Posted by geroff (# 3882) on :
 
Sandy
... dunno.
I know you probably won't appreciate a flickery candle smilie but thinking of you both anyway.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sandemaniac:


By the time we left, having done what we could (the Knotweed is at work today, so we had to go), Mum was functioning again, just about, but she's struggling to cope with work and Dad and the fibromyalgia as it is, she struggles to eat as it makes her face numb, so with my brother on top of all that we really don't know what the hell to do. We can't get him out, we can't find him somewhere to live because of his dogs (and I don't suppose he'd go easily as he has a cushy number right now). Even then, Mum still has a shedload to cope with, and gets rather less sympathy from the third offspring than she needs.

To top it all off, I've been jobhunting for eighteen months, and not visiting them very often was one of my coping strategies, because Mum just drove me bats about it... so there's me being selfish too, and it looks as though I'll have to spend more time visiting them, which will in turn make it harder for me to cope with the stress I have...

AG

Looking at it from the outside......

In theory, your brother's presence in the household has the potential to be of benefit to your parents, and to you, if only he seemed to be giving rather than taking. Your relationship with him must be coloured by your judgement of him. As he's recovering from the breakdown of a long-term relationship, he might be feeling very sorry for himself and in need of support and encouragement. He perhaps can't see other people's problems as he's too full of himself right now.

It's apparent that your mother needs support financially, emotionally and physically, and your father is in ever greater need of care. It may be worthwhile to call a family meeting to work out a way forward, but I think that it needs to be parked for a while to allow you all to recover from the stress of the Christmas events.

In the meantime, your own situation is top priority.

I hope this helps.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Bump! (Hosts may choose to make this the start of a new thread for 2013, but bear in mind that many of the concerns on this thread by their nature may persist for years.)

My 90 y.o. mother has now moved on (more or less) from seeking a techno-fix for all her ills, but is clearly worsening physically. She has suffered for a few years form urinary incontinence - to the point where she deemed it too much trouble for her to travel to the wedding in November of one of her 3 grandchildren (which is the sort of occasion she normally loves).

But beginning about then she has also been suffering from bowel incontinence, which I fear is much harder to deal with and more embarassing in company (diapers don't suffice). She can't be too far now from the stage where she may have to move in to residential care.

But, despite frequently moaning about how these physical frailties are affecting her, she is adamant that she is determined to stay in her own apartment, where she has lived for ~30 years, helped by various visiting helpers under Australian government provisions. Her mind is still sharp, but she is good at cognitive dissonance!

As we live 3000km away in another country it is hard to do much directly except keep listening (by weekly phone call) and visiting every few months, usually when a crisis erupts.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Has she had the bowel incontinence investigated by a Dr, Tukai? When I worked with elderly people and later with my own dad such things can sometimes be quite simple to deal with.

[As an aside the AS Hosts decided NOT to close and reopen a new thread at New Year but will leave it until this one gets considerably bigger.]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
WW: thank you for that helpful remark, in contrast to my own ignorance. (That's a genuine thanks, not sarcasm, by the way.)

Yes, she has certainly had a doctor on the case, as it was her own GP who prescribed an enema (and may be more, I don't know) which was given to here under observation in the local hospital, where she stayed for a a couple of days.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Votive] Tukai It must be very hard when you live so far away.

My Mum is 92, can't walk, can only eat pureed food fed to her, has dementia and recognises nobody, sleeps nearly all day every day and is doubly incontinent. One of the family visits her every day in turn. Not for her sake or ours, but to be sure the home are taking good care of her (they are).

She is perfectly contented but it's time she went 'home' [Frown]
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
You have my sympathy, Boogie. My mum's last eight or so years were like that (she died last April aged 84). She was very well cared for in the geriatric wing of the local hospital, where my dad visited her every day; it was really far harder for him than for her.

And, like Tukai, I felt completely useless being on the other side of the planet.

[Votive]
 
Posted by sophs (# 2296) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

My Mum is 92, can't walk, can only eat pureed food fed to her, has dementia and recognises nobody, sleeps nearly all day every day and is doubly incontinent. One of the family visits her every day in turn. Not for her sake or ours, but to be sure the home are taking good care of her (they are).

My great uncle is in this position at the moment and due to my own ill-health I can't visit as often as I like. It's very distressing and as it's the first time I've seen such a slow decline (most of my relatives have died suddenly too young).
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
We can see what is happening to our aged parents. But can we so easily see what their decline is doing to us and our loved ones? My dad is 87, and going downhill faster and faster.

For me at first it was chest pains. Went to the cardiologist, who said the ol' ticker is fine; she thinks it's all stress. Then came the rashes on my ankles and wrists- the same as the ones I had when my mother was dying. Now it's gastric reflux.

How is elder care affecting you?
 
Posted by FooloftheShip (# 15579) on :
 
My mum isn't elderly, but she is getting older and the balance is starting to tip. I'm going to see her next weekend for the first time since her very close friend's death, and am rather dreading it from the point of view of the greater reliance on me that this reduction in her already small, but very tight, circle feels likely to bring.

This may just be in my head, of course, but if so it's having a real field day at the moment....
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
I sometimes dread visiting my father, for fear of seeing what else has gone wrong.

Having an aging parent is sort of like having a child, but backwards. Kids grow more independent with time, whereas frail elderly relatives grow more dependent. There are moments when things seem to get better, perhaps as the result of their taking a new medication. But it's always downhill in the long run.

All this takes a toll on us. When my father was temporarily in a nursing home I started feeling what I thought were chest pains. The cardiologist checked me out, and assured me it was "just" stress. Then came the acid reflux. Now the same type of skin rashes that I experienced when my mother was ill are back.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Squirrel:
I sometimes dread visiting my father, for fear of seeing what else has gone wrong.

Having an aging parent is sort of like having a child, but backwards. Kids grow more independent with time, whereas frail elderly relatives grow more dependent.

Yes [Frown] [Votive]
 
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
 
I knew the time would come when I needed this thread ....

I'm next-of-kin to an elderly spinster aunt, 40 years a Methodist missionary in India and now 88. She is showing signs of confusion and absent-mindedness, and her local church are getting progressively more concerned for her.

There's lots of stuff going on, but what brings me here is how to get her to stop driving. She only drives locally and dreads losing her independence, but we all believe she's not safe on the roads any longer. I was hoping the car would fail its MoT - but no! I was hoping her optician would call it a day - but no! What would be the ethical position if I wrote to her GP, expressing concern? Is he bound to do something? I know that he can't discuss her case with me without her consent - but I can make a one-way call? (UK context BTW)

Any wisdom gratefully received. I sense I'll be back here quite a bit over the next few months.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
We wrote to my grandmother's GP a couple of times and he was very responsive to family concerns. Our particular issue was that my grandfather was my grandmother's carer, and he was adamant that he was coping. But he wasn't coping, and my grandmother was the one who was suffering. The GP made a couple of drop-in visits "just in passing" which let him see how things were himself. We were very grateful.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Qoheleth.:
I knew the time would come when I needed this thread ....

I'm next-of-kin to an elderly spinster aunt, 40 years a Methodist missionary in India and now 88. She is showing signs of confusion and absent-mindedness, and her local church are getting progressively more concerned for her.

There's lots of stuff going on, but what brings me here is how to get her to stop driving. She only drives locally and dreads losing her independence, but we all believe she's not safe on the roads any longer. I was hoping the car would fail its MoT - but no! I was hoping her optician would call it a day - but no! What would be the ethical position if I wrote to her GP, expressing concern? Is he bound to do something? I know that he can't discuss her case with me without her consent - but I can make a one-way call? (UK context BTW)

Any wisdom gratefully received. I sense I'll be back here quite a bit over the next few months.

Some doctors are more interested than others, but AFAIK they have to sign off the driving licence when it's renewed and so it would be a good thing to alert the surgery. It would also raise the question of her ongoing health problems. She may have a urinary infection which could be the cause of the confusion.

If you haven't got power of attorney yet, my advice is not to leave it any longer. It's a nightmare trying to manage the financial affairs of someone whose bank won't speak to you.
 
Posted by Hedgehog (# 14125) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If you haven't got power of attorney yet, my advice is not to leave it any longer. It's a nightmare trying to manage the financial affairs of someone whose bank won't speak to you.

This! Very much so! Don't wait!
 
Posted by Hedgehog (# 14125) on :
 
Double-posting to add: If you can, get both a financial AND a medical power-of-attorney.

If you get the medical POA, that should take care of any problem with dealing with the doctor and if your aunt's mental acuity is beginning to deteriorate there will come a time when she can no longer make her own health care decisions. Believe me, it is very much Not Fun to be making medical care decisions on behalf of another but it is essential.

[typo edit]

[ 25. February 2013, 20:36: Message edited by: Hedgehog ]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
MIL was a terrible driver all her life with many minor accidents and some not so minor. Advancing age made things worse.

She developed diabetes and was very unreliable with medication so Mr L (now ex) went with her to see GP. I rang the GP to alert him to problem re driving. Told him history of accidents etc.

When they arrived he attended to diabetes problem, had a general chat and introduced subject of co-ordination. Held up a pen and dropped it unexpectedly. She could not catch it once.

He then innocently asked if she was still driving and cancelled her authority. She was utterly furious, in her 80s at the time and never went back to him. We took the car away that day as we knew she would pay no attention to the ban. She told us she would drive daily to the club through the back streets and who would know. Speaking of possibly maiming or killing someone else drew stares of studied inattention.

We were very gratefu to the doctor for his believing us and for doing something about it immediately.

[ 25. February 2013, 20:53: Message edited by: Lothlorien ]
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
If she is showing signs of confusion and such surely she should be checked our for dementia. In the UK if diagnosed with dementia then the patient has to do a retest. They are very likely to fail.

I am not sure this is altogether a good thing. My parents act as a team. I do not think my mother has driven a car for twenty years without my dad being in it. My mum was always the safer driver, she has far quicker reaction times than Dad and Dad is getting slower and slower. In over fifty years of driving she had one accident and that was not her fault.


On the other hand the dementia took away things such as getting into the right lane, which was why she failed. Things that a good navigator can get you through. However one of the reasons she did that was because Dad always instructed her on that. He is highly pernickety about that sort of thing. In other words the safest way for my parents to be driving was for Mum to drive and Dad to tell her where to go. Now we have mum trying to navigate for Dad driving. Now I am not sure at present I would want Mum driving but there were a number of years when I was very sure that her driving and not Dad was the safer option, but legally it had to be the other way around.

Jengie
 
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Hedgehog:
Double-posting to add: If you can, get both a financial AND a medical power-of-attorney.

Thanks goodness, that is something she did agree to a few years ago. Fortunately, I did manage to 'lift' her GP's details a while back ready for this moment - so I'll make that call tomorrow.

thanks
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
I can't stress this more strongly to all our Shipmates- get a financial power of attorney and whatever medical directive your government requires EARLY, before you need them! With my father we just stressed that this was something to have "just in case" something happened.
 
Posted by Sandemaniac (# 12829) on :
 
An update on my parents situation. Celtic Knotweed and I visited this weekend, the first time we'd both been since Christmas. My brother has found much-needed jobs to do and done them, to the point where we think someone outside the family may have Had A Word. He's gone hammer and tongs for a week at a massive job that Dad is now way past doing, and generally seems to be much easier to handle.

Mum is in much better health, and Dad is much more mobile now that the weather is a bit warmer - he really locks up in the cold. He was out on the garden digging this weekend and I did a lot of the plot myself, so he's catching up with the garden, which I think was really dragging him down.

So things are looking much better than they were. No doubt other issues will rear their ugly heads, but it's more in control than it was.

Phew!

AG
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
That's good news Sandemaniac. Thank you for the update, and thank God for the answer to prayers.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Great news Sandemaniac [Big Grin] [Votive]
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
That is good news. With aging relatives there are happy moments sometimes.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
I'm off to Queensland again (3000km from where I live) to assist my 90 y.o. mother, who having just come out of hospital after a fall , now seems to mentally not nearly so good as was a few months ago. I got this news from our son, who by a fortunate co-incidence has just started a 1-year course at a university near where she lives. (He chose this spot because the surfing is good, not because she was there!) When I followed up with her home care service, they said they were about to call me to suggest I'd better come over, so I'm on my way later this week.

I won't be surprised if this really is the time when she has to move into an aged care facility, despite long-stated desire not to do so, but to continue at home, with help from various govt-sponsored services.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Votive] Tukai [Votive]
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
I later have to write a difficult email to my sister. This one includes the explanation of why despite the fact he may get something from it, my father, an extreme introvert, is going to find it very difficult to organise going to a social group.

Yes Mum would get something from it and especially one of possibilities I can see as Dad getting something from it. That does not mean Dad is not going to find it an uphill task to arrange to get there.

Jengie
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
My Dad had a bad fall in the weekend which was initially thought to be a stroke. He is now in the public hospital and will be released back to the hospital part of the care facility where he lives, as his dementia has got worse. He is likely to be very upset about this because he has been saying he wants to go back where he was and doesn't have the insight to recognise that the level of care is insufficient. [Help]

huia
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
That's tough, Huia. My sympathies and prayers are with you.

In contrast, my mother has fortunately recovered her wits sufficiently that all concerned, including me, judge she is fit enough to resume living at home 'alone'. However the local home care agency [funded largely by the Australian Government] have agreed to increase their home 'nursing ' visits to 7 days per week, and are also increasing the hours of 'domestic assistance' (mainly cleaning/ washing etc) they provide for her. Also the family and the agency all agree that a condition of her staying out of a nursing home is that she gives up driving herself.

It was fortunate in a way that her latest crisis was this month, as all 3 of her grandchildren were available to visit and did. A few months ago, one was in Canada (the other side of the Pacific Ocean) and another was working full-time n Perth (the other side of the continent).
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
My Dad had a bad fall in the weekend which was initially thought to be a stroke. He is now in the public hospital and will be released back to the hospital part of the care facility where he lives, as his dementia has got worse. He is likely to be very upset about this because he has been saying he wants to go back where he was and doesn't have the insight to recognise that the level of care is insufficient. [Help]

huia

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your dad too, Huia.

The confusion of dementia is cruel. The care workers will know this, and try to bring as much constancy as they can into his new environment, I hope, and reassure you when you express your concerns.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Thanks Tuakai and Raptor Eye.

I am really impressed by the staff who have gone the extra mile - and then some. I do have family living closer than I, so have decided to wait a couple of weeks for him to settle and go up in the school holidays unless my brother (who has Enduring Power Of Attorney) asks for support, in which case i'll go immediately.

Huia
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
My mum has just returned home after spending a couple of days with us. For someone of 85 she is in pretty good nick, lives independently, has a good social life and still does things such as keep-fit. The only real prolem she has is her eye-sight, which is very poor and likely to get worse. This has made her consider her living arrangements and consider the possibility of moving nearer my brother or I.
Unitl six months we lived fifteen minutes car journey away, we've now moved a hour or so away, and given up the car. It's easy enough to get to her place, but we can't drop in as we used to do. At the same time my brother, already living on the other sdie of London, also moved further away in terms of miles, though the actual journey is probably about the same. The worries aboiut us being further away and her sight have made her consider moving nearer to one or other of us.
I think it's a bad idea, house prices are higher in both areas, so she'll end up with something either smaller, not as nice or not as convenient for transport and shops. She'll also give up a lot of her friends who are of a similar age, and most not as fit or adventourous as she is.
My brother is keen on the idea, but I do wonder if I'm just being mean not being keen on having her in close proximity as much as I love her,she can drive me mad. What do you think?
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gussie:
She'll also give up a lot of her friends who are of a similar age, and most not as fit or adventourous as she is.

A few years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother moved from 100 miles away to a new flat 3 streets away from us. When she moved, she was still pretty active - she'd walk to the shops on a regular basis - and was able to make new friends fairly easily. Ten years later, she was much more frail, and couldn't reliably walk as far as the bus stop, let alone walking in to town. It was completely essential that there was family around the corner. She lived another five years like that - still in her own flat, but for the last couple of years with someone coming in every morning to help her wash and dress, usually eating dinner with family, and of course we'd do her shopping. It wouldn't have worked had my parents and I not lived nearby.

So my advice would be to look to the future. Your mother is fit and active now - what are your plans for if/when she isn't? It sounds like your mother is worrying about that, and for my mind her inclination to want to move close to you or your brother is probably the right one, and she's better off moving now whilst she's still a bit active.

If your brother is keen but you're worried you'll get on each other's nerves, could you steer her towards living close to your brother, and having him be the primary provider of day-to-day assistance, scheduler of doctor's appointments etc.? Is your brother prepared to take this on?
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
I agree, Gussie - if your brother thinks it's such a good idea get your mum to move nearer to him. [Biased] I do think elderly parents need to be close to family - there's a limit to how much you can rely on friends long term.

Nen - who wishes she'd been nearer to her mum in the last few years of her life. [Frown]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gussie:
My mum has just returned home after spending a couple of days with us. For someone of 85 she is in pretty good nick, lives independently, has a good social life and still does things such as keep-fit. The only real prolem she has is her eye-sight, which is very poor and likely to get worse. This has made her consider her living arrangements and consider the possibility of moving nearer my brother or I.

Would your mum easily make a new circle of friends and social life if she moved now? If not, then it may be advisable for her to stay put, and for you and your brother to keep in daily contact through the phone (or better still face to face online) and to ensure that she has as much support as she needs, no more or less. This would keep her as independent as possible for as long as possible.

I think that people are better off with a lot of friends and relatives doing a little than with a single carer doing everything. Others back off if they think that someone has a 'minder', they don't want to interfere and they think that everything is covered. The carer often feels abandoned and cannot possibly cover all the needs opened up by loss of independence.

I know elderly people who are partially sighted and who retain their independence thanks to lots of helpers and gadgets.

Your mum is probably afraid of her future, aware of her deteriorating eyesight and the increasing likelihood of failing health. None of us can foretell the future, however, and she may well receive her letter from the Queen. It might help if you arrange a visit by someone from the RNIB.
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
I agree with the above. In 1976 my mother visited me and asked to move in with me - her health was deteriorating.

I felt it was much more important for her to remain in the town where she was born, where she married, and where she lived her entire life. She had many more friends and support there than she would have where I lived (and still live now). She would have had to develop entirely new support groups and friends. In the end, she agreed, stayed where she was and was quite happy. She certainly didn't lack for family visits from her kids and grandchildren and before she died she had the pleasure of hearing of her first great-grandchild. During her last few months of life, I and my eldest brother were down to see her every weekend, sometimes together or with other siblings. I don't regret doing this and staying firm, either. It meant an awful lot of extra work on my part, but I was happy to do it for her.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My father in law is 92 and lives 60 miles away from us so we can't visit often.
He has recently become unwell but my husband is facing hospital treatment which will last months.
I'm so worried that my FIL's health will deteriorate while we may not be able to visit at all.
I wish he had moved nearer when his wife died.
My two pennorth.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Hi Gussie,

From both professional and personal experience I'm not sure if this is a good time for your mum to move away from her friends and neighbours. How bad is the visual impairment? If she's getting to the stage where it's difficult for her to recognise people in the street until they speak to her, chances are she won't make new friends easily.
I'd agree with the advice to contact the RNIB. If you have concerns about her safety or her ability to manage everyday tasks, I'd also advise you to ring social services and explain the problem - they may have a social worker and/or occupational therapist who specialises in visual impairment and can help show her how to manage safely and independently, or supply equipment, or possibly discuss a small care package if she wants that.
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Thank you everyone for your imput about my mum. At the moment she seems to be inclinded to staying put and having a few improvements done to her flat. I was speaking to a much younger friend who has a degenerative eye condition this weekend and she mentioend the help that she has received from social services/RNIB, so I think I'll mention that next time I phone. I also need to make sure I go over and visit far more than I've done recently.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
My mother is 80 this month. She's in good health, keeps the house spotless and the garden weed-free, drives, runs errands for a 90 year old neighbour, attends a sewing group, produces beautiful needlework.

She was an anxious mum when I was growing up, and she's still an anxious mum now. Anything I say, absolutely anything, is likely to be misinterpreted as evidence I have a problem of some description. So I try to avoid being alone with her, and I self-censor as I go along. Often this means that I'm only saying "yes" and "no." I have a great relationship with my father, relaxed, warm and fun. He might roll his eyes occasionally, but he doesn't worry about me.

Has anyone else had a difficult relationship with a parent which they've resolved once the parent is in their 80s?
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Not really. The main change is that I would no longer hope either of my parents would be a source of support in any sense, so I'm no longer disappointed that that doesn't happen. I guess that is a sort of progress??

I think sometimes resolution is easier to achieve with a different person. When she was in her 90s, my husband's grandmother was able to talk to me about some difficult issues from early in her married life; she didn't discuss this with her son or grandchildren, who were too close, or with her other friends, as she felt it would be "washing her dirty linen in public". Similarly, I've occasionally had chats with elderly friends at church about their relationships with their children and mine with my parents, and it's helped us both understand our relationships better.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
Oh, hello all. Good to see the discussion about parents moving town to be with kids, or not, as my siblings and I are currently in a really difficult place with it all.

My mother is nearly 80, my father a few years younger. I don't believe either of them have a support system of friends or neighbours - they are friendly enough with people over the road, but they actively dislike most of the people at church [Roll Eyes] and don't socialise.

They've hit a health crisis and need to move house (losing the people over the road in any case) or find the money to do major renovations, with all the hassle and anxiety that involves. Selling the house and moving to a flat or bungalow is [I think] the best option.

I live an hour away, if the traffic's clear.
I want them to move nearer me, so I can involve them in church, music etc as much as they want to, and ramp up the care as they get older.

They are struggling to make decisions, and my sisters feel strongly that we have to make a 'right' decision and then persuade them to do it, as neither of them are mentally well enough to consider consequences.

It feels mad, to be honest. The whole damn thing. [Frown]
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
double post. Sorry. I won't be on the internet for a long time.

My mother is coming to stay for a week or two. She is talking about splitting up with my dad (at 78? After 52 years of unhappy marriage? is it really likely?) I've run out of knowing what to encourage or advise.

I don't even know what question to ask.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Tallesin

Over a decade ago, I went shopping with my parents around my local supermarket. I went off to do my regular shop and Mum and Dad went off to buy the "treats" they could only get at my local supermarket.

Half way around I come across my Dad and wide-eyed, little boy like he says "Where's your mother?"

My response was a frustrated "You two were going around together not with me!"

We eventually found Mum, Dad had started telling her what to do too much, so she had wandered off to do her own thing.

I thought it was only children not parents who had quarrels in supermarkets.

Now I am not pretending it is the same situation but I suspect two things:

Uncertainty makes people more likely to blow a fuse and basically your mum has just walked off to do what she wants to do, just like my mum did, because she is not really up to dealing with your father at present.

Jengie
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
If you're not sure what to do, IMHO you're best off to say nothing at all--don't try to make a decision and persuade anybody into it unless you are sure. Because people change their minds, as you know already, and besides, something totally out of left field could happen tomorrow and change the whole situation. I think I'd just let things drift a bit longer, even if that's only a day or two. And let your sisters, who ARE sure, do their own persuading.

I just spent a week with my own family doing basically nothing but listening and watching. They're all drifting toward various crises, in particular my mother, but I don't understand enough to know what, if anything, I ought to do for them. Though I do pray, of course. But the listening and just being there seems to have been some help, so...
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Taliesin:
double post. Sorry. I won't be on the internet for a long time.

My mother is coming to stay for a week or two. She is talking about splitting up with my dad (at 78? After 52 years of unhappy marriage? is it really likely?) I've run out of knowing what to encourage or advise.

I don't even know what question to ask.

My mother left Dad on her 71st birthday, after 40 years of marriage. It started as an amicable split but the process of divorcing (necessary for my mother to be sure of getting some of his work pension if Dad died first) changed that. They are both happier now but being the child of divorcing parents is not easy, whatever the age.

I agree with the advice above; if you can, ask questions that will enable your mother to work out what she really wants. Help her to think through the pros and cons of any course of action (or inaction).
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
My mother is 80 this month. She's in good health, keeps the house spotless and the garden weed-free, drives, runs errands for a 90 year old neighbour, attends a sewing group, produces beautiful needlework.

She was an anxious mum when I was growing up, and she's still an anxious mum now. Anything I say, absolutely anything, is likely to be misinterpreted as evidence I have a problem of some description. So I try to avoid being alone with her, and I self-censor as I go along. Often this means that I'm only saying "yes" and "no." I have a great relationship with my father, relaxed, warm and fun. He might roll his eyes occasionally, but he doesn't worry about me.

Has anyone else had a difficult relationship with a parent which they've resolved once the parent is in their 80s?

This sounds exactly like my parents. My mom continued to be anxious up until the day of her death at 78 (about a month ago -- completely sudden and unexpected by us all). Even in the last week of her life I was playing my usual game of figuring out how to conceal information from her (family medical appointments she might worry about, etc) while still chatting on the phone to her every day and seeing her 2-3 times a week.

But in the last decade our relationship had improved a lot. A big part of it was my self-censoring -- I just avoided bringing things up that I know she would be either worried about or critical of (and as I got older I began to realize that the criticism was really because of the worry -- something I didn't grasp when I was younger). This wasn't just a change on my part -- she told me, and others, that she was trying to learn to "bite her tongue" and not saying anything about things to do with my parenting, my career, my marriage, generally my life choices that she might worry about or disapprove of.

Also, in these last years we had a common project -- sharing in the care of her aunt, my great-aunt (who raised my mother and was thus far more like mother to her and grandmother to me than my actual grandmother was). We supported our aunt in her own home till she was 96 and then took turns visiting her every other day when she had to go into a nursing home, and Mom and I would always call each other after we'd visited her to report to each other on how she was doing and share concerns. I think it was when I stepped up and started taking an equal share in caring for our aunt that my mom finally began to grasp that I was a responsible adult, and our relationship became more equitable.

When she died I was (and still am) shattered and miss her far more than I expected to (my relationship with my dad was always easier, but she was the talkative one -- when I phoned their house, if Dad answered he and I would have a 2-3 minute conversation before he'd pass me on to her for a 20-30 minute chat). But for my own selfish reasons I'm so glad that she passed away in my late 40s rather than 10 years earlier (better for her too of course to have had those extra years!). I'd have had a lot more conflicted feelings if she'd died 10 years ago because there was more conflict in our relationship and less was resolved.

So I guess if there's any resolution you can find in your relationship with your anxious mum in her 80s, I'd recommend pursuing it. It is possible for relationships to change as parents age. I don't think this ever means they become everything you both ever dreamed of. My mom used to regret that I didn't confide in her more, and I used to dream that someday she'd say to me, "You're doing a wonderful job! I approve of the choices you've made!" Neither of those things ever happened, but we did find common ground where we could laugh together, express our love for each other, and share the things we enjoyed together, and I'll always be grateful for that.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
Ma has stated moving, not renovating.
Pa has booked an electrician to start renovation...

One sister is trying to move them to her hometown.
I am tired.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Thank you, Trudy. That's very helpful. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother.

I'm not convinced my mother will ever see me as a responsible adult! I did help my mother care for my grandmother for two years, but that wasn't "shared" in the sense that Gran was my beloved grandmother, but my mother's difficult mother-in-law! One of my friends thought my mother struggled with my relationship with Gran, and she could be right. (A cruel trick of genetics - to have a daughter who is your difficult mother-in-law in miniature!)

Aravis said:
quote:
The main change is that I would no longer hope either of my parents would be a source of support in any sense, so I'm no longer disappointed that that doesn't happen. I guess that is a sort of progress??
but although I'm not dependent on my parents in any way, they are still a source of support, through their support of my teenage children, both of whom get a small monthly allowance, plus financial help with University costs. I'm not a source of support to my parents in any way; they are still the providers.

If we visit them, my mother cooks huge meals; not just a large meal, but a large meal with choices; she'll make two different puddings, for example. If they come to me, which rarely happens, Mum brings her own food, which is a very sore point. Even if I have food cooked and ready to serve, she'll look at it and say "oh, but you could freeze that for you to have later. I've brought this." [brick wall] [brick wall]

Telephone-wise, I have the couple of minutes stilted chat with Mum, and the proper conversation with Dad. I have no idea how Mum feels about this - it must be hurtful, but, like I say, we don't really communicate, so I just don't know!
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
that's really sad, NEQ.

My mum is with me, doesn't know what to do next. And no one can do anything til someone does something.

The only thing I can suggest is that she lives with us.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
I've been fortunate in that my (childless) siblings did the bulk of the worrying about/sorting out of our parents - although with my papa this was as much about gaining power and denial of access as filial care.

I feel for all of you who have a difficult relationship with your mother. My mother never liked me - in fact stated that I was a child too many and 'surplus to requirements'. I was fortunate to have a devoted nanny for the first few years and then built a relationship with my father.

As an adult I tried again with mama but she never acknowledged that I was an adult and was fiercely critical of all my life choices - didn't like either of my partners, practised rank favouritism with my children, spoke at great length about the (in her view) shortcomings of my spouse and our relationship. At her funeral I sat and listened while a friend of hers spoke at great length about a caring, warm and maternal being I didn't recognise and had never known.

My siblings are finally coming to realise the damage that she caused between us but I suspect that 50 years of division will never be healed.
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Trudy, I'm sorry here about your mother's death. I found what you said really helpful, though in my case it was my relationship with my father that was tricky. One thing that used to annoy me was the way he got cross at my mum over various things she did. Now I find I get cross with her about exactly the same things, so I guess I'm more like my dad than I realised. He's been dead fourteen years, I'm sad he didn't live long enough to see my son grow up. The two of them always got on well, and I have the feeling they would have spent the summers getting drunk on my dad's narrow boat while discussing chemistry.

As to the whole moving dilemma, I don't think there can ever be an entirely right answer. My mum has more or less decided to stay put, but she's gone to spend the weekend with my brother, who may persuade her to change her mind and move near him, which I still think is a bad idea. My brother is one of those people who only communicates with you, when he wants to, so I haven't actually talked about him directly about it all. Certainly mum is getting much more stay at home. It would have made sense for my brother to pick her up from out house, but she's very loathe to travel any distance by public transport any more.
 
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
 
I have only read the last page but seeing the title, I thought I'd better take a look, as I am an aged parent, [Smile] am registered blind and live alone. I would not move to be nearer one of my sons; they might, for instance,at some future date need to move to a different area. I think that independence, local friends, established routines and contacts are very important. I have a lifeline' button so that my family know that I can call for help if necessary.

P.S. I hope I haven't already posted somewhere else here - it will take a long time to check.

[ 27. May 2013, 16:58: Message edited by: SusanDoris ]
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
From what I have read of your posts, SusanDoris, you also have a very strong spirit - I'm sure that plays a big part in people's ability to cope and keep going in difficult circumstances.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
Does anyone know - if a psychiatric diagnosis was given in the past, would anyone have a record of it?

My parent is doing mad things, and can't be stopped, can his old diagnosis given in early 70s be used to divide assets?
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Taliesin:
Does anyone know - if a psychiatric diagnosis was given in the past, would anyone have a record of it?

My parent is doing mad things, and can't be stopped, can his old diagnosis given in early 70s be used to divide assets?

I'm sorry Taliesin, but this does not make much sense. I'd strongly suggest that you and any siblings consult a lawyer who knows the present law in the UK. There are different approaches in different jurisdictions, even between the various Aust states, so local knowledge is necessary.
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Tallesin, the situation with your paretns sounds tricky. Is there any way for you and your siblings to step back and let your parents sort it out for themselves?
As for my mum, she's just back from a visit to my brothers. He took her to see a sheltered development complex near him. She's not keen, one she can't really afford it and two she doesn't really feel old enough for one yet. I'm still pushing for her to have some work done on her place. She keeps going on about wanting to buy a little house. I think what is at the back of all this is worries about the service charges at her current flas
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
A friend's parent has Alzheimers and has regressed? to teenage years, and despite being old enough to be my grandparent, tries to kiss me if no one else is around. I find it both amusing and uncomfortable.

[ 31. May 2013, 07:36: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by FooloftheShip (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Taliesin:
Does anyone know - if a psychiatric diagnosis was given in the past, would anyone have a record of it?

My parent is doing mad things, and can't be stopped, can his old diagnosis given in early 70s be used to divide assets?

Talesin, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a Court of Protection order may be your only hope. Unfortunately for you, it is explicitly stated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that doing unwise thing is not evidence of lack of mental capacity. As has been said elsewhere, I would talk to a solicitor now. Many of them offer free half-hour consultations: try to find one who specialises in law as it relates to elderly clients. There are such creatures, and this area is definitely a specialist one.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Fuming at my mother. She seems to be doing her damndest to alienate every child she has by moralizing over their problems--or worse, the problems of the people they love. As in, "If your spouse/child hadn't done x forty years ago, s/he wouldn't be in this mess today." Or observing, "So nice to hear you talk about things going WELL for you for once." And then being astonished that anyone could take the slightest offense to such observations. And THEN telling me I'm way, WAY too oversensitive, that I have communication problems, and that of course she is 100 percent right (her own words). Now. Always.

Does she WANT to have no communication with anybody in her old age? And she wonders why people don't call more often.

I keep thinking it might be the start of Alzheimer's, but it's been developing this way since her forties. [Frown]

[ 09. June 2013, 00:49: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
...I keep thinking it might be the start of Alzheimer's, but it's been developing this way since her forties. [Frown]

Which doesn't mean it isn't! I had one person used to come to the place I worked who was 38 and quite demented.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
That'd be me, then...
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
I feel it is me, too, sometimes but Sally had no concepts of time, place or person and was VERY confused - how her husband coped with her 5 weeks out of 6 was a mystery to all of us.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Fuming at my mother. She seems to be doing her damndest to alienate every child she has by moralizing over their problems--or worse, the problems of the people they love. As in, "If your spouse/child hadn't done x forty years ago, s/he wouldn't be in this mess today." Or observing, "So nice to hear you talk about things going WELL for you for once." And then being astonished that anyone could take the slightest offense to such observations. And THEN telling me I'm way, WAY too oversensitive, that I have communication problems, and that of course she is 100 percent right (her own words). Now. Always.

Does she WANT to have no communication with anybody in her old age? And she wonders why people don't call more often.

I keep thinking it might be the start of Alzheimer's, but it's been developing this way since her forties. [Frown]

It sounds as if you are both judging each other. Are you like your mother?

If her way of relating to her family has been habitual for decades, she's not likely to change now. All that's possible is for you to learn ways of rising above her criticisms and bringing your personality close to hers in love through humour, warmth, shared history, the arts, etc.

Or so it seems to me.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
Raptor's Eye, while I'm sure that Lamb Chopped is a far more noble, Christian and forgiving person than I am, I'd see the response above (if directed at me) as deeply offensive and worthy of a hell call.

Just sayin.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Please remember, folks, that we don't do snark here in All Saints - we're not there yet so I'm sort of doing a pre-emptive strike just to warn folks off.

WW
All Saints Host
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
[Hot and Hormonal] I hope that no offence will be taken, it certainly wasn't intended, far from it.

Please pm me LC or call me to hell if you want to give my ears a bashing.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Thanks, both of you. No doubt I'm like my mother far more than I realize, but I've been consciously working on the "not judging" thing, the way you do ("When I grow up, I'm NEVER..." etc.)

It just hurts. Mom loves us, we know that, but you'd not realize it to hear what comes out of her mouth--or to see her blithely missing major events in our lives and our children's lives, often because she's in a snit at one of my other siblings who might be there. And she's not likely to change at her age. Dad is dead, and Stepdad echoes whatever Mom says (I think he finds it safest), and we have no other close relatives. So it feels something like being orphaned.
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
That is very sad, Lamb Chopped.

A quick anecdote from my own experience may serve to illustrate how often we are so much more like our parents than we like to realize:

One of the things that drove me crazy about my mother was that when presented with a problem, she would always respond by telling you what you SHOULD have done differently in the past to prevent the problem (i.e., "You should have had that seen by a doctor two years ago," "You should have been putting money aside for an emergency like this," "You shouldn't have married him in the first place"), which, of course, is the world's most useless advice, since we don't have the advantage of time-travel. One of the many ways I'd worked around the more difficult parts of our relationship in recent years was to avoid telling her about any problems or concerns in my life so I wouldn't have to hear this kind of retroactive advice.

My mother died of a fall caused by a stroke or a stroke caused by a fall -we don't fully understand the sequence of events as it all happened so quickly. On the night she died I sat beside her on the steps of the church where she'd fallen, holding a tissue to the cut on her head and waiting for an ambulance (at that point we thought she would get a few stitches and be home none the worse for wear later that evening). I thought she had stumbled on the church steps because she was a little unsteady on her feet since a mini-stroke two years earlier. As I sat with her, telling her that the head wound didn't look too bad and she'd be OK, I said, "There's a ramp right next to the steps; you really should have taken the ramp."

I caught myself right away and said, "Of course that doesn't matter, you can't do anything about it now." About ten minutes later she lost consciousness and never regained it. I will always remember that one of the last things I said to her was exactly the sort of thing that used to drive me crazy when she said it to me.
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
Thank you for that story, and [Votive]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Trudy - that made me smile as well as feel sad for your loss.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
We got home from holiday on Wednesday night at about 10, and I rang my Mum (the Dowager Mrs S) just to tell her I was home but too tired to talk.

Half an hour later [Ultra confused] we had been through my aged aunt's broken hip (they live close to one another so my poor Mum has to pick up the pieces), my brother's second admission to rehab, her aged friend's distress at realising she'd never get to leave the nursing home, and a few other topics - and I thought, these poor old ladies. None of them is poor in financial terms, they all live in houses and gardens that are too big for them but they won't leave. [Confused] But they have outlived their bodies, as it were, and in the words of the immortal Tony Hancock - 'Stone me, what a life'.

This is only a rant, guys, I don't require/expect advice or anything, but thanks for listening. [Overused]

Mrs. S, humming 'I'm still standing' under her breath.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
We (more specifically Mrs Tor) have just had to ban, hopefully temporarily, her mum from driving. She tried to set off, twice, from outside of the house, without actually insuring the engine was on. The first time, she rolled into the conveniently positioned lamp post (which stopped her picking up enough speed to either demolish the neighbour's front wall or pitch twenty feet off a cliff).

Having checked the car over and backed it up for her, she then tried to do exactly the same thing again, but with me yelling at her. Joy.

She's on an increasingly high dose of blood pressure pills, and I'm wondering if that's affecting her - something to talk about with the nurse next time. But it's a crashing inconvenience as she refuses to walk anywhere (she's capable) or take the bus (she has a free pass, and is capable).
 
Posted by Polly Plummer (# 13354) on :
 
The kindest way we've found of getting relatives to stop driving when they're not really capable is to point out that their eyesight isn't good enough - which in most cases is true, and much less distressing than querying the state of their marbles.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
Except her eyesight is fine. Uncorrected, better than either of us. And she's got hearing aids, but won't wear them.

No matter how we dress this up, it's simply a matter of loss of ability, and we owe it to her, us and the entire neighbourhood to stop her driving until we can get her assessed.
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Just had a long conversation with my brother about my mum. He and his wife are really keen for her to go and live near them. Until the weekend I was keen for her to stay in her own place, but she just came and stayed a few days and I'm not so sure any more.
She is still mentally very able, but her eyesight is very bad, which is making her very slow and uncertain when she is out walking. She also got scammed out of her credit card by a guy who followed her home from the shops and that was shaken her up a lot.
I've made it clear that I think that if she does move, either near my brother or near us she needs to be in sheltered accomodation.. She says she doesn't feel old enough for that yet. We're in a bit of an impasse...
 
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
 
I've not posted much on the thread, but drawn strength and wisdom from those who have.

I "helped" my lovely elderly maiden aunt C move into care last Wednesday. Not the happiest day of my life [Frown] . Despite the careful pre-planning with her, I still took on the anger
quote:
Why are you putting me away? Nobody tells me anything. It's all been done behind my back. You're treating me like a kid.
The thing is, she had decided that when the time came, this was the right place for her but when the vacancy came up, we only had about ten days' notice to move in. The staff are lovely, and I'm sure they'll do their best for this four week "trial visit" [Biased] .

Now to try and make the sums add up, and start on clearing the flat. I'm not sure whether bringing her back in four weeks to select the small bits of furniture, pictures etc that would suit her new room would distress her too much. Maybe I could take some photos and we talk them over without driving back....
 
Posted by Amika (# 15785) on :
 
I feel pretty isolated with the problem of my mum so reading here helps, but I wonder what other people think about my situation as I'm completely torn.

My mum had a stroke four years ago which has left her with left-sided weakness. She can now hobble about but she still can't use her left arm. She's only 74 now and fully able mentally although the stroke left her with a huge loss of confidence that she's never regained, which means she's very dependent on my sister and me. My dad died just six months after the stroke which was an extra blow.

She still lives in her own home - alone - and has carers three times a day to attend to cooking and bathing and getting into and out of bed. She has neighbours who pop in at various times in the week, I take her shopping at least twice a week as well as on the occasional outing, my brother visits every other weekend and my sister and me are there five days out of seven for a couple of hours (and sometimes more often and for longer). But she is still miserable. And so are we.

My sister and me have given four years to our mum, helping her to rehabilitate, etc., and now we are desperate to do our own thing. I am living in poverty (partly because I turned down job opportunities just after my mum's stroke) and can't get a job in this country. I'd like to try my luck abroad, maybe with teaching English as a foreign language, but I feel terrible at the thought of leaving my mum, and she isn't independent or the sort of person to say 'you have your own life'. She wants us all to carry on just as we are.

I'm very conscious of the passage of time, that I'm in my fifties and I should be getting some life now (I didn't have much of one in my younger years) before it's too late. I was happy to sacrifice some time for my mum, but now I feel as though I'm in a prison. Am I wrong to want my own life (back)?
 
Posted by Zacchaeus (# 14454) on :
 
I don't think so but the real question is how are you going to feel about it?

You have to provide for yourself as well you can't not work.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Amika

Firstly you are not wrong with wanting your life back, its natural, its how you decide to handle that, that counts.

Secondly the break through point with my father came when he said "How are you getting on with your thesis?" and I replied "I am not". Taking care of Mum was taking up 24 hour a day 7 days a week and neither thesis nor work fitted around that.

At that point it became clear to him that we had to find other ways of coping. They might be ways we did not like but they had to be found never the less.

I admit to feeling like [brick wall] [brick wall] regularly with them and I am only acting as back stop to my sister but still.

Jengie
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Qoheleth, My dad went into care as an emergency measure. He blamed my sister-in-law (despite the fact that all the rest of the family totally agreed with her). He had some trouble getting used to being there, but when he died about 18 months later we could all honestly say that the last year of his life was the best since Mum died, around 10 years previously. He described one of the carers as "being like a mother to me" and one of the last people he called for when he was dying was the Activities person.

I'm not saying it will be smoothe going, but it may get better over time.


Amika, I am hoping you can find a real life person to talk to about this, someone who can appreciate your need to make a life for yourself.

I admire you and your siblings for the support you have given (which is far more than I could have), but I think there comes a time when you need to develop your own life. I don't think that is selfish at all.

Huia

[ 04. August 2013, 01:20: Message edited by: Huia ]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Amika - I don't think you are selfish to want your own life. I agree with Huia about finding real life people to talk this through with, maybe starting with your siblings. Can local Social Servcies/Stroke Association help with social activities,extra rehabs etc?

Qoheleth - I hope your aunt settles in quickly. I agree that returning to select items for her room might be a bit too much, but maybe wait and see how well she settles in.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Amika, I don't know how things are where you are. My MIL was determined to have her own bed. However, it did not fit OHS standard for nurses, cleaners etc at the home and she took a lot of persuading that she couldn't have it and would need one supplied by the facility. I'd get some guidance from them first so you will have some idea what she can or can't have there.
 
Posted by Anglo Catholic Relict (# 17213) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amika:
I'm very conscious of the passage of time, that I'm in my fifties and I should be getting some life now (I didn't have much of one in my younger years) before it's too late. I was happy to sacrifice some time for my mum, but now I feel as though I'm in a prison. Am I wrong to want my own life (back)?

I don't think you are wrong at all.

I am in my fifties as well, and my parents are increasingly frail, but somehow still managing to prop one another up. There is an occasional emergency to deal with for one or other of them, but otherwise they do not impose on anyone.

Thinking of your situation in relation to my parents, I am sure it would cause me similar difficulties; I would find it hard to walk away from either of them, and feel that I was not doing the right thing.

However, thinking of it in relation to myself in 20 or 30 years time, and my daughter in her fifties, it is easier to work out what is appropriate and what is not.

My d is already a carer of sorts to me, but if at any point that means that part of who she is, or indeed who she might become, is lost for my sake, then I would be very unhappy.

I am not sure if that helps at all. Sometimes we can't tell what is right irt ourselves. Only irt others who we love; our children, nephews, friends or friends' children. Elderly parents forget that they are our parents, and indulge in role reversal. Sometimes this is fine, but there comes a point when it is no longer fine, and we need to find another way.

Imo, you are entitled to decide for yourself when you reach that time.
 
Posted by Anglo Catholic Relict (# 17213) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Qoheleth.:

Now to try and make the sums add up, and start on clearing the flat. I'm not sure whether bringing her back in four weeks to select the small bits of furniture, pictures etc that would suit her new room would distress her too much. Maybe I could take some photos and we talk them over without driving back....

I think it depends on her mental capacity. If you told her she could return to choose furniture and she has the ability to remember that you said so, then that promise ought to be kept, imho.

Trust is a very fragile thing, and at a time of such intense change the last thing your aunt needs is to learn that she cannot trust her family to keep their word.

I would say in such a situation the distress of a visit is the lesser evil.
 
Posted by Anglo Catholic Relict (# 17213) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
As I sat with her, telling her that the head wound didn't look too bad and she'd be OK, I said, "There's a ramp right next to the steps; you really should have taken the ramp."

I caught myself right away and said, "Of course that doesn't matter, you can't do anything about it now." About ten minutes later she lost consciousness and never regained it. I will always remember that one of the last things I said to her was exactly the sort of thing that used to drive me crazy when she said it to me.

I do not think that is anything to reproach yourself with.

Chances are this is a family parental voice. If she heard it at all, it would have been familiar, normal and something of a comfort.

You have unravelled the message and decided it is not appropriate for you. Chances are your mother never learned to do so, and that to her your words were like the voice of her own mother when she fell over as a child.

There are probably no better last words to hear.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Qoheleth, We - meaning my generation - made it a strict rule that neither my father or Madame's mother would go back to their house after The Move. Both are in supported hostel care, not a high care nursing home, so each was able to take the bed, some familiar and special chairs, and so forth. They, with some support, made the decision themselves what to take, and removalists were engaged on the big day. Someone, more often than not one of the grandchildren, collects them for the usual visits (neither drives any more), but they have not been back to the houses they had lived in for many years even in gaps between tenants.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
GeeD, I was talking about the original move to supported hostel care. MIL took her two carved cedar chests, her china cabinet and its contents and a special chair. However, even in hostel care, the bed had to conform to certain standards.

She later moved to hospital care in the same complex and we had to empty her room.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
I am needing to tell my Dad that we are a team and if we are to succeed in getting them back living independently in their own home we all need to pull together and no he is not the captain of the team.

That means he needs to heed advice given on getting well, such as exercising, even if it is just walking up and down the corridor several times a day. He also needs to respect the demands my sister has on her life including his Grandchildren.

Jengie
 
Posted by Amika (# 15785) on :
 
Thanks everyone for your replies. It's a relief to know it's not so terrible or unusual to feel this way.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. My sister and I talk about little else of late, and there is the problem of leaving her alone to deal with a responsibility I know she doesn't want if I were to leave the country. On the other hand my brother could potentially go abroad whatever the situation with my mum - historically he has always lived further away and been more remote from family problems.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Amika, I know what you mean about care of elderly parents taking over every conversation. As some will know from my posts earlier, my partner's parents are very elderly and still living in their own home. My partner and her youngest brother are the only two of six siblings living in the same city.

Our biggest problem until recently was her 3 elder sisters, who all live overseas, offering lots of advice without having a clue what was going on. Fortunately, they've all visited in the last few months, and 2 of them have a much better understanding of the issues. The volume of emails offering solutions has dropped massively. The third sister is still driving us nuts. She recently suggested that she could have the parents live with her in her NZ home - in a house that is 800km from all their friends, up a really steep drive, with lots of internal stairs, nowhere near shops or a library. Luckily, the other 2 sisters have agreed to back my partner on this one.

Jengie, I like your line about being a team and your dad not being captain - wish I could implement the same with my partner's dad...

On the other hand, my mum is doing brilliantly, having recovered almost all function except for weakness and reduced coordination in her right hand. She's happily (and safely) driving again, joined a biographical writing group and trotting off to see arthouse movies on her own.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Arabella, your mother never ceases to amaze me [Overused] (from what I've read you post about her). If I live into my 70s and 80s I want to be like her.

Huia
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Oh, me too. I've always admired my Mum. She's lived all her life in one small town, but its never seemed to limit her thinking.
 
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglo Catholic Relict:
quote:
Originally posted by Qoheleth.:

Now to try and make the sums add up, and start on clearing the flat. I'm not sure whether bringing her back in four weeks to select the small bits of furniture, pictures etc that would suit her new room would distress her too much. Maybe I could take some photos and we talk them over without driving back....

I think it depends on her mental capacity. If you told her she could return to choose furniture and she has the ability to remember that you said so, then that promise ought to be kept, imho.

Trust is a very fragile thing, and at a time of such intense change the last thing your aunt needs is to learn that she cannot trust her family to keep their word.

I would say in such a situation the distress of a visit is the lesser evil.

I don't think there's a trust issue cos I deliberately haven't promised anything. In the end, she only had ten days notice of the actual date, but was in denial for most of that. We reassured her that we'll sort out the flat, but on the morning of the move, I found her half-heartedly trying to clear out the kitchen cupboards.

We're received sad and angry phone calls this first week. I do hope that the move hasn't pushed her confusion over the edge. I heard of the parent of a friend who took a year to settle and recognise the inevitability of a move into care.

Q.
not looking forward to the weekend's visit
[Help]
 
Posted by Anglo Catholic Relict (# 17213) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Qoheleth.:
I don't think there's a trust issue cos I deliberately haven't promised anything. In the end, she only had ten days notice of the actual date, but was in denial for most of that. We reassured her that we'll sort out the flat, but on the morning of the move, I found her half-heartedly trying to clear out the kitchen cupboards.

We're received sad and angry phone calls this first week. I do hope that the move hasn't pushed her confusion over the edge. I heard of the parent of a friend who took a year to settle and recognise the inevitability of a move into care.

Q.
not looking forward to the weekend's visit
[Help]

It sounds as if you are being very sensible, and doing your best in a difficult situation. The angry phone calls are probably to be expected; there is a natural process of grief involved for everyone, I would think.

I hope all goes well at the weekend.
 
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
 
Furthermore, have any UK Shipmates succesfully negotiated down care home fees for a self-funder, please? A PM would be appreciated.

Q.

[ 08. August 2013, 12:12: Message edited by: Qoheleth. ]
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
We were really lucky to find a fantastic care home for FIL. Although it is a private home, they took him in for the council funding cost only. We didn't have to top up any fees (not that we could!)
Sadly, it looks as if it won't be long before he won't need any care. He had a seizure yesterday, and is now on morphine. It would be a blessing and a relief as he has had little quality of life for quite a while now - but we can't fault the care he has received from all the staff. He is far better looked after in the home than anywhere else
 
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
 
Things may be looking up. C was a Methodist local (= lay) preacher for 60 years, and a visitor emailed me yesterday:
quote:
I visited C today and J [the chaplain] was leading a service and asked C to give a little talk after J had read the story of the healing at the pool on the Sabbath (John 5). J had arranged it with C. the day before but, needless to say, C had completely forgotten - nevertheless it was a very good sermon and it even gained applause at the end!!
[Axe murder]
 
Posted by Banner Lady (# 10505) on :
 
My 95 yr old mum is in an aged care facility up the road from me, and it's brilliant. But the need for her to be relocated there happened suddenly, and I don;t think any of us cope fantastically with 'sudden'. Every day she says she hates the climate in this city, even though she is in a totally enclosed environment and it doesn't actually affect her. Two years later, she is getting 100% on all her health checks, has more visitors each week and many more activities available to engage in than she has ever had before in all her senior years. But living in institutionalized care is not easy for most of us, and be prepared for a long transition phase into acceptance if you have to facilitate a relative doing this. I am grateful I have a very practical partner who knows how to keep me sane when my buttons have been pushed by this dear old lady.

So, for your own sanity, have a checklist ready.

Is she safer? Less anxious? Health monitored better/more regularly? Diet improved? Access to activities and services easier?
Mobility issues addressed? Room maintenance adequate? Made any comfortable aquaintances? Laundry done? Smells clean? etc etc.

I have found it easy to get involved in the nursing home, as volunteers are few and far between. When a gap appeared in the roster for running the kiosk there, I filled it. This helped me to meet a lot of the other residents, and got my mother out of her room; because if she wanted to see me, she had to make an effort to go to the counter for a chat. I also eat with her there once a week - this helps me to monitor the food situation there. No one, it seems, is ever happy with the food in an institution. Most of the residents moan about it, and I pity the kitchen staff.

But despite it being 'dreadful stuff' (no, it's not), the regular well planned meals are doing her good.

Don't beat yourself up if you are facing this challenge with your aged p. Nothing is ever perfect, but with a few good checks and boundaries in place, you may both thrive! Just don't expect to hear any acknowledgement of that fact from them. Sigh.
 
Posted by Niteowl (# 15841) on :
 
Excellent post Banner Lady. My own doctor gave me a lot of the same advice recently as my mother's health is rapidly declining and mine is not good either. (I'm her primary care giver)
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Thanks for all that sensible advice Banner Lady, I think I need to stop stressing about things regarding my mum so much.
I've seen quite a bit of my mum these last three weeks, and it is becoming noticable to me that she is on the start of the road of needing a bit more help. A lot of it is due to her eyesight, but I think she is slowing up in other ways too. She has been offered a cateract operation for her 'good' eye, which, having had one myself, I think will make a good bit of difference to her sight. She's not keen in case it goes wrong.
 
Posted by Banner Lady (# 10505) on :
 
To be forced to give up all familiar surroundings is frightening and disempowering - and I suspect my generation will cope even less well than the 'builder' generation of my parents. When I was left as the sole family member in charge of my mother's welfare, my other half made some wise observations to me. She needed to feel as much control as possible. She needed some privacy. And she needed to be able to vent occasionally to us, because we are the closest to her.

So every decision that could reasonably be made by her and not by us, we left to her, and followed through on her wishes.

We 'moved her in' gradually. That is, we set up the basics when she was relocated, and then let her choose where to put things over time, adding quality as we went. This gave her ownership of the process. After all, you need to live in a new environment for a while before understanding what works best.

She hated the fact that staff would simply walk into her room or bathroom at any time, so we hung a sign on the door saying THANK YOU FOR KNOCKING!

We listen sympathetically to her grumbles, and do what we can to alleviate them. Most of them were about the mealtimes interfering with her TV viewing, so we made sure she had a small fridge on top of a pantry cupboard, and we shop for her, as she hates shopping.

We watched for what pleased her, and worked at enjoying it with her. This was the tiny apron of garden outside her window. Over time we added things to attract the birds, and now she has a gaggle of feathered friends who demand feeding at sunup and sundown. Fortunately she was always an early riser, and she saves the unwanted bread from the dining room for them.

Is she happy? No. But she is sensible enough to know this is the best place for her own physical comfort, and for mine. She works at being settled, because it alleviates stress from my life, and I appreciate the fact that she loves me that much. I love having such a strong minded, independent and often critical old lady for a mother. She's a survivor, and she will go down fighting. I just hope I can do the same some day.
 
Posted by no prophet (# 15560) on :
 
Back from 4 days at a lake cabin with 86 year old father. Took him from assisted living and assisted his living with us for the extended weekend. He seems to expect so much, and denies and doesn't recall his and my dead mother's abandonment of us when they moved 8000 km away to live in their no-guest room house ( we don't mention the disconnection amidst his false recall of closeness). Can't make it right in any way, but 4 days is the limit for sure. And I also thank friend scotch which helped me both understand better and talk like him.

I post this both as a bit of catharsis and to recognize my realization with reading some of the softer hearted and harder hearted posts above that a harder heart is sometimes required, that when a softer one gets the guilt placed on it, it bleeds and gets bruised more easily. Some of us need our hearts of stone replaced with those of flesh, and others of us may need the reverse Godly surgery.

So I read through this thread, and now post on return. The following is more than a bit odd.

The bear that dog and I met on the trail walk, bolted when it first saw us, then circled and followed until I yelled and threw some deadfall at it made me something not thought of for years: somewhere in the bible it is said that God can be be as bear planning an ambush. Which stuck with me in a youthful Narnia phase.

Some place in the bible there is a bear isn't there, planning to attack, and a lion is also mentioned? I cannot recall if I made this one up back then and again now. It jumped to my brains when I threw the logs at the bear on Saturday. Thus I think I'd better be a little 'harder' or God the bear will stalk me again. -- or I had too much scotch -- or the word finding and loose thinking is catching.

[ 27. August 2013, 02:02: Message edited by: no prophet ]
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
I speak to my mother - albeit briefly - on the phone every week and I see her approx every 4 to 6 weeks. Last week I discovered that she didn't know the subject of my PhD. This has been a major focus of my life for the past 4 years, but somehow I have failed to communicate this to my mother. She thought I was studying "English Literature." She wasn't even in the correct ball-park area of "History." Now I know that when I did my M.Litt, she assumed, reasonably enough, that that involved literature of some description, but I told her then what my subject area was. I assume that she's just failed to register anything I have ever said about my PhD.

If I say anything - anything at all - which might suggest that I am ill / impoverished / worried about something, then she picks it up immediately, even if I'm not actually ill / impoverished / worried. But she hasn't registered that for the past almost four years I have been doing a PhD in a subject which I started studying fourteen years ago.

Is there any way of salvaging a good relationship now, while she's healthy and in full possession of her faculties? Some way of telling her about things which make me happy, so that she knows I'm happy? Instead of constantly having to reassure her that I'm not unhappy IYSWIM?
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
NEQ: my mother died when I was 44 and papa when I was 55. Neither of them ever asked me what A level results I got, certainly never came to any concert I was performing in - and forget about degree ceremonies.

It was the same for my older siblings - zero interest.

I realise that parents being very involved in their children's lives is a relatively new thing but even so, I'm pretty sure the level of disengagement my parents had was fairly remarkable.

As for any achievements post university/college - I think one sibling invited them to a conferment when they got their PhD but, as far as I'm aware, they didn't show.
 
Posted by no prophet (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Is there any way of salvaging a good relationship now, while she's healthy and in full possession of her faculties? Some way of telling her about things which make me happy, so that she knows I'm happy? Instead of constantly having to reassure her that I'm not unhappy IYSWIM?

Maybe.

I write this as someone whose parents moved away the year our first child was born, now many years ago. I was in a Master's program at the time, and went on to a PhD well. They built a house with no guest rooms and were 15-20 hours, 3 airplanes and a cab ride away. My mother died 4 years ago and although I had pushed the relationship thing, and knowledge of our children and our lives, and wish to know their's, it never really happened. And not because I didn't try. And that's the key I think. You try. You have a mix of kind and harsh words - because in my opinion if it is just kind and you feel harsh then you're not being honest and may pay for it in the future with an "I wish I'd said...".

I bailed out my father who didn't tell us he was essentially blind (and still driving; sees again thanks to a corneal transplant which I arranged, but he's not going to drive again!). I moved him back after setting him up to live, get nursing home care eventually etc and die where they'd moved to, and no thanks for that either. He has very good command of his mind at 86, but doesn't really care to be involved. I being to our house and talk to him, or rather let him talk about people I don't know and give instructions, but there's very very little real engagement. Again, trying.

I loved my in-laws dearly, and they were the salvation of grandparenthood and parents to both of us. It's just the way things go sometimes. I think it can't be helped. Try. Then accept. Works mostly for me.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
NEQ:
quote:
If I say anything - anything at all - which might suggest that I am ill / impoverished / worried about something, then she picks it up immediately, even if I'm not actually ill / impoverished / worried. But she hasn't registered that for the past almost four years I have been doing a PhD in a subject which I started studying fourteen years ago.
Maybe she feels like she ought to try and help (even if only with sympathy) if you are ill/impoverished/worried, but feels intimidated by your PhD subject and 'blanks' it? My mum's a bit like that with my work - she never went to university herself (although she was brainy enough, IMO) and although she does listen when I talk about it I can see her eyes glazing over. Which is fair enough - I find some of the things she's interested in mind-numbingly dull, too. But she does care about me, and she shows it by taking an interest in incidents in my daily life - and yes, by worrying about minor incidents, indications that I'm having health problems and Stuff That Might Never Happen.

My mother-in-law used to be the one who I could talk to about my work, but she's got Alzheimer's now.

[ 17. October 2013, 10:08: Message edited by: Jane R ]
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I reckon Jane R's hit it on the head - your mum probably feels that she doesn't know enough about your subject to converse about it.

I work for and with people who either have, or are working towards, PhDs in genetics, and I'd be scared stiff of trying to converse about them, except as far as my own work remit goes.

Now that I think about it, I don't remember ever discussing school work with my mum (except possibly about music and German, which she'd done at evening classes). It wasn't that she wasn't interested, just that she probably didn't think that she'd be able to help.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Thank you, everyone. It's not that I want her to chat knowledgeably about my PhD, it just came as a bit of a shock that she thought I was studying "English Literature." And I'm conscious that she's now 80, albeit a very active 80, and that time may be running out to improve our relationship.

Mum's still very much the matriarch. She loves nothing better than to have the whole family round the table, eating one of her amazing, vast and delicious meals. But she won't let me into her kitchen while she's cooking, and she won't visit me, unless there's a reason, and won't eat a meal I've cooked. So although she and I both enjoy cooking, it's not a "shared interest" either.

There's quite a lot of things I've never done with my mother; I don't think I've ever taken her out for a coffee, for example, and I've never bought her a nice present. She's always worried that I "can't afford" to buy presents, and she doesn't particularly enjoy receiving presents, either. (This isn't just me, one cousin stopped speaking to her after Mum wrote a thank-you note for a Christmas present of a fruit cake, saying she wished she hadn't sent it, as the postage cost was out-of-proportion to the gift and she hadn't enjoyed the cake because she was so upset by the postage!)

Mum herself is very generous, and spends a lot of money on her family.

Jane R I think you're spot-on when you say

quote:
But she does care about me, and she shows it by taking an interest in incidents in my daily life - and yes, by worrying about minor incidents, indications that I'm having health problems and Stuff That Might Never Happen.
My daughter was looking at an old photo of my Mum, at about the age I am now, standing next to her mother, and said that the resemblance was uncanny "Look, Mum, Gran has her teeth gritted and fists clenched in exactly the same way that you do, when you're standing next to her now!"

Perhaps Mum is simply projecting her relationship with her mother onto me. Except I don't really know, because Mum's relationship with her mother is yet another thing we don't talk about.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I think maybe some parents allow worry to take over their lives past common sense and even plain courtesy. We're struggling with a "doesn't want to be involved" (grand)parent too. She only shows an interest/ normal family concern when someone's in serious medical trouble. Any other trouble, or any joyful occasion, and it's Meh.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
I would hate this thread to disappear as it reassures me that The Dowager Mrs S, however much she infuriates me and I grumble about her, is actually doing amazingly well. She can be hideously rude - but quite without meaning to - but there's no doubt she loves us all and is deeply interested in everything we care to tell her about.
[Angel]

I'm so sorry that not everyone has this experience with their parents...not the rudeness obviously [Hot and Hormonal]

I should have put this on Praise and Thanksgiving, shouldn't I? [Axe murder]

Mrs S, growing daily more like her mother
(so New SiL will not be able to say he didn't know what he was getting!) [Two face]
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
I found this on page 3, so obviously all parents are well but, like the Intrepid Mrs S, I do not want it to disappear.

Having spent a couple of days with my mother, I'm troubled by a change in her attitude towards me. I was brought up to be my own, independent person, but now my mother seems to expect me to be a clone of her, so exhibiting behavioural traits that I acquired from my father is sure to get her disapproval. She doesn't seem to be losing her marbles at all, just becoming even more self-centred and unable to distinguish me as a separate person.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Hmmmmm
Going to be lurking here for a while, reading ALL the back pages. It's making a while heap of sense of a situation that i am finding myself in.......

Certainly just reading this makes me feel less alone
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

My Mum is 92, can't walk, can only eat pureed food fed to her, has dementia and recognises nobody, sleeps nearly all day every day and is doubly incontinent. One of the family visits her every day in turn. Not for her sake or ours, but to be sure the home are taking good care of her (they are).

She is perfectly contented but it's time she went 'home'

I posted this on 30th January 2013.

All is just the same now, except that she is thinner, her hands are clenched into fists and she almost never speaks.

Every six months or so she gets a cold and her lungs start to fill up as she can't cough. Then she rallies and continues her non-life.

One of us still visits every day.

[Frown] [Votive]

[ 30. December 2013, 15:04: Message edited by: Boogie ]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Boogie - that's really hard. I'm so sorry. [Votive]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nenya:
Boogie - that's really hard. I'm so sorry. [Votive]

Thank you Nenya. I think we are all getting so used to the situation that we think it's permanent - which is not the case, of course.

Sometimes I feel harsh to be getting on with life - but it has to be done.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I can sympathise with your situation, Boogie - my mum spent the last 10 years of her life in the geriatric ward of the local hospital (where the care was excellent), and for most of that time she was in the same situation as your mum. We moved to Canada about 18 months after she went in, and although we told her about it, I really don't think she ever understood that we'd moved.

My dad visited her twice a day for the first eight or so years, then he had a TIA and couldn't drive any more, so reduced it to once a day. When we went over on holiday we joined in all the visits, more for Dad's sake than hers. I think she still knew him for several years after going into hospital, but probably not the rest of us, who were only there occasionally.

When she died (aged 84), it was quite sudden: she developed some kind of pneumonia-type infection, and passed away quietly in her sleep. I remember Dad taking it very well: I think he had, in a way, said his farewells when she went into hospital (it broke his heart leaving her there every evening), and she'd been "gone" from him for so long that the end was almost a relief.

I'm sorry if this meandered a bit, but the drift of it is, you're very much not alone.

[Votive]
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
I wonder if I can interject here - I am not talking about a parent, but a sister-in-law, nearly 9 years older than I, who after a vigorous and productive working life, and a happy, busy retirement, has slid quickly into dementia. I still visit her at least twice every year (she lives a distance from me) and I still enjoy seeing her, but the person I have known for over 60 years is gone. Not likely to change. Because of her influence in my life, she was a positive agent for change. I miss her more than I can say.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Frown] PeteC [Votive]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Feeling very frustrated about Mr Bee's 93 year old Dad.
He stayed for 4 days over Christmas, getting over a cold. His chest was very rattly and his cough was alarming. Mr Bee phones him daily and his cough is still bad. We are encouraging him to go to the GP as we think he may have a chest infection, but he's not going.
He also has a very swollen foot; his doctor knows about this. We bought him loose wide shoes 2 sizes larger than his usual size for Christmas so he doesn't have to squeeze his feet into his leather lace ups.
He won't raise his legs when sitting though we reminded him so many times it became a nag. Just sits cross legged.
What can we do? [Mad]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Duct tape. That's about all. [Frown]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Tree Bee - Are there any other family members who might have more sway to persuade your father in law to go to the doctors? I hope he gets better soon.
Not a problem I have with my mum, she's always taken very good care of her health, and is off down the surgery as soon as anything doesn't feel quite right.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
No, Mr Bee is an only child.
We asked him today if actually getting to the surgery was a problem but he said that wasn't it.
What it is, he didn't say.
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
Tree Bee - at that age the fear of what might happen to you if you go into hospital is often greater than the discomfort of the current condition.

Most people want to die at home and many are very reluctant (for good reasons imo) to go to hospital or even see a doctor, fearing that they will lose all control over their life and death.

My opinion is that nagging him won't do any good at all. If he has the capacity to make his own decisions then the best you can do is make sure he knows that help is available to get him to the doctor if he wants to go and respect and support him in the decisions he makes

If Mr Tree Bee (as he is the official nok) decides that father does not have capacity then there are legal processes that will eventually mean that he can be forced to see a doctor. Possibly. The process will be hugely distressing for everyone and you need to be sure the outcome will be worth that.
 
Posted by no prophet (# 15560) on :
 
My father had a yard of cancerous intestine removed 4 years ago and refused any follow-up, i.e., no scan to see if there was cancer elsewhere. So far, he's okay. He's only back in Canada because I was able to arrange eye surgery here for the one eye he sees out of, and the corneal transplant has worked well.

My mother had a stroke in front of me and my wife, and when we got to hospital Emerg, took the aspirin and clot busting drug and then refused all subsequent care. She had a seizure after that and broke her hip when she fell, then (living out of country) refused offer of paying for the surgery versus waiting in bed, threw another clot and died of a stroke.

My point is that there is nothing to be done about medical refuseniks even if they are completely stupid and the wages of the refusal is death. And it makes no difference to them if they are your family, they are not thinking so much about you. You will pay emotionally if you get to medical care and will pay emotionally if you don't. It's a giant screw-up, at least for my family.

And don't expect other family to help, they will swoop in and agree with the stupidity, undoing any number of months' gentle persuasion. The wages for that is death too. But that's other dead relatives, and I'm going on far too long. -- ultimately everyone makes their own choices, as sensible or not as they are, and then lives and dies by them. This, I have learned.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
There's sometimes an element of "I don't want to be any bother" about our parents' generation, although they're sometimes a lot more trusting of the medical profession than we are; when they were young, the doctor was only a couple of steps below God. [Big Grin]

I hope you'll be able to persuade Mr. Bee Snr. to see that doctors are there to be used when necessary.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Thyme:
Tree Bee - at that age the fear of what might happen to you if you go into hospital is often greater than the discomfort of the current condition.

Most people want to die at home and many are very reluctant (for good reasons imo) to go to hospital or even see a doctor, fearing that they will lose all control over their life and death.

My opinion is that nagging him won't do any good at all. If he has the capacity to make his own decisions then the best you can do is make sure he knows that help is available to get him to the doctor if he wants to go and respect and support him in the decisions he makes

If Mr Tree Bee (as he is the official nok) decides that father does not have capacity then there are legal processes that will eventually mean that he can be forced to see a doctor. Possibly. The process will be hugely distressing for everyone and you need to be sure the outcome will be worth that.

Thyme, piglet and no prophet, thanks for your comments. Grandad Bee does indeed have the capacity to make his own decisions, he has all his marbles!
We think what you say is correct about fear of losing control of his circumstances, also what piglet says about not wanting to bother the doctor.
What worries me is the wilful self neglect. I find this frustrating and hard to understand.
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tree Bee:
What worries me is the wilful self neglect. I find this frustrating and hard to understand.

Yes, this is very hard. I have no answers. Middle age is a strange time. We have been through all the anguish of letting our children grow up, do their own thing and go their own way, and then we have to do it all again in reverse with our parents, trying to find the right balance between letting them get on with it and trying to protect them.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Thyme:
quote:
Originally posted by Tree Bee:
What worries me is the wilful self neglect. I find this frustrating and hard to understand.

Yes, this is very hard. I have no answers. Middle age is a strange time. We have been through all the anguish of letting our children grow up, do their own thing and go their own way, and then we have to do it all again in reverse with our parents, trying to find the right balance between letting them get on with it and trying to protect them.

[Votive]

[Disappointed] Yup.
Thanks for your perspective. It has relaxed me somewhat.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this thread. Its keeping me both entertained and sane while we go through many of the same things you're going through. I got my partner to read it over the weekend, and it was a huge help for her.
 
Posted by Anglo Catholic Relict (# 17213) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tree Bee:
Feeling very frustrated about Mr Bee's 93 year old Dad.
He stayed for 4 days over Christmas, getting over a cold. His chest was very rattly and his cough was alarming. Mr Bee phones him daily and his cough is still bad. We are encouraging him to go to the GP as we think he may have a chest infection, but he's not going.
He also has a very swollen foot; his doctor knows about this. We bought him loose wide shoes 2 sizes larger than his usual size for Christmas so he doesn't have to squeeze his feet into his leather lace ups.
He won't raise his legs when sitting though we reminded him so many times it became a nag. Just sits cross legged.
What can we do? [Mad]

There is a bit of a parallel with my mum. She has had several chest infections, one of which resulted in pleurisy because she left it weeks before going to the dr.

In mid Dec I got a phone call from my brother who had just visited my parents. He said mum was unwell, and he had just left. I went straight round, and found her v unwell. I got her to a dr that day, and then to her own GP the next. She managed to stay out of hospital, but it was touch and go.

While I was trying to stay both calm and dealing with this, dad was talking about '3 day colds and 5 day colds', and mum was still saying she was 'all right'.

This kind of situation happens a lot, and I am generally the person who cuts through the fog of their denial, and calls for a doctor/gets them to A&E/sorts it out somehow. All I can suggest is staying calm, staying adult and managing as best you can. As others have said, there may be a fear of hospitals, but by avoiding treatment, a hospital stay becomes more likely, not less.

I went back to my parents after all of this, and agreed with them a strategy aimed at keeping them out of A&E for the whole year. It starts with me going with mum to her doctor and asking how we can best achieve that. I even agreed when we would do it; this is probably the very first time my parents have agreed to proactive health care.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglo Catholic Relict:

I went back to my parents after all of this, and agreed with them a strategy aimed at keeping them out of A&E for the whole year. It starts with me going with mum to her doctor and asking how we can best achieve that. I even agreed when we would do it; this is probably the very first time my parents have agreed to proactive health care.

That's brilliant.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Visited Grandad Bee today and spent time cleaning and hoovering.
His cough is still there but improved so hopefully he dodged this one.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
My partner's elderly parents (92 and 95) were finally persuaded to have a care assessment this week, and surprise, surprise, are entitled to rather a lot of care. The nurse came for the first time today to set up the schedule.

Now we just have to convince mother-in-law to have a bath in the morning instead of at 10.30-11pm, when no care is available. She's become very confused, but she's sticking rigidly to having her bath late at night when no one can hear her if she can't get out.

The care coordinator has also put her down for respite care once a month. Personally I think this will happen around the same time Kim Jong Un starts peace talks with South Korea. Its good to know the option is there, though.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Mum is on the 'end of life plan' now. It could be two days, two weeks or two months. She will be going to my brother's farm for the last few days, whenever they are.

Her lungs are filling up (again) but this time her drinks are sometimes going down the wrong way too. So she's now on palliative care only. No more medication.

[Votive] [Votive]

In some ways it's a relief, she has no life, it's time. [Frown]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
[Votive] [Votive] [Votive]

(((Boogie)))

Mrs. S, hoping that situation never comes to the Dowager
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Prayers and upholding for you all, Boogie. [Votive]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
[Votive] Boogie and Boogie's mum and family.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
[Votive] for Boogie, Boogie's mum and family.
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
[Votive] For you and your Mum and your family Boogie. May your Mum have a peaceful end.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
(((Boogie)))
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Boogie and family. [Votive]
 
Posted by Ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[Votive] {{{Boogie and her mum}}}
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
Yes, prayers for Boogie and mum and family.

M.
 
Posted by Fredegund (# 17952) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Heavenly Anarchist (# 13313) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
For Boogie and her mum [Votive]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Thank you all.

Mum is now back home at my Brother's farm in her own bed. I am preparing to go there today and stay with them, to be with her in her last days.

So far I would describe her as 'peaceful' - I dearly hope she stays that way as she fades.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Here's to peaceful, Boogie. [Votive]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Grace and peace to Boogie's mum, Boogie and the whole family. [Votive]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Holding you all in the Light, Boogie. [Votive]
 
Posted by MrsBeaky (# 17663) on :
 
God hold you, Boogie

Grace and peace to your mother and your family
[Votive]
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
Prayers for a peaceful passing, Boogie.
 
Posted by Meg the Red (# 11838) on :
 
[Votive] May your Mom slip away gently, Boogie - praying for all of you.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[Votive] again from me, for Boogie and your mum.
 
Posted by Heavenly Anarchist (# 13313) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Boadicea Trott (# 9621) on :
 
Boogie, my prayers for your mum, for you and all your family. [Votive]
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
[Votive] Boogie, and all the family.

My dad is also nearing the end of his life. He's been in a residential home for 4 years - amongst other things he has small vessel disease so is vulnerable to mini strokes. It looks as though he had another of these just under a week ago; he's quite suddenly lost the ability to swallow food of any texture and his speech is slurred and very quiet. He is drinking small amounts but at least half of it dribbles straight back out.
The GP for the home rang my mum and had a long chat, as a result of which she's decided to ask for him to be kept as comfortable as possible in the residential home rather than be admitted to hospital and put on any sort of artificial feeding system.
Rationally, I think this is the best decision. Even before this latest episode he wasn't able to walk, stand or see, couldn't really take in new information, and conversations had got more and more disjointed. Every time he's been in hospital he's deteriorated and has become very distressed when he starts to recover and finds he's even more disabled than before. He doesn't seem distressed at present, isn't in pain (he is communicating a little but it takes a long time) and will probably slip away fairly peacefully over the next couple of weeks or maybe sooner, depending on how much fluid he retains.
It is a big decision though and feels very strange at the moment.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Votive] Aravis I feel for you.

Mum is on end of life medications, there are several which are only given if and when needed. I must say they are excellent and keeping her completely comfortable.

She is home here at my brother's farm, her bed is in the kitchen. My whole family are here and we are taking it in turns to sit with her, all day and all night.

End of life seems very much like birth to me - a time when the whole world shifts on its axis.
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
[Votive] For Aravis and Boogie
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
[Votive] Aravis and Boogie and all the families.

My mum was on an end of life plan shortly before she died. Sadly she was in hospital 2.5 hours away from me and too ill to move by the time we realised we needed to, so I could only visit. But the care she received was excellent. I am very moved by the picture of your mum in a bed in the kitchen surrounded 24/7 by her loving family, Boogie. [Smile] [Axe murder]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Aravis and Boogie [Votive]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
All is just the same today.

Here is an excellent resource.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
That's a brilliant link Boogie, thank you.
Love and prayers to you and Aravis, and all the families.
[Votive]

[ 06. February 2014, 06:41: Message edited by: Taliesin ]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
[Votive] Boogie and Aravis, my heart goes out to you, to all those at the end of their lives, and for their families.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Mum died very peacefully at 2:15am last night. She was 93. [Votive]

Many thanks for all your good wishes and prayers, it has been good to be able to share all this with you. The funeral is all sorted for next Friday afternoon.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Thinking of you Boogie. So glad her passing was peaceful.
[Votive]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Holding you all in the Light, Boogie.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
[Votive] for your mum, may she rest in peace.
[Votive] for you and the family.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
{{{Boogie and family}}} [Votive] for you and your mum. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
What piglet said.

[Votive] [Votive] [Votive] for all the Boogie family.
 
Posted by Jack the Lass (# 3415) on :
 
[Votive] Boogie and family. How wonderful that she had you all there caring for her and making her comfortable until the end. My prayers for you and yours [Votive]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Boogie and family. [Votive]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
For Boogie [Votive]

It was good you were able to take her home and that you were all able to be there.
 
Posted by Heavenly Anarchist (# 13313) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
[Votive] For Boogie and family
 
Posted by Meg the Red (# 11838) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Prayers, Boogie for all of you and your mum. How blessed you all were to be together at the end.
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
Prayers for the repose of her soul, Boogie. Blessing for you and all the family as you mourn.
 
Posted by Niteowl (# 15841) on :
 
Boogie and family [Votive]
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
God bless, Boogie. [Votive]
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
Boogie [Votive]

[ 08. February 2014, 07:41: Message edited by: Ann ]
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
My prayers added also.
Condolences to you in this hard time.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
[Votive] for Boogie and family. Hope all goes well on Friday and that you find joy in remembering the good times in the middle of the sadness.

Dad also died last Thursday morning, just before 5a.m. I haven't been on the Ship since then so hadn't passed on the news. I think he was aware I was there on Wednesday but it was a bit difficult to tell. The previous Sunday was our last coherent (ish) conversation when he kept saying bits of the Lord's Prayer and then rambling a bit.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Votive] Aravis and family
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
[Votive] For Aravis and family.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
What Thyme said. {{Aravis}} [Votive]

May your father rest in peace and rise in glory.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Holding Aravis and family in the Light.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Aravis and family. [Votive]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
[Votive] Aravis's father.
[Votive] Aravis, the family and friends.
 
Posted by Boadicea Trott (# 9621) on :
 
[Votive] for Boogie, Aravis and their families
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
Likewise, remembering Boogie and Aravis and their families in prayer. [Votive]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Bump! has the Hellish version of this thread superseded this AS version?

As someone with a 95 y.o aunt (who has just gone into a 'low-care' residential facility, and a 90 y.o. mother (who is determinedly asserting her aim to avoid this 'fate' as she sees it), I reckon we still need this AS thread.
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
Oh, no, not at all. There are some of us (and our parents) who still get along even if more and more issues of care are devolving on the younger group.

Good job bumping it though
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Thanks for the bump [Smile]

Normalish life has resumed for us and we've put photos of Mum all over the house to remember the happy times.

We now have two more oldies who are not too well. Mr Boog's Dad and StepMum. They are both over 90 and in the same hospital at the moment - Dad for and op and Mum after a fall.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
I've just had a very nice afternoon with my mum. She seems to be fine if you meet her on her own ground, not so good if she comes to visit here.
 
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on :
 
When my Mother was alive, I noticed the same thing about her - she was not a good visitor, but when I went to see her everything was lovely - she enjoyed spoiling me when I visited - all my favourite foods, etc, games after games of cribbage and arguing over the news before bed.

When she visited, she was at loose ends - not so much cribbage and my then wife was uncomfortable with her in the kitchen. I am within 10 years of her now, and I certainly understand her feelings a lot better.
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I thought I'd like to add a positive note to this thread: one of my colleagues in the choir recently came back from celebrating her parents' seventieth wedding anniversary. They're both in their 90s and, she said, getting a bit frail and forgetful, but still living in their own house.

Now that's quite an achievement. [Smile]
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Friend's Dad is like that - frets when he visits because he feels idle.

Solution reached: all those little maintenance chores (which friend's husband is lousy at anyway) are kept until the Dad goes to stay; upon arrival he's given massive drink, dinner and then begged for help. He feels he's been useful, jobs are done and to a far better standard, everyone happy.

Similarly, she claims he eczema is playing up in water so her mama can prepare veggies/salad.

Ta dah!
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I have an aunt, age 90, who just this year retired from her job at a stockbroking firm in New York City. She complains that she does not know what to do with all her spare time.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Bump!

Going to visit 92 yo mother interstate this week. She is a bit awkward to deal with, especially for my wife, as she (mother, that is)is a bit short on 'emotional intelligence' and tact, though a long way short of hellish.

Her much more sociable sister (now 95 yo and also living interstate, but in a different state to my mother) is much easier to be around.

Visit should be made more pleasant by also visiting my niece, who has just hatched a new baby. Although geographically close to my mother, they are not socially close, so I'm not sure whether mother even knows about this baby yet.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Talking to a friend recently, I remarked that The Dowager Mrs. S and her sister, Great-Aunt Mrs S, as it were, had to live in two separate 4-bedroom houses with big gardens - in the same village - as within a day or two of sharing a house, one would have killed the other.

My friend told me she'd taken her mother to visit her sister (friend's aunt) in a nursing home, and went off to the kitchen to make coffee. By the time she returned with two cups of coffee they had come to blows - literally, physically attacking one another!

Her mother had decided her aunt's bedclothes needed tidying, and her aunt had taken exception in a most direct fashion [Killing me]

Mrs. S, who has no sisters with whom to come to blows *phew*
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
First the good news. Niece and baby are coming along just fine. Niece did not have an easy pregnancy and now claims , one week after giving birth, to have "burnt her maternity clothes". (It is her second child.)

And even the news about my mother is not too bad. Physically, she is much as she has been for the past couple of years, i.e. a bit frail and slow-moving but coping around the house and determined to stay there and not go into "care" (i.e. a nursing home). Fortunately, under the Australian Govt home-care arrangements, she has someone coming in every morning, nominally to assist her with showering, but in practice to generally check up on her.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Quote of the day from my mother .

Mother: "My sister is letting herself go into care [nursing home] too early; she could have battled on in her own home like me".

Me: "But your sister is 95 years old!"
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
93 year old father in law lives in his own bungalow, and understandably, can't look after his enormous garden. Sadly he hasn't bothered to employ someone to do it for him so it seems to be down to his disgruntled 75 year old neighbour and us who live 60 miles away.
Battling to get him to find a gardener had got me so stressed I've now put it in God's hands before I go off on one.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Tree Bee:

This idea might work.

Friends with elderly parents who could cope with the house but not the garden approached the local Allotment & Garden Society to ask if they knew of anyone who might be interested in helping out.

The result is that a lovely young couple who live in a flat have taken over the garden: they've rehabilitated the vegetable plot and the house owners also benefit from the produce.

The grass is cut by a teenager who earns pocket money doing it and is supervised by the couple.

Since this arrangement was put in place two people in the same road have done the same thing and everyone seems happy.

As an added bonus, there is someone visiting regularly who would notice if the old people weren't about, plus the elderly pair have expanded their social circle.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Unfortunately he has already set up such a system which worked well for a while then dwindled to a stop.
I think this is now part of the problem as he can't now trust anyone to be reliable and turn up.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager lives in a biggish house with a third of an acre of garden. She has a gardener to cut the lawns, but she bickers with him unceasingly about almost anything else he does, and we live in fear - 90 miles and 2 hours away - that he'll down tools altogether.

It wouldn't be such a problem if she weren't such a perfectionist, but she can't bear to leave a weed standing and at 90 she really shouldn't be trying to keep it to that standard. And Garden and Allotment Society there is none ...

Mrs. S, completely out of ideas here
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Age UK have given me some helpful services to research. Emails sent but no replies yet.
Meanwhile Mr Bee Senior has made some inquiries of his own. Praise be!
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Glad things are getting sorted on the garden front Tree Bee. My MiL has a large garden, but she has cultivated a wild look, and seems to be able to manage it with help from her son that lives nearby to do the mowing.

I'm off to see my mum tomorrow. I spoke to her last week when we'd just returned from holiday and she'd come back from a week with my brother, He's still trying to persuade her to move there, and she did sound a lot happier despite it having from the sound of it being a fairly chaotic few days. I've spoken to her several times since then and she didn't sound nearly so happy. Although she has a lot of friends I really think she doesn't like living alone.

We're off to visit her tomorrow and she sounded disappointed when I phoned up to tell her the time we're arriving that we aren't taking her back here for a few days. When we arranged the visit at the weekend I said we'd organise a time for her to come over when we met, but she seems to have got the wrong end of the stick.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
We have just about got my very elderly parents-in-law to a point where they might move into a supported flat in a retirement complex. My father-in-law, aged 95, has insisted on doing everything himself, even though he's in terrible pain and almost immobile with a combination of fluid retention and gout. He's been nasty to everyone, I think because he's in such pain (he was always somewhat crusty, but now he's snarling).

Last weekend, he finally told my partner that he has a growth on his neck. He was not planning to see a doctor about it (he's a retired surgeon and very intractable about medical advice). My partner wouldn't take no for an answer and finally got him to go to the plastic surgeon yesterday, where he had a biopsy. Today the results came back that it is a malignant tumour of some kind, and the likelihood is that he will have to have surgery. Which may well kill him.

Recently he's been so awful to his children that two of them have run out of patience and won't visit (which puts the onus on the other two even more). His wife of 68 years has dementia. He's tired and old and hurting. His will to keep on controlling everything is warring with his body's need to rest.

Please pray for Jack and Laurie, and for their children, as they try to keep them safe (and themselves sane).
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
{{APW}}

[Votive] for you, your partner and your in-laws.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
What an awful situation, Arabella, I'm so sorry. [Votive]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thanks. My poor partner is exhausted trying to keep in mind that they're very elderly and sick, and not react to the many provocations dished out.

It would be vastly easier if four of her five siblings weren't standing on the sidelines throwing not-very-helpful advice on how to move forward. Only one is offering support and practical help.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My father in law's gardener starts tomorrow , praise be! This is someone 'he had his eye on for a while!' [Mad]
Feeling sad for him right now as a cousin of his has died. He was 10 years younger than my father in law and not local but he visited a lot and they got on like brothers. It must be so hard when all your contemporaries have died. His only relative left is his sister in Leeds who is 100 and has dementia. She lives alone in her own home like Mr Bee Senior. No idea how she manages.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
APW and partner [Votive] and hoping that the other siblings will see beyond their own hurt and do their bit.

Tree Bee - I remember my Great Aunt Millie's 90th birthady. She was the youngest in her family and described herself as "The wee Lone Ranger". She lived to 96 and, despite lots of visitors missed her siblings and contemperoraries dreadfully (most of them were close and lived in the same city all their lives).

[ 18. August 2014, 01:58: Message edited by: Huia ]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Hope everyone and their aging Ps are doing well.
I went to see my mum today and in lots of ways she is doing fine living independently, she's off on holiday on her own on Wednesday for instance, but in other ways it is obvious she need a bit more support. Her eyesight is getting very bad, and although she said she gave the flat a good clean yesterday, there was lots she''d msised. I'm not sure how to offer to do it without undermining her confidence.
My brother and I are meeting up while she's away to discuss whether or not we should put pressure on her to move. My brother would like her near him, but I'm still uncertain that's a good idea.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
My parents-in-law are now in a rest home. Cheers all round, except for mother-in-law, who doesn't want to be there, can't remember getting there, and is struggling to understand her own frailty and the need to stay safe. She doesn't realise that even after a week she's already looking much better - cleaner, tidier, steadier on her feet.

We are now engaged on the mammoth task of cleaning out their house so it can be sold: nearly 60 years of accumulated stuff. It would seem that neither of them was very good at getting rid of things.

It is throwing up some wonderful photos that none of the family have seen before (because they were randomly stuffed in a drawer containing 30 aprons, or a box full of nails and screws, etc., etc.).
 
Posted by no prophet (# 15560) on :
 
Father (87) had computer trouble and ended up talking to some random bad guy who called. "He knew my name and where I live", details from the phone book I expect. Now computer is malfunctioning completely. Thankfully he seemed to have stopped it as the bastard tried to remote in and steal passwords.

I learned about this after he guiltily called me the day after spending 4 hours trying to fix the problem to no avail.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
I have to give thanks that my dad who turned 90 in June is doing quite well independently. His great joy is amateur radio operating which keeps him sharp and occupied along with reading, visiting friends, and watching sports on TV. I live very nearby and see him three or four times a week when we walk about a mile together and then I fix breakfast. Tomorrow we'll spend a day watching college football and going to the symphony in the evening. I realize all this will change one of these days, so I'm enjoying all the time I have with him. [Axe murder]
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:

We are now engaged on the mammoth task of cleaning out their house so it can be sold: nearly 60 years of accumulated stuff. It would seem that neither of them was very good at getting rid of things.

Doing this for my parents had a huge impact on me and my attitude to my own possessions. I found it deeply upsetting that so much of their treasured stuff had to go to the tip.

I set myself on a fairly minimalist path after that. If I need new stuff I get it as cheap as possible. Fortunately Mr T is fine with this.
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
I went to visit family last week and noticed my mother's memory seems to be deteriorating rapidly. She constantly repeated the same stories and got quite confused about relatively uncomplicated things. She also seems to make very simple things immensely complicated.

She's only in her late sixties but my sister, a doctor, is beginning to wonder about whether her mental capacities are starting to go.

She still manages to be a magnificent stirrer up of trouble and sayer of bitchy comments so I'm not totally concerned but it's beginning to be a slight nag of worry at the back of my mind.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Thyme:
Doing this for my parents had a huge impact on me and my attitude to my own possessions. I found it deeply upsetting that so much of their treasured stuff had to go to the tip.

I set myself on a fairly minimalist path after that. If I need new stuff I get it as cheap as possible. Fortunately Mr T is fine with this.

Yep, us too. We spent part of last weekend getting rid of stuff from a room in our house.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Hmmmmmm, mother spent a strict five minutes washing the watercress yesterday,
Should i be thrilled that it was washed and she can still prepare supper herself? Or shocked that the five minutes was adhered to so carefully?


On another note: i think that will be the 3rd gardener that's been 'let go' now.......sigh.......
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Heard last night that the Dowager's golf club, where she's been a member for over 25 years, is likely to close [Disappointed] Not only does she still play 9 holes once or twice a week, health and weather permitting, but she also gets quite a bit of social interaction there.

I can't help thinking that's a Very Bad Thing for her, and wondering if she really will decide to move now. Heaven help us ...

The Concerned Mrs. S
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Thyme:
I set myself on a fairly minimalist path after that. If I need new stuff I get it as cheap as possible. Fortunately Mr T is fine with this.

Thyme, do you mind me asking why it has to be cheap? The reason this has come to mind is that I was mowing the lawn, with our venerable (> 25 y.o.) Honda, and reflecting that we bought it with money which came to us from my Uncle Ron's estate.

Uncle Ron, may he rest in peace, lived after my aunt died in a state approaching squalor in a caravan - not a mobile home, a caravan, so when we got this money we decided to spend it on something that we would use and value. The Honda must have mowed acres of grass over the years, without any attention other than a clean spark-plug once a year (oh, and a complete engine rebuild after I incautiously mowed over a manhole cover [Hot and Hormonal] ). It wasn't cheap but it must represent amazing value.

The point to this anecdote is that every single time I use that mower I think of Uncle Ron and wish he'd spent the money on himself, instead of leaving it for us.

YMMV, of course it may, but something you spend money on, as long as you value and enjoy it, isn't a waste even if it does go to the tip when you pop your clogs.

Mrs. S, buying less but better [Cool]
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
quote:
Originally posted by Thyme:
I set myself on a fairly minimalist path after that. If I need new stuff I get it as cheap as possible. Fortunately Mr T is fine with this.

Thyme, do you mind me asking why it has to be cheap?
Not at all! And you are right, price is not the only criteria. And it is not about saving it up for an inheritance for someone else.

My parents had a lot of good quality furniture for which there is no market now. I'm sure they got a lot of pleasure out of it and also from various ornaments and china and so on. But most of it went to the tip and the rest raised about £500 at auction.

Even the charity shops didn't want it.

Maybe some - a lot - of it we "could" have sold on ebay or something but we didn't have the time for all that.

What this did for me was make me think very hard about what I want to spend money on. So for example, expensive furniture is not my thing, or expensive bedding.

When we bought our new house we got it redecorated and recarpeted before we moved in, but no expensive wallpaper and carpets. Comfortable but not expensive carpet.

Having said that, I did get a very cheap duvet set recently for my new bed. But it turned out to be mostly polyester and it didn't feel nice and was very hot. That was a false economy. So I got some 100% cotton sets (in sale and/or from a bargain shop) and these are a colour I like and are nice to use.

I have just spent an extremely large amount of money on new hearing aids. These will improve the quality of my life immensely so I paid whatever it cost to get the best hearing solution and will continue doing that as technology improves and I have the money.

I didn't stint on my new bed either. Although it wasn't expensive as beds go.

Pre parents house clearance I would have spent a lot more on eg, designer bedding. And furniture for our new house. Now I am not bothered if someone visits and wonders at our collection of mismatching, old fashioned and upcycled furniture.

But a lot of the things I have from the parents house that have good memories are not valuable items. Some of them are cheap kitchen equipment.

So it is more about our quality of life than the actual price of things.

I think what I am trying to convey is that clearing my parents house left me with a very different set of values and attitudes towards things. Before that I wasn't even fully aware of how my attitudes were driving my spending/desiring behaviours. Now I am far more aware.

My parents, especially my mother, hated throwing anything away, especially anything with any slight sentimental value.

We had to throw it all away for her. I don't want my daughter to have to go through all the upset of having to declutter my stuff or my memories because I couldn't face it.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thank you - that all makes perfect sense, I'm glad I have a better understanding now. [Overused]

My understanding with the Dowager about all her (many!) possessions is rather different. Every time she tries to clear out a cupboard she ends up putting it all back again, and she's - I was going to say wasted, but spent would be fairer - an afternoon getting nowhere.

The agreement is that when she no longer has need of it, I'll get a skip in. My bill for skip hire is going to be huge [Devil] but it will cost me much less, emotionally, than it would her.

The Hard-hearted Mrs. S (but you knew that anyway!)
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
quote:
The Hard-hearted Mrs. S (but you knew that anyway!)
Ah, well, the whole hard-hearted bit. Sigh. I call it 'detaching with love' aka 'preserving my sanity and self identity.
[Big Grin]

[ 16. September 2014, 13:17: Message edited by: Thyme ]
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
My mum is very good at throwing things out, including things * w*** she hadn't, like all the birth certificates and other family information from my father's family (fortunatly he'd passed the photos onto me before he died). My mother -in-law still has tons, lots of it good antiques, and * can see problems in the future with my husband and siblings over deciding which item she'd left to which child.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Gussie, my Aunty had sticky labels on some things as she and her daughters had discussed who got what long before she died.
 
Posted by Gussie (# 12271) on :
 
Huia, * think my M-* -L has put something in her will about stuff, Trouble is she's re-written her will several times and bequests get changed.

In other news. * went to see my brother, K, last weekend, first time in about thirty years when * 've met up with him without my mum along. We tried to thrash out a mum strategy, but didn't really get very far. * went to see her again yesterday, and her eyesight seems to get slightly worse each time, * only saw her two weeks ago, but this time for instance she nearly scalded herself when the water for a cup of tea she was making me missed the mug.
* think K and * need to sit her down and give her some options, but staying in her own place, without more help won't be one of them.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
About a month ago my parents-in-law moved into a lovely rest home, a move driven entirely by my father-in-law. A fortnight ago tomorrow, he died, after a lovely afternoon with the whole family present. The chaos of the first couple of weeks of their rest home move had its own momentum. The last week has been much quieter, but another major issue has emerged.

My mother-in-law's severe memory loss is much more apparent than it was previously. A lot has happened to her in the last month, none of it under her control. She is in a great care situation, but understandably is also feeling very lonely and miserable, having been married for 69 years.

One or more of the family has been to see her for an extended period every day since they moved, but now, apart from us and my partner's younger brother, they've all winged away home. We have all had to go back to work, but one of the three of us is trying to see her each day, and she has lots of friends visiting. The home is involving her in lots of activities - while her memory is terrible for what happened in the last hour, she can still whip through a crossword without difficulty.

However, every evening, around 8pm, she rings to ask how long she has to stay, whether she could come and live with us, why she can't go home, and why has no one been to see her. As a daughter-in-law, I have a bit of distance and can answer quietly and matter-of-factly, but my poor partner is being ripped up, feeling horribly guilty, and wondering if she should do something different.

She can't live on her own and she can't live with us: she's not safe on her own, particularly around the stove, stairs, bathing, and her habit of wandering around in the night (she was falling a lot before the move). We have instituted a diary, and her many visitors have been great at writing their names and the times of their visits, but she won't read it, or the note above the phone that reminds her that the rest home is her home now. Its a pretty posh home, with some excellent amenities, and we have been blown away by the standard of the care.

Any ideas? It has been a much too sudden move brought on by their lack of forward planning, but it is now a fait accompli we have to deal with.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Would she keep a diary of her own, even with faulty memory? We did that with grandmother of ex Mr L. She took delight in writing in it. A lot was drivel but there were flashes of the woman we had known e.g. "nurse brought hot water for wash at 5:15 am. Returned at 6:30 to help me, water was cold."

We also kept a list of who had visited that day as she was convinced no one had bee for days.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
I would suggest lots of reminiscence work about her husband and their life together - painful at first but it really can pay dividends.

P.s. - my care of the elderly years were the mid to late 1980s so things may have, probably have, moved on by now but ask the management or therapeutic staff there.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
What I eventually did with my Mum when Dad was in hospital was to make her write a diary. Alright I nearly always dictated it, but she did the physical writing. Then when she asked again I would get her to sit down and read through the diary.

Two reasons for this approach:
  1. It was in her own handwriting so it had extra credibility
  2. It was less draining on me than retelling the sequence of events every few hours.

It does need the reminder both to write it up and also to look at it but it did help me.

Jengie
 
Posted by daisydaisy (# 12167) on :
 
When my grandmother went into residential care we had similar memory issues especially around thinking she had no visitors even though at least once a day one of us went to see her - we used the diary idea as well as each visitor taking something in so she had something definite to remind her. It was usually a yoghurt or a piece of fruit, or (very popular with her companions there) a bottle of sherry.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thank you all. One of my tasks in the aftermath of moving them was to sort the thousands of photos they had all around the house. I've been scanning in the family ones, and also some of the ones where my mother-in-law was representing NZ at the UN (one of the many activities that led to her becoming a Dame in the mid-1980s). We thought we might use some of the photos to spark her off talking about her life. The photos go right back to her babyhood, so there should be lots of opportunity.

The last few days we have been going through all the condolence cards and letters she has received and writing thank you notes - she's doing most of them and we're addressing the envelopes. This has been quite a good activity for anchoring her to time and place.

And yes, I have strongly suggested to my partner to talk to the staff, seeing as they know a lot more about dementia and memory loss than we do!

It is amazing how much the memory loss has been hidden from us while she was still living at home. They were definitely covering for each other, and I think it was my father-in-law's inability to cope with it that finally gave him the impetus to move.

[ 05. October 2014, 23:04: Message edited by: Arabella Purity Winterbottom ]
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
You have my sympathy, APW. When my mother went into what was then the geriatric wing of the local hospital, she was still able to do crosswords (or at least offer ideas if we were doing one with her), but her physical capacity was sufficiently bad (she was wheelchair-bound, and very shortly became bedridden) that she really couldn't be bothered with the effort of writing, or even reading.

I'd agree with the idea of keeping your mother-in-law's long-term memory working for as long as possible: my mother's ability to remember things from 50 years ago lasted far longer than her ability to tell you what she had for lunch.

[Votive] for you, your partner and your mother-in-law.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
Talked to my mother today. I and my siblings have long been aware that they watch nothing but Fox News, and that this has a bad effect. (During the 2008 election season my father became profoundly depressed because he was sure the country would go down in flames, to the point where his doctor suggested antidepressants.)
Anyway, today my mother confided her worries about getting Ebola. She lives in a senior community in northern California. Her chances of getting hit by a meteor are higher. She is also worried about the mysterious virus that is attacking children somewhere. It does not comfort her, to point out that neither she nor I (nor anyone we really know, actually) is under the age of three.
If only they would change the channel, and watch nature specials or something!
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
It would be an act of Christian charity if you blocked Faux News and set a password on the unblock feature.

My father watches little else but EWTN. I don't know which is worse.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I don't know how to do that on their TV/cable provider. But I will suggest it to my siblings...
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
Quite recently I went to an information evening about dementia and found it very useful.

The speaker was likening memory to a bookcase, the books being the memories. On the bottom shelf are the early memories, next one up adolescence, and so on, with the top shelf containing recent things like what I had for breakfast and what you said to me just now.

Then an earthquake comes along - dementia. The case is quite flimsy and begins to shake and the books begin to fall off. Which ones fall first? The recent ones. The earthquake may calm down for a while, leaving perhaps half the books still on the shelves. So now the top memories are ones from, say, the 1950s; so to boil a kettle I put my electric kettle on the hob because in the 1950s that was how you did it. The earthquake may strike again later; the last books to go will be the ones of childhood, so the memories of that era remain vivid after much else is lost.

As well as the physical memory bookshelf there's an emotional memory one, and this one is far more stable. I may not remember the details of an event but I am very likely to remember how I felt about it. So when you visit me today I may not remember that you came yesterday, or that you showed me the photos of your grandchildren for the umpteenth time, but I do remember if we had an argument about whether I made you a cup of tea - because I may have wanted to, but you may have refused because I always put the electric kettle on the hob to boil. So I have been upset at the prospect of your next visit, and show that when you arrive, although I don't remember why I am upset.

One of the points being that it really helps if you can make the visit a positive one for the sufferer, even if it does mean listening to the same things over and over with patience, and not getting annoyed that I have forgotten your three grandchildren, and agreeing to my making you a cup of tea and helping me in the kitchen while I make it.

I found this helpful and perhaps others will too.

I don't think it's always quite that simple, mind you. In the last weeks of her life my mum never forgot that my brother had died a few months previously, but often thought that my father was still alive and he died over 20 years ago.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
This is why I think the reminiscence work is so good - elderly lady used to come and sit in my office of an evening then ask the time and then say she had to go home to help her mum make the tea for her dad - there is no point in an argument about her parents being long but a diversion on to "Tell me about your parents" can work wonders!
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Nenya, that explanation is totally inspired - it makes sense of so many things (like the old lady in the choir who would talk about her husband's exploits in the war as though they'd happened last week), and why Mum could remember things most of us had forgotten, but not what she had for lunch.

Thank you. [Smile]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thanks Nenya, I like it too, specially coming from the shaky country. I shall pass it on.

We had a long talk to the head of the dementia care unit at the rest home and our primary objective is to keep the emotional tone pleasant and loving whenever we talk. This was rather tested when one of my partner's sisters decided that she wanted to take her to visit the old house before it is sold. We felt strongly that it shouldn't happen (she's been wanting to go home a LOT) and this was backed by the staff of the home, who felt it would be deeply upsetting (based on their having had to field a lot of questions about when she was going home). She wouldn't remember the visit, but she'd remember the deeply upsetting part.

The sister wouldn't let go and kept on discussing it with her, even though everyone else was telling her to shut up, that it wasn't a good idea. This resulted in a string of confused phone conversations from m-i-l about going home "tomorrow, J has said she'll organise it." There were some stiff words last night (to sister) after the latest of these, so hopefully things will settle down. I think this has been more about power in the family than care for m-i-l, and its a damn pain as my partner would like to live happily with her remaining family instead of having to argue every little point of mother's care.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Thanks Nenya, that made a lot of sense. APW, is your sister in law having problems adjusting to the fact her mum isn't what she once was? My cousin kept on taking her mum out of her home for 'treats' such as theatre visits and picnics with the great grandchildren that she didn't really understand. My mum, who was a friend as well as relation (they were sort of sisters in law), kept on trying to persuade her against these excursions with no luck. Her daughter really wanted her mum to be something she wasn't anymore.
As to my mum, the eye hospital is telling her there is nothing more they can do for her poor sight, but she's insisting they carry on the treatment, blaming cuts in the NHS for their reluctance. There may be a bit of truth in that, but it's also probably true that the treatment isn't working.
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
My dad is falling nearly daily, and still my parents insist on living alone in their own house. They finally agreed to having a woman who comes in every week day morning and cooks and cleans for them, or takes them on errands, but that is as far as they will go with help. Meanwhile, they don't push the call button when either of them falls, which would bring immediate help to get them up, and sometimes one or the other has lain for hours before getting rescued and bandaged up. They do not want to move in with anyone, and they don't want a full time caretaker. So, we keep picking up and putting on Band-aids.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
As to my mum, the eye hospital is telling her there is nothing more they can do for her poor sight, but she's insisting they carry on the treatment.

My father's vision is worsening by the day, but he still thinks that a clever optometrist can fit him with just the glasses he needs to restore it to 20-20.

He suffers from macular degeneration and the results of a stroke three years ago that pretty much blotted out vision in his left eye, and the right eye isn't much better these days.

His older brother was completely blind toward the end. I fear the same fate is in store for him, but I don't know what to say when he keeps on complaining about it.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
Clinging onto independence is a two-edged sword so it seems. The longer people can stay in their homes, where everything is familiar, they're still able to eat and drink when they want to, and friends neighbours and relatives can drop in to help, the better.

Once we're a danger to ourselves, or seriously neglecting ourselves so that our health is rapidly deteriorating, something has to change however independent - minded we are. Accepting residential care and adjusting to it can cause a dip in emotional and mental health that is distressing for everyone, but once settled if care is good the deterioration may not only be stemmed but there can be a noticeable improvement in health.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
...but once settled if care is good the deterioration may not only be stemmed but there can be a noticeable improvement in health.

So very true in my experience - a lady arrived who had been almost bed bound and when not in bed used a wheelchair - her dearest wish was to walk at her grand-daughter's funeral a year later - it took lots of effort and lots of tears and she needed a walking frame but Kitty walked down that aisle! Residential care can be excellent but choose carefully.
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CuppaT:
Meanwhile, they don't push the call button when either of them falls, which would bring immediate help to get them up, and sometimes one or the other has lain for hours before getting rescued and bandaged up.

My great-aunt was like that -- she had several falls after we'd gotten her the help button, and she either never remembered to push it or was too stubborn to push it ("I wouldn't want to bother anyone") so lay on the floor for some time before either a family member or her hired caregiver came in and found her. It's so frustrating when you put the pieces in place to provide help and the elderly person, for whatever complicated reasons, still won't/can't make use of the help.

In the end what made her leave her house for a nursing home (at age 96) was indeed a fall -- but a fall that occurred while the caregiver was in the house. My aunt would neither wait for the caregiver (who was washing dishes in another room) to help her, nor reach for her nearby cane, so in attempting to walk across the apartment and get something for herself, she fell, broke her arm, went to hospital and (as she had always feared) was not allowed back home.

We are celebrating her 100th birthday in the nursing home this weekend. I don't think she's ever been reconciled to the loss of independence but she is at least safer there.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
My mother in law had one of those med-alert pendants. They rehearsed her carefully in how to use it. Nevertheless, she went outside one afternoon to put birdseed into the feeder and fell. She lay there for several hours (this was Texas in summer, not particularly safe) until my sister-in-law came back and called for help. She had completely forgotten about the pendant.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
The installers of the pedant alert managed to disconnect my parents phone. Needless to say, my parents stopped having it as soon as they could.

Jengie
 
Posted by Polly Plummer (# 13354) on :
 
My Mum took her pendant off when waiting for someone to call to take her out, then decided to go to the toilet and fell over in there with no way to contact anyone. Luckily the home help arrived and found her.

When my mother-in-law got one, we told her never to take it off until she was actually going out of the front door.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I have a slightly silly story about my dad's panic button. We were at a family wedding in Edinburgh and Dad (who was still mobile enough to travel by himself) had had a couple of drinks too many. My brother, brother-in-law and D. got him to his bed (we were all staying at the hotel where the reception was) and my brother asked Dad if he was going to be all right. "I'll be just fine", he said, "I've got my panic button." My brother (knowing rightly) asked him where it was, and he replied, "it's on the dining table."

In the dining-room of his house in Orkney, 300 miles away ... [Snigger]

PS Happy birthday, Auntie Scrumptious! [Overused]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Accepting residential care and adjusting to it can cause a dip in emotional and mental health that is distressing for everyone, but once settled if care is good the deterioration may not only be stemmed but there can be a noticeable improvement in health.

Even without her accepting it, we're already noticing a huge improvement in my mother-in-law's physical health and general wellbeing. She's always been a very attractive woman, but during the year before going into care, she had been letting her appearance slip - wearing the same dress every day for a week, not brushing her hair, not always cleaning herself properly. Now, she has help to wash and dress herself, put on her makeup and do her hair, and she's back to looking pretty again.

We did help the process along a bit by getting rid of some of her more worn-out clothes - which she noticed! It was a good excuse for a bit of shopping and gift-giving.
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
Yes, my parents do not want to go to a home, nor even live with one of us six children. And they have accepted having the panic button, but they don't want to bother those people, if they even remember the thing. They have remembered it twice in all of the falls. They have lists around the house at various levels of whom they can call in case of emergencies, and they go through this list first, trying to find someone to help, someone who is not in a business meeting, someone not down at the barn without a phone, or an hour away, etc. Just the act of dialing the right numbers and not getting mixed up is a challenge. The panic button would be so much easier, if they would just accept it.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
MIL, now gone, refused one because there was a monthly fee. Very much a scrooge all her life.

She had a hip replacement but refused to do the prescribed exercises and lay in bed most of the time. As a result, the muscles had no strength to hold joint together and the hip dislocated. She fell out of bed and was partly underneath bed for some hours. Despite the pain, she eventually wriggled a bit and grabbed cord of bedside phone and pulled phone down. We were out and she could not remember another number to ring. She eventually rang triple 000. Ambulance men had to break into her house to get to her after she had been there most of the day. We were finally notified when we returned near midnight.

We shifted her to a nursing home for some respite care after this and she stayed there. Still no exercises so another three dislocations, but at least there was supervision and help handy.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
A couple of years ago my parents (both then late 70s) got a phone call from a friend (early 80s) at 2am to say she'd fallen. They had a key to the friends house so got dressed, went round and let themselves in. But they couldn't lift the friend, who was in pain with any movement. So they made her comfortable on the floor with a pillow and blanket and phoned for a doctor. They were told by phone to call an ambulance, but were adamant that only someone with medical knowledge could decide whether an ambulance was needed.

So they phoned another friend's home-help, who did some light nursing, and she got up and came out at 3am (!) but she couldn't lift the friend either.

So they phoned for a doctor again, and were again told to phone for an ambulance, which they again refused to do on the basis that they didn't want to "waste" NHS resources by calling out an ambulance when it would be so much cheaper to have a home visit from a doctor at (by now) 3.30am. (??!)

A third, desperate, phone call, in which they refused to call for an ambulance for a third time, finally produced a doctor at almost 5am. The doctor didn't examine friend-on-floor, but walked in, picked up the phone, and phoned for an ambulance, which was there in minutes, and took the friend to hospital.

It really worried me at the time how out-of-touch both my parents and their friend were, that they held on for a home visit from a doctor, on the basis that that was the "proper" course of action, despite being advised three times to call an ambulance.

(The home-help was from eastern Europe and therefore not sure of the system, either.)
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
My M-i-L is very good a falling over, she does it all the time. Maybe because she is very short and very light she never seems to do too much damage. The worst was dislocating her hip, but she bounced back from that very quickly. The latest caused her to badly bruise her shoulder. The reason, she'd stayed up all night watching the Scottish referendam. She was so dizzy by the time she went to bed she fell heavily against the bathroom door.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Hope all Aging Ps are well and that your mother in law is getting settled in the home APW.

My brother K and I have decided that my mother can't carry on living as independently as she has done. Her eyesight is very bad, although she still doesn't quite believe that she is partically sighted, claiming she can see quite well out of her 'good' eye. We've both had her over to stay recently and both are shocked at how little she can see.

At present I think she would be OK living in her current place with extra help for a little longer. It's near the shops, and though not sheltered accomodation has quite a few elderly residents, who as one said to me yesterday look out for each other. To hear mum talk it's her who does all the looking after, but I'm sure it isn't!

At home she seems more together, and I think that if she did move either nearer to us to to K she would really struggle and find herself in care home earlier than she perhaps needs to go into one. I've emailed the local social servcies for help, not telling mum, who feels she isn't old enough for all that, and made an appointment for her with the consultant that did my cataract operation to see if removing the cataract on her 'good' eye is worth considering.

I hate having to get tough, but that's what I think I'm going to have to do [Frown]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thanks Sarasa, things are settling down. We have decided that we can live with the nightly calls asking, "When will I be moving home?" Even in this regard we're seeing positive movement - to begin with she thought she was in hospital, now she knows she's in the rest home. We're being very matter-of-fact about it, just repeating that she is living there because she needs the 24/7 care they can give her then moving on to some other topic. I think its one of the first times in her life she hasn't been able to bend reality around her, and at 92, it must be a hard lesson.

In regard to losing sight I've always been amazed at how much people can do with very little. My FIL was almost blind when he died, but still insisted on doing all his own accounts, using a huge magnifying glass and a steampunk attachment to his glasses. Mind you, he'd already had cataracts removed.

Oddly enough, both my mother and MIL have almost perfect vision still. Unfortunately, neither of us have inherited it.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I was born with congenital cataracts, and know from experience how good the results of surgery can be. My mother-in-law had age-related ones done in her 70s (having had, I assume, reasonable sight before) and was very impressed with the results: apparently the first thing she said on coming home was "goodness, I must clean those curtains!"
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Agghhh! I've just had my mum on the phone telling me that she knows I mean well but she doesn't need the things I've been trying to organise (consultant visit, suggesting getting a cleaner in). The only thing she needs help with she says is getting a new computer, and we aren'y helping with that. I visited a shop with her a couple of weeks ago where they had experience at sorting out set-ups for those with sight problems, and last time she was here my husband enlarged the text on ours as big as it would go. In neither case could she see the screen clearly. Although she's not been bad at using computers I don't think she has the ability to really learn how to use one as a partially sighted person. Computers are really the least of her worries, but I guess she isn't ready to address the real problems yet I hope my brother has more luck when he's back from holiday.

[ 02. November 2014, 16:33: Message edited by: Sarasa ]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
[Votive] for you and your mum Sarasa

It may be worthwhile contacting someone from RNIB and asking for a visit, as technology has improved for partially blind people and there may well be some voice sensitive kit which will help. It's good that she's interested.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
My being here in Queensland for a family viist this week has proved to be fortunate timing as there have been two major things happening around my 92 yo mother that I have been able to help her with.

Short term. I took her to hospital yesterday her infected leg had not responded well enough to the treatments that the GP had been able to provide. All the doctors, including those at the hospital, are confident that this is just a short term issue and should have no longer-term implications.

Medium term. Earlier this week, she was offered a place at a local residential aged care facility. Having had a "respite" there, she had earlier chosen this as her preferred place should such a move become necessary. On Thursday, she and I went to inspect the particular room offered, and she has now informally accepted that offer. A key factor was that if she did not take up this offer now and she had a serious fall in a few months time (say) then she would not be allowed to return to her unit to live alone, and would be forced to accept a place in whatever place had a vacancy first, which was unlikely to be one of her preferred places; she understands this key point.

Her date to actually move in looks like being around 7 January 2015. It is clear that she does not have to sell or rent her house to cover the cost, and so she can take her time about moving in her preferred furniture etc. I expect to return to Queensland nearer the move time to assist with this transition.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
That's all positive Tukai, and a weight off of your mind knowing that she'll be looked after, as well as hers.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
That does sound very encouraging, Tukai - I hope it all goes smoothly when the time comes.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Thanks for your support , shipmates.
It will help me in January that Mrs T will be back n Oz. (She is currently in Netherlands supporting one of our daughters, who is about to give birth to our third grandchild.)
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Tukai, that sounds very positive. The fact that your mother sees it is the thing to do, should make the transisition easier.
My mum is feeling a bit brighter now she has decided to have her cataract removed from her 'good' eye. We're hoping that will give her some useful sight. I still think she should be considering moving to somehwere with more support, but she is adamant that she won't. Maybe we'll have time oevr Christmas to talk to her about it.
We're at my mother in laws for Christmas and I think she is beginng to think moving from her detached cottage with large garden might be a good idea.
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
Tukai, your mother sounds like such a reasonable person. My parents want never to be put in a nursing home, and a couple of siblings with the means to make that happen have promised that. Now my dad has fallen for the hundredth time and broken a bone in his pelvic area. He must have 24/7 care to keep moving for his heart's sake, but resting for his bone's sake. My parents are in their upper 80's, Dad being mostly deaf, and Mom having more advanced Alzheimer's than he does. My brother and his wife moved them into their large home and made a living room and bedroom out of two bedrooms for them. (They used to be in a house on his ranch.) So, for now, things are going well, I think. It is an adjustment, certainly, for my brother's family, and for my parents most of all to loose their independence. But they think it will be temporary. We will see.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CuppaT:
But they think it will be temporary. We will see.

Mother-in-law is still asking when she is going to be able to move out of her rest home, 3 months down the track. We have now put a printed note above her phone reminding her that she lives there, and the only other option is another rest home. It doesn't stop her asking, but it has slowed down the rate of asking.

And: A big shout out to the staff of the rest home. They are amazing: kind, careful, polite and friendly, always. They take note of my m-i-l's need to be referred to by her title, they are doing their best to make sure she gets out of her room and goes for walks and to activities, they clean her up after her accidents... Her primary nurse did say that she is one of their easier residents, so their job must be beyond trying some days. And they don't get paid nearly enough.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CuppaT:
Tukai, your mother sounds like such a reasonable person.

Not many people would describe her that way. "Shrewd" and "stubborn" would be more common descriptions, especially from Mrs T (her DiL).

Mother has now decided NOT to take up the place she had been offered at her first choice place for residential aged care, despite being resigned to accepting it when we went to look in December. Her accountant, who [in my absence] has been handling the details on her behalf re-iterated the argument that had persuaded her before : "take it now it or you will have to accept second best later when you won't get a choice". But she was back to her old stubborn self , saying she had "too many things to do before she could possibly be ready to move". Perhaps she was influenced by the combination of an "idle" week in hospital when she couldn't attend to her business and some calls this week from the nursing home manager pressing her for a date to move.

I am not surprised at this development, given that she had snapped at me any time in the past 2 years when I even attempted to broach the topic of residential aged care. In fact I was more surprised that the accountant had managed to get her so receptive in November (when she agreed to put her name on a waiting list) and in early December (when she told us she was ready to accept an offer).
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
That's annoying Tukai, specially as in the end your mother may well be forced to take a less favourable option. I think here is a tiny window when people are amenable to the idea of moving into sheltered accomodation, but it seems to be when they don't really need it.
I'm being very ostrich like about my mother at the moment.
 
Posted by DangerousDeacon (# 10582) on :
 
Finally facing up to the fact that my parents are aging. You never really think of them that way!

But Mum is in hospital, lung cancer with secondaries in the brain. Many discussions already held about funerals, financial arrangements, powers of attorney, etc. Today a call from Dad, mum also has pneumonia. The damage of almost sixty years of smoking.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
[Votive] DD. It's stressful having to consider all the practical arrangements when a family member is so ill.

Has anyone any advice on how to go about encouraging a very elderly relative to make a will? My mother is in reasonable health and definitely of sound mind, but she is 92. She told me about 30 years ago that she and my father had made their wills, but when Dad died in February we discovered that he had made a will, leaving everything to her, and she had never made one.
It wouldn't be straightforward either. I have a husband and 16 year old daughter, my brother (whom Mum worships) is single with no children. There are two houses involved as Mum inherited her sister's house in 1997 (it's small and in poor repair, and she has always resisted selling it, but that's another story).
Am I right in thinking that if she died without making a will, we would have something of a legal nightmare? I did broach the subject recently (by telling her that we wanted to sort out our own wills) and she just said "I'll do it some time, but I haven't decided what I want to do with everything yet."
If she wants to leave my brother the lion's share that's her decision, but I don't want a lot of stress and legal fees when she dies. [Confused]
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
Yes, she really ought to make a watertight will. An elderly friend of ours passed away last month. He had been fighting cancer for a decade, so it wasn't like it was a big surprise, and he had written a will. Unfortunately he also wrote codicils, amendments, and at least ten draft wills of varying states of legality. None of these documents agree with each other, and they were scattered around the house, sort of a scavenger hunt of bequests. Hijinks ensue; the executor of the estate is turning gray.

If you do not feel comfortable bringing the subject up, would it be possible for someone she respects to suggest it? Clergy, friend, more distant relative? To cast it as a way to make things easier for her executor and survivors might get her going.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
Oh, and another powerful argument: find out what happens if she does nothing. With luck this eventuality will be highly repugnant to her. "Mom, if you die intestate, Cameron/Obama/Scott Walker gets it all and will use it to [some repellent government program here]!"
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Aravis:

It wouldn't be straightforward either. I have a husband and 16 year old daughter, my brother (whom Mum worships) is single with no children. [..]
Am I right in thinking that if she died without making a will, we would have something of a legal nightmare?

Well, that all depends. The intestacy laws are quite straightforward (and just got simpler). If there's no surviving spouse, the children split it equally. If any children have died, their share is split between their children, if any.

The estate only passes to the Crown as bona vacantia if there are no living relatives (where relatives means anyone descended from a grandparent of the deceased. Adoption counts as descent here, but un-adopted step-children don't count) so "Cameron gets it" is pretty much a null threat.

There does seem to be rather more scope for bad feeling and squabbles (including the kind of squabbles that end up with the lawyers taking all the money) over the administration of an intestate estate than in cases where a valid will exists.

As always, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and is worth exactly what you paid for it.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Well, that all depends. The intestacy laws are quite straightforward (and just got simpler).

For reference, the relevant legislation is the Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Act 2014.
 
Posted by DangerousDeacon (# 10582) on :
 
Fortunately my mum (and dad) being very practical people, have already done wills, powers of attorney, basic funeral arrangements, etc. But even if the intestacy laws are straight forward (as it now appears to be in the UK, and generally is in Australia as well), there is still some benefit to having a will (e.g. choosing executor, no delay in courts granting probate, etc).


[Votive] Aravis as you discuss this with your mum.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The chat about trifle on another thread brought this memory back – it isn’t so bad as to warrant the ‘Difficult Relatives’ in Hell, so here goes.

Some years ago, we spent Christmas Day with my brother and sister-in-law, and my mother had already been with them a few days so I dare say things were already a touch fraught. I’d asked what I could bring (ever-helpful) and was told ‘Oh, make a trifle for tea’. I LOATHE trifle and should have said I’d bring tiramisu, at which I am a dab hand (says she who shouldn’t) but Miss S and I wrestled with this blessed trifle all Christmas Eve morning and produced it at tea time.

The Dowager my mother peered into the cut-glass bowl and observed to me that it looked as if someone had thrown up into it. [Ultra confused] I’m told I let out a howl of rage [Mad] before saying ‘Miss S and I spent all morning making that’ to which she said ‘Oh, I didn’t know it was yours – I thought SHE’d made it’.
[Eek!]
Mercifully we had been alone in the dining room and I hope SiL never found out what the livid silence was all about; but that does remain the second nastiest thing my mother ever said to me. I’m not going to tell even you guys what the worst thing was.
[Devil]
Mrs. S, planning never to eat trifle ever again
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
My mother is an amazing woman. Her professional qualification is in Institutional Catering, and she has the organisational ability and eye for detail that goes with it. She is also the Protestant Work Ethic personified.

We live a 2 1/2 hour drive away, and it's an easy trip by public transport. My parents don't visit me - Mum will only visit to "help" and I don't need any help. In the last 5 years they have stopped by en route to funerals etc, but that's been it.

When I visit my parents (usually every 4-6 weeks, but weekly since my father has been unwell) Mum does everything, she doesn't like me "getting under her feet" in her kitchen etc.

We were planning to visit today, to give my parents their Christmas presents, but Mum isn't well and my father has asked us to stay away on the grounds that Mum should be in her bed, but if we visit she will either drag herself up to provide drinks and snacks, or will remain in bed but be distressed at the thought of me in her kitchen making tea / coffee etc.

I know Dad is right. And if it's a 24 hour thing, normal service will resume soon enough.

But looking to the future, what if Mum's health starts to fail, but she can't accept the idea of me lending a hand? She's in her 80s and I'm in my 50s. How do I get to the point where she sees me as a competent adult she can trust?
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
NEQ, independent-mindedness is a double edged sword. It keeps people going when others may well have given up, but they often find it very difficult to graciously accept the help of other people, especially family members, when they need it.

My two penneth for what it's worth, is to do what you can when you can, be there for her, enjoy her for who she is and worry about the future when it arrives.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
It feels as though it's started to arrive now. We should have visited today, Christmas Eve, but Mum doesn't want us, unless she can cater.

Likewise, they don't want my brother's help tomorrow, so they'll be having Christmas dinner alone.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
Just had the holiday "You are taking over the kitchen, I wanna go back to South Africa" whine. Expecting more as I have put on the casserole for tea. I decided to do it how I like it, so added toms. Oh we would not get tea if we waited for mum to sort.

Jengie
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
NEQ [Votive]

JJ [Votive]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
NEQ [Votive]

JJ [Votive]

[Votive] [Votive] from me too.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I hope Christmas and New Year with elderly relatives went well. I think 2015 is going to be a year of hard choices for both my mother and my mother in law, choices that they won't want to make.

My mother phoned up this afternoon spitting mad at the travel company she went on holiday with last year. She was considering another holiday with them, but they say she is too disabled to go unaccompanied. I wrote out her complaints after the holiday about the rep, which she then posted, but the firm who are citing the rep's opinions claim about my mother and her disabilities as reasons for refusing to take her, claim not to have received it. Mum is very articulate and pretty scary when angry, so I guess the guy that phoned her up is nursing a sore ear. Not sure whether it is worth taking her complaint further as she probably does need help to go on holiday now, even if she doesn't recognise it herself.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
I had one of those insights this morning that I thought might be worth sharing, rather along the lines of 'old people don't like change, even when it's change for the better'.

I was grumbling to myself about the Dowager and how whatever we do for her is never quite enough, or quite right, or whatever, and it dawned on me that it's like a fat person with problems, who thinks that if (s)he loses weight the problems will magically disappear. Of course they don't and (s)he is then just a thin person with the exact same problems.

What the Dowager wants is NOT TO BE OLD. There is nothing I - or anyone else - can do about that, so a new phone/computer/microwave/trip to the seaside will never be enough. She will always be an old person dissatisfied with her new phone/computer/microwave/trip to the seaside, because it didn't bring back her lost youth.

Here endeth the lesson [Angel]

Mrs. S, hoping that helps [Help]
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
What the Dowager wants is NOT TO BE OLD. There is nothing I - or anyone else - can do about that.

Yup. Old Man Reckondwythe feels the same way. At age 95 and legally blind due to a stroke and macular degeneration, and incontinent of urine, he believes that a clever ophthalmologist can fit him with glasses that will give him 20-20 vision again, or a clever urologist can prescribe a pill that will dry up his leaky bladder.

[ 07. January 2015, 00:10: Message edited by: Amanda B. Reckondwythe ]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Yes, Mrs S, I agree.

I'd also like some of my sisters-in-law to realise the same thing - their mother isn't going to magically recover from dementia if only her salt/vegetable/chocolate/fish/you name it intake is changed.

Blaming the doctors for not fixing her is very unfair on the doctors. She's currently in hospital with pneumonia, so we are living through a hefty dose of Dr Google from one sister - my partner is considering cutting off wireless access.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I've just booked my tickets to go to Orkney for my dad's 90th birthday next month - when I told my sister that we probably wouldn't be able to go as D. couldn't find someone to cover for him, she very strongly suggested that I come anyway - the usual "may be the last time we're all together" scenario.

I completely understand her reasoning, but I absolutely hate travelling alone - I hope the old boy appreciates it ... [Big Grin]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
A case in point - my daughter's wedding, when the Dowager was 89. She had a spiffy new outfit and a killer hat, hair done (grumbled about that too) and bore as much resemblance to her own mother at my wedding as, say, Princess Grace to a bag lady.

She whinged unceasingly about how old she looked in the photos, despite cries of 'No, Mum, you look amazing' and believe me, everyone who sees them says 'your mother looks fantastic' - but the corollary is 'for 90' and that's what bites. In the end, exasperated beyond bearing, [Mad] I said 'the photographers were very good, Mum, but they can only work with what they have in front of them'. Shit, I'd rather look the way my daughter did that day than like my middle-aged self [Roll Eyes] just as I bet Her Majesty looks wistfully at the Duchess of Cambridge.

Now, of course, that's what she remembers (and tells everyone) - nothing about the many kind and reassuring things I said before she pushed one button too many [Eek!]

Mrs. S, uncaring daughter of this parish
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
You're not uncaring, Mrs S, quite the opposite. Your insight is important observation.

Some, a very few, people manage to grow old gracefully, to be accepting of the gradual loss of looks, health, etc and the inevitability of death sooner rather than later. Our faith can help with that, but it doesn't always in the world we've been influenced by, in which youth and looks are the be all and end all, perhaps with a smattering of intelligence or sporting prowess or musical ability.

Once we lose our independence it's too easy to turn in on ourselves and focus on what we don't have and how awful we feel and how others aren't doing it how we would like them to or neglecting us completely, or how very lonely we are.

It's not easy to turn outwards again, to be considerate of the impact on others rather than ourselves, to call the lonely lady down the road and chat for an hour each day rather than expect one of the family already busy with work, children, housework, study, and a million other calls on their time to ring us each day.

Perhaps we could draw on our experiences of the way older people impact upon us now, and draw up some guidelines for ourselves for the future. The chances are that we'll ignore them, and be next generation examples of our parents.

All we can do is try to be there and help as best we can, whoever the elderly relative is. I know that I value the times when I did find the time and make the effort to call or see my parents. Now they've gone I can't do so any more, and it still hurts.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I think you are on to something Intrepid Mrs S with the problem of not wanting to be old. My mum looks at lot younger than her 86 years, dresses in modern way, has a sharp haircut and won't be seen out without make-up. She keeps on going on about old people, who she clearly doesn't identify with, and thinks any of her friends that have walking sticks have given in too easily.
Raptor's Eye - I clearly remember my mum going saying something along the lines 'Of I don't want to be a bother when I'm old, just shove me in a home' - she certainly wouldn't be happy if I tried to take her at her word.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Maybe that's why "When I grow old I shall start to wear purple" was once voted the nation's favourite poem. It manages to redefine acceptance of growing old and make it fun.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Some "good news" from me. My mother has changed her mind yet again - in part because I gently debunked all her excuses for "the reason I didn't want to go into care was". To each of these I responded truthfully, "yes that is indeed an important issue for you, but it's one we discussed earlier and had a solution to ; in short an issue but not an insurmountable problem".

So now she is booked to move in late January, and Mrs T and I are again travelling the 1200km to Queensland to help her prepare for the move (i.e. helping her to select stuff to take with her etc). Let's hope and pray that it really happens this time, as her mental and physical state has deteriorated in the past few months to the point that she really could not be left safely at home alone for much longer.

She cannot be said to have grown old gracefully - shades of the Dowager Mrs S!
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Perhaps we could draw on our experiences of the way older people impact upon us now, and draw up some guidelines for ourselves for the future. The chances are that we'll ignore them, and be next generation examples of our parents.

[Killing me] like all these oldies who say to their children 'oh, just shoot me if I ever get like that!' to which the reply is always 'it's too late for that now!'

Thanks Raptor Eye - of course I care, otherwise none of this would worry me at all [brick wall]

The other thing I must be aware of is the difference between 'things Mum grumbles about and expects me to do something about' and 'things Mum just wants to have a grumble about'. I'm sure there is a distinction between the two, I just don't always take notice of it!

Mrs. S, encouraged by others on this thread [Smile]
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
quote:
Perhaps we could draw on our experiences of the way older people impact upon us now, and draw up some guidelines for ourselves for the future. The chances are that we'll ignore them, and be next generation examples of our parents.
Thirty years ago my parents were angsting about my octogenarian grandfather's driving. Having been through it with him, I expected my parents would be reasonable. And fortunately I'm not concerned about their driving generally.

However, Mum planned to drive to Tesco while recovering from the flu, and dizzy. Driving while incapable is wrong, apparently, if like my grandfather you were doing it for your own enjoyment, but it becomes ok if you're driving for selfless reasons of stern duty, and because you won't accept offers of help from three different people because you don't want to accept help from anybody, not even if you are in your 80s, are caring for a husband with cancer and have flu.

Fortunately she backed down, after I shouted down the phone at her.

I did an online Tesco shop for her, delivered to her door, but she would only let me order a few things, because she was worried that as the £12 it was going to cost would be coming out of our bank account, this might tip us over the edge financially ourselves. And she'd rather drag her flu-ey self into the car and drive to Tesco than worry about the impact that being £12 down might have on our lives....

(I did beef up the order a bit so she got more than the basics.)

But really, [brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
NEQ, that reminds me of the time when it was insisted I drive with MIL to a gathering at my son's. She insisted she di not know how to get there, although it was just off a route she knew well.

She was a terrible driver and had had many accidents. I was terrified as she threw the car around corners, rather than steering gently. She could not anticipate any need for slowing like lights changing down the road. We nearly ran up the back of several cars.

The worst however made me utterly refuse to drive back with her. "If I had known I was going to have these constant dizzy spells, I might have considered not coming."

BTW, that delivery fee seems high considering exchange rate which is currently woeful. My online deliveries cost from $9-13 depending on time scheduled. If purchasing for a Wednesday delivery, store policy is free delivery if more than $100 is ordered.

Current exchange is about two Aussie dollars to a pound. So your twelve pound is around $18.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Where I am the Tesco delivery charge is between £2 and £6, depending on how many other people want their groceries delivered at the same time of day. So unless Tesco are massively overcharging customers in Aberdeenshire, I expect the £12 was the total cost of the delivery, including the groceries the Dowager NEQ wanted...

Next week I will be escorting the Dowager Mrs R to the doctor's and dentist's. Someone has to go with her every time because, well, dementia, and she seems happiest going with me. I am not sure why, but I was the only one who was able to convince her to get her teeth fixed last year...

[ 08. January 2015, 19:11: Message edited by: Jane R ]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
That explanation of delivery charges sounds about right and I notice my last sentence is a bit off too. I was not long out of bed after a poor sleep. I had had no coffee. Just had first flat white and am feeling a bit better.

I have used online delivery of grocery shop since mid 1990s when it started here. Wonderful idea, goods delivered to my kitchen bench,
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
£12 was the total cost of what she wanted. This included items such as onions, as having flu did not deter my mother from cooking from scratch, when a lesser woman (e.g. me) might have considered flu as reason to resort to ready meals.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager's latest trick is rewriting history to suit herself, mainly by ascribing decisions she herself has made to other people (usually me). For instance, 'when YOU wouldn't let me have a party for my 90th'. 'Scuse me? Or 'I don't know whose idea it was for me to have this computer' after Mr. S had spent a day and a half putting it right. Mum, nothing would do but for you to have one, and the second-hand laptop we got you was too slow so you HAD TO HAVE a new one.

However one decision I will put my hand up to is forbidding her to drive 90 miles (two hours, door-to-door) from her place to ours. Part of the route is along the A303 (for the UK-based) and she hasn't done it for years, since before her hip replacement, but every now and then we get the 'I'm sure I'd be fine, I know the route so well, I don't know why you won't let me' until I get cross and TELL her why! No wonder I get blamed for any other decision that she's conveniently changed her mind about [Eek!] Tukai, I am so impressed that you were able to counter your mother's arguments so effectively [Overused]

She still drives locally, because a) no-one else like a doctor or optician has told her not to, and b) when she stops she'll probably have to move from her home of 50 years, and I just don't know what that would lead to.

The Cowardly Mrs S [Help]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
My great-grandmother was stopped from driving after a policeman watched her drive back and forth over a stretch of the A303 several times. When asked what was going on she wailed that she'd driven it so many times she couldn't remember which direction she should be going in to go home. End of long driving career.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
My father had a transient stroke a few years ago, and was told not to drive (presumably pro tem) by his GP. The next time my sister was home, she "re-allocated" his car, on the pretext that if it wasn't there, he wouldn't be tempted to drive it.

It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that two of her grown-up children were learning to drive at the time, and it was cheaper to insure than her own car ... [Devil]

He now has one of those electric mobility-scooter thingies; there's a part of me that thinks he'd actually be safer in a car, but what would I know?
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Tukai - glad your mum changed her mind. Let's hope you get far enough along in the process of moving her that she can't change it back.
Intrepid Mrs S - I know what you mean about rewriting history, my mum is forever telling stories about my brother and I that aren't quite what I remember. Does yours get stuck in telling the same story over an over.
I'm feeling guilty, today is my day off, and I was going out with a friend. When she cancelled I should have phoned mum and gone over to see her, but the thought of a day mooching around with the house to myself was just too tempting.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
Every time I see a mobility scooter I worry! They aren't safe on the road and they aren't safe on the pavement, there is no standard regulation of their speed and no standard test to ensure that you are actually capable of operating it safely.
 
Posted by Stercus Tauri (# 16668) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Aravis:
Every time I see a mobility scooter I worry! They aren't safe on the road and they aren't safe on the pavement, there is no standard regulation of their speed and no standard test to ensure that you are actually capable of operating it safely.

Also unlike driving a car, the constabulary can't do much about it when the rider has his head down to shade his phone while texting, rolls nonchalantly into the road, and scares drivers witless.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
In the US, it is easy to get Medicare to pay for your mobility scooter, whether your doctor thinks you need it or not.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
In the US, it is easy to get Medicare to pay for your mobility scooter, whether your doctor thinks you need it or not.

That wasn't our experience. We had to get my father a used scooter on ebay, as his Medicare Supplement plan required too much paperwork.

We're all quite satisfied with the ebay purchase, by the way. The scooter was in very good condition, used only a short while by an old gent who died. ("Well, as long as he didn't die by driving it off a cliff . . ." was my sister's comment.)
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
Intrepid Mrs S - I know what you mean about rewriting history, my mum is forever telling stories about my brother and I that aren't quite what I remember. Does yours get stuck in telling the same story over and over?

Not so much that, Sarasa, but she goes on and ON and ON about quite trivial things so that I end up saying 'Mum, if you mention that One More Time, I swear I'll scream' - which is not very filial. It's just stupid things such as - my brother buys her a golf top in a size 10 for her birthday. She is convinced she's a 14, doesn't even try it on. I persuade her to bring it to the next get-together so they can change it. It turns out to fit just fine.

She then spends the whole weekend banging on about how she'd never have thought a size 10 would fit, ad nauseam, ad infinitum while completely ignoring other equally carefully chosen presents [Ultra confused]

Mrs. S, who loves her mother really [Mad]
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
My parents have lived for the past 20 years in a house near a golf course. The past several years, my father being too old now to play golf, they have talked of moving into assisted living. They have never been able to even approach doing it, however. It was a distant concept, like the return of Christ. I warned them that undue foot-dragging would simply mean that a crisis would drive them to act. Surely it would be better (I said) to get ahead of the curve, and arrange matters as you would like them.
But no. And now the crisis is here, a cancer diagnosis. Now they have to move, ASAP, because soon my mother will no longer be available to do the driving.
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
Caregiving for my parents is an ongoing saga. For me, it amounts to phone calls, and the calls between my siblings. Both my parents have Alzheimer's to some degree, and my father falls regularly, even with a replaced hip. They are living at my brother's house with home health helpers who come in every day.
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
All I can offer are prayers for you all. [Votive]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Some positive news here, I hope and pray.

After some shilly-shallying, as described in previous posts, my mother (92)had actually signed up [legally] to move into a local nursing home - local for her that is. So Mrs T and I have made the interstate trip to assist the move. An unfortunate complication turned out to be that the day before we arrived, she went into hospital for treatment to wounds on her leg that were not healing properly. But she is now responding to treatment, and the only effect is to shift the timetable by a week or so.

Mrs T and I are working with the discharge officer at the hospital and the admissions officer at the nursing home to move her directly from hospital to the latter, crucially bypassing any interlude at home which might allow scope for second thoughts, and to have the room all set up in advance of her actual move. Mother is seems relaxed about this prospect, i.e. not arguing the toss when it is put to her as an already agreed decision. This is very surprising in light of her previous strongly voiced opposition to making any such move, but perhaps she now realises that the time has come. Certainly all her carers, including me, think so.

The nursing home are holding the room for her; we have got the finances in order using my power of attorney; a removalist is lined up for later this week to take the few selected items of furniture and nick-nacks from the many in her current apartment ; Mrs T is selecting some clothes to take in from the hundreds now cluttering mother's wardrobe. No trouble to find a suitcase; there are at least a dozen in the top cupboards in each bedroom!
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Glad to hear things are going in a sensible direction, Tukai, and prayers that your mum finds her new surroundings agreeable.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Prayersit all goes smoothly , Tukai, your mother's leg heals and she is happy in her move. leaving behind the clutter of a lifetime must be a wrench.

I had a daft time at my mothers last week. She needed some forms filling in but can't see to do it. I was filling them in, but couldn't understand one bit. Trouble is my hearing is so bad that using an ordinary phone can be tricky. We ended up with my mum talking to them, while I tried to make sense of the instructions she was relaying to me.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Good news! Mother was discharged from hospital today and we moved her directly into the nursing home. We had cunningly moved a selection of her furniture and clothes into her room in advance, so she could feel "at home" straight up.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Excellent - prayers ascending that she'll settle in well.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Fantastic news Tukai. I hope she settles in quickly. Is it nearer to you for visits?
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Mum's new residence is only about 2 km from old one, and thus still about 1000 km from ours!

One of the factors persuading her to make the move to a nursing home is that she was determined not to do it before her older sister (aged 96) did so. That would have been a sign of "weakness" in their sibling rivalry! But older sister moved into care last year, so my mother did not feel so bad in doing likewise.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
How's your mum settling in Tukai? I hope she is seeing the advantages.

After a lot of persuading my mum is now booked in for a cataract operation on her 'good' eye. I hope this will give her enough useful sight to make life earier than it has been over the last year or so. She seems to me to be getting older very quickly at present. Not only her eyes but her hearing seems worse and se seems not be be grasping things as quickly as she did. I think she is aware of this as she keeps on phoning me up over minor things recent;y, something she didn't do before.
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
Often decreasing eyesight triggers decreasing hearing. I think most people (but certainly not you, this being a general remark)are not aware of how much they use their eyesight to hear. I am certainly aware of that in myself as my eyesight deteriorates as I age.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Visited Mr Bee's Dad today. He's been under the weather for the last few weeks and is now occasionally breathless.
We did his shopping, after much persuasion , did a little cleaning and paid an overdue bill.
Trying to persuade him to get help with cleaning and chiropody. Also trying to get him to agree to me doing his washing. I think we wore him out with our demands. [Frown]
We plan to return soon, he won't put us off that easily.
 
Posted by Polly Plummer (# 13354) on :
 
Might Mr. Bee senior be more likely to agree to changes you suggest if they come one at a time?
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
It wasn't possible to do one thing at a time for my parents-in-law. They wouldn't accept anything at all until it was absolutely desperate, at which time they ended up in care.

The only thing we managed to get in place before this was someone to do the washing and hang it out, but even then my m-i-l would stubbornly go on doing it, with her failing heart and repeated falls.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Yes, I'm sure he'd be happier thinking on one thing at a time. But he is 94 and admitting he feels unwell.
This from a Yorkshireman whose usual refrain is "Musn't grumble." So I don't think we have the luxury of time as APW says.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Has anyone had experience of equity release?
My Mum's bungalow roof needs retiling. She's had 3 quotes and all are for more money than she has.
She likes the idea of equity release and has someone coming to see her about it, with my sister and brother in law in attendance. None of us are happy about it as if we understand it right debts won't be paid and will increase until the bungalow is sold.
Any advice welcome.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
A friend's mother was in this situation, and she and two siblings each chipped in £5000 or £6,000 in return for which their mother signed over part of the house to them.

There was some additional benefit to doing it this way, which I can't remember, and it only worked because all three siblings put in the same amount.

[ 01. March 2015, 18:31: Message edited by: North East Quine ]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
A nice story!

About 3 months ago, my partner and her sisters went and did a little concert for their mother and a couple of the other old people at the rest home. My partner decided to keep on doing this, and make it open to anyone. We've been going every two weeks, and after doing the concert/singalong for the main home, we've been going over to the dementia unit and repeating it.

On Saturday we had nearly 30 people packed into the dining room. People were chatting to each other, making requests for next time, and lots of them stayed for afternoon tea. The activities director is very happy with us because its got some of the shyer ladies to come and meet others. Several of them told us how nice it is to hear the songs they learned at school, and how did we know them?

My bonus this week was having a long talk with a lady who had been a senior social worker in our care and protection agency.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
NEQ - my husband looked into this, as my m-i-l needs various things done to her house and it seemed a sensible idea. As far as he was able to find out, you can only get larger sums than the£5,000 or so needed and all the other fees etc ended it up making it not worthwhile.

The concerts sound great APW. How is your m-i-l doing?

[ 01. March 2015, 19:07: Message edited by: Sarasa ]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Ma-in-law is still struggling with why she has to be in care, but most of the time she seems more settled. She told my partner last night that she doesn't like the home because she can't just go off and do things in the car like she used to.

My partner had to explain that as m-i-l can no longer walk unassisted, and needed help to eat, it wasn't the rest home that was stopping her going out, it was her own body.

We came to the conclusion recently that this is the crux of all m-i-l's complaining - she isn't the same competent person she used to be, but because she isn't able to understand this, she blames the home.

And its all soooooo much easier without my partner's sisters here.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
That's hard, APW - I suspect that what ails most of our ageing parents is the realisation that their bodies no longer work properly, and the difficulty of accepting it.

My dad's currently in the assessment ward while the PTB decide where he should go (probably the local old people's home). When I was over for his 90th birthday last month, he got very distressed when my sister and brother took him back after having him at his house (where we were all staying) for the afternoon and evening; I don't think he wants to accept that living by himself is no longer a realistic option.

[Votive] for you and your family.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
My mother 1000km away has recently decided that she won't answer the phone because "she has nothing to tell anyone". The possibility that others may have something to tell her doesn't seem to have occurred to her.

She has always been a bit self-centered but his is ridiculous - perhaps like the "delirium" she had for a couple of weeks before. In that state, in between more or less sensible comments on what was going on and what was said to her, she would intersperse a sentence like "should I bid hearts or no trumps?". Apparently part of her mind thought she was playing bridge, which she last did in RL about 2 years ago.

A good thing that she is now safely in a nursing home. But how can we show that we still care. (I'm trying letters and cards to her, but that may just frustrate her as she [physically] can't write back because of shakey hands.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
The place where my Dad was had volunteers who came in and wrote letters dictated by residents. It was a surprise to my brother in the US to get a letter in strange hand writing.

My Dad often missed out part of my brother's address so I sent a stack on envelopes addressed and stamped correctly so that it was easy for him to post them.

In addition I sometimes sent Dad postcards of places we had been as a family or where I had spent a holiday. They have the advantage of not needing much written in them.

Huia
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
She's a sibling, not a parent, but is of an age where this thread seems a reasonable place to post.

Any ideas on navigating a lunch with a sister who is in a care home and doesn't like it, has type 1 diabetes and paranoid schizophrenia which react badly on each other, and at 65 still, deep in her heart, wants to live independently, even though this has proved a failure many times in the past.

She doesn't say much, and I find myself with little point of contact. We live 250 miles apart and I manage to see her 3-4 times a year. My current coping method is to bring friends and family along so that there will be conversation going. One of my cousins is much better at this than I am! The topic which gets the best response is the RC church, which we were brought up in.

I began to post this on the Difficult relatives thread in Hell, but realised that actually it’s much more of an AS post.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Taking other people is a good move.

Do you have any family photos you could take or even postcards of places you had family holidays or cities where you or she lived? Is there any music from the past that she might enjoy?

I have a similar problem with my brother who is 2 years older that I am, but who seems to be developing early onset dementia. I collect weird facts about elephants and wolves because I know he is interested in them.

Huia
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Photos are an idea I hadn't thought of. Thanks, Huia.

In a momentary misguided sense of fairness I split the photos with her after our father died, though I do have some copies (of hers). The sad thing is that anything given to her seems to disappear. For years she kept furniture in store, and in the end it had to be ditched, having cost a small fortune in the meantime.

She's a hoarder of wheelie shopping trolleys and luggage but the contents are often sheer rubbish.
I even remember bricks! And used hypo needles from the days when she controlled her own medical stores... The Home staff check on those now.

We are coming up to the Easter visit. Time to gather the troops. And photos.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Well, Mr Bee's aged parent died this morning.
Yesterday Mr Bee had phoned his Dad's surgery and expressed our concerns for his health. All they could offer was an appointment , first one available was 13th April.
The big plus is that he died at home, having looked after himself and without hospital tests and operations.
We visited him on Sunday with daughter Erin and I gave him a pedicure. I'm stupidly grateful that I was able to do that.
 
Posted by Caissa (# 16710) on :
 
My condolences, Tree Bee.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I'm sorry for your loss TreeBee, but glad you managed to see him and give him a pedicure. May he rest in peace.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
It doesn't sound the least bit stupid, Tree Bee - it was one last kindness you could do for him.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager and I survived an afternoon of tests and consultants yesterday afternoon, and we had some useful discussions. I'm just praying that whatever her condition - probably heart failure - it can be treated with drugs, because at almost 91 I'm not sure open-heart surgery would be a Good Idea.

Still, she remains herself, which is a blessing (mostly!)

Mrs. S, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst [Angel]
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Condolences and may you find peace TreeBee.

This is mostly an airing of a story, which details of generally don't get completely organized when talking. Writing it out helps to do is more completely.

I'm continuing to work through and otherwise struggle with a needy nearly 90 year old father. He and my mother moved away in the 1980s the month our first child and their first grandchild was born, from Canada to rural Mexico. Building a house with no guest room, and generally discouraging of contact with us and my brother and sisters. About 15 hours, 3 planes and a 2 hour car ride to get there. However, after my mother died - my father had lied about her condition and resisted our visiting and our help, so never saw her - I arrived down there 2 days post death and had to manage the funeral and actually conduct it. Sorrow and anger. But thank God for prayer books which provide liturgy and for having been a lay reader. but A Big Mess inside and out.

So I helped him organize life down there to live out his days at his choice down there, about 3 months post death. But then he reversed the decision suddenly, and arrived on my doorstep. So at great expense and effort, got him set up in a semi-independent living situation where they do cleaning and one meal per day. Got him through 2 surgeries. Furnished the place. Contracted for extra care. Make him food to heat in the microwave. get him to the library, get him shopping. Get him trumpet music - he practices daily.

The man is needy. It's coming up to 3 years now of tending to him. He is getting needier. Wants company, wants to talk and tell the same stories over etc. After being absent from our lives for 3 decades, and I feel obligated. I try to set limits, and also would like to recover years of lost contact. Naive and silly that. I would have selected my wife's wonderful parents over either and both of mine to be the last alive.

So now we travel to see our children, and end up leaving him, with the next trip to be over Easter. We've taken him with us, but it is like having a elderly toddler. He doesn't want to come and we don't want him to, he wants us to stay, and I don't want to. He won't connect with others. He plays on guilt very effectively.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I think the fatal thing there is 'he won't connect with others.' Because we do need others. And this leaves you on the hook, as the only social contact.

For many years my parents lived in one of those senior golf communities where everybody drives a golf cart. As long as you play golf, this is great -- the social structure revolves around the game. When my father's eyesight began to fail, he suddenly could no longer participate. This has been bad for him.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
No prophet etc., that sucks. But it sounds like you're doing a remarkably good job of coping with the sucky situation as best anybody can. [Overused]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager, always anxious, is doing a good job of driving me to drink. Yesterday I called her to see how the ultrasound scan had gone - not that she'd have any results, of course, just to see if she'd got there okay. On the phone 25 minutes. Ten minutes later she was on the phone again, ranting about the letter she'd received from the hospital confirming the appointment she'd just kept.

OK, I know it's wasteful etc, but I can't persuade her that the hospital staff don't sit around thinking of new ways to annoy her. On the contrary, they'd got her a cancellation at short notice and called her to book her in, so that the standard letter that they HAVE to send out (systems - processes - targets) only reached her after the appointment. She's never one to take a charitable view of anyone else's motives, but it's getting worse and worse [Roll Eyes]

And was it really worth calling me to tell me this? Not from my point of view, that's for sure ...

Oh dear - the Grumpy Mrs S
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
My mother was due to have a cataract operation this Saturday. She's cancelled it because she has a nasty cold. Very sensible of her, as coughing in the middle of the operation would not have been a good idea. They think they can squeeze her in sometime in April, which is good, as if it goes on any longer I can see her changing her mind, and her eyesight is so poor that living on her own is beginning to be a worry to me.
Hope the results of the Dowager's ultra-sound show a solution to her difficulties with breathing.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Mostly pretty settled round our way, allowing for dementia and steadily increasing weakness of limbs in m-i-l.

Partner and I were talking last night about what we'll be like when we're elderly, and whether all the things we see in our elderly parents are going to happen to us. Of course, we think not, but... It was a great discussion, if a bit unsettling.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Partner and I were talking last night about what we'll be like when we're elderly, and whether all the things we see in our elderly parents are going to happen to us. Of course, we think not, but... It was a great discussion, if a bit unsettling.

As I only have a few years before Superannuation kicks in maybe I will start practising being awkward so I am really good at it when the time comes.

Huia
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Partner is only 5 years off getting her gold card, so she was feeling the immediacy of it too. [Eek!]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
My mother was due to have a cataract operation this Saturday. She's cancelled it because she has a nasty cold. Very sensible of her, as coughing in the middle of the operation would not have been a good idea. They think they can squeeze her in sometime in April, which is good, as if it goes on any longer I can see her changing her mind, and her eyesight is so poor that living on her own is beginning to be a worry to me.
Hope the results of the Dowager's ultra-sound show a solution to her difficulties with breathing.

My Mum had a cataract done 2 days ago and will get the other eye done in 3 weeks.
They told her to squeeze the nurse's hand if she needed to cough as she had to keep very still. She said it wasn't painful at all and everything looks brighter, if still rather blurred.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I've had both my eyes done, so I know what it's like. I'm a bit worried mum is bottling out of the idea. Her eyesight is very poor and the cataract operation is really her last chance at making things a bit better (she is more or less blind in the other eye). Hope the burriness goes quickly for your mother, I could see really well from the off with both of mine once the drops had worn off.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Partner and I were talking last night about what we'll be like when we're elderly, and whether all the things we see in our elderly parents are going to happen to us.

Based on what my father's gone through, I've already decided that I will check out of this hotel at the first sign of being unable to care for myself.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Partner is only 5 years off getting her gold card, so she was feeling the immediacy of it too. [Eek!]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Prompted by this thread which continues to deal mainly and helpfully with particular cases, I have started a new thread in Purgatory on "aged care" to discuss some of the issues arising here in more general terms.

[ 30. March 2015, 10:45: Message edited by: Tukai ]
 
Posted by Amika (# 15785) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Partner and I were talking last night about what we'll be like when we're elderly, and whether all the things we see in our elderly parents are going to happen to us.

Based on what my father's gone through, I've already decided that I will check out of this hotel at the first sign of being unable to care for myself.
That's my feeling, too, having watched my dad with dementia (very unhappy dementia with hallucinations and thoughts of persecution, etc.) and my mother miserable for six years after a stroke and never going to come to terms with it (can't say I really blame her but it's hard going as nothing will cheer her up more than a brief smidgeon).

My greatest fear is being unable to 'check out' having been immobilised first.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
I feel the same way but I also feel unhappy about this talk of checking out and how it relates to our policy of not discussing suicidal stuff. Please be cautious in what you say.
 
Posted by Banner Lady (# 10505) on :
 
There is probably not much that makes us feel happy about dying by inches and knowing it. Vitamin D injections have been a huge help with my 97 yr old mother. As far as I can see a large proportion of the 67 residents in her Aged Care Facility battle depression - understandably so.

After 4 yrs of her being there she has become less inclined to go out as the difficulties of doing so leave her exhausted. This would make me feel guilty if it was not her choice. I have come to the conclusion she actually likes turning down offers of outings, as it gives her a feeling of power.

Every time one of the staff annoy her (a weekly occurrence because of the revolving door staffing syndrome in aged care nursing) I cop an earfull. This would make me feel guilty except that she doesn't help matters by loudly referring to the non-white personal carers as "that black nurse" or "the fuzzy fuzzy nurse" etc etc. She cannot conceive that such terms might offend anyone.

She hates the climate here, but actually never goes outside the climate controlled building. I've given up feeling guilty over that.

Every so often, my mum has a really bad few days. I ramp up the attention, and make sure I bring along the one great grandchild who loves to give everyone cuddles. Hugs from him seem to help, even though she never hugged her own kids. Putting in place safeguards that help her to retain small bits of independence also help.

Sometimes she 'can't be bothered' to help herself. But having something to look forward to each week is one way to keep things more or less positive. I make sure I eat with her in the dining room at her home once a week, and join in with occasional church services there. Arranging for mail to arrive is also good medicine, though she can no longer write back; and monitoring her clothing/personal effects to her specifications helps her feel satisfied that she is ordering her own small world capably.

Comfortable and well monitored is all I aim for. 'Happy' we will never achieve. My attitude to bringing up my kids was the same. I refuse to be held responsible for someone else's happiness - that way lies misery for everyone, methinks.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Banner Lady, you've got it! I've already posted about my sister in care who has the mutually toxic conditions of type 1 diabetes and paranoid schizophrenia. Happy we can't hope for. Supported, especially with the professionals taking the strain, is possible. Boundaries are essential, or we would all go down in her discontent.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Question: Is someone who cannot reliably differentiate between her driving licence and her car tax actually fit to drive?

Answers on a postcard, please, to the Dowager.

Having read the medical information on the driving licence renewal VERY CAREFULLY I applied for it on Mum's behalf. Since then I have seriously begun to wonder if I did the right thing! [Roll Eyes]

Mrs S, [brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
Her sons had to take my aunt-in-law's car away when - though physically she is perfectly fit - she would forget where it was she was driving to. Also, there was some evidence that she was beginning to forget the rules of the road.

It's a big step, since it's taking away a major piece of autonomy, but the risks of not doing so timeously are too great.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I'm assuming the Dowager will be asked to re-take her test or at least submit a current eye-test result from her optician? Then all you need to do is to stand by to be sympathetic when she gets very cross with the (in her opinion) idiots at the DVLC.
I went to see my mum yesterday. When it's just the two of us on her home ground things are a lot easier between us. She hasn't heard about a new date for her cataract operation but I hope it's soon as she really can see very little now. Other than that she is a bit vaguer and a lot slower, but still very interested in politics and the world around her. I tried to have a gentle talk about what happens when she does get more frail. My point was if she doesn't think about more help now, she may find herself having to take an option she likes even less (moving into a care home) sooner than she might otherwise need to do so.
 
Posted by la vie en rouge (# 10688) on :
 
My parents had to suggest diplomatically to my 92 year-old Grandad that it might be time to stop driving his car. TBH, he wasn’t a particularly good driver at 50… [Eek!] and what worried them most was not just that he would be a danger to himself, but that he might seriously injure or even kill someone else.

One thing that softened the blow was to point out that since he wouldn’t be paying the insurance any more, he could afford to get a taxi if he wanted to go somewhere. At that age, the premiums were sky-high.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Believe me, if there had been anything on the form to allow me to say 'no' I'd have balked at renewing the licence. But she can see OK, so no get-out there. I have put my foot down and insisted that she only drive the roads she knows well, close to home, and I have pointed out to her that it's the damage she could do to other people that she should be concerned about.

Luckily she is sensible enough to accept that what she pays to run a car would pay for not a few taxis, etc - but it's the independence, isn't it, that's really at stake.

(She found her camera in her underwear drawer yesterday, having looked in all the places she would have expected to find it. I think by then she'd forgotten how to use it, and I'm sure the batteries are dead.... [Eek!] )

Mrs. S - everyone else had better pray I don't drop dead! [Two face]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I thought you had to have a medical everytime you renew your licence over the age of 70, but it seems loking at the website just to be a paper excerize.
My mother never passed her test (mainly due to my dad being totally un-supportive, he didn't want to drive and didn't see why anyone else would either). When she was younger I thought it was a shame she didn't persevere, this is the woman who could steer a 70ft narrow boat into a lock with one hand, but now I'm glad), as I think she'd have carried on long after the time it was really safe.
 
Posted by Nenya (# 16427) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
Luckily she is sensible enough to accept that what she pays to run a car would pay for not a few taxis, etc - but it's the independence, isn't it, that's really at stake.

It does depend on what you're used to and what your expectations are. One of my friends (who is my age) passed her test years ago but has chosen not to drive. She goes everywhere by public transport and is fiercely independent. She manages to do things like walk the South West coastal path by careful planning and detailed reference to bus and train timetables. [Overused]

I did worry that my brother, who was my mum's carer until she died and is 67-going-on-87, would get a car once he had a bit of money of his own but very fortunately he didn't.

Nen - no Aging Parents but an Aging Brother.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
If she gets referred to a dementia clinic then they can force her to have a fresh driving test. If she fails then she looses her license.

Jengie
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I think the regs vary depending on where you are. You might call for a gradual tapering down -- only on short trips, only on familiar roads, only in daylight, that kind of thing. (When we come around to this stage we will add, only with the GPS on so you don't get lost.)
And then there is always low cunning. When the car needs repair, the parts cannot be found, the costs are very high, the mechanic had problems, etc. An enforced period of life without the car may help an elder realize that things can be managed without it.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Brenda, the GPS is no real guarantee of not getting lost. Quite a few people here in Sydney have found that their GPS seems to advocate a swim across the harbour to get to the other side. Other similar mistakes with roads.

I have a friend who always relied on the device, even when he knew the route. He is at the top of the slippery slope downhill to some form of dementia. The voice from GPS rattles him if he has a bad day and he cannot follow the directions at all. Unfortunately, he does not or will not recognise his problems. He has bad days with dates, times, appointments too. Travel arrangements misunderstood have had him miss plane twice to Pacific islands as he has gone to wrong terminal.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Loth, I would never allow her to have a GPS. On one occasion I was driving her to Belgrave Square right in the middle of London, and Jane (our satnav is called Jane) calmly announced 'After 300 metres, turn right'.

Mum: Turn right! She said turn right!

Me: Mum, if I turn right now, we'll be in the middle of Harrods window. Is that what you want?

She did show signs of interest in one, but I'm sure it would be one more gadget she couldn't use, and would lead to Issues (and more phone calls) [Roll Eyes] so she's only permitted to drive where she really really knows the route.

Mrs. S, on-line telephone support
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Friend whom I mention above heard his GPS say "turn right." He leant across and tapped the screen to show where to turn and promptly turned left. It took me quite a while to navigate out of the industrial estate he had landed us in as it had one way streets, big delivery trucks etc., streets with no entry. I also had to make sure he followed my instructions and did not treat them as he had treated GPS.

My MIL was terrible driver all her life and became worse as she aged. Her car was covered in dints and scratches and occasionally more major damage. Her son took her to doctor on another matter and I rang doctor to warn him we wanted her license revoked. He gave her a couple of fairly simple tests of reflexes which she failed and rang motor registry to revoke it on the spot. She was livid, absolutely livid and never went back to him. We took car away, as we knew she would continue to drive back streets to club every day.

This was the woman with whom I had to drive to a family function to show her the way. Halfway there, after a series of near misses, I was horrified to be told that had she known she would have so many giddy turns, she would not have come out. I refused to drive back with her, as did my sons. She followed one to find the way.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Has anyone done any research to discover if people age better if they've had to rely on public transport rather than cars all their lives? My mum,although much less fit than she was is a lot fitter physically than my m-i-l who has relied on cars all her life, though she's never learned to drive herself. I know in some places you are totally stuffed if you haven't a car, but even when they retired and lived twenty minutes away from any public transport my parents seemed to manage, though I know if she was still there mum would have had to have moved.

As for sat navs. I've never driven with one, I know if it said turn right or whatever I'd be in danger of doing just that without checking the traffic conditions first!
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:

As for sat navs. I've never driven with one, I know if it said turn right or whatever I'd be in danger of doing just that without checking the traffic conditions first!

They don't just spring it on you. There's normally a first intimation ''In x hundred metres [take the action]'' which may be repeated (depending on the distances involved) before the imperative to do it now. The idea is to give you time to position yourself appropriately.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
My sister was losing her vision, but has to drive to work. She used a GPS to help her spot when the turnoff of her freeway exit was. (We were all horrified to learn this, but she didn't tell us until after the successful cataract surgery.)

In spite of failures, the GPS has helped me to get places that I still don't know where they are. I just blindly followed the directions and got to where I was going, and then hit 'home' to get myself back again. Especially in bad visual conditions (night, rain) it is invaluable. Sometimes the road signs are just not visible. And there was a famous occasion, in Carlisle, when we trusted the thing absolutely, and it took us around a warehouse, down under an overpass, and then pop! We were out on the right road and heading in the right direction. There is no way we could have found that, without technical help. Even verbal directions and a hand-drawn map would not have sufficed.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Sarasa, my experience was the other way about. My MiL never learned to drive (FiL worked on the railways so they went everywhere by train). When FiL died, she just stopped going anywhere other than catching the bus into town (it stopped outside her door) and finally became housebound when she began to fall and refused to use a stick.

The Dowager on the other hand had never driven very far, or on a motorway, till my Dad died (35 or so years ago) but she had always been active and fairly adventurous so for a long time she travelled and drove. We used to joke that we had one Grandma who wouldn't go out and one who wouldn't stay at home! [Killing me]

Mrs. S, devoted satnav user (but who appreciates that they can go wrong, too!) [Two face]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My Mum drives locally but has lost her confidence in driving further since my Dad died .
She has cataracts, one operated on now and one to go. She is very active socially and has several friends who rely on her for lifts as they don't drive. It does concern us that she sometimes drives when she shouldn't as others depend on her.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
hmmm, sympathies; my AP is borderline unsafe driving her mobility scooter. Should we or shouldn't we bring matters to a halt? Still deciding in her favour, but the clock is ticking. And what then?
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
In theory, the answer should be to encourage taxi use, the savings on car costs would cover the cost. In practice, friends and relatives have been reluctant to use the taxi because of the cost, despite all the money they have saved when giving up the car.

Perhaps there's a business opportunity for a taxi firm who will send a monthly statement to a relative, so that the individual never finds out the cost and feels able to freely use taxis.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ethne Alba:
hmmm, sympathies; my AP is borderline unsafe driving her mobility scooter. Should we or shouldn't we bring matters to a halt? Still deciding in her favour, but the clock is ticking. And what then?

Is there any kind of subsidy for taxis available to her?

I know that there is here, but my father refused to use it even after collapsing while walking home. [Roll Eyes]

Huia
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
In Hong Kong there is a system called 'bak pai' which means white tag. A private car in HK has a white license plate. a bak pai is a private car driven like a taxi -- like Uber.
In theory it would not be difficult to set up a deal with a known and trusted Uber driver, to be your bak pai. Robert calls every day and sees if Mrs. McCormack wants the car for today. If she does, she pays a per-mile rate (like Uber). If not, he goes and does his Uber-y thing. You, the offspring, naturally get the bill (and pay for it if necessary out of the parental funds) so that Mom ever has to worry about what it is costing.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
A friend in UK has this arrangement with a black cab and the lovely Paul - she is not elderly but has MS and Paul arranges his life to pick her up for work and bring her home every day and also to do any other runs for her and her friends. The thing is to find the right driver.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
When my dad was still partially mobile, he was a member of Orkney Islands Council's Dial-A-Bus scheme, which was useful for occasional trips when he didn't want to (or couldn't) use his mobility-scooter.

Do other councils operate similar schemes, and would they work for any of the potential ex-drivers people have mentioned?
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Ours does, but part of the problem is getting the message through that it's OK to use these services. My grandmother used to phone my mother or my aunt to come and change lightbulbs for her because she 'didn't want to bother' the warden of her sheltered accommodation, even though the warden was just across the courtyard and my mother and aunt lived 10-15 miles away.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
My mother stopped using Dial-a-Bus because she was fed up at having to wait 2 hours after her appointment at the hospital for a lift home and would rather pay more for a taxi. The demand for Dial-a-Bus outstrips the supply and so the service cannot be very flexible. Fortunately she is quite happy to use taxis and all the drivers at the nearby firm know her.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
Is there any kind of subsidy for taxis available to her?

I know that there is here, but my father refused to use it even after collapsing while walking home. [Roll Eyes]

I'm afraid that there are some folk - possibly not your father - who see the use of taxis as unacceptably "extravagant".

I had a gentleman in my church. He had a car which he used once a week to go shopping. Eventually he gave up driving and used the bus - which he found difficult.

I suggested he got a taxi: even a £10 return trip each week to go shopping would have cost him much less than running the car which he had rarely used. But he couldn't see it, and ended up hardly going out at all.
 
Posted by Panda (# 2951) on :
 
My mother-in-law turned down a knee replacement a year ago, on the grounds of "I'm all right at the moment." Actually, we think she took fright at all the post-op information, esp regarding physio and the need to stay active.

But within a month, she was starting to deteriorate, and now she can hardly walk, even with a stick. She too is still driving, but you can see she's in pain, and not driving well - lots of revving in low gear because she's slow to change up, and I don't think she has as much control over her legs as she thinks she does. We do worry about her reflexes, in an emergency.

She's not an outgoing person anyway, and the car is her only real link with the outside world. Certainly she couldn't walk to a bus stop, and I think she'd struggle (and be embarrassed) to get in and out of a taxi, as well as blanching at the expense (even with the no-car saving).

It is hard. My husband knows the time's coming soon when he's going to have to point it out to her, but to put it mildly, he expects a prickly response...
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
When we were discussing the semi-private driver idea in my family my daughter (young and tech savvy) immediately popped onto the internet and searched out driver services in the relevant area. It is not at all difficult to find people willing to do this; the trick (as mentioned upthread) is to find the right person -- reliable, safe, and agreeable to the elder in question. We were greatly aided in this by the fact that my parents are familiar with the concept.
 
Posted by To The Pain (# 12235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Panda:
It is hard. My husband knows the time's coming soon when he's going to have to point it out to her, but to put it mildly, he expects a prickly response...

My mother (not quite in her sixties) has declared that she will stop driving when I tell her that she should. This is as a result of her father continuing to drive locally for some time after he had far too limited range of movement in his neck and my paternal grandfather going AWOL on a couple of occasions with the car once dementia began to set in. I'm actually not too worried about her - despite learning to drive in her late twenties and generally being a rather cautious driver, she has recently managed to drive a people carrier with reasonable confidence and I think she will give up of her own accord at a reasonable point. My Dad (just in his sixties), however, started working as a driver about 5 years ago after a long career as a computer programmer and now has an HGV licence. He's a great driver, but I notice that his patience with other drivers is beginning to lessen and I don't know if he would notice his powers of observation deteriorating. At least there's an annual medical for HGV drivers over 65, losing that entitlement might serve as a prompt to consider when to give up car driving.

Of course, I may have been selected as the offspring to bring a halt to driving due to being the only one who lives 500 miles away!
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
M-i-l is moving further into dementia. Very stressful for her, and for us. Resthome staff are great, keeping us informed, letting us know whether we really should come up urgently or stick to our planned visits (4-5/week).

She's so distressed most of the time - purely anxiety - but has no capacity for calming down without medication. The carers are great, go in and sit with her, talking quietly, encouraging her to slow her breathing (and in the oddfiles, fart more).
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
I don't know if this helps or not but my grandmother had a phase of being very distressed by her forgetfulness, then she forgot that she should know stuff. She was happier even though it was more painful for us. [Frown]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
I agree with JoannaP there, for elderly people moving into dementia the process can be very distressing but once past that initial phase they often seem far more settled though it can now be more difficult for relatives and friends.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Thirded from over here - at first Mum's short-term memory loss really distressed her, but once she reached the stage of not knowing what she'd forgotten, she seemed sort of peaceful and contented.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
I found that having dad admitted to care was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. He too had been bothered in the early stage of dementia. However I went to visit about a week after admission. I was greeted with "Don't know where your mother is. She may be in bathroom, or perhaps she has gone shopping. She will turn up."

As the dementia advanced he did not know any of his children but remembered the names of grandchildren. That too was hard to bear.

[ 21. April 2015, 23:38: Message edited by: Lothlorien ]
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
Oh yes, my mother can sympathise. She was very hurt when she realised that the references to Grannie's hated eldest sister (dead by then) were actually things she had done. Then one day, Dad went with her. Grannie had not seen him for several months but recognised him instantly and knew that he was trustworthy, so happily did whatever he told her to. My mother was more relieved at getting the necessary things done than resentful - but it still hurt.

A family friend who cared for her father, talked about going into the kitchen for a little weep when he did not recognise her for the first time but, when she went back, he knew exactly who she was! I think the unpredictability did add to the stress for her, but she said her father was always charming, regardless of whether he recognised her or not.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thanks. I think unpredictability is what's making us feel shaky. And my partner is also the EPOA, which means that her mother has decided its all her fault she's ended up in a home (when in fact it was the decision of her late husband).

Given how much daily work my partner is doing for her mother, this feels hurtful to her, even though she knows the dementia is talking rather than her mother.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JoannaP:
A family friend who cared for her father, talked about going into the kitchen for a little weep when he did not recognise her for the first time but, when she went back, he knew exactly who she was! I think the unpredictability did add to the stress for her, but she said her father was always charming, regardless of whether he recognised her or not.

That is something to be grateful for - the FiL of someone known to me has had to go into care, and despite having been a most charming elderly gentleman is now losing his frontal lobes to dementia. Hence he now feels it appropriate to utter every racist and sexist comment under the sun, all the stuff he would *never* have said in his right mind.

Since the staff at the home are overwhelmingly a) female and b) not WASP, his son and DiL are hideously embarrassed by this [Help]

My Grandma went a bit the same way, only with her it was more physical - she would corner my poor father at the sink when he was washing up, and pat him tenderly on the bum!

Mrs. S, praying not to go that way [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I've been thinking about the point The Intrepid Mrs S. made up-thread about elderly people not wanting to be old.
My mother in law seems to have come to terms with her diminishing physical and mental state and seems happy doing simple things like sitting in her garden with her favourite books. On the other hand my mothers first reaction after her recent cataract operation was to head to Boots for anti-wrinkle cream.
My m-i-l couldn't manage at home if it wasn't for my brother in law's twice daily visits and managing of things like shopping. She seems fine when I speak to her on the phone, but when we visited the other week I was very aware of how frail she is, and how increasingly confused she is becoming.
My mum, although admitting she hasn't the energy she had thirty years ago, doesn't seem to realise that it isn't just her eyes that have changed over the last few years and that she isn't as mentally sharp or physically fit as she was. She is very unhappy about suggestions that she needs more help. My brother and I don't want to force her into things she doesn't want to do, but I feel that it may come to that in the next year or two.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Given how much daily work my partner is doing for her mother, this feels hurtful to her, even though she knows the dementia is talking rather than her mother.

Arabella I recognise that knowing it is the dementia talking. My Mother in the throes of dementia once told me she didn't have a daughter. We were in the middle of a busy airport and all I wanted to do was sit down and howl.

[Votive] for your partner, for you as you support her, and for her mother who is unaware of the pain she is causing.

Huia
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I'd like to put in a little positive note.

We had an e-mail today from a friend of Dad's who's been making a regular habit of visiting him since he's been in the care-home, and he says that once Dad sees him, he's just as sharp as ever he was, they have long talks about everything and nothing and occasionally go out for a drive somewhere, with Dad's powers of observation apparently more-or-less undiminished.

It's maybe only a little thing, but I can't tell you how encouraged I felt.

[Smile]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Thanks Huia. Partner turned 60 this week, and celebrated by getting a humungous cold, which meant she couldn't visit her mother. It sounds dreadful, but we've both been enjoying the peace - even though the rest home is still ringing with status updates, partner absolutely can't go and visit.

Makes me very aware of our lack of respite, that we are feeling glad to have an excuse.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Well, APW, you have to take care of yourselves, or risk being fit for nothing. It's rather grim that it takes a severe cold to get you both a respite from visiting, but the alternative of infecting a home full of fragile oldies doesn't bear thinking about. So enjoy. [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Piglet - Good to hear that your dad is settled and doing well. I'm sure as we get older our brains can't cope with too many things, and if you are spending all your energy on day to day stuff you don't have time for the sort of enjoyment a good chat or a drive gives you

APW - Hope your MiL settles down soon, it must be distressing for her.

We collected my mum from my brother's today, where she had been recovering after her cataract operation and took her home. I think the operation has gone well, but she is realising how bad her bad eye is and hasn't quite got used to the sight in her good eye. She also needs to get new glasses. I think my brother found the week quite tough. She won't stop talking, and every conversation has to revolve around her. My brother and I spent a few minutes trying to decide the next move. Didn't get very far, but I can see a time coming shortly when we have to make her either move near one of us, or except more help in her own home.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Is getting the other eye done on the cards? Perhaps now that she's seeing the difference (sorry - no pun intended) it makes, she'll not be so apprehensive the second time round.

When my mother-in-law had hers done, apparently the first thing she said on arriving home was "goodness, I must clean those curtains!" [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
My mother has macualr degeneration in her other eye, for which the treatment hasn't really worked. There is nothing that can be done (yet) for it. Her first reaction on having better sight was to head for the anti-wrinkle cream!
I don't think it is just a problem with eye-sight, but there is more general age-related stuff going on as well. I'm coming to the conclusion that she wants conversation to revolve around her because she is finding it difficult to engage in more abtract concepts. Have others found this?
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
I'm coming to the conclusion that she wants conversation to revolve around her because she is finding it difficult to engage in more abtract concepts. Have others found this?

Yes. I think too that it is really frightening as we get older, especially with a loss of vision. I was interested that her first reaction was to reach for the anti-wrinkle cream - there's something quite touching about that - here's a woman who has not given up. (It's not that I hate wrinkles, but if she had the cream on hand it's obviously something that has been and is still, important to her).

My Dad had always been interested in international news and politics and I watched him slip away from this what was going on in his own life and his body. He also had less interest in his favourite son who is living overseas and whom he knew he wouldn't see again.

Huia
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
I visited an elderly friend in his short term care home recently, and yes, his conversation revolved round himself, but in three ways which seemed perfectly understandable.

Firstly, his state of health, which had taken a sudden downturn some weeks previously, resulting in a horrific shuttling between hospital, rehap and home,repeated over six or seven weeks. The care home was a respite affair, pending decisions about where and how he would live in the future.

Secondly, he was mulling over the necessity of selling his home if it became clear that he could no longer cope alone, and would need to stay in care. As he said, it's a big decision. His two children are immensely supportive, but he wanted this to be his decision rather than an outcome imposed upon him by circumstance and reinforced by family members, both of whom live at a considerable distance.

Thirdly,he talked about past events, his memories,stories about his deceased wife, and things that they had done in their early married life, both as a couple, and with their children.He often referred to people who had themselves died some time previously. I can tap into this, as I too have memories which no-one else can share,as the other participants are no longer with us. And I'm only 63! (It is rather a shock to realise that I've joined the ranks of the middle-aged, never mind the old. Wierd!)

This lovely man was not being self-centred, just coping with the major adjustment required by his recent life events. He did spare a thought for me and my welfare, as well as delivering a pungent comment or too about institutionaled living in the (excellent) home.

Maybe there has to be a detachment from outside issues, and an internal accounting of what life has been about.It seems to be all part of the preparation for death. Distressing to watch, but inevitable.

[ 26. April 2015, 16:51: Message edited by: jacobsen ]
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Thanks for that Jacobsen - it makes sense when you think about it.

And about realising that you have joined the middle aged old, I am the same age as you but whenever people ask, usually as a security question I automatically say 42 [Hot and Hormonal] I think it's because of the Hitch-Hikers' Guide To the Galaxy but it's caused me a few awkward moments.

Huia
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
And are you in any case the answer to life, the universe and everything?
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Intended to visit the Dowager for an overnight stay on our way home from The Intrepid Miss S and SiL, staying 24 hours max. 48 hours later, following one hospital admission, one visit from the early-release respiratory support team, and enough meds to keep a small African country supplied indefinitely, Mr S has fled and abandoned me to my role as geriatric nurse. Hell's teeth, I don't even want to be an ordinary nurse! [Mad] specially not an unpaid one.

But ... the Dowager needs me (though if she asks me One More Time what the peak flow meter is, I swear I shall scream!) so here I am, working the nebuliser and organising the tablets, coaxing her to eat, asking her not to refer to the lovely visiting respiratory nurse as That Woman [Eek!] and praying for patience!

Yesterday, while the Dowager was still in hospital, we blitzed the kitchen - the fridge, the cupboard doors, the oven doors - whatever you cleaned made the rest look worse! In the normal course of events I wouldn't even have noticed, but when you're around a little longer you tend to notice more [Roll Eyes]

Now she's home I have to be more circumspect - she hates me cleaning things, but my view is, better I see it and do something about it, than her friends see it and think she's a slob [Eek!]

Ah well, it'll be my turn soon enough, I daresay. Thanks for letting me rant [Two face]

Mrs. S, smelling ever so faintly of bleach
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Hope you manage to get the Dowager back on her feet without too much loss of sanity or patience, Mrs S. Will this put the kibosh on her cruise or is it too early to tell?
My mum seems OK back in her own home after her operation which is good. I've decided that I'm not going to fret anymore when she seems unable to talk about the things I want to talk about and take my lead from her. As a resolution it probably won't last long....
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Real Life intervened....

re: Taxis and ancient relatives
T'would be fabulous if someone in the nearby villages decided to become a taxi driver!
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
And are you in any case the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Of course
[Razz]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
And are you in any case the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Of course
[Razz]

Me too - that's what happens when you're 1) the eldest and 2) the only daughter!
[Killing me]
Mrs. S, ever so slightly resentful
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
And are you in any case the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Of course
[Razz]

Me too - that's what happens when you're 1) the eldest and 2) the only daughter!
[Killing me]
Mrs. S, ever so slightly resentful

Or, in the case of me and my partner, the only ones in the country (although I fulfil eldest and only daughter as well).
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager: Of course, there's never anything on the television these days.

Me: No, you're right there. Do you ever watch a DVD?

The Dowager: No - I have heaps of them- I know I should - but there's usually something on the telly to keep me entertained.

Mrs. S - [Help] [Roll Eyes] [Ultra confused] [Eek!] [Mad]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
How's your mum getting on Mrs S. ANy chance of you going home soon.

My mum had an appointment at the hospital yesterday. Partly a check up sfter the cataract operation, but partly to look at her bad eye. SHe's been told they will not give her any more injections in that eye as they won't do any good. She thinks this is a ploy on behalf of the NHS to save money. I spent quite a while on the phone last night telling her I thought there were probably good clinical resasons for the decision. She doesn't want to accept that, understandably as it means she will probably go blind in that eye.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thanks Sarasa, Mr. S is on his way to collect me. [Axe murder] I can tell she's much better as she is getting more argumentative/feisty!

It did put the kibosh on the cruise, sadly, but I think this has put the frighteners on her so she's more likely to call for the ambulance if things get really bad, rather than waiting around for the surgery to open the next morning [Eek!]

She wrote me a cheque this morning for what I'd spent (for the new washing machine, primarily) and made it out to me in my maiden name. I've only been married 40 years - it just goes to show that she is seeing me as her daughter first and foremost!

Ah well, home tonight [Overused]

The Relieved Mrs. S
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Bad evening tonight. Partner visiting mil, who asked 5 times when she was going to get out of the rest home. Followed by, "I have six children, you'd think one of them would take me in."

When I picked partner up, she was still seething.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
(((APW and partner)))

I spent a week with my Mum, and by the end I knew she was getting better because she was getting stroppy [Killing me] There is no way on this earth she could actually live with any one of the three of us!

Mrs. S, sympathising
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
The depth of mil's fantasy world has been obvious for years, well before she went into the rest home. Where I would have posted on the Difficult Relatives thread then, its much sadder now, as she's oblivious to the necessities of her body - can't walk, can't feed herself, can't do even basic self-care.

Can still guilt-trip her youngest daughter like a pro. There's a reason 5 of her children moved overseas or hundreds of miles away.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
So it's 8.30 am on a cold, damp and miserable Monday morning, and Mr S and I are slobbing around in our dressing gowns, having our first cup of coffee. Landline rings, so we ignore it, thinking it's the Honorary Curate (well into his eighties) whinging about his computer. It's the Dowager - 'Oh what a terrible start to a Monday morning' sounding like Cassandra.

Me (picks phone up) Mum! whatever is the matter? are you all right?

Mum: I still can't get the computer to do anything and it keeps telling me people may be trying to steal passwords and credit card number...

Me: but you never use a credit card on there, so that's not a problem!

It took half an hour to establish that she had no internet connection, and probably another 15 minutes to get her to reboot the router ('what's the router?'), at which point everything worked again and Mr S and I had our nerves utterly shredded.

Once it was sorted, she just kept laughing (irritating me yet more), but till then it was all disaster. I never signed up to be a geriatric nurse still less do geriatric telephone IT support! [Mad]

The trouble is that she panics, and then she is desperately impatient and won't wait a moment for something to open, or close, and you have to repeat a million times what an icon looks like (once you've got her back on the desktop, which is a whole other issue). Why did I ever think that email might provide a less stressed method of communication than the telephone?! [Ultra confused]

I know she's over 90, which is why this isn't on Difficult Relatives, but oh dear oh dear ...

Mrs. S, wailing and gnashing her teeth [brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Hope you made more coffee!
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Sometimes my dad would phone me to tell me he had sent me an e-mail and then we would chat a bit and he'd tell me all the news he'd put in the e-mail!

At first he used to write in all caps until I asked him not to do it as it is seen as impolite - it is also difficult to read!
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
.....It took half an hour to establish that she had no internet connection, and probably another 15 minutes to get her to reboot the router ('what's the router?'), at which point everything worked again and Mr S and I had our nerves utterly shredded.

Once it was sorted, she just kept laughing (irritating me yet more), but till then it was all disaster. I never signed up to be a geriatric nurse still less do geriatric telephone IT support! [Mad]

The trouble is that she panics, and then she is desperately impatient and won't wait a moment for something to open, or close, and you have to repeat a million times what an icon looks like (once you've got her back on the desktop, which is a whole other issue). Why did I ever think that email might provide a less stressed method of communication than the telephone?! [Ultra confused]

I know she's over 90, which is why this isn't on Difficult Relatives, but oh dear oh dear ...

Mrs. S, wailing and gnashing her teeth [brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

TeamViewer is your friend here. Although it might be difficult to explain it to her. It is very easy to use and I can recommend it.
 
Posted by TonyK (# 35) on :
 
Second recommendation for Teamviewer from here.

Of course, it's no use if there's no internet connection...
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
TonyK - that was exactly the problem. We have Team Viewer installed - that was the icon I was describing to her in excruciating detail - but as you say if there's no internet connection it's All In Vain *sigh*

Ah well, just await the next catastrophe...

Mrs S, TeamViewer devotee
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
If my mum ever goes back to using a computer, I'll make sure we get that installed. She has a habit of spending a fortune getting people in to fix problems (e.g. her showerhead), that one of the family could do for free.
We went to see her yesterday. In her own home she is a lot easier to get on with than when she's visiting. We cooked her dinenr while she recycled various stories. Her eyesight is a little better after her cataract operation, but she kept on going on about how dark it was when the sun was streaming through the windows.
Hope everyone elses aging P's are doing OK. How is your m-i-l APW and has your mum's health Improved Intrepeted Mrs S.?
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My Mum's eyesight is so much improved having had both cataracts done that she doesn't need specs at all and has had to buy non prescription sunglasses as everything is so bright. Hope something further can be done for your Mum Sarasa.
Regarding Mr Bee senior's house, we have a house clearance company taking everything out the week after next, and we have an offer to buy. Hopefully the end is in sight.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thanks Sarasa - yes indeed, she is looking more like herself and is better able to walk without supporting herself on the furniture. She also made me a cup of coffee when I went down for E, her best friend's, memorial service on the 29th, and that's the first cup she's made for me in a long long time.

Luckily the service was a delight (even if the rain was torrential). E's grandsons, each in their twenties, gave short tributes which really brought her most vividly to life as she had been before ill-health took hold. We were all completely charmed [Overused]

Also my brother was there [Yipee] (no, not the depressed alcoholic, the dependable one) which was lovely for the Dowager and for me; and she met loads of old friends, so that should set her up for a while.

Mrs. S, marvelling at the Dowager's resilience [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
My mother in law died 8 years ago. I had a geranium from her garden. Normally these are annuals here. A miracle plant. But it has now died. The last living connection to her is gone. It probably seems trite to write about it, but it seems significant to me.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
My mother in law died 8 years ago. I had a geranium from her garden. Normally these are annuals here. A miracle plant. But it has now died. The last living connection to her is gone. It probably seems trite to write about it, but it seems significant to me.

I can understand your feelings. My mother who died six years ago, gave me two plants to mind for her when she moved to an unsuitable climate for them. One is a trail of hearts, tge other a Rex begonia. I have moved them three times and they are now settled on my balcony and thriving. I look after them very carefully.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
My mother in law died 8 years ago. I had a geranium from her garden. Normally these are annuals here. A miracle plant. But it has now died. The last living connection to her is gone. It probably seems trite to write about it, but it seems significant to me.

We have a lavender bush in our garden that is known as Bill's lavender. It was given to us by a dear friend who died the day after our housewarming party - he had been very tickled to be invited, even though there was no chance of him attending. Bill's lavender has been replaced a couple of times in the last 21 years, but its still his.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager had an unwonted moment of self-awareness yesterday. Having sent Master S a birthday cheque dated 4th December 2015, she observed 'I think I've lost some mental capacity over the last few months'. I was forced to agree with her, but reminded her (again!) that the nurse had told her to expect at least 6 to 8 weeks recovery period after an an 'event' like hers - as long as for a heart attack.

That helped - but she no longer remembers that she was told it [Ultra confused]

She is also beginning to query the cost of running her car, which she only uses round the village and for the occasional trip to the park-and-ride into town and to the hospital. I know that that money would pay for a lot of taxis, but getting one to come out from town and drive her to church, say - that just ain't gonna happen.

Mrs. S, pondering ...
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Sorry about your MiL's plant No Prophet. Maybe take APW's suggestion and buy a new one in her memory?
I think (in regard's to the Dowager)that one accepts one's limitations as 'normal. I know I'm deaf, but I still can't believe that others can really hear things I can't. My mum is aware that her sight is bad, but still doesn't really realise that means she misses things when cleaning, and is a bit miffed when it's mentioned.
Mum is off on holiday next week, and for the first time ever I'm concerned about how she'll cope. it's not just her eyes, they were bad last year, but she seems a lot vaguer than she did then too. She tends to monopolise conversations, and I can see her fellow travellers might find that a bit waring.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
The Dowager had an unwonted moment of self-awareness yesterday. Having sent Master S a birthday cheque dated 4th December 2015, she observed 'I think I've lost some mental capacity over the last few months'. I was forced to agree with her, but reminded her (again!) that the nurse had told her to expect at least 6 to 8 weeks recovery period after an an 'event' like hers - as long as for a heart attack.

That helped - but she no longer remembers that she was told it [Ultra confused]

She is also beginning to query the cost of running her car, which she only uses round the village and for the occasional trip to the park-and-ride into town and to the hospital. I know that that money would pay for a lot of taxis, but getting one to come out from town and drive her to church, say - that just ain't gonna happen.

Mrs. S, pondering ...

If she has been given anaesthetic then there is a good chance that the anaesthetic is causing the forgetfulness. They give a drug to stop you remembering what has gone on but for the over eighties this quite often causes long-term memory problems.

With my father, these lasted weeks, with a friend the result seems to be permanent although there is ever so often some improvement.

Jengie
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thanks Jengie, but no anaesthetic was involved. I think and hope that she will recover most if not all of her brain and lung capacity; it's hard to balance reassurance with being realistic about these things.

Mrs. S, glad to see the Dowager improving [Angel]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Just an update to say that I took the Dowager out to lunch to celebrate her 91st birthday. She looked, breathed and walked much better than even three weeks ago [Axe murder]

Then had a happy afternoon de-cluttering *MORE* paperwork, but glad to be able to help [Smile]

Mrs. S, feeling better
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
Just an update to say that I took the Dowager out to lunch to celebrate her 91st birthday. She looked, breathed and walked much better than even three weeks ago [Axe murder]

Then had a happy afternoon de-cluttering *MORE* paperwork, but glad to be able to help [Smile]

Mrs. S, feeling better

Excellent! [Smile]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
That is good news!
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Well done Mrs. S. (and happy birthday to the Dowager)! [Yipee]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thank you all!

I was very pleased too, as on Sunday - just as the band were trooping into the vestry to pray before the evening service - I received this e-mail from her -

I had a load of trouble last night and it's only a little easier now, I don't know what my car will cost me finally, but I know I don't want to be without it. I was lost.

Well, luckily I knew she'd spoken to Mr. S and Miss S that very same 'last night', but I worried all through the service. Turns out the laptop had hung [Mad] so I had to say to her, please tell me what trouble it is, so I know how worried to be!

Mrs. S, bearing up
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I'm impressed that your mum texts you Mrs S, even if the message has you worried. Even when she could see well enough to do it, my mum never quite understood her phone so never could send or receive texts reliably.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Ah no, Sarasa, that was an email. I'd love to be able to use text messages, but the Dowager's mobile is hardly ever turned on!

I am desperately trying to ensure that there is another way to reliably contact her, other than using the landline - but it doesn't always work, sadly.

Mrs. S, becoming (reluctantly) expert at telephone IT support
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Hope everyone's parents are doing as well as they can.
My mum is coming to spend the weekend and we've planned lots of activities so it should be fun. I'm a bit concerend from a couple of things she's said that her eyesight has taken a turn for the worse (from very bad) over the last couple of weeks. I'll check her out at the weekend, but I'm wondering when my brother and I will have to start insisting about her either moving or getting help in.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
[Votive] for all that, Sarasa!
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
We had a good weekend with my mum. However it has left me in a quandary. Her sight is very bad (she thought a buggy coming towards her was a car, we were in a park at the time), though I do sometime wonder that if she is with people she lets them do the 'seeing' as when I asked her she could read the arrivals board at the station she could read the top line. She very easily gets in a muddle and things get lost and misplaced all the time. I guess most of that is due to her eyes, but she does tend to get stuck in a groove of telling the same stories all the time.
I am in a dither as to whether to start pushing her about moving into accomodation with more support. She really hates the idea, but I think soon she isn't going to have a choice. There is then the dilemma about somewhere near where she lives or somewhere near my brother or I. I think the former, my brother inclines to the latter, so more family dynamics to throw in the mix - added to which my brother isn't actually answering the emails, facebook messages etc I've been sending him!
As it's the school holidays I'm goign to go oevr and vsiit once a week and see how the land lies.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
We had that dilemma with my dad; at the moment he's in the local authority old people's home in the town where he's lived for the last 50 years. My sister and brother (who have joint welfare powers) had considered moving him to Edinburgh, where they both are, but as it is, he's being visited by friends and former colleagues who sometimes take him out for a drive, and if he was in Edinburgh he'd probably only see the family once a week or so (and nobody else, as he doesn't know anyone else there).

Just my 2p - obviously your mum's situation might be quite different.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
There wa sa lot of talk from my brothers about dad going to live with one or the other - I was on dad's side and anyway he liked Liverpool for a visit and to see the opera but he'd have hated living there. In the end he spent a bit of money buying services and stayed on quite happily in his own home surrounded by his friends. I forget the piece of research now but there is something somewhere that I read way back when I was in the game that if you move older people forcibly 50% will be dead in 6 months.
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
I agree with ww; back in the 70s my mother wanted to move in with me, as she wanted to be somewhere where her declining health would be able to be looked after. I told her that she would be better off staying in her own town, where she had tons of friends, knew all the shopkeepers and could nip out to bingo and stuff. She didn't like that, but in the end she was much happier and died locally visited til the end by everyone in town. 11 years on.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Every time I call the Dowager she has a new problem (I'm sure you all know how this one plays). Wednesday's was that she had three parties to go to and two of them clashed (now that I can live with).

However her skin is so fragile that she only has to look hard at it to get a bruise; she has a potentially cancerous area on her leg, which needs a biopsy; and she said very sadly 'I just want to know, how long before I can stop this endless back-and-forth to the doctor and the hospital?' I had to bite my tongue NOT to say 'When you're in your box, Mum!' but managed just to sympathise. She's run out of patience with being old.

Mrs. S, sympathetic but unable to offer a solution [Frown]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Thanks for all your thoughts on my mother. I'm going to try and at least get her to think about getting in more help. I agree that staying where she is is probably best. One thing that struck me, which I hadn't realised till I spoke to my mother in law this week is that mum is probably depressed. My MiL has various health problems and was phoning to let me know about the latest. Though a lot of the conversation was on that, we also chatted about loads of other things and it was a two way dialogue My mum tends to only want to talk about what is happening with her. I think I've only just twigged this, as my mother always used to look on the bright side of everything, and had a mother who had more than enough real tragedy in her life to sink most people, but who carried on cheerfully despite it all.
Hope the Dowager resolved her party problem. Is she less confused than she was a few weeks ago?
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Sarasa, that's exactly how Mum is - very much centred on herself and mostly not very interested in the rest of us. For instance, I was trying to cheer her up and said 'Come on, you want to live to be a great-grandmother, don't you?' to which she made some very non-committal reply, more or less to the effect of 'Sod having great-grandchildren, what am I going to do about my skin?' [Killing me]

Back to your DM, Sarasa - I'm determined the Dowager should stay where she is since I think even a voluntary move would finish her off; and besides, I don't want her to leave her friends (of which she has a LOT) to depend entirely on us.

Luckily she knows what the maintenance charges on a retirement flat are likely to be - 'Mum, you can buy a lot of gardening for £700 a month!' and thank you Sarasa, she is a lot less confused now.

Mrs. S, grateful for the opportunity to vent
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I am convinced that my father was clinically depressed, and that it was a steady diet of Fox News that was to blame. After years of being assured that the country was going to hell in a handbasket he despaired. We begged him to watch the Nature Channel or something instead.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Just back from a flying visit to my mother, who lives 1000km north of us. A nice side-benefit was that we enjoyed a warmer winter climate - min 10degC rather than max 10degC where we live!

She went reluctantly into an "aged care residence" (i.e. nursing home) in January. The transition was not helped by a "temporary" burst of mental confusion, which had her imagining that she was playing cards half the time and thus talking in Bridge bids, which didn't make much sense to anyone else.

The good news is that she is now much more contented about where she is and no longer longing to move "home". With better food and a cleaner environment, she is actually looking healthier than for some time past. And the mental confusion has worn off, though she is not as mentally sharp as he was a couple of years ago - not uncommon at 92, and (according to her doctor) "definitely not Alzheimers". Also most strikingly, she is actually talking to and greeting some of the other residents, most of whom are like her physically frail but in reasonably good shape mentally.

But we have learnt never to ask her "how are you?" by way of greeting, as her usual response now is "pretty awful; all I want to do is to die!". This reminds us of the wise observation of Mrs S: "what older people don't like is getting old."

Fortunately, we have found it best to simply ignore that response and immediately move to another more immediate and positive subject, like "have you seen these new photos of the grandchildren?". She then cheerfully talks about that instead. This may be one benefit of her short-term memory not being so good as it used to be!
 
Posted by Banner Lady (# 10505) on :
 
Glad you transitioned your Mum into the care she needs, Tukai.
I am just off to visit my 97yr old mother. She is suffering with a lot of kidney pain at the moment, and we are awaiting test results. Of course she does NOT want to go to hospital, undergo procedures or any such stuff, so trying to winkle out of her what her pain levels really are is to have to become Sherlock Holmes. She is doped up to the eyeballs on pain killers but still astute enough to tell her daughter exactly what she wants and doesn't want.

Can't manage to work the call button in her room, but can telephone me! [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Not my parent, my aunt.

A cousin, who works full time and has to travel for periods of anything up to a month with their work, has persuaded his parent, my aunt, to put her house on the market and move to live in the same town as him: not in the same house, the same town.

This is a move of over 200 miles to a place where my aunt - who is 80 - knows nobody. My cousin has a very limited social circle in the town because (a) they've made precious little effort to expand their friendship group since leaving university, and (b) what social life he has is based around a rugby club 8 miles away.

The house my aunt is being moved into is on a hill, over a mile from the nearest shop, not on a bus route, 3 miles from the health centre, 2+ miles from the local church.

Where she has been living she is within walking distance (200 yards) of a full range of local shops, and the church, and she has a wide circle of friends, and is on a bus route, and belongs to 3 clubs/organisations that give her a regular social life.

When a couple of us tried to reason with our cousin we were told to 'flock off' because it would be easier for him to 'look after' his mother if she were in the same town than a 200 mile journey away.

When we very gently raised the subject with her she burst into tears and said that she didn't want to move but could see it was 'unreasonable' to expect her child to go to her, rather than the other way round. In fact, he's limited visits to a maximum of 3 per year: Christmas, her birthday plus one other from time to time.

Now my aunt faces the move within 6 weeks and is increasingly tearful and upset at the prospect.

I'm having a meeting with two other cousins early next week to see if we can help in any way, but the cousin who's causing the upset is adamant that she's his mother and its up to him what happens to her; he threatens that if we 'interfere' he'll walk away from any future involvement and leave her future care up to us.

Watch this space.

[Mad] [brick wall]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
[Votive] l'organist
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
[Votive] for l'organist.

We have the opposite problem; mother-in-law is about 2.5 hours travelling time away, which is just about doable as a day trip but not on a daily or weekly basis. She's lived in the same house for over 30 years, has a lot of friends in the area (though many of them are too old and frail themselves to visit her now) and we're trying to leave her there for as long as possible because she has dementia and doesn't feel comfortable anywhere else. Next week we have arranged for her kitchen to be replaced and I am going to have to spend the week there, reminding her every ten minutes or so why the workmen are pulling her kitchen cabinets to pieces. I think getting used to having a new kitchen is as much upheaval as she can cope with for a while.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
L'Organist - I can understand why your cousin might think it's better if his mother lievs near him, but he seems to have arranegd the move with little regard to what she actually wants. Is it too late for her to call a halt to this, at elast for the time being?
I went to visit my mum last week. In her own environment she is much more together than she is when she visits us here, though for 87 she is doing amazingly. Next week she has an eye appointment, and I am wondering whether going with her might be useful, as I can then 1. talk tot he consultant and 2. talk to her friends who take her about what they think about her general stae of health etc.
My brother seems to have given up being in contact with either me or her, which considering he was pushing her to move nearer him, isn't good.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
he's limited visits to a maximum of 3 per year ...


200 miles isn't such an onerous distance these days, and I suspect that your aunt would be better off in the environment she knows and loves and only see your cousin occasionally than be uprooted and spend most of her time seeing nobody at all.

It's the same principle my siblings are finding with my dad. It was suggested that he be moved to a home near them, but he's much better off where he is, being visited regularly by friends and occasionally by family as and when we can get there. (FWIW my sister manages to visit him about four times a year, a distance of 300+ miles involving either a ferry or a flight).

[Votive] that you and the rest of the family can make your cousin see sense.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
The survival rate for transplanted elderly people, particularly moved against their will, is pretty dire.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
That's why we are trying to avoid it.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Piglet: I agree, the ideal solution is that aunt stay where she is an he go and see her, perhaps even consider a greater number of visits.

But his answer is that he's been making the journey for 25 years (ever since his father died) and its now his 'turn' to be able to say enough. The bottom line is that if she stays where she is he's saying he won't go to see her.

One positive is that her house hasn't sold so if she decides to stay put she will have a roof over her head: but on the negative side, if she doesn't move there is every likelihood her only child will refuse to go to see her.

What me and two cousins are likely to try and broker is our preparedness to arrange to go and see her and being available to take her to him for Christmas, if that is ever on offer. But my aunt is very much in thrall to this child - as an only he was thoroughly spoiled - and it wouldn't come as a huge shock if he decided never to see his mother again. At the moment he is talking about her 'crossing' him if she decides not to move, which doesn't bode well, especially given the family tendency not only to bear grudges but to feed them.

One thing I have discovered today is that she hasn't given him Power of Attorney which, given the situation, can only be a good thing.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
That does seem like a good thing, and the longer she can "withhold" it (is that the right term?) the better.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Could she give Power of Attorney to someone else, if it comes to that? It doesn't have to be your next of kin, just someone you can trust to look after your interests.

What a horrible situation to be in. [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I do hope your cousin and his mother can reach a solution that suits both of them, L'Organist.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
Question

Anyone know where you can get a non-internet enabled word processor?

Basically something with the functionality of a Amstrad PCW and NOTHING more.

Seriously the internet is bothering my Dad so much that he wants to give it up but still wants word processing capabilities.

Jengie
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Can you just remove his modem? Or whatever he's using to connect to the Internet.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
It should be possible to go into the setup and click the Work Off Line button.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My youthful, healthy, vivacious mother has told me she's in love with a man she's been seeing for only a month.
Am in shock. [Eek!]
 
Posted by Ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
Eek Tree Bee. How long has she known him? There's been similar in this family, with widower announcing his engagement on late wife's birthday, less than 18 months after she died.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
@TB - In love is great - it makes you feel alive. What she does about it is another matter altogether.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Congratulations to your mother TreeBee, have you met him yet?
My mother in law has been going out with someone for the last four years and it has really added to her life. She has limited mobility but as he had a car they do get out places and they enjoy holidays together too. They decided that they wouldn't live together as they both like their own places too much, and they try and keep their relationship separate from family life - I've never met him yet, though family member who live nearer have.
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
As to your mother's new beau, Tree Bee, much as you probably felt that your love life was your business, so, too, is your mother's love life her business. A wise daughter would stay out of it.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Pete:
As to your mother's new beau, Tree Bee, much as you probably felt that your love life was your business, so, too, is your mother's love life her business. A wise daughter would stay out of it.

Yes, this is my thinking too.
But Mum so wants my blessing, and no, I haven't met him. She's known him about 2 months. It's the speed of this new relationship that concerns me. We will visit next month and hopefully will meet him then.
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
Jengie - our church computer has word installed, isn't connected to the internet, and works fine.
 
Posted by Jonah the Whale (# 1244) on :
 
I just got an email from my Dad. It's his first ever email at the age of 86 so it looks like he is finally getting online. My stepmother is quite savvy so it's not like I couldn't get things to him digitally, but I consider it quite a breakthrough.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Well, my cousin and I went to see our aunt last week and we had a good time. After a very good meal we led the discussion to her impending move and the floodgates opened!

Transpires the whole thing has been (as I'm afraid I suspected) imposed on her by her darling son, who has told his mother that unless she moves he will no longer be able to get to see her unless she goes to him.

So, other cousin and I eventually got the chat around to how much she really enjoys seeing her son: transpires not a lot, since he spends all his time lecturing her on her 'extravagance' which he considers 'selfish' since he will be in no position to pay for her care 'as and when you're too far gone to be on your own' (I told you he was a real charmer).

She doesn't want to leave her friends, doctor, etc; and money is not an issue since, if she chooses to downsize (and she'd quite like to) there will be plenty to cover her needs.

Now we're trying to formulate how to tell her son, my swine of a cousin, that this time he can't bully his mother into doing what he wants.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Good luck, L'Organist - you may need it. He does sound like a bit of a plonker - I hope you can make him see sense.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Hope your aunt manages to stand up to her son and do what she wants. it sounds sensible if she downsized to something near where she already lives, and spends her time and money enjoying herelf with her friends rather than doing what her son wants.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
My only warning is for her to keep hold of her finances. If he gets control of her funds, she is toast. OTOH going bare is unwise as well. Have her set up a power of attorney with someone who will be her advocate.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I think I need to chat to mum and my brother when we all meet up tomorrow about power of attorney etc. Mum is still pretty together when it comes to managing her finances, but her poor eyesight means she is finding simple things more and more difficult. Another thing I want to discuss is the services offeed by RNIB and how helpful they may or may not be for her.
Mum is still talking about replacing her computer. I pointed out that as she can't read the high visability keyboard we bought her, it is unlikely she would be able to cope with a computer, however it was set up.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
RNIB were brilliant with my dad, they came up with all sorts of helpful stuff.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Had my aunt on the blower yesterday: she'd had a brainwave which she wanted to report.

She took the plunge and took the (female) incumbent into her confidence at the weekend, and also asked her if she would go with her to her GPs; at the meeting with the doctor, he confirmed that she was mentally fine, physically good and said there could be no question of her not knowing her own mind.

Accordingly she's now set up a Power of Attorney with my other cousin (not her child) who happens to live within half-an-hour of her. When all of that is done she'll tell her dear son.

In the meantime, she's stalling about the house going on the market or moving, saying she has masses of clearing out to do and can't even think it is likely to be finished before Christmas at the earliest.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Well done, L'Organist's Aunt! [Smile]

That's great news, and even better that she's found someone she can trust as her attorney.

Wishing her well for explaining it to her son ...

[Votive]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
I echo what Piglet said - brilliant!!
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
So pleased for your aunt L'Organist. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when she breaks the news to her son.
We went to see my mum at my brother's today. They have a demanding six year old so it was tricky to have meaningful conversations, but my brother and I went for a quick walk while everyone else headed to the pub, and I think we have a bit of a strategy forming.
Mum is still going on about spending £4,000 on a computer she doesn't need and couldn't see.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
She won't tell him on her own: 3 of us have said we'll be with her. At the moment the plan is to invite him to a lunch somewhere swanky (he'll go if he's not paying) and then do the deed afterwards. In the meantime, the aunt seems to have lost 5 years and is getting quite feisty!
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Hurray! Feistiness is a good thing.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
L'organist's Aunt
[Overused]

Huia
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Good on her for taking control. She sounds as though she'd fit right in with my mum and aunties.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
I am glad that she is getting stuff sorted and is obviously enjoying the feeling that gives her.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Good for you, La Tante de L'organist!

The Dowager continues to be feisty also - her new neighbour at the back of her house tried to get her to agree to his placing a new fence on her side of the ditch, rather than his. His excuse? 'But you have so much garden, and I've only got a little bit'. She didn't want to fall out with him but had to explain quite forcefully that the ditch remained in her garden. Why he didn't offer to buy some of it, instead of trying to half-inch it, I'll never know [Mad]

Additionally, A Well-Known Insurance Company Offering To Insure the Elderly is still doing absolutely f***-all about progressing her insurance claim from the end of May (she had to cancel a cruise). Every time I go there, I phone them (she has to be there, or they won't speak to me) and they promise faithfully to DO something - last time it was a female and I hope she really does action this or it'll be another of my famous Complaint Letters to their Chief Exec [Mad] [Mad] [Mad]

And just to round things off, she had to have Something removed from her leg on Tuesday - luckily I was able to go down and take her/bring her back, even though the letter they sent her* clearly said she could drive herself after the 'procedure', she mustn't drive for 10 days. I hope it heals cleanly, her skin is so thin that it won't be easy.

* which luckily she hadn't read!

But in other news she is much less confused and easier to be with, though coming home from the hospital to watch Holby City wasn't my idea of fun!

Mrs. S, who never wants to be 91 [Ultra confused]
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:

Mrs. S, who never wants to be 91 [Ultra confused]

Be wary of saying this to any medical people. I said it to a dietician last week and she asked if my doctor knew I felt this way (which she does). I had the impression that the dietician thought I might need to be assessed for depression or something. I just thought I was being realistic.

On the other hand it is so good hearing about feisty elderly women. I am in training to be one if I am still alive.

Huia
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
My parents live in a cul-de-sac; almost all of their neighbours have been there for years (decades!) so they know everyone.

Mum drives to the nearest shop every morning to buy the paper / milk etc. A couple of days ago as she was returning home at 8.30, she turned into the cul-de-sac and saw two young men walking along coming out. As it's not a through route, she wondered where they'd come from.

She parked in the driveway and as she was taking her shopping from the boot, she saw the two men watching her; they must have turned round as she passed and followed to see which house she was going to.

Dad's car was in the driveway, too, so they would have seen that she wasn't an elderly lady living alone.

She feels they were "casing" her and is unnerved; I'm unnerved too.

I'm trying to think of a plausible reason for two young men to be walking out of a cul-de-sac, then turn round and follow an elderly lady to her home, but I can't.

My parents are sensible about locking doors, and have a burglar alarm.

Should I be concerned about this? Any suggestions?
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Worth mentioning to your Safer Neighbourhood police team, I would have thought.

Of course the two men could have been entirely innocent: looking to see which properties might be targetted for sales of new driveways or double glazing, for example.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
I don't know if they've got a safer neighbourhood police team; I'll find out.

Mum reckoned that one was aged 19/20, but the other was wearing a hoodie with the hood up, so she couldn't guess his age. The one with the hoodie was wearing those low slung jeans, which is why Mum took notice as she drove past; she can't work out how someone can walk when the crotch of their jeans is low.

It's the turning round and going back up the cul-de-sac which seems odd. But perhaps they were wondering if she was going into a house which looked in need of something.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
It does sound suspicious, I agree.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
They would be sadly disappointed if they did burgle my parents. Mum and Dad have lots of expensive, top quality stuff - Mum's good winter coat, Dad's highly polished leather shoes, Mum's secateurs, the rose-patterned china coffee mugs, the high-count bed sheets; but absolutely nothing with any resale value whatsoever. I can't think of a single item in their house worth stealing, unless Daniel O'Donnell CDs are worth more than I think.

If anyone is in the market for an extensive and comprehensive collection of cleaning materials, then Mum and Dad's house is the place to burgle; anything else, not so much.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
A work colleague's house was burgled and they even took the toilet paper. The police reckon someone was setting up house on the cheap.

Huia
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
One of their neighbours would spot anyone moving furniture out.

What's worrying me really is their peace of mind, if anyone did break in.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
... unless Daniel O'Donnell CDs are worth more than I think ...

I suppose if you smashed them into tiny little bits you could make a mosaic or something ... [Devil]

Seriously though, I hope this was a one-off and nothing comes of it; I can't imagine anything scarier than thinking that someone's watching you with ill-intent.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Of course the two men could have been entirely innocent: looking to see which properties might be targetted for sales of new driveways or double glazing, for example.

Many door-to-door people supposedly selling driveways and double glazing are actually casing the homes to see who's home during the day, or else they're selling supposed driveway sealer "left over from another job down the street," which is actually used motor oil.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
I'd report it to Neighbourhood Watch and the local police as a matter of course.

The other thing I'd do is buy the parents a couple of those piercing compressed air horns much-beloved by continential sports fans: then if anyone they feel threatened by come to the door (kept on the chain) they can sound that straight off.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
**bump**

Mrs. S, who may still need this thread to rant on!
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
What does one say when one's aged mother's opening lines on the phone are "I'm not well. I just want to die."?
I usually just change the subject straightaway to something more positive and not about her, e.g. some happy item about our grandkids (her great grandkids). I have long since learnt not to "greet her" with the standard polite "how are you? " as I know what she'll say.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
What does one say when one's aged mother's opening lines on the phone are "I'm not well. I just want to die."?
I usually just change the subject straightaway to something more positive and not about her, e.g. some happy item about our grandkids (her great grandkids). I have long since learnt not to "greet her" with the standard polite "how are you? " as I know what she'll say.

Gosh, how direct! I wonder how the conversation would go if you asked for specifics.
Mr Bee's father always responded "Mustn't grumble" which was likewise a conversation stopper. He kept this up as he obviously deteriorated so we never knew the truth.
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
The last year of my Mother's life, when we knew she was in end stages, I had this trouble as well in my weekly telephone call (This was 1987 and the rates were cheaper on Sunday, then) I used to open with Hello, Mother, wait for her to acknowledge me, and follow up with "Just my weekly call to tell you how much I love you" or similar words. We'd then carry on, with her telling me the little things in her life, and me telling her mine, but I always ended up with "Bye, I love you very much"
 
Posted by lily pad (# 11456) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
What does one say when one's aged mother's opening lines on the phone are "I'm not well. I just want to die."?
I usually just change the subject straightaway to something more positive and not about her, e.g. some happy item about our grandkids (her great grandkids). I have long since learnt not to "greet her" with the standard polite "how are you? " as I know what she'll say.

Hmmmm..........with my nan, we usually took time to hear her out on that. She loved to talk about what was hurting and what ailments all the neighbours had. Hers were always worse of course.

Thankfully, with a phone call, you can roll your eyes as much as you want or attend to the dusting while you chat. When you are old and hurt, everything is about you. While it isn't easy, fortify yourself before every call with the statement, "I hope I remember this when I am old and I hope there is someone there to just listen to me too."
 
Posted by sharkshooter (# 1589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
What does one say when one's aged mother's opening lines on the phone are "I'm not well. I just want to die."?
I usually just change the subject ...

When my father, now 85, was able to articulate words and phrases, my response was "I understand." and a hug when he said he wanted to die. He has advanced dementia, following the onset of alzheimer's some years ago. He knew what was coming, as his father had progressed along the same path before him.

We are all praying for the Lord to take him home soon, as he is unable to do anything for himself anymore, and most of the time does not even respond to verbal or physical stimulus. He has been confined to a bed and, via a lifting mechanism, to a chair for months now. He cannot straighten his legs, turn his neck or even chew foods, and has lost a great deal of weight.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
My father (late 80s), does this. I know he is depressed. But his situation is in fact depressing; his complaints of helplessness, deafness, blindness and so on are quite accurate. The doctor suggests antidepressants. I am not sure another medication (on top of the large number he already has to take) is wise.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Last week I went with two of my cousins to have a meal with a third who is trying to force his 80 year old mother to move 200 miles and threatening not to see her if she doesn't do as he wants (see posts above).

We thought if we offered to pay he would at least meet the rest of us - that much we got right. However, in assuming he wouldn't cause a scene if we met in a public place we were well wide of the mark.

After eating we brought up the subject of our aunt, his mother's, proposed move; before we could even suggest that she was less than happy or that't we'd be more than happy to ferry her to and fro his place - a distance of 200 miles - he just started yelling. It was none of our business (really, we're related to her too and Cousin A sees her at least once a month, as opposed to the twice/three times a year her son manages); she was mentally unstable and her unwillingness to move is a sign of encroaching dementia (her doctor says far from it); he's only doing it to enable her to live within her means (the cousin who lives nearest now has Power of Attorney and is gobsmacked at just how wealthy a widow she is); if she doesn't move she's going to die alone and friendless (she has a wide circle of friends and plenty of younger relatives who visit).

We managed to steer him into the hotel garden and continue there and that was where he delivered himself of an ultimatum: either we three back off and let him get on with forcing her to move (and he includes in that our ceasing to have any contact with her until after it happens) or she becomes our responsibility and he won't see her again even if we drive her to see him. He then stormed off.

Fortunately we'd arranged for her to spend a couple of days with Cousin A and she checked the aunt's answerphone before taking her back - which meant she could wipe out a tape full of vitriol. All she told my aunt was that he wasn't happy and would be in touch with her at some point.

Now we're on tenterhooks to see what his next move is going to be.

Meanwhile, Cousin Bs child got far better A level results than expected and so is going to the university near the aunt and is going to move in with her - paying rent, etc, of course. That will at least answer his "concerns" about her being on her own.

Watch this space!
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Gosh L'Organist, you've got the plot for a novel there. What is the matter with your cousin? If mine offered to do all that for my mum I'd be delighted, not having a hissy fit.
Tukai - Hope your mother is feeling a bit more cheerfull. I'd agree about actually discussing why she feels so ill she wants to die and then steer the conversation to more positive things.
My mum is trundling along pretty much the same as usualy. Her eyesight is very bad, but she insists she is coping. I'm going to try and persuade her to go on an RNIB course, as what she need is practical help for the day to day, how to put in pin numbers, distingushing a £20.00 note from a £5.00 one. She also seems to be getting a bit more forgetful, but nothing really major. Certainly the election of Jeremy Corben was of great interest to her, and really seemed to perk her up for a while.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
L'organist - my nasty suspicious mind is wondering what financial embarrassment this cousin got has himself into that needs his mother's money to resolve? Because this looks like him being desperate to get his hands on her money for some reason. He probably does know what she's worth, and he's probably hoping for the revenue from the sale of her house for some reason. Because wasn't he going to take power of attorney? And as the chief legatee would possibly feel that helping himself in advance was not a problem?
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
L'organist: being, as I am, a bad person I would have been tempted to say to bad cousin when he was doing his rather histrionic "Do it my way or I'll never speak to my mother again!" -

quote:
That's great! Can you put it in writing for us?
How old is he? He sounds about 7.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
He's 53 and, so far as we know, doing quite well for himself financially (he gets a 6 figure salary from one of the big consulting firms) and will get a massive pension when he retires.

No, the evidence is more and more that he is just an ultra Scheiße. The latest development (which I've put into Hell on Difficult Relatives) bears this out.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
What does one say when one's aged mother's opening lines on the phone are "I'm not well. I just want to die."?
I usually just change the subject straightaway to something more positive and not about her, e.g. some happy item about our grandkids (her great grandkids). I have long since learnt not to "greet her" with the standard polite "how are you? " as I know what she'll say.

B
She may be depressed, maybe encourage her to discuss with her GP (also might mean her pain control is not good enough.)
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
L'organist, I've just popped downstairs to look at your post and all I can offer is [Votive] .

What a rotten situation (and what a rotter).
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
L'organist, not sure which thread to put this in but it has reminded me of two incidents at the last place I was at.

Firstly, an elderly man who had been moved there to "be near his son", away from all his contacts. The son then moved over the river to Essex, and hardly ever saw him, having got involved with divorce and a new partner. I'm putting "hardly ever" because I can't be absolutely sure he didn't see him at all, though that was the impression I got. He became very lonely, alcoholic, and had to go into hospital to dry out. (No visits, apparently, from son.) He was left alone at Christmas, and wanted me to buy his supplies, including sherry, whisky... I got the ready meals, and saw his priest, who organised parishioners to have him for meals. He entered a decline, went to sheltered housing, couldn't look after himself, and died.

Has the son of your aunt got a partner?

The other thing occurring to me is the very nasty pair of people downstairs who were absolutely convinced that I was doing them wrong, and made my life a misery while they tried to get from me what they thought they were entitled to. That letter you refer to elsewhere has the stench of their sort of missives.

Has the son spent money on the house he intended his mother to live in? Still, he shouldn't lose by putting it on the market, if he has.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Hmmm... sometimes wealthy people (who are used to money solving their problems throughout a lifetime) can get quite peculiar when an elderly parent is showing signs of getting towards the end of a long life.Visits can tail off as the thought of facing a life withOut the parent looms.

It almost seems as if facing the final end/ the death of their nearest relation is too much to emotionally cope with.

Still, whatever is going on with him, your priority is for now going to be his mother. Best wishes from all reading this, we're cheering you on!
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
No, the Sh*t doesn't have a partner - has had a couple of female friends over the years but nothing serious.

His social life, if it can be called that, is largely built around meeting fellow OBs of his school, the rugby club (where he isn't popular) and things to do with his work. Oh, and he used to go to live Top Gear events and things like the motor racing at Goodwood.

On rare occasions when he attends family events if he speaks to any of us at all it is about (a) his car, (b) his job, (c) diatribes along the lines of "the country is going to the dogs": so generally a charmer!

Cousin B's student child has now moved in and so the aunt won't be alone at night.
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
This might be useful to your aunt and cousins.

Property Alert

It's provided by the Land Registry, and it's free. I'm going to mention it to my friend, as well.

[ 24. September 2015, 10:29: Message edited by: Penny S ]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
thanks for that Penny S - I'm delighted they are being proactive on this.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
"I can't go to church, it makes me too sad," says 88 year old. Misses his wife, my mother, and finds church reminds him of her. I get it, but it would be nice to take him with us; the church is ½ block from him but 8 km from us. After 5 years of her gone and moving him back, he finally says it. Maybe he didn't know it before. Don't know.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
[Frown]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
My first appearance here, although my father is 91.

He is in hospice care at home. I've just formally moved in with him after having lived a block away for years.

Twenty years ago he got prostate cancer. Radiation and hormonal treatment made it abate until about a year ago. It had come back and spread to his bones. An oral chemo slowed down the progression for about eight months. He lived fairly independently until he came down with an infection about two months ago that sent him to the hospital. After a time in a physical rehab facility he came home. my brother has come back to the States to help get the household set up for him. We had a devil's own time getting the family trust arranged so that we could pay bills. (See "Passive-aggressive Notes" in Hell.)

He is on heavy pain meds. This morning at 4AM he shouted for help; he didn't know where he was. In the bedroom that he has slept in for 60 years. In the queen sized bed he has slept in for 40 years. (He refuses to have a hospital bed.) I was able to reassure him and get him centered again.

He probably has a few weeks to live.

Thanks for listening.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
{{Lyda Rose and your dad}} [Votive]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
{{Lyda Rose and your dad}} [Votive]

Amen [Votive]
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
((Lyda Rose))
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Amen from me too [Votive] [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
{{{Lyda Rose}}} [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Lydia Rose and her dad [Votive]
 
Posted by Raptor Eye (# 16649) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Prayer from me too.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Thank you very much for your prayers.
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:

Thanks for listening.

We're listening.
[Votive]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[tangent]
Hello Chorister - it seems a while since we've seen you! [Smile]

**waves in the general direction of Cream Tealand**
[/tangent]
 
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on :
 
Today hospice was ordered for my dad.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
Lyda Rose, my thoughts are with you and your dad.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
CuppaT and her dad [Votive]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by CuppaT:
Today hospice was ordered for my dad.

[Votive]

My dad has gone into a coma.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
More prayer for you both, Lyda Rose.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
[Votive] [Votive] [Votive]
for all.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
[Votive] For Lyda Rose and her father.

Huia
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
[Votive] Lyda Rose.
 
Posted by Trudy Scrumptious (# 5647) on :
 
[Votive] [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[Votive] for Lyda Rose, CuppaT and their respective dads.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by basso (# 4228) on :
 
Prayers ascending.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
My father passed away shortly after noon today at home with his family near. He went very quietly without pain or struggle. He was a good man who had lived a good life.

May light perpetual shine on him.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
[Votive] God bless and comfort you and all who love him.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Prayers for all of you.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Lydia Rose - Prayers for your dad and for you and your family [Votive]
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Lyda *Rose
So sorry for you, but glad that your Dad's end was peaceful - the fact that he could die surrounded by family in his own home will come to mean a lot in the coming months [Votive] [Votive] for you all.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Lyda Rose - sorry to hear about your dad, but glad he had a peaceful passing. Prayers ascending for you, your family and for his soul.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory. [Votive]
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Lyda Rose, I'm sorry for your news, but relieved that it was peaceful. May light perpetual shine upon him. [Votive]

[ 07. October 2015, 02:19: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Lyda Rose [Votive]

Went down to see the Dowager yesterday. When I arrived at around 10.30 she was in a right old state; she'd spent all the morning looking for her door keys only to find they were on the work surface about 5 feet from where they should have been, and had then not been able to delete two capital I's from an email she was trying to write.

We got over that, and then she said 'I can't remember how to make the coffee'. She wasn't joking - she couldn't remember that you had to put the grounds in the cafetiere before the hot water.

[Eek!]

However once she had calmed down she was fine and I took her shopping; she bought two pairs of trousers, a jumper and a long cardigan, and a handbag [Smile]

When I rang her later to say I'd got home in one piece, she passed along the news that my aunt (at 94, 3 years older than the Dowager) had spent 4 hours trying to get out of the bath on Sunday. Even if she'd been able to raise the alarm, no-one could have got in, as the key was in the door [Ultra confused]

How long is this sustainable? Who can tell?

Mrs. S, personal shopper to the stars
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Just popped in to ask if anyone has any recommendations for keysafes - I've posted a question on the Inquire Within thread in Heaven if anyone feels like leaving an answer.

Mrs S - I do sympathize: I had to remind my mother how to make tea a few visits ago and it hasn't got much better. There are good days, which I treasure. But like you, I don't know how long the situation is sustainable. I don't often visit this thread as I find it difficult to read, but I wish everybody on it good luck and inner strength to face the challenges of helping older relatives cope with the problems of old age.
 
Posted by Thyme (# 12360) on :
 
Ariel, I have posted a reply on the Enquire Within thread.
 
Posted by Bob Two-Owls (# 9680) on :
 
I lost my mum last night. I was nearby and gave chest compressions within seconds of her losing consciousness but she never responded. Today I feel utterly wretched.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
So sorry to hear that, Bob. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
SO sorry Bob Two-Owls. [Votive] for your mum and for you and all who loved her.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
My sympathies, Bob Two-Owls. [Votive]
 
Posted by Sandemaniac (# 12829) on :
 
Oh Bob. [Votive]

AG
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
[Votive] Bob [Votive]
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Bob [Votive]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My condolences Bob. [Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
So sorry, Bob. Prayers for you all.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
I'm very sorry, Bob. [Votive]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Bob [Votive]
 
Posted by Bob Two-Owls (# 9680) on :
 
Thanks everyone.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Finally , after 104 working days, my mother the Dowager received the insurance payout from the cruise she couldn't go on back in May. It's taken a lot of perseverance and assertiveness from me to get it though; I wonder how long it would have taken if it had just been one 91 y.o. in poor health pressing for a resolution? [brick wall]

It makes me so cross when an insurance company specialising in cover for the elderly shows all the signs of ignoring them when it's going to cost the company money! [Mad]

Oh well, now to write that letter of complaint ...

Mrs. S, loaded for bear
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Get into your battle wagon and roll, Mrs S! [Mad]
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
My father, going on 96, is obsessed with a woman he was friendly with in the assisted living home where they both lived. While there, he complained incessantly about the level of care (which admittedly was very poor) and we finally moved him into a nursing home, where he is getting much better care and better meals.

However, he goes on and on about this woman, how important she was to him, how much he misses her, how he would do anything to be with her, etc. etc. If truth be told, she barely knows who he is when he calls on the phone.

My sister, at her wit's end with the incessant ranting, finally took him to visit the woman last week. Ever since then, he has been plotting to get himself thrown out of the nursing home -- being super-nasty to the staff, refusing to eat, etc. -- so that he can move back in to the assisted living home in order to be with the woman.

We have tried to explain to him that it's up the woman's family to bring her to visit him, or to have her move in to his present facility if that's what they all want. My sister and I are both getting on ourselves, and we are barely able to get my father in and out of the car to take him places. Furthermore, if he were to move back to the assisted living facility, he would immediately begin complaining again about the level of care. He is at the stage where he needs nursing home level care, and he's getting superior care right now. He's beyond the stage where assisted living would satisfy his needs.

It's getting to the point where we don't even want to visit him anymore, he's become so nasty.

My sister feels that his obsession with this woman is disrespectful to our mother's memory -- she's been dead 10 years now. I'm not sure I agree -- he can do whatever he wants so far as I am concerned so long as it doesn't soil the sheets. Besides, my mother always suspected that he was "playing around", so to speak, and I think she may have been right.

[ 17. October 2015, 15:08: Message edited by: Amanda B. Reckondwythe ]
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
Couldn't the nursing home facilitate a regulaar visit ?
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Amanda B Reckondwythe - I don't think it's disrespectful to your mother's memory that your father is interested in someone else, however it sounds like he is on a hiding to nothing as the object of his interest either isn't or is incapable of returning his affection. I could well see him being asked to leave the nursing home and the assisted living facility not wanting him back. Is there anyone who he'd listen to?
Mrs S Glad you got the Dowager a refund. My mother never seems to have had problems when similar things have happened to her, maybe another insurance company next time?
I went to see my mum today. She seems to be coping pretty well at the moment. I think apart from her eyesight, old age is catching up with her, but she is pretty amazing for 87. I'm going over at half term to help her sort through all her paperwork which seems to have got im a bit of a muddle.
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
You might wish to consider that your father has advancing dementia. There was a stage when my sister-in-law could still talk coherently, but every now and again, she would believe her long-term boyfriend was living in her room along with a varying number of street kids she and he had rescued. It started as a fixation then became a belief.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Couldn't the nursing home facilitate a regular visit ?

He asked . . . they won't.

quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
The object of his interest either isn't or is incapable of returning his affection. . . . Is there anyone who he'd listen to?

She's the one who started hanging around him in the first place, so I think there's affection there even if she doesn't always remember. And I'm told they had a good visit when my sister took him to see her. We're going to look into counseling for him.

quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Pete:
You might wish to consider that your father has advancing dementia. There was a stage when my sister-in-law could still talk coherently, but every now and again, she would believe her long-term boyfriend was living in her room along with a varying number of street kids. . . .

This may very well be the case. He's been good mentally up until now. My mother had Lewey body dementia -- she couldn't take care of herself but was fairly lucid except for hallucinations.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Couldn't the nursing home facilitate a regular visit ?

He asked . . . they won't.

quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
The object of his interest either isn't or is incapable of returning his affection. . . . Is there anyone who he'd listen to?

She's the one who started hanging around him in the first place, so I think there's affection there even if she doesn't always remember. And I'm told they had a good visit when my sister took him to see her. We're going to look into counseling for him?

If they enjoy each other's company it seems sad, and care that is not particularly person centred, that neither institution is willing to support continued contact. Do either facility support their residents to access the community ?
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Do either facility support their residents to access the community ?

Yes -- they both have regular planned shopping trips, outings, restaurant trips, etc. but my father's facility is unwilling to arrange a one-on-one excursion just for him. Understand that he is not mobile -- he is confined to an electric scooter and can only take one or two steps without it. He is not physically able to participate in the outings. Also he is legally blind although he does have partial vision.

I have no objection to him seeing this woman, but my position is that her family has to bring her to him. I cannot bring him to her.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
FWIW in your position I'd be inclined to argue with the facility that if he can't properly participate in their rountine outings - for which he is effectively still being charged - then they ought to be able to organise themselves to do periodic single excursions for him. Perhaps alternating with the other facility supporting the lady to come to him.

However, I guess they may not shift their view.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
My mum has ended up in hospital after doing one of the few non-intelligent things she has ever done - not using her call button to get help. She had four falls on Friday, brought on by a racing heart rate that made her giddy. Fortunately, my aunt visited a day early and took immediate action to call an ambulance then rang me. I flew up yesterday, to find Mum looking very tired and short of breath - I only saw her last weekend, so the change was very sudden. No recurrence of stroke, fortunately, and Mum is in good spirits.

I've been looking for a job in Mum's city, and I have three applications in at the moment, so prayers for a successful outcome would be great.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
Alas, very often the first thing that happens with stress or illness is that they forget to use the button. My M-I-L wet outside to put seed into the feeder, and fell. She entirely forgot the call button she was wearing around her neck, and lay out on the walk (it is at the side of the house and not in view of the street) for several hours until my sister-in-law came home and found her.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I've often thought that the drawback with those buttons is that when they're really needed, there's a fair-to-middling chance that the wearer might not be able to press them.

OTOH, there's the scenario of my dad, who got a wee bit tiddly at my niece's wedding in Edinburgh, and when my brother, my brother-in-law and D. got him settled into his room (we were all staying at the hotel where the reception was) my brother asked him if he would be all right. He assured them that he would be fine: he had his button. They asked him where it was*, and he replied it was on the kitchen table ...

... in Orkney, three hundred miles away. [Killing me]

* they knew the answer
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Not the case here! Mum actually thought about pushing the buzzer but decided against it. Grrr.

However, she has asked the hospital to fill out the forms for help showering and dressing, so her good sense is not completely on holiday.
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
I am not an aging parent, but I am getting up in years. One thing that stops me from getting a "button" is thinking that when I would most likely need it if I had a mishap in the shower which is when I would not necessarily have it on or nearby. The likelihood that I would be wearing it in bed is also nil because I dislike things moving about on my body as I sleep. I have always removed chains and such things as an automatic thing when I prepare for the night.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
The system my gran had was a pendant + a telepohone with a large button it - she kept the telephone on the bedside table. She wore the pendant when bathing. I imagine it might be possible to get the button as a watch-type affair.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
This seems to be the modern version of what she had, with a watch option.
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
It does assume that the wearer will be in earshot of the main alarm unit.

It remnds me that I have promised my friend* that I will always have the phone with me as I go around the house, which is fine when I have a pocket, but today I have been flitting around in pyjamas. Thought required.

*As a result of the way my cousin died. I have two flights of stairs.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
There are motion-sensor systems. Not a spycam, watching Grannie as she gets the milk from the fridge, but simply a system that tells you (or the caretaker) if the fridge has been opened today. If it hasn't been opened in 24 hours (and you know that Grannie has not gone on a cruise to the Canary Islands) then you know something is very wrong.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I've heard of a thing that watches at ankle level, basically to detect whether a human being has crumpled to the floor. Ankles are fine, a whole body triggers an alarm.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
There are also 'smart' medicine bottles. You can log on and see if Gran has taken all her pills today. If she misses them, you can phone and see what's going on.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Pete:
.. I dislike things moving about on my body as I sleep ...

Completely with you there, Pete - the only piece of jewellery that stays on when I go to bed is my wedding-ring, and the idea of something round my neck when I'm sleeping fills me with horror.

Regarding sensors - my grandmother (who died 25 years ago) spent her final years in a "shelter" flat that had a sensor mat somewhere near the front door, and if it wasn't triggered by a certain time of day the warden would be alerted and would check that she was OK.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Mum had a massive stroke last night. She's resting comfortably in the hospital, but we are not taking any measures to treat her beyond pain relief and sedatives, as it is clear she won't recover from this one. The one directive she has always given loud and clear is that if she had a major stroke, let her go.

My elderly aunties have been towers of strength, even though one of them is in hospital herself. One of them sat with her this afternoon to allow me to catch a couple of hours sleep and have a proper meal. My mother's sister's daughters both arrived from out of town to sit with her. There was lots of talking and Mum was responding to the voices, if not the words.

The nursing staff, what can I say? They've been outstanding with Mum and with me. And that on a night where three patients died, and Mum was one of two who had big strokes.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
That's hard news for you, Arabella and the family. What a blessing you are well supported by other family members and by hospital staff.

Prayers for a peaceful and quick passing.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
APW - so sorry to hear that news. Prayers for you and your family. It's good tht you were already there and that the family and the nurses are being so wonderful.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
[Votive] APW and family
 
Posted by Uncle Pete (# 10422) on :
 
How sad for you APW. And thank you for respecting your mother's wishes. [Votive]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
APW, just found this, but adding our prayers for your mother, you, your partner and your whole family. Also that your mother's carers treat her with skill, dignity and compassion.

Your mother is right about the "do not revive" at a time like this, and it's neither immoral or sinful - "You shall not kill; but need not strive/ Officiously to keep alive" as Clough puts it.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Holding you and mum and everybody involved in the Light, APW.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
APW, thinking of you. [Votive]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[Votive] for you, your mum and your family, APW.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
My sympathies APW. [Votive]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
Mrs T and I visited my 93 yo mother last week in her aged care home , which unfortunately is ~1000km away from our place, and were saddened to see by how much her physical speed (e.g in walking with a "wheeler") had slowed down over the past 3 months. However her mental sharpness, though well down on what it was a few years ago, is still not bad for her age, though she does greet all comers with "I just want to die", despite (or perhaps because) she is in otherwise fairly good health.

As Mrs S put it on this thread about "the Dowager" a few months ago, she just does not like getting old!
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Who does, Tukai, who does? Not me, for sure.

The Dowager is in good form at the moment, with lots to look forward to next year. Unfortunately this is a bit counterbalanced (for me) with concerns about her driving; she nearly backed out of her garage into my car [Eek!] because I was a bit slow getting it out of the way (!) and yesterday she didn't put the handbrake on firmly enough and it blew across the road (!!!) [Help]

The consequences of losing the car will probably mean she has to move, and heaven knows what that would do to her. I'm hoping we can get Christmas out of the way before anything has to change, as she is really looking forward to us all descending on her, probably for the last time.

Mrs. S, fingers crossed and prayers ascending
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
My mother is the same. When I saw her a couple of weeks ago she seemed OK all things being considered, but the conversations since then have got me concerned.
She seems very depressed, which is understandable given how poor her eyesight is. I thought when I saw her she was beginning to find ways of coping with it, but from what's she's said about not finding it easy to cook any more, I'm not so sure. She also doesn't seem to like the plans in place for Christmas, which are a few days with my brother, and then a few days with us at my MiLs. She sounds as though she thinks it is all too much, rather than her usual enjoying going out an meeting people.
We are going over on Saturday to do a few jobs, and I'm going to really push that she gets in a cleaner and starts thinking about moving to more sheltered accommodation. I also think we need to start thinking about power of attorney. She is going to like none of this, which is making me depressed too. She is also getting worried about money, which I think is unjustified. She isn't wealthy but she has an OK pension and quite a lot of savings.
Thank goodness she never learned to drive!
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
For the past five years or so my father has been more or less depressed, insisting that he is going to or wants to die. He refuses to engage with anybody in the assisted living facility he and my mother have moved to, to the point where the other residents ask whether he is mentally competent. My mother meanwhile has dived into the new social milieu and can tell you all about everybody, their health, their grandchildren, where they are from, what they did in their careers, etc.
I don't know what can be done about it. I have suggested antidepressants, but his situation is indeed depressing.
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
I got a phone call today from her local hospital to say that my mother had been taken there by ambulance with a broken her hip. Surgery (a rod inserted in the bone) is scheduled in the next couple of days.

It seems that despite her best efforts to maintain her leg strength , she had fallen in her room at the nursing home. Although she now uses a wheeler-walker for longer walks, for short walks across the room, she often does not. So it was bound to happen sooner or later.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Prayers for healing for her, Tukai.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
What Loth said - it's so easy for elderly bones to break, and so debilitating.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Some years ago, my mother fell down the stairs in the middle of the night. She was half asleep and forgot she was going back to bed. She broke her left arm in a couple of places and received some nasty carpet burns as she fell.

She took much longer to heal than the hospital originally had told her. They had not taken her age, 80 something, into account and the slow healing because of that. She was very disheartened at the time she had plaster cast on.

[ 07. December 2015, 06:53: Message edited by: Lothlorien ]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Tukai, I hope your mother's op goes well. It must be a worry being so far away. My mother in law had something similar couple of years ago (she already had artifical hips so it was more of a dislocation). She seems to have recovered well, which I wasn't sure at the time she would.
Our plans for Christmas involving our two elderly mothers is now organised. My sister in law is picking up my mum a couple of days before Christmas, and we're then picking mum up from my brother's house on the way to my mother in laws. Both mothers are in a flap about the organisation of it all, my mum because of the stuff she has to take, (the presents have been wrapped for the last month) and my mother in law about whether my mum will be able to cope with the stairs and general chillyness of her house.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
I am at my parents for Christmas. We are due up at my sister's for lunch. Dad is flustered by mobile phones, despite one saving his life a couple of years ago. Mum has dementia. My sister and I are communicating by text. This is totally unnoticed by Mum & Dad.

Thanks be for modern technology.


Jengie
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager, on the other hand - 'why is everyone always looking at their phones?' [Ultra confused]

Poor thing is very confused, to the extent that she couldn't remember her new great-grandson's name *sigh* nor, in fact, what anyone told her two minutes ago - 'is it Sunday today?' [Help] I know she loved having everyone at Christmas, and she didn't have to lift a finger, but she didn't half worry - 'Has anyone made J's bed?' she must have asked us twenty times on Christmas Eve [Eek!] in spite of the fact that he is 17 and had only a mattress, a sleeping bag and a pillow to manoevre into position.

She has been asking for a new mobile phone for months so we arranged for my kids to buy her a really simple one for Christmas, and the aforementioned J spent patient hours with her explaining how to use it [Smile] Sadly I'm sure she now thinks of it primarily as a camera! [brick wall]

And she now has my even older aunt (94) in hospital, and is facing the funeral and memorial service for her old friend (but 10 years younger than her!) the day before the birthday of my deceased alcoholic brother (41 years younger than the Dowager!) [Ultra confused]

Happy days, dear, as Nina Conti's Gran used to say [Smile]

Mrs. S, not as patient as she should be [Help]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Mrs S. I'm joining you in the not as patient as they should be camp. We took my mum to my mother in laws and confusion reigned. They were sitting next to each other at present opening time and I'm not at all sure they got the right presents. My mum has a habit of launching into random stories about me as a young woman that I find very irritating. We fled home early and I'm now feeling a bit guilty about that. The whole thing has depressed me as it has made me realise how much help my mum now needs but she is digging her heels in about having any, and I'm not at all sure how to persuade her to consider more sheltered accommodation, specially when she isn't keen on the idea of a cleaner once a week.
Thinking of all those who lost their parents this year.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
The Dowager, on the other hand - 'why is everyone always looking at their phones?'

My question precisely! Bless the dear old Dowager!
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Not my sentiments this morning, Miss Amanda. Woken (somewhat hungover) at 9 am by a phone call to say she had asthma and could hardly breathe. I don't know exactly how she always manages to time these things for Bank Holidays and weekends when there is no GP cover, but somehow she does.

'I don't want to go to hospital' is always her plaint, and although I can sympathise - A&E on New Year's Day would not be my idea of fun - what's the alternative? Sit there and wait to die? If she has a chest infection, then just sitting is a great recipe for disaster.

Luckily her neighbour will keep an eye on her and if necessary will persuade her to go. I'm not in a fit state to drive anywhere, let alone 90 miles, so now all I can do is fret.

Happy New Year, everyone... [Mad]

The Churlish Mrs. S
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
My father is under sentence of death with congestive heart failure; in ICU a few weeks ago, he (rightly) declined both a feeding tube and dialysis. As a result, he was chucked out of hospital into home hospice care with very little notice, but we managed.

Now that he's home with 24-hour care (and oxygen), he's feeling and sounding better. He keeps asking me about his prognosis, and how long he's going to have to live like this. I have tried to explain about his leaky heart valves, and I've told him that he'll have the care for as long as he needs it. (I have not told him he's Officially Dying.)

I thought he understood what was happening, but now I'm not sure. Can anyone who's been down this road advise me on what I should tell him?

Thank you!
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
I have no advice for you, Rossweisse, but that is hard news for you both. [Votive]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Is there a member of the "care" team who could give you advice? They presumably have experience in dealing with people in your dad's situation, and might be able to help.

Prayers still ascending from over here for both of you.

[Votive]
 
Posted by Cranmer's baggage* (# 4937) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
(I have not told him he's Officially Dying.)

I thought he understood what was happening, but now I'm not sure. Can anyone who's been down this road advise me on what I should tell him?

I'm firmly of the view that people should be told when they are dying. The palliative care/hospice team will have good advice on what forms of words will be helpful. Having to say these things is hard, but it creates the space where the dying person can do or say what they need for their own peace of mind.

Thoughts and prayers for this sad and challenging time.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Generally I agree with Cranmer's Baggage* on this and on getting advice from the care team on the form of words. It is his body and he has a right to know.

But it can be a pretty tough conversation to have.
 
Posted by Jack the Lass (# 3415) on :
 
I had thought it would be some years still before I would need to access this thread, as my mum hits 70 this year and my dad is just a few years older, and they are both pretty fit and well. However, a phone call this morning has me needing to tell, well, someone...

As just mentioned on the Prayer Thread, dad is having some tests about various ailments, but is sure that it's all just ageing and everything is fine really (even if it's not). Mum, on the other hand, who has always been a Grade A1 drama queen (it's where I get it), is convinced that every tiny symptom is the portent of an apocalyptic terminal diagnosis, and will not rest or stop worrying until they're told officially. Yesterday I phoned them to wish them HNY, and also to find out if they are going to be in on a particular day in a couple of weeks (which is their golden wedding anniversary) as I wanted to get something (admittedly unspecified) delivered. We established that they would be at the hospital for more tests in the morning, but would be in that afternoon, and I thought that was the end of it. It turns out that mum spent the whole evening, night and morning worrying herself to tears that I was going to be spending a fortune that I really should save for myself on something that they didn't really want. Dad phoned to ask me to just not do anything as mum was so upset, and I pointed out that what I'd had in mind was a bunch of flowers not the moon. I spoke to mum who did eventually admit that she likes getting bunches of flowers and that would be a nice thing to get on the day, and have hopefully convinced her that I wouldn't dream of doing anything either surprising or big because I know that they absolutely hate that sort of thing. Mum has admitted that what with worrying about dad, the upcoming significant anniversary and her upcoming significant birthday are all combining to get her into a right state (she was the same coming up to 50, but with everything else this time too it's even worse).

My sister (who lives in Germany) is currently away so I'm waiting for her to get back so we can talk about it - she hasn't remembered their anniversary for years (and to be fair I usually forget too, but they never mention it), but I thought they would appreciate knowing so they could send a card and a little something, and my mum would be happy to get that. But I want to give her advance warning when they next speak to mum and dad to prepare for it! There's not a thing we can do till all dad's test results are through (if everything is fine then it will all blow over, if not then at least we can start then to think about what to do), but that will be several more weeks of uncertainty, and I worry that mum is getting herself so spectacularly worked up.

Anyway - I'm not after advice (not now at any rate), but needed to vent! I think I will add 'stop being drama queen' to my new year's resolutions, as it's just so exhausting for everyone else!
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
JtL it sounds like we are in similar positions.

My parents are about the same age as yours, and Christmas was hard work. My mum suffers from arthritis and depression, and my dad refuses to adapt in any way shape or form to the fact that mum can't do as much as either would like. He is constantly frustrated, and takes this frustration out on mum, whom he regards as defective and almost infantile. Meanwhile, mum is terrified of her situation and unable to face it in its fullness sufficiently to do anything about it.

I cannot tell you how frustrated and hurt I felt - hurt probably mostly by identification but nevertheless, the point is that the situation is toxic and I can do nothing about it.
 
Posted by Jack the Lass (# 3415) on :
 
Oh that does sound difficult, ThunderBunk. No advice here, but [Votive] for you and them.

My parents at least don't have the frustration dynamic going on (I'd say they're actually both hugely reliant on each other and adapt to the extreme to each other); that must be really difficult to watch and not be able to do much about. The difficulty I have is not being able to get any kind of foothold into my mum's doom-laden thought processes - it doesn't matter what anybody says, until the doctor says 'yea' or 'nay' it's definitely the worst case scenario. It's just exhausting, and I'm miles away.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
Oh that does sound difficult, ThunderBunk. No advice here, but [Votive] for you and them.

My parents at least don't have the frustration dynamic going on (I'd say they're actually both hugely reliant on each other and adapt to the extreme to each other); that must be really difficult to watch and not be able to do much about. The difficulty I have is not being able to get any kind of foothold into my mum's doom-laden thought processes - it doesn't matter what anybody says, until the doctor says 'yea' or 'nay' it's definitely the worst case scenario. It's just exhausting, and I'm miles away.

That's the bit I missed out. My mum's world can unbalanced as you describe. The difficulty of my parents' situation is that this is then reinforced by my dad's response.


[Votive] for your dilemma. Distance lends its own sheen to these things.
 
Posted by Jack the Lass (# 3415) on :
 
Thank you ThunderBunk. It is good to know that people 'get' the situation, and that it's not just me.

I had hoped it would be a while before I needed to start worrying in a more parently way about them, but distance (and, as you say, recognition/identification) doesn't help.

Hmm. In 30 or 40 years I don't want my daughter to be posting this sort of stuff. I can't change them, but I can at least try and change me.
 
Posted by Landlubber (# 11055) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
...

I thought he understood what was happening, but now I'm not sure. Can anyone who's been down this road advise me on what I should tell him?

I agree with others that the care team should be able to advise you, but I would add that you should not be surprised if your father only takes in what he feels able to accept at any given moment - and that could change from moment to moment. In the last few weeks my mother (who has also sensibly given clear instructions about how much treatment she will/will not accept) has veered from talking clearly about her meetings with the hospice team and the plans they propose for her care, recognising that any infection now threatens her life, to deciding she should replace various items of equipment which might soon wear out.

We have found it best just to respond to what she says, day by day.

Which said, she is now in hospital and we all went in to say goodbye only to find her sitting up in bed giving orders the next morning!
 
Posted by Ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
Thank you ThunderBunk. It is good to know that people 'get' the situation, and that it's not just me.

I had hoped it would be a while before I needed to start worrying in a more parently way about them, but distance (and, as you say, recognition/identification) doesn't help.

Hmm. In 30 or 40 years I don't want my daughter to be posting this sort of stuff. I can't change them, but I can at least try and change me.

Another one who gets it. My parents have a double whammy of being overly prone to exaggerating medical stuff but also having both suffered Big Scary Could Have Killed Them illnesses.

My perspective on this is that their illnesses haven't killed them, their perspective is 'not yet'. So as the date of a check up draws near, they start going into 'but that might not happen if it's bad news...' Etc...

My grandfather is still alive (and in many ways a younger at heart and healthier outlook than my parents). He once said to me 'ah, your Dad has always been good at making funerals' which has helped in my perspective somewhat...
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
I finally browbeat the Dowager into calling for an ambulance this morning, only by threatening her with death if she just sat there and waited to get better [Mad] - well, she didn't get an ambulance but she got a duty doctor, which is what she wanted all along!

Said doctor left her with a snootful of antibiotics and told her he didn't think it was anything too serious, so we are hoping that will set her on the road to recovery. It just seems to me that this is not sustainable long-term; if we move her it'll finish her, but how can she stay on her own and so dependent on her neighbours? Oh dear ...

The point of this diatribe is only to agree with whoever said they just had to agree with things on a day-by-day basis. Example 'Is there any water in that vase?' 'Yes, it's half-full' 'But it would be such a shame if they were to die when they're so pretty'. I get up, fill the vase to the brim, she's happy. I'm looking for a brick wall! [brick wall]

Mrs. S, praying that her daughter doesn't have to deal with this!
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I think I can sort of sympathise with JtL's mum - it's very easy to almost literally worry oneself sick about medical tests, even though it may enhance the relief when they turn out all right.

A friend of mine used to say "expect the worst, but hope for the best" of situations which could go either way, which struck me as good advice, so long as you can keep sight of the second part of it.

[Votive] that all will be well.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Today the Pater allowed as how he might not drive again - but he's not ready to get rid of the car. That's okay; I don't need to push him. (It's all exhausting, though.)
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Driving was really hard for my Dad to give up. He didn't get rid of the car and often said he would drive again. I was worried I'd have to report him to the police, but he finally realised he wasn't able.

Huia
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
We took MIL's car away. The doctor had her licence cancelled and she was livid.

We were sure she would drive the back way on her daily visit to the club, even unlicensed. She saw nothing wrong with her driving but her reflexes were poor and she had always been a terrible driver all her life. We asked her how she would feel if she caused a death or bad injury. She just shrugged.

Not to mention that she would have no insurance were she to have an accident while driving unlicensed.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
My aged uncle knew he was not supposed to drive. but then one day visiting his son he couldn't resist. He had given his old car to my cousin, and the keys were just sitting there, right? So he hopped in for a spin, and almost immediately got lost. (There was an Alzheimer issue.) Luckily he had the sense to pull over and stay there, only a couple blocks away. His grand-daughter realized what was going on, and when my cousin got him she immediately cried, "Pop-pop went out in the car! We have to find him!" And after scouring the immediate environs they did.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
It's sad to deprive a person of an aspect of their independence, but their moment of senile inattention could be someone else's life or health.

I'm glad my mother took the occasion of an accident (where she was a passenger) to stop being the designated driver for her acquaintance (Doctor: 'What do you do all day Mrs Firenze?' Octogenarian Mother: 'Augh sure I drive old dears to the supermarket')
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
About 6 or 7 years ago my dad had a slight transient stroke and was told not to drive; IIRC he was given permission again (presumably by his doctor), but had another turn of some sort while getting into the car in the hospital car-park after visiting my mum. At that point my sister intervened and (I presume with his permission) took his car away with her the next time she went to visit him*, and my nephew subsequently bought it from him. Dad then had a mobility-scooter for a while until he went into the old people's home.

* The fact that two of her grown-up children were learning to drive at the time had absolutely nothing to do with it ... [Two face]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Untreated geriatric depression is a huge problem, specially if its combined with anxiety. I am absolutely convinced my mother-in-law has been depressed and anxious for years (actually, I'll take the anxiety as real, she could win a gold medal in worrying). She lived all her married life in a similar situation to ThunderBunk's mum - belittled and treated like a child at home while still holding down several positions of responsibility within a number of voluntary organisations.

But try and get her to do something about it - no way. And her doctor hasn't shown any sign of listening to our comments on the subject. I hope our generations are better at acknowledging mental illness in ourselves.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Several comments above relate to my nonogenarian father. He had to give up driving because he went blind and my mother died. I learned later that he drove blind with my mother (gone 6½ years now) calling out what to do and colours of traffic lights. I can hardly believe it as I post it. He was able to regain sight in one eye after a corneal transplant.

He had a metre of his large bowel removed for cancer, though no ostomy bag, he's reconnected. He refused all follow-up about it. No drugs/chemo, no scans, nothing. Put his foot down about it he did so. I tried to argue about it but rapidly stopped, and he's apparently fine 4 years later. So he was right apparently.

Got him walking poles for Christmas (ski poles). He has already started walking with 2 others polers where he lives in semi-independent living (they get suppers, cleaning, some planned activities, and bus charters weekly to shop). The cane has never been used. The poles make him feel sporty I think.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
My sister and i are finding ourselves now firmly in this situation.
We have found that planning for the worst whilst hoping for the best is indeed, for us, the only way to cope.

It's the rollercoaster ride.
One day or even part of a day there is no response, agonisingly laboured breathing and worrying kindness showered down from the care home staff. Six hours later and my darling mother would like her diary please, what time is her next dose of antibiotics and reminds me about an upcoming great grandchild's birthday!
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
On the flip side....we no longer have to consider whether or not she is safe on the mobility scooter
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
*light relief warning*

I just have to post this NOW while I can remember it. A friend of mine visits the Elderly Mother of another friend, in her care home. Yesterday, MF arrived to find EM reading the cover of a pack of three biscuits (she reads anything with print on - I sympathise with that!)

My Friend: Surely there's something more interesting to read than that biscuit packet?
EM: Well, I've read all the books.
MF: Who are your favourite authors? I'll see if I can get you some of their books.
EM: (unable to think of anyone's name)
MF: Do you like Agatha Christie?
EM: Does she just write books, or does she write biscuits as well?
[Killing me]

MF says she can never tell if EM is serious, or has the sort of sense of humour we share - except that you aren't allowed to laugh!

Made the Dowager's issues pale, temporarily at least.

Mrs. S, still snickering [Killing me]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Brilliant!
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I totally get reading the biscuit packets and the problem as to whether it was a joke or not. I once remember my son and husband passing looks between each other when I deliberately pretended to mishear something. Dead pan humour can lead to misunderstandings of that sort.
How are everyone's aged Ps? As usual my mum is fine in her own home, which is why I want her to stay there as long as possible. At the moment she is resisting any attempts by me to get her to have a bit of help. How have others managed to persuade their elderly loved ones that a bit of help with cleaning etc wouldn't come amiss?
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
We found that a somewhat blunt " This place stinks" approach worked.....
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
I worked that with the Dowager's fridge contents, universally out-of-date.

'It's fine, I'm still eating that'.

'It doesn't smell very nice to me Mum, chuck it out'

At least she *knows* she has no sense of smell or taste...and I'm really glad my brother cooked the Christmas dinner! [Overused]

Mrs. S, constantly playing bad cop
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
24 hours at The Dowager's with Mr. S, possibly summed up by this single line:

'Mum, if you're trying to adjust the volume on the telly, that's the phone you're trying to do it with!'

Mrs. S, at a loss for words [Help]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
You don't have to be as old as the Dowager to make that mistake ... [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
My mother puzzles me, one minute she is being the assertive person I remember from her working life, sorting out workmen, etc. The next minute she is getting all muddled up as to when vey straightforward things are happening.
We went out and had a nice lunch to celbrate the fact that 66 years ago today she was getting married (my dad died shortly before their 50 anniversary). Some very funny stories about the day, though she did spend some time wondering if she should have ever married my dad. [Confused]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Sarasa, the Dowager is a bit like that - not worrying about whether she should have married Dad, but changing from almost minute to minute [Confused]

Sometimes it makes me feel like a little girl again, trailing round after her bleating 'but you said ' [Help]

It's really hard to know whether I should just agree with her, as it tells you to in all those rather sickly poems about dementia, or if, when she tells me her friend Elizabeth is 65, I should point out that she is 95 (and four years older than Mum!). My interpretation is that she doesn't want Elizabeth to be older than she is because E. is managing better in many respects!

Mrs. S, amateur psychologist [Cool]
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Not a parent, but my last remaining scandinavian aunt, soon to be 95 and in a rather luxurious care-home in Copenhagen. I popped in to see her
on my way back from visiting relatives in Sweden.

She has dementia and was rather confused, but after a short nap woke refreshed and speaking English! Still confused, mind, but much more comprehensible. And saying that she was "extremely happy". Don't know if that was a social response to make me feel better, but if it was, it succeeded.
 
Posted by daisydaisy (# 12167) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
....lol


It's really hard to know whether I should just agree with her, as it tells you to in all those rather sickly poems about dementia, or if, when she tells me her friend Elizabeth is 65, I should point out that she is 95 (and four years older than Mum!). My interpretation is that she doesn't want Elizabeth to be older than she is because E. is managing better in many respects!

An approach (recommended in "Dementia: Frank and Linda's Story") that I find works with my aunt is to enter her world - a lot of the past turns out to have worried her but she hid it well, but now the worries come back to haunt her. I usually find a way to allay her fears without lying. For example, when she asked if my dad (her adored brother) would be visiting her (he died around 6 yrs ago) I tell her he's not able to at the moment. She is happy with that, and hasn't been upset to be reminded he's no longer around. Sometimes she comes out with very strange remarks, to which I just say "oh really?!". It really doesn't matter that what she said doesn't make sense: what matters is that she doesn't get distressed at the realisation of her confusion (she knows she has dementia).
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
I tried doing the same thing with my Mom. She was frantic one day when I called -- she was concerned that Dad had just died and she had so many arrangements to make. Rather than pointing out to her that Dad had died several years ago, I just persuaded that it was too late in the evening to deal with funeral homes, etc., and that she needed a good night's sleep so that she could take care of things the next day. Sometimes it's difficult, though, to figure out where they're coming from and to get on that same wavelength.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
I think, as the mind becomes unmoored, the associations become dreamlike. In one of my last visits to my mother she talked of seeing a neighbour in his car the day he killed himself. In fact, he died of cancer. What was surfacing, I feel, was her guilt about a friend who had committed suicide while depressed (about which my mother could have done nothing).

I agree the best way is to alleviate the present distress even if it means totally making stuff up.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Indeed. I've had conversations with my aged parent that involved me cheerily saying stuff like "Oh, no, no need to worry" or "Really? Wow, I didn't know that!" or "Isn't that lovely!" while being told any amount of creative stories.

It's a fine art balancing listening to this stuff and making the appropriate responses without, at the same time, encouraging a delusion.

I did, however, put my foot down when it came to money for bills, which I knew had not been paid and needed to be paid by her, no matter how inventive a story she might have. Being gentle but persistent, sometimes dropping it and coming back to it later almost always worked, given enough time.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
I think, as the mind becomes unmoored, the associations become dreamlike.

I think my father, just turned 96, is beginning to do that. He went on at length the other day about how the nursing home staff want to rearrange the furniture in his room, including taking his roommate's bed out and bringing in an easy chair. The staff said they had discussed no such thing with him. I'm pretty sure it's a dream he had.
 
Posted by W Hyatt (# 14250) on :
 
My mother is 94 and has severe dementia and memory problems on top of a strong propensity to worry. It has been hard at times, but I've had some success by first asking her for more information about whatever she is stressed about, then saying something sympathetic ("That sounds really distressing" or "You really shouldn't have to put up with that kind of thing"), wrapped up with a vague assurance that I'll see who I can talk to and what I can find out.

Now that her memory is so completely gone, she feels like her phone call did what she wanted it to and she won't remember my assurance for even a full minute, so I don't really feel obliged to do much unless it sounds like a real problem that I can do something about. Back when her memory was better, I had to follow through at least somewhat, but putting her off for a short time was still better than trying to reason with her or dissuade her. Since she's an extremely social person, I could often just promise to visit soon (which I would actually follow through on). It also seems to have helped tremendously when her doctor recently put her on a very low dose of anti-anxiety medication.

My wife had a similar in experience with her father in that she thought his distress level gradually increased in the early stages of his dementia, but later disappeared when it progressed so far that he no longer remembered enough to worry about anything.

Meanwhile, I've given my children permission to lie to me as much as they need to to keep me from causing them problems if I ever get dementia. [Cool]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
When I worked in an old people's home Reality Orientation was all the rage [?1980s?]; it was horrible to be constantly reminding people that their mum had died 20 or 30 years ago or whatever but then along came Diversional Therapy which was so much kinder - an old lady called Margaret, very much an elderly spinster of the Parish, used to wander up to sit with me in the office some evenings and have a little chat which usually made no sense at all but sometimes she would say that she had to go home to cook her mum's tea [Margaret being late 80s] then, instead of distressing her again about her mum being long dead, I would ask her to tell me about her mum and would get a feast of wonderful stories, which may have had little basis in fact, but Margaret would then toddle back to the little group where she lived quite happy.

Sometimes, not always, picking a key word out of what is being said and asking for reminiscence is a great tool.
 
Posted by daisydaisy (# 12167) on :
 
I'm noticing that time stops being linear, where I become my aunt's mother, her own younger self, and then back to being her niece by which time she is back to her old self. I wonder if this isn't helped by the time she has to daydream when the days sometimes are in distinct from each other, although the carers are very good at providing a variety of things over the week and make a point of identifying the day of the week. I guess it might help if we (her visitors) were able to be more structured in our visiting day ("it's daisydaisy so it must be Tuesday"') but we all live over 2 hours drive away so it's not easy.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I'm torn between admiration and exasperation where my mother is concerned.
She's just booked to go on a holiday on her own. It's a guided tour to various sites which includes, according to the brochure, some walking. My mum is 88, has very limited vision and can get a bit muddled sometimes. If she was going with a friend I don't think I'd worry, but she is going to have to depend on the kindness of the other members of the group and the tour guide to be able to cope. Which brings me to my other worry, she's only booked it because she hopes the man who was the guide on a tour three years ago with be taking it. She fell totally in love with him and since then you can't talk to her for more than five minutes without his name being mentioned.
I feel like the mother of a teenager, she's going to be disappointed if she doesn't meet him and probably even more if she does.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
Sometimes, not always, picking a key word out of what is being said and asking for reminiscence is a great tool.

We have this with my mother-in-law, who is immobile. She often tells us she went for a lovely walk, or to a meeting. Rather than tell her she couldn't possibly have done so, we get her to tell us about the garden or the meeting. She thinks she got some exercise, which is fabulous.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager fell on Wednesday night on her way to bed - to get to her bathroom she has to go down two steps, across, and up two steps. She lost her footing, grabbed the newel post (so at least she didn't fall down the stairs) but bruised her right hand and hit her left ankle causing blood to flow.

So far so bad; but now, while lamenting the lack of human contact, she told me that one friend had come 'and plonked herself down for the afternoon; deadly boring' [Roll Eyes] ; and that she had cancelled her attendance at a party over a week away, because she didn't want to be fretting over what to wear [Ultra confused] .

That's another issue; she has banged on for years that she can't wear a skirt or dress because her legs are such a mess, but now she couldn't possibly go to the party without a new dress. This from a woman with at least four wardrobes full of clothes [Eek!] quite a few of which she has forgotten she has.

Sorry about this, but I need to vent; I think in fact that was exactly what she was doing!

Lord grant me patience [Help]

Mrs. S, rolling her eyes [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
... an old lady called Margaret, very much an elderly spinster of the Parish, used to wander up to sit with me in the office some evenings ... sometimes she would say that she had to go home to cook her mum's tea [Margaret being late 80s] then, instead of distressing her again about her mum being long dead, I would ask her to tell me about her mum ...

Tangent: a friend of mine comes from a long-lived family. He tells a story of a cousin of his, in his 80s, being knocked down in the street some years ago and on being taken to hospital, asking the nurses to let his mother know where he was. Yes, yes, of course we will, they said- not realising that there was indeed a 100+ year old lady sitting at home wondering where her son had got to.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
One side of my family is particularly long-lived: I have vivid childhood memories of hearing two relatives as a funeral of a third saying "she was no age" and thinking "Wow - 89 is young?"

At the moment we have only 2 over 100+ but there are a whole bunch in their late 80s/early 90s - and no one with Alzheimers.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Mrs S. I hope the Dowager is feeling more chipper soon. My mum, who has been staying a few days because she has a nasty virus is going home today. Not really better, but she has a doctor's appointment tomorrow and I think she'll be OK in her own home overnight.
I've found the last few days very wearing and I think she has too. It would have been better if I could have stayed with her, but she doesn't have a spare bed. I hope I've convinced her that she needs to sort out her second bedroom and get a bed in it.
I'm hoping it's just because she's ill but she is much more confused than usual and it is very diffiicult to get her to understand things. I've had so many tedious conversations about various things, the fact that her bathroom is so cold it made her ill (it isn't it's usually at about 23 degrees, it's just that the rest of her flat is always about 30), the fact that the doctor can't magically cure a virus and many more.
One thing that has always puzzled me is she tells me things I'm supposed to have done that I have no memory of. Yesterday she told me about the time someone mistook my son for my boyfriend. I knew that never happened but there were several other stories over the years I've told her that she has obviously conflated in her mind to come up with that one.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Sarasa, the best of luck persuading your mum to sort out that second bedroom. Can we take it that you have probably already offered to do it for her and been refused?

Speaking of spare beds, for two and a half years I lodged with friends a couple of days a week when teaching far from home. I did have a bed, and a lovely deep windowsill which held a lamp, a drink and my book. The rest of the room was piled high with unsorted junk, but my corner was just fine. Would your mum's second bedroom admit of such a minimalist solution?
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
I'm posting this here in the hope of giving some of you a laugh.

While Mr S and I are away, Master S and Miss S are supposed to call the Dowager so she knows someone is still aware of her existence. Last time this happened Master S was at home alone (his fiancee working away) so he was watching some appalling old Korean gangster movie (having appalling taste in some things [Ultra confused] ).

One character turned to another and said 'And when was the last time you called your grandmother?' Master S shot up in the air 'Drat!' or words to that effect also ending in 't'; 'I was supposed to phone Grandma!' [Eek!]

It made the Dowager laugh, anyway, which is a Good Thing at the moment.

Sarasa - my mother does that exact thing to me sometimes, normally associating evil intent to it 'as YOU wouldn't let me have a party' when it was her decision all along!

Mrs. S, hoping Miss S never has this to cope with [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Mrs S - I clearly remember my mother says, while she was running round after her parent's in law, 'When I get like that, put me in a home'. Well she is 'like that' now, but the thought of a home would horrify her. I have a feeling I'll probably be the same.
Jacobson - Mum's spare room is full of furniture. To get a bed in it,would mean getting rid of the computer, at the very least. Though mum can no longer see to use it she hasn't wanted to get rid of it up till now as it is a symbol of her ability to do things for herself. She keeps threatening to spend £11,000 on a computer system she saw for people with limited eyesight. Maybe worth it if she'd used her computer a lot, but she didn't, and when I took her to talk to an expert in such things in her local computer shop she didn't seem to be able to understand the solutions that he was offering her.
Having said that she's agreed that a bed would be a good idea, but that is going to mean us finding time to go and sort it out for her, which won't be for a couple of weeks at the very least.
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Well, Mum should have been heading home from Adelaide tomorrow but her beau has cancelled the flight.
She's in a rehab unit recovering from an op on her hip which she broke on Good Friday.
Her treatment has been excellent and their extremely expensive insurance has come up trumps. Only fly in the ointment is her local surgery that hasn't been responding promptly or fully to the insurance company's questions. Give us strength!
Thankfully her beau's daughters have come up trumps and they will be staying with one of them once she's discharged until she's fit to fly. That long flight in her condition is giving me some concern though.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
It sounds that your mum has had the best possible outcome to her accident. if you are going to have one, it is good to be have doctors, family and insurance company looking out for you. Have they given her any indication of when she might be able to travel?
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
It sounds that your mum has had the best possible outcome to her accident. if you are going to have one, it is good to be have doctors, family and insurance company looking out for you. Have they given her any indication of when she might be able to travel?

Absolutely. She will leave the rehab unit on Friday and stay with family. The insurance company will book their flights home, probably in a couple of weeks if she's up to it.
Edited as I find I'm repeating myself. Being an aged parent...

[ 13. April 2016, 18:53: Message edited by: Tree Bee ]
 
Posted by Tree Bee (# 4033) on :
 
Mum has been discharged from the rehab unit and has been so impressed by the health care she has received and is still receiving.
Big news today is that she and her beau have got engaged, so I'll now have to call him her fiancé.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tree Bee:
Big news today is that she and her beau have got engaged, so I'll now have to call him her fiancé.

Congratulations to your Mum. From what you've said here, he sounds like a good man, with a caring family.
[Axe murder]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Congratulations to your mum and her fiancé.

I hope the physical healing continues well for her too.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Congratulations TB's mum and fiancé! [Smile]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Congratulations to TB's mum and her Beau.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I had a v. long phone conversation with my sister yesterday, and naturally enough the subject of our 91-year-old father came up. We both agreed that we're finding phone conversations with him an increasingly arduous task: his speech is very faint at best and he's beginning to confuse dates and generations and mistake us for each other.

When she and her family were up visiting him at Easter she said he seemed in reasonably good form (it included him meeting his 8-month-old great-grandson for the first time), but when I mentioned to him that they'd all been up, he didn't seem to remember.

It seems to me that the sheer boredom of living in an old people's home vastly speeds up one's deterioration: there just isn't enough human contact and conversation* to keep the "little grey cells" from atrophying. He has a television and DVD player in his room, but doesn't seem to bother with it, although he used to be an avid watcher of old videos (notably Inspector Morse and Sergeant Bilko).

* not the fault of the staff - I'm sure they do what they can.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
It seems to be harder for men. They don't go out and engage (i.e. chat) like women do. My parents have been in assisted living for about a year now. My father refuses to talk to the other residents and to make friends. My mother has become BFFs with everybody, knows all their life histories, the grandchildren, the health status, everything.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
When dad finally went into care because my mother was physicall unable to care for him, he had no idea he was not at home. He told me mum gad walked to shops, or was having hair done etc but would be back soon.

One of the saddest sights which made me cry outside later was to see him in the large activities room. The residents wer in a circle and each had a percussion instrument such as preschoolers love

Dad was bewildered by the triangle he had been given to bang in time to music being played. When I thought of his accomplishments over many years and all that he could do, I cried.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I'm no expert in the care of the elderly, but I can't help thinking that treating them as you might treat toddlers is fundamentally wrong, demeaning and disrespectful.

When Dad still lived at home, but was attending a day-centre once a week, he told me that one day they had brought in a therapy puppy, and he had great difficulty persuading them that he really wasn't a "dog person" and didn't want to pet or hold it. While I can absolutely see the usefulness of therapy dogs, they can only ever work if the patient wants them to.

By all means, try and provide some sort of recreation or entertainment, but something appropriate.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
Wise words, Piglet!

Elsie was an elderly Quaker lady and hated singsong type stuff but she and I could sit quietly together and she really relaxed into it.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
When I get older I want a therapy cat. [Razz]

The place my Dad was in wasn't the poshest, but he was well cared for and kept busy with growing tomatoes, baking piklets, trips out and woodwork amongst other things. One of his favourite activities was a trip to the local pub where he met someone else who had sailed the coastal waters about the same time he did. I almost had to book an appointment to ring him.

It's the anniversary of his death today [Tear]

Huia
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Be gentle to yourself, Huia, on this anniversary. It surprises me how hard these dates can hit. It was Mum's birthday a couple of days ago, and the anniversay of her death a about three weeks before that. Too close.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
[Votive] Huia

That sounds like a great rest home your dad was in. Ma-in-law's does some good things, but I haven't seen anything about cooking or gardening. She enjoys doing the crossword still, which they do in a group each morning.

The biggest event recently was Rosie and her sister giving an impromptu concert - it started out just being m-I-l and rapidly expanded as it went until about 60 residents were enjoying a wide variety of classical and folk music. Several residents sang along with every piece - although Rosie wasn't sure they were singing quite the same piece she was sometimes!
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Dad used to tell me about the Sunday afternoon church service at the place where he is - people from the various local churches (including choir, musicians or the Sally Army band) take turns. He used to enjoy it - apart from anything else, he knew many of the people involved, even if they weren't from his own church, and some of them would come over and say hello afterwards.

As it happened, the last time we were home, it was the Cathedral's turn, so as we were going to visit anyway, D. played and I sang with the choir.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Hope everyone's aging parents are doing well.
My mother has recovered physically fromt he nasty virus she had at Easter, but seems to be a bit more confused than she was before the illness. Not so much so that I'm worried about her living alone, but enough that I wished she'd get some more help. It's all begining to stress me out, specially as my brother doesn't seem to be phoning her up let alone visiting at present, but is very upbeat about how she's getting on when I talk to him.
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
Hope everyone's aging parents are doing well.
My mother has recovered physically fromt he nasty virus she had at Easter, but seems to be a bit more confused than she was before the illness. Not so much so that I'm worried about her living alone, but enough that I wished she'd get some more help. It's all begining to stress me out, specially as my brother doesn't seem to be phoning her up let alone visiting at present, but is very upbeat about how she's getting on when I talk to him.

If I were said brother, I'd be sounding like that because I was feeling guilty and scared. Actually, the other way round: scared by the way my mother was deteriorating and guilty because this fear was making me unable to speak its name, to deal with my mother and/or to talk to my sister about something which needs to be talked about as soon as possible.

Could be complete nonsense, but it does occur to meas a possibility.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
When my mother was in the final stages of Parkinsons and dementia my sister was totally responsible for her care. I was 1800 miles away and dealing with a messy divorce. I had no money to travel, and getting away from the job I had then was difficult -- I visited when I could, but not as much as I would have liked, and I did call regularly. I felt guilty, and my sister obviously resented having all the responsibility. Being the primary caregiver is hell, but being the "bad sibling" has its own burdens. My heart goes out to all those involved in these situations.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
The person(s) responsible may have rather different and odd experiences. My wife and I supported her parents when mother in law had cancer, in the midst of chemo, father in law had a stroke. He died after additional complications after a hospital stay. I slept beside my mother in law's bed for 7 months and got her breakfast and to cancer centre, my wife came at noon and after work until bedtime. We guiltily hoped for her passing.

Palliative care in hosp for her last 5 weeks was blessed relief. We have Home Care but it was about $200/week a. And the carers are rotated every 4 days so often not oriented.

The non-present siblings figured out what not to say and do after we simply wept at a family meeting. Support comes with visiting if the visitors clean house, shop and allow responsible siblings days off in a row. Without any suggestion for sibs they're spelling off during visits to do anything at all.

We had a different experience with my mother who broke her hip and had a stroke a month later. She and my father immigrated to Mexico from Canada, retiring to a middle of nowhere village. About 20 hours of travel to reach, 3 planes and a 2 hour drive. This was 18 months after wife's mother died. I went down for about 4 months and then again for another 5 weeks. (My best friend also died in the midst of this. I really hate doing eulogies. And death. A lot. ) One sister helped. I then sold his house and effects and repatriated him to Canada, where he lives with assisted living (one meal per day, basic cleaning, some social activities). Now my scattered siblings are descending on us in just about a month. We will have to tell them what they are going to be doing.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Having been the sibling-at-a-distance.....i absolutely agree with all the above.

For about six months, I had no idea what on earth was going on half the time. And because matters changed daily, there was only ever time during our phone calls for the major updates.

Mercifully i am blessed with a sister who writes reports for a living + is fairly straight talking. Had we been A Polite Family....we would have all fallen out within two weeks.

"What would you like us to do?" only ever had to be said twice; usually there was a list! Sometimes even texted a few days in advance of us visiting....
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Thanks for your replies, I'm really aware that families can fall out over the care of elderly relatives, and I don't want that to happen to my brother and I. At the moment neither my brother or I are doing a great deal for our mother. I speak to her on the phone a couple of times a week and go and see her every fortnight. My brother is far more patchy is his dealings. Just spoken to my mother tonight and she's finally managed to talk to him for the first time in a month, but he has asked her over to stay which I know she'll enjoy.
One of the background things which I think might be leading to his hands off approach was that he very much wanted her to go and live nearer him in a retirement village. She wasn't keen and I thought it was a bad idea as it would take her away from her friends, and places she knows so it never happened.
It's all very tricky as I feel mum is on the cusp of needing more care, at present she is just about OK, but I'm aware at how quickly she seems to be getting old.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
There probably something like what is called CPAS (client - patient access services) for you? I think it is deliberately called something vague to not offend people and feel they are being assessed to "be put into a home".

How it works here is someone, anyone, refers. Often the physician will do it on behalf of over-burdened and suffering family members. They try to keep people at home with support services workers coming in, and make referral to long term care if needed (it is subsidized user-pay here). It's often done after a fall or other hosp stay, but need not be that late. -- We've not used them given how our 3 of 4 parents lived and died. But I expect that when my father's time of not being able to manage comes, we will. It spreads the burden of emotional reactions and provides family support from people I've discussed it with.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I'm the sibling-at-a-distance, and also the youngest by quite a way (and have always been regarded as the baby of the family by my brother and sister). They have joint Power of Attorney for Dad, and although they both live in the same place (they're in Edinburgh, Dad's in Orkney), my sister feels that my brother doesn't always tell her things (like changes in medication or that Dad had seen an optician about cataracts).

The people at the home seem to regard my brother as the "first contact", despite the fact that my sister goes up to visit several times as often as he does, and she finds it very frustrating.

I'm fortunate that they're completely understanding about our inability to visit more than occasionally, although it doesn't stop me feeling a little bit guilty. Also, speaking to Dad on the phone has become very difficult: he sort of drifts off in mid-conversation and his speech is a bit buggered due to a TIA a few years ago, so I find him very hard to understand.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Ah yes. The emotional Feelings Dragons ; they who must be chased back into a cave every now and then.

But i have generally found Guilt to be spectacularly ineffective...which means that we Are allowed to chase that particular dragon just as much as we want!

Elderly Alba Parent (EAP )was quite determined to remain within own home. Only medical matters galloped along and rushed everyone into a flutter. Even the crack SAS type, home-care squad were left shell shocked at the veering changes over a few days. EAP was unable to either move or talk with any coherence at all. Shocking. Especially as it apparently was not a stroke. The local authority in our case is spectacularly brilliant at keeping folk in their own home, but even they were stumped. EAP was dispatched to a residential assement unit and a full diagnosis was urgently sought.
Diagnosis complete, EAP went off to a sweet, glorious, helpful retirement home just up the valley from her old home; there to regain powers of speech and some clarity of thought.

Within three months it became apparent that EAP would struggle to remain at home...even with live in carers.
But the option was still put to her.

"I don't want to have to think about what i need to do next. Here, everyone looks after me. I like it. I think someone else should live in my house"


Point of this everso long ramble (and thank you for humouring me...).....We thought we knew how this phase was going to go.
We didn't.

Life .....sometimes changes...... everything.

I do so wish someone had gently told us that last year.....
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
The problem with that, EA, is that you wouldn't have believed them - seriously.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
The Dowager - who has been getting increasingly anxious and difficult to reassure - rushed out of her house at stupid o'clock on Saturday morning, before breakfast and wearing sandals in which she had already tripped over at least once. She 'needed' to know how long one set of neighbours were going away for and where they were going.

Of course she fell over, broke a wrist, hit her face, may have damaged the other hand 'but I don't want to go to hospital' [Mad]

We were on our way to see Miss S, SiL and Baby Grumpkin but had to spend Saturday afternoon driving off to see her, get stuff for her to take to community hospital, etc etc. [Mad]

She's dreadfully confused, poor soul, but I think we may have convinced her that she needs to give up driving now. The car is due an MOT, the insurance is coming due, and after at least a six-week lay off she will never be competent to drive even the short distances she currently does.

We may also have convinced her that she needs medical help for what I think is Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which basically means as soon as you mend one anxiety the next rises up the worry list. This last fortnight it's been the boiler on the central heating (which actually did need fixing) the washing machine not filling with water (it was fine) the answering machine which was broken (she'd somehow pressed the button to turn it off) the toilet not filling with water (it's just fine) I could go on and on, and she did.

Poor Dowager - I wonder what the future holds for her?

Mrs. S, warning The Former Miss S to beware
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Mrs S - as the nuns used to say to us if we did something arduous and praiseworthy, "It's another jewel in your (celestial) crown."
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
WW...indeed we would not [Frown]

But the us....the grown up kids.....just never considered it.

hey ho...she's happy now!
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
This sounds like my m-i-l. Her obsessive worry was dryer lint -- it might catch fire in the duct and burn the house down. In fact she distrusted all household appliances, and would not run the dishwasher, etc. unless she was at home to watch them. She too did the going-outside-and-falling thing. My s-i-l had acquired one of those emergency buttons for her, that you wear around your neck. If you fall and no one is there you can buzz for help. But she forgot to press the button. Instead she lay by the bird feeder in the yard for a couple hours until my s-i-l came home and found her.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Interesting about the EAP, Ethne Alba. I think my mother would really enjoy being in the right sort of more sheltered environment. She loves chatting to people and even though she sees her neighbours every day, I always feel she'd much rather be living with someone whom she could talk to all the time.
I've not heared of General Anxiety sydrome, but my mother does get in a flap about minor things much more easily than she did. At the moment she is very cross with her bank. She'd used a contactless card more than usualy so they wanted to check it was her using it. She didn't trust the phone calls and the banks wasn't that helpful at first when she went in. It was all fairly minor and it's been sorted now, but she spent a long time telling me all about it on the phone on Sunday, to the exclusion of anything else.
Hope you get your mum sorted Mrs S. Will giving up the car mean she'll have to move house too?
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Sarasa - the plot thickens. Apparently (and no two people give me the same answer on this, Dowager included) she has broken the middle finger of her right hand also, AND some of the metacarpals for the fourth finger. Hence two hands bound up [Ultra confused]

Also she may have a hairline fracture of her left patella and two loose front teeth [Eek!]

However the upshot of all that is that she ain't going nowhere, specially not home, and I am better at driving (or getting Mr S to drive) up and down to visit than I am at being a geriatric nurse!

So, my guess is - and it is only a guess - that she will have to stop driving (if only because I have cancelled her insurance [Eek!] ) and move out of her quiet corner of the middle of f***ing nowhere into somewhere with a) more support and b) more company.

Additional embarrassing note: one of my mother's friends (95) was phoned last night by my aunt (almost 95) whose hearing aid battery had run out. Said friend drove round, fitted new hearing aid battery, left additional supplies. Said aunt, despite having been taken to visit her sister my mother in hospital, said nary a word to saintly friend about the Dowager's whereabouts! Probably didn't even say thank you, in fact. [Hot and Hormonal]

Mrs. S, looking forward to another round of hospital visiting [Projectile]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Have you also inadvertently lost the offending sandals and all other dangerous footwear?

My grandmother couldn't bear throwing her flashy 3" and upwards heels away, and as the only other person with size 4 feet, I became the not so grateful recipient of impractical footwear various. Some of which is still taking up wardrobe space.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[tangent]
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
... Some of which is still taking up wardrobe space.

Take it to General Booth's Boutique. Now!!! [Big Grin]


Piglet, who has done an inordinate amount of declutterment lately
[/tangent]
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
Throw rugs and small carpets are also a tripping danger, alas.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
CK -yes, yes I have. I am just assembling the materials to send them off down the river, aflame, in a Viking burial [Big Grin]

In other news, she wishes she'd finished herself off on Saturday morning and I really can't say I blame her (especially as her room-mate favours Jeremy Kyle-type television [Projectile] )

Have just been to buy her a birthday card and present - it's really hard to find a suitable card, but the present was easy (new dressing-gown and nighties to replace the washed-out rags she appears to have been wearing! [Roll Eyes] )

Mrs. S, polishing that celestial crown!
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
My mother, early 80s, has a formidable work ethic, keeps the house immaculate, cooks large meals from scratch, helps a nonogenarian neighbour etc. We were / are due to have lunch at her house. However she got an appointment to have a minor procedure carried out under sedation as an outpatient the afternoon before the planned lunch. She is determined that this will not stop her from cooking a large lunch for six. We want to rejig so that we visit for the same length of time, but without Mum cooking a meal. Mum says she won't enjoy our visit if she doesn't get to feed us. She was quite upset on the phone at the thought we might visit and "only" have a cup of tea and some home bakes.

Personally, if I had any form of procedure under sedation, I would spend the following day lolling around with a good book, and a box of chocolates and I am 31 years younger.

What to do?

Also, my mother has a low opinion of my own housekeeping abilities so I can't offer to help, as my mother regards me as being worse than a man short when it comes to matters domestic.
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
I suppose it is not possible to turn the issue entirely around, and insist upon honoring here with a large carry-in meal of such glory that she cannot refuse it. I do not envy you; you are in a tough place here. Sympathy...
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Absolutely no way would Mum accept a carry-in meal. Last time she was ill (18 months ago) my sister-in-law brought her some expensive soup-in-cartons and my mother was outraged. Sis in law knew that she couldn't bring home-made soup as Mum has a low opinion of my sis-in-law's soup making abilities, so I thought the expensive soup-in-a-carton was a good idea but oh, no!

Mum will accept raw ingredients from me (some of my home-grown rhubarb for example) but won't accept cooked stuff.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
By way of a related issue, Dad does no cooking of any form. Mum even pours his breakfast cereal into the bowl for him. I do not know what would happen if Mum did become ill, because Dad has no experience whatsoever of cooking.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
Does she accept frozen homemade food? Assuming she is well enough before the procedure, I suppose she could put some casseroles in the freezer that the family can defrost and serve at the planned lunch.

quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Absolutely no way would Mum accept a carry-in meal. Last time she was ill (18 months ago) my sister-in-law brought her some expensive soup-in-cartons and my mother was outraged. Sis in law knew that she couldn't bring home-made soup as Mum has a low opinion of my sis-in-law's soup making abilities, so I thought the expensive soup-in-a-carton was a good idea but oh, no!

It was a great thought-- next time SIL just needs to carry the notion one step further-- toss the tell-tale cartons and transfer the lovely soup into her own well-used tupperware container. We won't tell.

quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
By way of a related issue, Dad does no cooking of any form. Mum even pours his breakfast cereal into the bowl for him. I do not know what would happen if Mum did become ill, because Dad has no experience whatsoever of cooking.

My dad was the same way. When mom went out of town to care for her own mother after a heart attack, dad ate out every night, but hated eating alone. I was in seminary at the time, studying for finals with little time to spare, but he kept pleading with me to go to dinner with him, upping the ante with increasingly more enticing/expensive options until I finally relented. Later in the week I invited him to our place for dinner. Finally, my (fiercely independent) grandmother took pity on him and urged my mom to return him where she was obviously more needed. Mom returned home to find the house immaculately cleaned and a huge bouquet of roses awaiting her.

Pray there are some similarly unexpectedly good outcomes for your own mom's incapacitation.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
A man in our parish was widowed a few years ago. His mother and wife had always told him that men didn't belong in the kitchen. When he was suddenly on his own he barely knew how to boil water. He apparently lived mostly on delivered pizza* until he moved into a senior living facility.

(*Yes, parishioners helped out when they could, but he was pretty stubborn.)
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
Niece's husband comes from rural southern Italy. When his mother broke her arm, his father spent 6 weeks sleeping on top of the bed, because he didn't know how to make it.

M.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
NEQ, I hope you come to some solution with your mum. She may well find she isn't up to cooking anyway, so the make stuff ahead and freeze it option sounds like a good one.
Mrs S - I hope the Dowager is on the mend soon. It sounds misreable for her (and you at present).
I'm very thankful my mum insists on wearing sensible well-fitting shoes, sandals and slippers. For a long while the worse thing about getting older for her was that she couldn't wear high-heeled shoes anymore.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Mum has a well stocked freezer and will have stuff preprepared but if, say, she took a home made pie out of the freezer, she'd still make mashed potatoes, roast parsnips, leeks in white sauce etc to go with it. She usually produces about five veg to go with whatever meat there is. She is a phenomenal cook.

[ 10. June 2016, 06:43: Message edited by: North East Quine ]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Please renew your prayers/kind thoughts for the Dowager. I have just heard that her dear neighbour of almost 50 years, godmother to my son, mainstay of my mother's life at her own house and somewhere between me and my mother in age (late 70's, perhaps?) collapsed and died of a massive stroke and brain haemorrhage last night [Votive]

If the Almighty wanted my mother to move, he needn't have taken quite such drastic action [Waterworks]

Please pray for me too as I decide how to break this appalling news to the Dowager, already incapacitated and stressed/distressed. In the space of 5 months she will have lost her younger son and her two best friends, both at least a decade younger than herself [Eek!]

Mrs. S, stressed/distressed herself [Help]
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
[Votive] Mrs S and the Dowager
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Absolutely. [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
[Votive] Mrs S and the Dowager.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
And from here. [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
The neighbour, Godmother and friend, may she rest in peace and rise in Glory [Votive]

[Votive] Mrs S and the Dowager. [Votive]

Huia
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
My brother and I spent yesterday in A&E with her, waiting to have a new fibre-glass cast taken off her wrist and replaced with a backslab which is heavy but more comfortable than a too-tight one put on by the plaster specialists. I was so cross - she has spent four days out of the last eight in A&E, being x-rayed for things they should have dealt with the day she fell, being plastered and re-plastered [Mad] and all of it takes FOREVER! For a 92-year old to be made to sit in A&E for at least four hours in a wheelchair is ridiculous, and she might still be there if my brother hadn't announced that we were just taking her back to the community hospital.

So on top of that I had to break the news about Auntie Ruth [Waterworks] she was remarkably stoical about it. I think she has had so many shocks recently that she is just bomb-proof (though confused - who can blame her?)

She seems to have agreed to giving up the car, and I have suggested she consider moving somewhere closer to us before ALL her friends fall off their perches [Waterworks]

Mrs. S, honestly more sympathetic than she sounds!
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I suspect that once one reaches the Dowager's age, one sort of expects to hear of the death of one's friends and contemporaries on a fairly regular basis.

Who was it that said he checked the obituary column of the newspaper each day to make sure he wasn't in it? [Big Grin]

[Votive] continuing for the clan Intrepid.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
Who was it that said he checked the obituary column of the newspaper each day to make sure he wasn't in it? [Big Grin]

It's apparently been attributed to various people.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
I am quite sure that is why my father still buys Reform although that means he is only checking once a month. Perhaps that is all that is required at the moment.

Jengie
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Mum fasted for 26 hours, then had an unpleasant procedure under sedation, and got home at 6pm. The next day six of us sat down to a lunch of roast beef, yorkshire pudding, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, cauliflower in white sauce and glazed carrots, followed by lemon mousse and raspberries, and coffee and traybakes. I think the tray bakes were made in advance, the rest was done from scratch.

I have no idea how she does it.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Bless your mum's heart - she sounds like some sort of Wonder Lady. [Overused]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
It may well be that doing stuff like that is what keeps her going.

Good for her.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
You've probably got a point, WW. It seems to me that having nothing to do is why my dad is deteriorating rather faster than we'd like.

Before my mum died (four years ago) he had a raison d'etre: he visited her every day, but once that reason was gone, I got the feeling that he rather started to give up. [Frown]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Well, the visit of Master S and the Lovely Girlfriend has cheered the Dowager more than I could have imagined [Yipee]

She has started to say how lucky she is to have all these vistors [Eek!] and to express sincere appreciation for all the stuff I am doing for her [Ultra confused]

(Little does she know I've applied for a return of the tax on her car [Devil] )

Anyway it's her 92nd birthday on Monday and the Former Miss S and Great-Grandson will be visiting, as well as us - the hospital really is amazingly accommodating [Angel]

Tuesday will be a bit of a damper when we spring her to go to Auntie Ruth's funeral [Waterworks] but hey, we are where we are .

Mrs. S, more relieved than she can say [Overused]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Mrs S, that is good news.the death and funeral may not be good news, but are part of life. Hope she manages well.
 
Posted by Yangtze (# 4965) on :
 
My aged parent has just embarked on his 80th birthday present to himself. He and an old schoolfriend who also just turned 80 are walking 80 miles in 8 days.

Not bad eh. Fingers crossed for the weather.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yangtze:
My aged parent ... and an old schoolfriend who also just turned 80 are walking 80 miles in 8 days ...

Good for them! [Overused] [Overused]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
quote:
Originally posted by Yangtze:
My aged parent ... and an old schoolfriend who also just turned 80 are walking 80 miles in 8 days ...

Good for them! [Overused] [Overused]
Blimey! Good luck with that then!

The Respectful Mrs. S [Overused]
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
My friend's AP, in her 90s, who can often appear to need exposure in the other place, is proposing to go down to Croydon, to a place where a charity supports the homeless, at 9.30 tonight, in order to see if they have had any contact with the missing person mentioned in the prayer thread. Previously, she has re-enacted the missing person's last known journey to see if it could be done in the time between a shop visit and a phone call. (Just about.)
Give her something of value to do, and she is astonishing. If not wise.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Glad things are as good as they can be Mrs S. Is the Dowgaer going back to hospital after the funeral or are you taking her home and telling her about the tax on her car.
Yangzee - That sounds inspirational. As one of my friends in her mid-seveneties said you have to do the things you want to do while you still have the chance.
NEQ - I'm glad the meal went well. It's obviously soemthing that gives your mum pleasure
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Yes, Mum loves cooking for people and she's very good at it. She won't accept any help, though, and I can't reciprocate; she won't visit me and eat a meal at my house. (This is becoming less of an issue, as I suspect the distance between us now rules out any future visits; it's been a couple of years since she last visited me.)
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
I am going to Manchester this week and not staying with my parents. This is a first, as Mum used to expect me to visit them if they were over but she really is not up to it for a single night.

Jengie
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Yes, Sarasa, she'll be back in Durance Vile afterwards (and no, I'm keeping schtumm about the car tax) [Two face] but she said to me this evening on the phone 'well, no use worrying about it' at which I nearly dropped said phone!

Apparently Great-grandson went to visit his other great-grandmother at the weekend. She's on a dementia ward, and he was (as his father said) like crack for Very Old Ladies! Miss S lost count of how many times she told them that he was six months old and he was called Sebastian (yes, just like he was five minutes ago [Smile] )

It seems like a real admission of failure, but Mr. S and I are having to pace ourselves/cut down on what we do/remind ourselves that (in the words of my friend Fiona) we aren't 40 any more *sigh* However a performance of 'Noises Off' on Thursday night was a real tonic [Killing me]

Mrs. S, who will be glad when Tuesday is over
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Mrs S - hope all goes well with the Dowager over the next few days. [Votive] for Auntie Ruth. Take care of yourself and Mr S.

Jengie Jon - I'm finding things like the visit you mention really bring home to me how my mum is aging. She used to visit us under her own steam using public transport. Now she even thinks the idea of getting a taxi over is a bit much.
 
Posted by Penny S (# 14768) on :
 
My friend's AP has been continuing in her detective work, interviewing shop staff re: purchases, and finding fuller descriptions of the last sighting. Do you think there is a place for a book with the amateur detective a little old lady with shrunken back and bad legs?
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Please see Praise and Thanksgiving thread for update on our day.

I was shocked by how frail the Dowager still is, more than a fortnight after her fall [Eek!] She can walk, but not far and not unaided; can't go to the loo on her own [Help] and generally is not the person she was before the accident.

It's not helped by the issues with the cast on her wrist - she is now on her third fibre-glass cast, following two simple back slabs. This means that she has had her wrist re-set twice ( twice! ) and every time the pain is so extreme that she has a Funny Turn - none of which can be doing her any good.

What the eventual outcome will be, goodness only knows - but all I can think is that she'll need *another* six weeks in plaster before they can contemplate letting her out to terrorise the neighbourhood again [Eek!]

Mrs. S, wondering where this will end [Confused]
 
Posted by Yangtze (# 4965) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
quote:
Originally posted by Yangtze:
My aged parent ... and an old schoolfriend who also just turned 80 are walking 80 miles in 8 days ...

Good for them! [Overused] [Overused]
Blimey! Good luck with that then!

The Respectful Mrs. S [Overused]

Thanks. As he refuses use his mobile unless he is making a call I have heard nothing. I hope they either didn't get or survived the downpours we had here Sun/Mon.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
About 30-odd years ago, when my granny was a little bit younger than the Dowager is now, she had a fall and broke her wrist and it took at least two attempts to set it (neither completely successful).

TBH I'm not sure she ever completely got over it; although she regained her ability to dress, eat, get on with life etc., her arm was never quite the right shape again.

[Votive] that the Dowager's will heal more completely than Granny's did.
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
I've had 3 broken wrists and can assure anybody who hasn't had that experience that the "pulling the arm to put it all back in place" is more than a tad uncomfortable - I think it is worth at least 10 "aaarrrggghhhsss" and at least one "oh deary me"!
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
When Mum was in her 70s she got up to bathroom in middle of the night. Mistook the turn on way back to bed and fell down the carpeted stairs. She was stubborn, knew wrist was broken but refused to call neighbours or nearby friend. She took some paracetamol and returned to bed.
She rang me in the morning and son and I hot footed the fifty miles up to mountains. It was obviously broken and we went to take her. She utterly refused to go in night gown. I had to dress her and we had another 30 minute drive. She fainted during x-ray and over a week had three general anaesthetics before orthopaedic specialist was satisfied setting was right.

Plaster was on for three months before it healed. After removal she had to hold squash ball in hand and knead it for exercise..

Friends made her promise to contact them for any reason at all.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Sadly today The Dowager has the obvious reaction to two full days of attention - no-one's been to see her (well, they all saw her yesterday, didn't they?), everything hurts, she's worried her front tooth will fall out and she'll swallow it (!), did we remember to turn off the heating (!!!) etc etc.

I feel frustrated again - everyone's saying 'oh, isn't she doing well?' but they aren't the ones who have to put up with all this cr*p. Again, she puts up a better face to anyone but me. I wonder if she's busy saying 'oh, isn't Mrs. S marvellous, coming all this way to see me so often, ringing every day, doing my washing and looking after my house?'

No. No, I thought not [Mad]

Mrs. S, reminding herself she's doing this for love, not thanks (luckily!)

PS. sorry for the rant - sometimes I don't like myself all that much [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
No need to apologise, Mrs. S - you've had a very difficult few days, and you absolutely mustn't stop liking yourself.

Just keep telling yourself that the Dowager doesn't know how lucky she is having a daughter like you. [Overused]
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Mrs S my Grandad (father's father) lived with us for the last couple of years of his life. Every so often he had to go into hospital and would come back raving about how wonderful the nurses were, so much so that Mum got a bit miffed. Once when he was in hospital she told one of the nurses how glowingly he spoke of them.

"That's funny" the nurse replied, "when he's here all we hear about is how wonderful his daughter-in-law is and get the distinct impression we could never measure up".

Huia
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thank you, Piglet - and Huia [Killing me]

(I do know it happens to ALL siblings - rarity value wins out over boring reliability every time [Two face] )
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
Sadly, too true Mrs S. [Axe murder]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Dowager much better today - she thanked me for calling and said she'd enjoyed chatting to me [Yipee]

So that's all good [Angel]
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
[Yipee]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
My parents are in their early 70s, but both are to all intents and purposes immobile; they can shuffle around the bungalow and to the car and that's it. Amazingly my dad somehow lifts their buggies into the back of the car, but if he didn't, they'd not go anywhere. He had a stroke in his 50s and then broke his hip a few years ago that pretty much did for his remaining mobility. Mum on the other hand has been gradually crumbling for thirty years.

Neither of them will die; they'll just slow down to a point where you realise they've been dead for a few days.

[Frown]

It's such a shame. They longed to be grandparents and now they are and can't do much but sit and watch the kids play.
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
Karl [Tear] [Votive]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Yes indeed Karl [Votive]

The Dowager was better again yesterday, despite the extraction of her front tooth, and (to my surprise and pleasure) full of 'I don't know what I'd do without you, thank you for all you do for me' [Overused] so I forgave her a few more 'wasn't it nice to see the boys?' comments.

(She's always been a terrible flirt [Two face] )

Mrs. S, always glad to be appreciated
 
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
 
We die as we have lived! I hope her recovery is now uneventful and swift.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Well, she's due to be released into the wild on Monday (with two care visits a day). I just hope they keep up the happy pills, because without them she is dreadfully negative about everything - whereas with them, she becomes much easier to deal with [Two face]

I get bored not only with her grumbling, but also with my own voice being falsely cheerful [Help]

Anyway, final hospital visit on Saturday. Return to take her home on Monday. Back again the next Saturday for Great-Aunt M's 95th birthday party [Ultra confused] and then on the 25th to take her to Orthopaedics to have the cast removed [Eek!]

Let's hope she likes the care workers!

Mrs. S, praying [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Hope everything goes well tomorrow Mrs S for The Dowager. Good to have a plan in place.
My mum seems on the up at present, finally having got rid of the effects of the nasty virus she had at Easter. Getting cross at daft politicians has helped no end!
I do wish she'd consider more help, but I guess it's a waiting game till she decides that's what she wants or circumstances force it on her.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Today's the day, Mrs. S. I hope all goes as planned. You will certainly have earned several glasses of something comforting.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
You were right about that, jacobsen!

The Dowager was moved home without problems, all the nurses and cleaners saying how sorry they were to lose her [Eek!]

However, once home, an innate negativity seems to have returned - she won't wait for the carers to do anything (determined to be independent) but does it herself, inadequately. Mr S and I were trying to persuade her to have a new dishwasher, or at least to use the 40-year-old one she has, because she doesn't do it properly herself even with two hands - but she just turned mulish, as if it might be her last £250 in the world! This in spite of the fact that she's had 5 weeks board and lodging for nothing, and now has two weeks' worth of carers also for nothing [Mad]

And food - nothing is any good, she can't taste it so it has to look colourful, but as I said to her all the colourful stuff has garlic in it (which repeats on her) - my favourite was the fish pie which she said was 'loathsome' [Killing me] Oh, and her new dental plate came out while she was eating a sausage [Killing me]

I wouldn't care if I hadn't spent my Saturday morning in Waitrose, carefully perusing labels [Mad]

And she was wittering about getting her ironing done - do you know what she wants to get ironed? Her teatowels! [Confused]

What worries me is that she will get rid of the carers at the end of the two weeks, and then expect me to pick up the slack from 2 hours away - independence is a fine aspiration but at 92 with her current state of fragility, it just ain't gonna happen!

Sorry all for the rant - as Mr.s said to me the other day, 'just promise me you won't die before your mother!'

Mrs. S, fed up with being the reliable one [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Time to investigate nice care homes where she can continue to be the life and soul of the parry with hot and cold carers laid on?
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
I sometimes think things would be easier if we all swapped aging Ps for a while. I was at my mother in law's the other week for a family get together and I could see her daughter was finding some of things she was doing and saying trying, while I was much more tolerant. I'm sure others would cope with my mother much better than I do.
My M-i-L only manages to live at home as one of her sons lives and works in the village and calls in twice a day, does the gardening, food shopping etc. She had a nasty fall a couple of days ago, and though she is back home, I really think it is getting to the stage where she needs to think about something more suitable than a large cottage, in large grounds down an unmade up road. However as my husband said, what she needs a care home for reclusive academics, and I'm not sure there are many of those about.
Hope you manage to get you mum to continue to accept the help from the carers Mrs S.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Yes, but (sorry - it must be catching!) almost her last words on leaving the hospital were that she didn't care for institutional living!

Sarasa, that's a really good idea to swap Aging P's around - at least they'd have the virtue of novelty [Killing me] I think the Dowager feels gratitude and resentment in equal amounts - gratitude that I am doing all this sh*t and resentment that she has to get me to do it!

Ah well *counts blessings!*
 
Posted by lily pad (# 11456) on :
 
Just keep some perspective - some of us are reading these posts with great longing. I'd iron a hundred tea towels very happily for the chance of a chat with my mom.

I also think an aging parent exchange would be great. Think of the stories that would instantly become fresh and entertaining!
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Other people's parents are so much easier.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
lily pad, I know what you mean, but some days I would iron every tea towel in the country NOT to have the same conversation that we seem to have been having every day for years!

As Sarasa says, other people's are so much easier to deal with...

Mrs. S, busy setting up the Aging Parent Exchange
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Just a swift update to say she had her cast taken off yesterday. The physio was staggered to discover that she had exactly as much movement in each wrist and told her just to go home and use it 'functionally' - i.e. to to do stuff as usual [Smile]

However as time goes on it becomes more and more apparent that the bump on the head has permanently impaired her short term memory, and also her capacity for making decisions. I was trying to get her to choose some ready-meals to be delivered, without notable success, and she said 'so someone has to ring up every week and CHOOSE these?' to which I replied 'No, Mum, not somebody - YOU!'

I think we have now reached the stage when she doesn't want to stay in her home, but equally doesn't think she's ready for a care home: I have my doubts and in any case wonder how she will ever move if she practically had to be forced at knifepoint to let me take away and dispose of some bedding that I had at university, 43 years ago [Help]

However, the good news is that she hasn't actually reneged on her promise to stop driving; I had all my arguments marshalled, but my heartfelt prayers must have had some effect (just as well as the poor car now has neither tax, insurance or MOT [Devil] ) I didn't actually watch Hundred-Year Old Drivers as my nerves wouldn't have taken it, but I understand one old chap's car had only one dent-free panel, and that was the roof. They could have been describing the Dowager's [Killing me]

Mrs. S, off to choose a care home for herself
 
Posted by Stercus Tauri (# 16668) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
Just a swift update to say she had her cast taken off yesterday. The physio was staggered to discover that she had exactly as much movement in each wrist and told her just to go home and use it 'functionally' - i.e. to to do stuff as usual [Smile]

However as time goes on it becomes more and more apparent that the bump on the head has permanently impaired her short term memory, and also her capacity for making decisions. I was trying to get her to choose some ready-meals to be delivered, without notable success, and she said 'so someone has to ring up every week and CHOOSE these?' to which I replied 'No, Mum, not somebody - YOU!'

I think we have now reached the stage when she doesn't want to stay in her home, but equally doesn't think she's ready for a care home: I have my doubts and in any case wonder how she will ever move if she practically had to be forced at knifepoint to let me take away and dispose of some bedding that I had at university, 43 years ago [Help]

However, the good news is that she hasn't actually reneged on her promise to stop driving; I had all my arguments marshalled, but my heartfelt prayers must have had some effect (just as well as the poor car now has neither tax, insurance or MOT [Devil] ) I didn't actually watch Hundred-Year Old Drivers as my nerves wouldn't have taken it, but I understand one old chap's car had only one dent-free panel, and that was the roof. They could have been describing the Dowager's [Killing me]

Mrs. S, off to choose a care home for herself

I can beat that. My beloved (honestly) mother in law added a dented roof as well as every other panel when she dropped the garage door on it.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Not a parent but a beloved friend of many years standing, now diagnosed with dementia and the onset of Alzheimers too.

A grouup of six of us, all longtime friends, are trying to manage care for him to help him stay in his home. This is relly just a temorary measure. Adopted as a toddler and never married he has no family we can trace. If basically untraceable, who would now be interested in care for him? Not even his dad's brother can be found.

Doctor cancelled his licence a few weeks ago and we took his car from him. We are traitors in his eyes to our friendship. Actually, his actual driving is fine if he were on an open road with no traffic.

Directions rattle him, he can no longer follow GPS directions. Getting in the right lane to exit or similar thoroughly rattles him. Unexpected movements of traffic also cause him to become unsettled.

Passenger's mirror was pushed well in so all he could see was himself. DIL fixed it for him. I asked what had happened and was told, "a tree fell on the car." when I questioned this, the story changed immediately to, "perhaps I ran into a tree." This seems more likely.

Keys were constantly lost etc. A flat tire was changed by motorists association driver who did not notice it too had a slow leak. He ruined wheel by driving on it for a week or so.

I guess we have to live with being called traitors.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Mrs. S. - would some sort of sheltered housing be any good for the Dowager? You know the sort of thing - where you have a flat or bed-sit, but food is available, and there are carers who know if you haven't got up of a morning?

Just a thought - it might be a good half-way-house between being in her own house and being in full-on care.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
Mrs. S. - would some sort of sheltered housing be any good for the Dowager? You know the sort of thing - where you have a flat or bed-sit, but food is available, and there are carers who know if you haven't got up of a morning?

Just a thought - it might be a good half-way-house between being in her own house and being in full-on care.

My best friend's mom moved into a very well run facility (her decision) and enjoys it. Her little studio apartment has a kitchenette, but she mostly eats in the dining room. She has made friends, takes part in activities, and watches her own TV. The home has a van that people can schedule to take them shopping or church. There is also a wing with more detailed care if and when she might need it. If you could find a place like that in your area I think she might be happy.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
Mrs S

Does the Dowager live somewhere useful for a member of the wider family to be based? Perhaps near a university or work?

We had this with an elderly aunt (no problems with dementia, memory or physical frailty, just a wart of an only child) and it has been sorted by moving in a great niece: the aunt gets the companionship but feels she is being useful, the g-niece gets fantastic accommodation at minimal cost.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
Mrs S

Will she accept help at home? My sister and I set up for a carer to come twice a day, meals delivered, other shopping delivered and frozen and a phone tab for emergencies when my father was recovering from his heart operation. The only thing that stuck was the carer who now come in once a week to bath Mum. It took a fall in the bath and Dad struggling to get Mum out for him to recognise that was necessary. There are agencies that will do social care as well as physical care and might even agree to come and help the dowager order meals on a weekly basis (and check she is getting one, once a day).

Jengie
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thank you all for your concern, and suggestions. None of the family would willingly live with her, I'm afraid, lovely though the thought might be.

The half-way house thing might suit best if we can find one, as this week it's the garden that's the problem (there's always one, if you know what I mean). The issue I foresee (and I hate to be so negative, but I know you'll understand) is that for 50 years she's lived in a large house in a quiet residential street, surrounded by a lovely big garden. If she moves into a small flat, by definition everything will change, and it will all be My Fault.

On the other hand she will at least be able to find company (although she's quite negative about that, too - she's very dismissive of all the old biddies who live in homes [Eek!] ) I just wonder what trying to move anywhere will do to her, but I suppose people do it all the time, just not at 92.

In the matter of damage to cars, she did once drive into the garage with the rear door to her hatchback UP - that made a nice mess [Ultra confused] We have long joked (rather tastelessly I know) that if her car were a child it would be on the At Risk register [Roll Eyes]

Ah well, a 'nice young man' delivered the food, so that's a plus point for them [Snigger]

Mrs. S, for once without a snappy by-line
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Mrs S [Votive]

When my Dad went into care I spoke to the nurse in charge of the unit, admitting that I couldn't give him the kind of care they did. She said, bluntly, "I can do this for our Residents, but there is no way I could have done it for my own Mother."

I think that the difficulty is that with our own parents there is so much history. With my Dad I was always his little girl, which was why my sister-in-law could manage some things with him far better that I could. It took me a while to stop resenting and feeling guilty about this.

Huia [Tear]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Well I spoke too soon and tempted fate. The latest crisis turned out to be a bit more serious. After 10 days in hospital she's been fast tracked into a care home. Fast track is for people with a prognosis of less than 3 months in this world.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Oh Karl, I'm so sorry to hear that.

[Votive] for your mum, your dad and you.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
[Votive] Karl and your parents.
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
[Votive]
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
May I briefly rant. My younger brother, in his 50s, hasn't visited for 2 years. Flies in from Hong Kong and we think respite time. Here for 2 weeks. There's a bank holiday on Monday and we have taken the Friday to go away.

I receive a call last evening from 88 year old father. He lives in a seniors semi-assisted living building. They get supper and there are some social activities. He's actually in pretty good condition, with some memory and balance issues but not at all bad or worrying. Back to the call from him: brother is leaving in the mid-morning. He's taken out a temporary 2 week gym membership and is absent from about 9 a.m. until after my father's bedtime (varies from 8:30 to 9:30 pm).

So here I sit at work, with the plan to go, and digesting the phone call. Father not pleading in so many words, but pleading in between the lines. I spoke to my brother on the phone later, and he reassures that he will be attentive, but I know it is hopeful nonsense on my part to believe a word of it.

I guess we will go, with diminished enjoyment, and I will need to call and talk to father, but obviously cannot visit as we usually do every second day, sometimes daily. I don't really want to talk to my brother again. [Help]

[ 28. July 2016, 22:10: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
Prayers, Karl, for you and your family.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Prayers for all in these difficult situations [Votive]

We cancelled a week's holiday because we felt it would just be too far away if the Dowager had another funny turn. I'm not sure she's even registered what we did, what it cost us, or what we missed out on. When she says 'I don't know what I'd do without you' I have reached the stage of thinking 'it's all about you, isn't it?' Not 'You've been so kind and thoughtful' but 'what would I do?'

Sorry - this is the only place I can say these things. Does every old person's world close down around them so all they think of is themselves?

Mrs. S, mourning [Frown]
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
Yes, I think so, Mrs S, in my experience (which only relates to a small sample, of course).

I imagine it has to do with a feeling of increased vulnerability because of failing powers.

M.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
I think that their mental map shrinks - just as people in residential homes often lose interest in the outside world. Not always, of course.

I remember visiting an elderly widowed teacher, a wonderful woman, and hearing her reckon up how many hours I had spent with her. ("Well, I've had three hours...") And complaining that a certain friend spent "only" two hours with her every Monday morning! No apparent awareness of what that meant in terms of consistent commitment.

This was someone who had been astonishingly outgoing and active all her life, until truly gruesome arthritis took over in her seventies. She had no children, but was surrounded by friends and ex-students who helped her enormously. However, nothing filled the hole left by the loss of health, mobility and her life partner. We all need to pray for grace when it happens to us!
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
I remember phone calls with my mother, where she would chat for ages about how so-and-so had been to see her, and such-and such a person had rung, and then in the next breath complain me that mine was the first voice she'd heard that day.

And if I called her on it, she would just vaguely murmur, 'I suppose so' and carry on.

M.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
The Grandmother of the ex Mr L broke her knee in her 80s, think. She was in hospital for a long time. She had a small notebook full of notes like."nurse brought hot water to wash at 5:00am. Returned at 6:30 and water was cold." No thought of doing it herself.

No matter how many visitors she had in a day, she would make a note in block capitals underlined , if no one from the immediate family visited her at every visiting time. . It would then be shown, with loud lamentation, to the next visitor.
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
The Grandmother of the ex Mr L broke her knee in her 80s, think. She was in hospital for a long time. She had a small notebook full of notes like."nurse brought hot water to wash at 5:00am. Returned at 6:30 and water was cold." No thought of doing it herself.

No matter how many visitors she had in a day, she would make a note in block capitals underlined , if no one from the immediate family visited her at every visiting time. . It would then be shown, with loud lamentation, to the next visitor.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
[Votive] for Karl and his parents.
Mrs S, I'm not sure if all old people become more self-centred the more they age, my mother-in-law still seems interested in various family goings on for instance, even if she doesn't get all the details right. My mum however is definitely in the 'it's all about me camp', so I sympathise. I hope you can get a workable solution that keeps her happy and safe and allows you to do the things you want, starting with a holiday soon.
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
I'm not sure if all old people become more self-centred the more they age.

I think it's because they know they are powerless to take care of their own needs -- they even have to rely on someone else even to wipe their bums after they toilet -- and so there just isn't any room in their conscience for other people's needs.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I suspect that a lot of what we take for kindness, fair-mindedness, tolerance, etc. in younger people is really "Eh, I feel good and I can't be bothered, never mind"--more of a bodily shock absorber than a spiritual or emotional maturity. Then, when that falls away due to pain, illness or age, suddenly every minor bump in the road feels magnified. It was always there, but the temporary state of good health and wellbeing meant we used to sail over it, and now we have the choice of learning real maturity or else defaulting to letting every bump become a big.freakin.DEAL because it feels like that now.

Yes, I'm starting to feel my age. Why do you ask?
 
Posted by Diomedes (# 13482) on :
 
Lamb Chopped [Overused]
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Maybe when we get older then we get very literal? And maybe if we have stroke type illnesses we get Very literal?

At one point in my life i would also have written in my notebook that the water was cold. Because it had only been brought to me. I hadn't been told to wash with it.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Well I spoke too soon and tempted fate. The latest crisis turned out to be a bit more serious. After 10 days in hospital she's been fast tracked into a care home. Fast track is for people with a prognosis of less than 3 months in this world.

Mum's no longer eating or drinking. She can't really speak and is mostly asleep. Dad's taking it very badly.

We're the only family within a hundred miles. And our annual holiday is booked to start on Saturday. It's only a camping holiday on the Yorkshire coast, so no, it's not insured as when we booked it we couldn't foresee any circumstances in which we'd have to cancel it.

Don't even know what to do, let alone how to do it.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
[Votive] Karl -- and Karl's Mum and Dad
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
[Votive] from here, too.
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
And from over here. [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
[Votive] Fr Karl and his mum and dad. I hope a way opens and becomes clear as to what to do about the holiday. As my mother in law always says look after you as well as your family.
 
Posted by Diomedes (# 13482) on :
 
Karl [Votive]
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
praying....
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
Karl and all your family [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
So sorry to hear this Karl.

[Tear]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
[Votive] Karl and family

Mrs. S, empathetic
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
[Votive] Fr Karl and his mum and dad. I hope a way opens and becomes clear as to what to do about the holiday. As my mother in law always says look after you as well as your family.

Fortunately we can visit on Sunday; have a wedding on the Saturday in Leeds so can dogleg to North Yorks via Doncaster (where they live) and can come back that way the following Sunday. It's not so far (100 miles) that I can't nip back mid holiday, and Mother in Law has offered to pop in during the week. Everything happens at once doesn't it? It's our 20th Wedding Anniversary on the 17th...
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Hoping the anniversary is a good one as in pleasant and uplifting as well as relaxing. And that things stay on an even keel at least for a while, Karl. [Votive]
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
Karl [Votive]
 
Posted by Tukai (# 12960) on :
 
In the hope that it may be some encouragement to Mrs S and others in a similar situation, I offer my own aged mother as a case study.

Like the dowager, she was adamant for years that she would not go into a nursing home, and just wanted to carry on in her own home (which was actually a large apartment). For several years , she had help at home for cleaning (weekly), showering etc daily (which was largely just someone checking she did not fall over, but meant someone checked up on her each day), and had "meals on wheels" delivered to the door and various helpful handrails fitted round the house. All this provided by one of the many aged care agencies under a very good scheme heavily subsidised by the Australian government, which has the wit to realise that such care is much cheaper for them than hospitals or even nursing homes. She whinged about her health and our neglect of her on almost every occasion we phoned (long-distance, about weekly) or visited (a couple of times per year). But eventually, she had a fall and a longish spell in hospital and rehab, and the agency said that she required more care than they were prepared to give her at home, but that she qualified medically to go into a nursing home. Long-time followers of the story will recall the travails we had in moving her into a nursing home in her neighbourhood.

She whinged about her new situation for about 6 months, but after another fall and surgery for a broken hip, seems at last to have realised that where she is the best that she can do at her stage of life, and is now joining in activities there and even making a few new friends. She takes an interest in our family stories but does not constantly return the conversation to her own "plight".

In short, she is now more contented than she has been for at least the past 5 years! So marked is the change when we recently visited for a week (seeing her daily) that the Marama asked one of the nurses whether they had changed her anti-depressant medicine, but the answer was "no".
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thank you Tukai - appreciated.

The Dowager seems to me to be losing ground steadily in terms of memory, passivity and ability to make decisions or act on them. She could - for instance - not do her shopping at the supermarket alone, even if someone took her and fetched her.

I realise that after she's had what seems to her a whirlwind morning of activity she won't be at her most acute, but to find that she was down to her last tablet of one of her medications and had not made any effort to get a new prescription, that was a bit of a wake-up call.

I'm glad not to have emailed my brother about it last night, though, as I find this morning he's just gone off on his holidays! (insert 'green-eyed monster' smilie)

Ah well, onwards and upwards. I suspect she isn't long for the 'independent living' option, though.

Mrs. S, grateful for your support, y'all [Overused]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Bless you Mrs S and all others dealing with aged parents. All five of ours are now gone, Mr Boog's step mum being the last. She was a dear, lovely lady and is sadly missed.

The chemist will help lots with medication issues Mrs S, blister packs, deliveries etc tho I know it's only a symptom.

So hard. The opposite of a baby who gains a bit of ability each day, our dear old parents lose a bit each day and we mourn each thing as it goes [Tear]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
So hard. The opposite of a baby who gains a bit of ability each day, our dear old parents lose a bit each day and we mourn each thing as it goes [Tear]

I think that's the thing I find hardest - while the Intrepid Grandson is coming on (almost literally) by leaps and bounds, his Great-grandmama is regressing, and when I remember how sharp she used to be ...

Mrs. S, wondering how to future-proof herself [Confused]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
I suspect I'm going to be seeing exactly what you're talking about in a few weeks. We're going over to Blighty for D's niece's wedding (how did she get to be old enough to be getting married??) and afterwards I'm going to stay on* and go up to Scotland - it'll be quite a contrast seeing my sister's two grandchildren (aged four and one) and then seeing my dad (their great-grandad - 91).

* It's not that D. doesn't want to go north - he feels that he shouldn't really miss more than one Sunday when he's only just started his new job.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
You may find that the Dowager does improve a bit Mrs S, it certainly took my mum a couple of months to get back to 'normal' after the virus she had at Easter. She seemed physically fine but was still getting far more confused than she normally does. Mind you as Bob Dylan says (in Mississippi you can always come back, but you can't come back all the way!
My mum seems pretty good at the moment, but she is going on holiday by herself next week and I'm not at all sure how that is going to pan out. I'm going over to her place to take a taxi with her to St Pancras International and get her on Eurostar. She appeared to think if she got a taxi at 10.00 she'd catch the train at 10.58. She lives o the very edges of South London, and walks very slowly, so I don't think so.
Hope you have a good visit with your dad, Piglet. It must be hard being so far away.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Sarasa, that's exactly the problem - every time we have a health crisis (note the royal We: that's because I feel as if I walk every step of it with her, though doubtless she'd disagree) she never comes right back up to where she had been.

This time I feel it's been particularly acute because she hit her head when she fell; I seriously think a substantial number of brain cells handed in their lunch pails and disappeared [Help]

Still, we are where we are, and for 92 she isn't doing badly - but it seems harder because she was doing so much better before all this hit [Confused]

Mrs. S, confused herself
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
The Dowager seems to me to be losing ground steadily in terms of memory, passivity and ability to make decisions or act on them. She could - for instance - not do her shopping at the supermarket alone, even if someone took her and fetched her.

Is she managing to prepare and eat sensible meals, or does someone help her with this?

Tesco home deliveries were a godsend for my mother, when she started to lose the ability to shop for herself and became less mobile; I chose and ordered them for her and all she had to do was open the door to the delivery man.

There did come a point when she no longer did that and wasn't eating most of the stuff, but it did keep her going and helped her to retain her independence at home for longer.

[ 12. August 2016, 07:46: Message edited by: Ariel ]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
She doesn't have much interest in food these days because she's lost her sense of smell and taste [Ultra confused]

So, she lives on Wiltshire Farm Foods* frozen and delivered ready meals, when she eats a hot meal, or cold meat/salad/sandwiches etc in between. It's a bit worrying, given that the old tend to disregard 'use-by' dates as something other people worry about, as she can't smell when something's off [Help]

This of course removes a whole area of interest from her life, which is sad.

Mrs. S, praying such a thing never befalls her [Eek!]

*other equally desirable brands of frozen food are available, but WFF seem to specialise in charming young people who take and deliver the orders!
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Haven't been on for a week. You may guess why. She went in the early hours of last Saturday, 6th August. A month ago I was a little worried about her; now I'm choosing hymns for Friday.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Karl and family


[Votive]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Karl [Votive]
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
[Votive] KLB, your family and the soul of your mum.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
Karl
[Votive]
 
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
[Votive] KLB, your family and the soul of your mum.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Amen to that [Votive]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
So sorry to hear this Karl.

Hope you and your family did get away for a holiday in the end.
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Karl [Votive] I will be thinking of you and your family on Friday.

Huia
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
[Votive] Karl and family
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
[Votive] for you and your family, Karl.
 
Posted by Ethne Alba (# 5804) on :
 
Oh crumbs Karl.....how to cope with anniversaries and hymns all at the same time.

Praying [Votive]
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
Karl [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
So sorry to hear that Karl. Prayers for the repose of your mum's soul and for you, your dad and the rest of your family as you grieve.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
Karl [Tear] [Votive]
 
Posted by Kitten (# 1179) on :
 
Karl [Votive]
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
Karl - so sorry to hear. [Votive]
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
Karl - [Votive]
 
Posted by sabine (# 3861) on :
 
Karl, I am so sorry for your loss and will hold all who were related to her and knew her in the Light of God's love and healing.

Meanwhile, very concerned about my 95-year old mother, who has been thoroughly brainwashed by right-wing radio (esp. Rush Limbaugh) to the point that she believes some of the most outlandish, illogical, and totally made-up things now. She lives in a state of total fear.

Since I work with refugees, you can imagine that our conversations could be difficult. I pretty much try not to convince her of anything since critical thinking and facts only cause her to dig in. It's sad to see, since she used to be a very open-minded person. She taught me to have a Matthew 25 attitude toward life, but now the list of groups/ethnicities/countries/skin colors/public figures/etc she hates (or feels are socially inferior) cannot be counted on just the fingers of two hands.

Needless to say, I want her last years to be stress-free, I want her to feel loved, but without sneaking in and stealing all the electronics and newspapers in the house, the likes of Faux News and right-wing talk radio are keeping her in a state of complete fear and stress.

So, prayers, please. For my mother, first of all. And for me and other caregivers that we are able to stay away from anything that will contribute to my mother's agitation.

sabine
 
Posted by Doone (# 18470) on :
 
S [Votive]
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
Karl - prayers ascending for you and for your family, tomorrow, and for recreation and renewal thereafter.

sabine - that sounds very stressful for both of you. Prayers ascending for you too.

[Votive] [Votive] [Votive]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Karl, prayers for tomorrow [Votive]
Sabine - that does sound stressful. I hope you can find ways of assuring her the world isn't quite the way some media portray it.

I've managed to get my mum off on holiday, thanks to some great cheerful and efficent people at Eurostar. I just hope she managed to connect with her tour rep at Brussels.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
Karl, prayers for you and your family. [Votive]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
I hope I won't jinx anything, but following a) some heavy-duty prayer and b) a visit from me AND Mr. S on Monday, the Dowager seems in better shape than a fortnight ago when I visited alone. It isn't that she likes Mr. S particularly, but she seems to make more of an effort with others, and I also think she sees me in another context than solely as her daughter [Yipee]

She still has a politician's knack for deflecting awkward questions*, but all in all, isn't too bad, and doesn't seem to be pestering her neighbours unduly [Overused] which is a big concern of mine.

On the downside, she is in an awful mess about days and times - more than about anything else - and is apt to go off into a brown study if she sits down. Still, none of that is a desperate problem, and we managed to get the car taken away [Yipee] and carers' visits while I'm on holiday agreed [Yipee] [Yipee]

Mrs. S, taking her own advice about prayer!

* for example:

Me: do you need more Steradent?
Mum: no, why should I?
Me: because you're supposed to put your dental plate to soak every night I know this, because I read the instructions knowing she wouldn't
Mum: well, it doesn't fit correctly now, but I don't know about going to and fro to the dentist's...
see what she did there?
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Mrs S, I don't know if it would help the Dowager, but I managed to find a clock that showed not only the time but the day and date for my oldest brother. It did help him orientate himself to some extent. It was horrendously expensive, but the cheaper versions showed the date the American way, which would have confused him even further.

Huia
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
Thanks Huia, I might have to try that. She rang me up on Friday (having managed to wreck the tuning on the new radio we'd bought to replace the last one she'd wrecked*) and informed me that she'd been so sure it was Saturday that she'd got dressed up to go out to lunch, and been next door to ask her neighbour why he hadn't brought the Saturday paper for her [Eek!]

One of those clocks might really help, but it rather horrified me to see them sold for dementia patients. I must get her to the doctor's for an assessment...

Mrs. S, adding another thing to the list!

*that was a bummer, but on the bright side she didn't try and insist I went down there Now, Right This Minute, to fix it [Overused]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
One of those clocks might really help, but it rather horrified me to see them sold for dementia patients. I must get her to the doctor's for an assessment...

It's always useful to know what's going on, whether there's medication that will help, and what you can expect. I'd suggest sooner rather than later, because if he wants to refer her to the memory clinic, there's likely to be a waiting list for that. It was 3-6 months in our area - it might be much less where you are, of course.

Dementia clocks are expensive. I thought about getting one but got my mother what she'd asked for instead, a Roberts radio. (No point spending a lot of money on something she wouldn't use.) The Roberts radio has the advantage of automatically setting the time and date, and the buttons are clearly labelled, but some people with cognitive impairment could find it confusing. My mother never used it, and I have it now: it works perfectly as a radio alarm, and obligingly shuts up at weekends.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
When do alarm bells about dementia start ringing? My mother and MiL are both a lot more vague and confused than they were as younger women. When we visited my MiL a couple of weeks ago I was really worried as she seemed not to 'get' a lot of what was going on. However I've talked to her on the phone since and she was pretty much as she always was, so I guess it's her awful hearing that's causing some of the muddle. My mum had one of those tests where she had to spell words backwards etc as part of being in a research programme for people with macular degeneration recently. She tells me they said she passed with flying colours, but I know that she isn't nearly as sharp as she was, and does forget things for more easily.
On another tack, mum is back from her holiday. It was OKish and I can't work out if the things that were wrong were genuine things that were wrong or her own too high expectations. What is certain is she wouldn't have managed wothout the kindess of strangers, including a young couple who helped her off the train at St. Pancras and stayed around for 50 minutes until my brother finally found her. Praise and thanks to them, whoever they were.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Very glad to hear that your mother had a successful holiday and got back home safely!

quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
When do alarm bells about dementia start ringing?

If you have no experience of people with dementia it can be quite hard to spot the signs. I didn't until my mother was taken into hospital with a UTI. After that she was never the same again. She was almost never forgetful until the last few months.

Getting muddled about time and money should ring a few alarm bells. Bills need to be paid, food needs to be bought, expiry dates should be within reason, cooked food should be put away in appropriate places. If you are muddled about time you may find it difficult to know how long to cook something for.

Dementia can entail forgetfulness but it doesn't always (there are several different kinds of dementia). Also, for want of a better description, the logic circuits go. Things are sometimes done (or objects put in specific places) for reasons most people would think bizarre. Memories may become conflated, embellished, and utterly convincing to the person as they find it harder to distinguish between reality and fantasy. This can include "waking dreams" and obsessive beliefs.

Watch out for "sundowning". They sometimes get active around twilight, as night sets in, and maybe want to go for a wander once it's dark. Also look out for a gradual slide in personal hygiene/change of habits.

The whole thing can be quite inconsistent. Some days you can think there's definitely something wrong somewhere, other days everything seems fine. Compare back to a year ago and see how that measures up.
 
Posted by Caz... (# 3026) on :
 
I'm sneaking back in after several years of not posting [Smile]

We are just beginning to explore moving my parents in with us. The plan was always for a granny annexe for my Mum, who is 14 years younger than my Dad and so likely to survive him, but he is now chronically unwell and when he's going through a bad patch, as he seems to have been all summer, they both essentially become housebound. Mum has been quite low so we're talking about selling both properties and funding one big enough for us both to live in- either a house we can split or one with a separate annexe, we definitely both need our own living space.

I'm conscious I want to set it up right from the start so that it works for the long term without us living on top of each other.
 
Posted by Caz... (# 3026) on :
 
Oh Karl, I am very sorry to hear about your Mother [Votive] [Tear]
 
Posted by Squirrel (# 3040) on :
 
I started this thread, but haven't posted in a while. Glad to see it's helped some folks.

When I started out, my Dad was living at home, with my brother and sister-in-law living upstairs. He eventually deteriorated to the point where he needed 24-hour care. Then THAT wasn't enough, and we managed to place him in one of the better nursing homes in his area.

At the same time both of my wife's parents, who are divorced, have developed severe dementia. We had to place her dad in a nursing home- once again we lucked out and got a good one, while my mother-in-law, who lives 4 hours away, is just starting the get the care she had previously resisted.

All three have since forgotten my name. My father-in-law jokingly calls me nicknames like "Don Quixote," and uses humor to try and deal with things. My mother-in-law doesn't know my name, but DOES recall that I'm a musician, and wants me to play when we visit.

I could deal with this.

But when my own dad forgot my name I wanted to go into the nursing home bathroom and scream.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
Fortunately, my Mum never was good with calling me by my name (nor my sister by hers). About twenty percent of the time I got my sister's and twenty percent I got something random. It actually makes it easier to accept how rarely remembers it now. It is harder for my Dad who she used to get right all the time.

However, when my mum claims her memory is perfect I am totally naughty and ask her Granddaughter's name. Mum has never held it mentally but it is something she would expect to know.

Jengie
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Fortunately, my Mum never was good with calling me by my name (nor my sister by hers). About twenty percent of the time I got my sister's and twenty percent I got something random. It actually makes it easier to accept how rarely remembers it now.

Oh, me too - even as children my mother would address us as 'OlgaJimPeter' for example; and you're right, this makes it easier to deal with now.

However, when I start out having a conversation about my son and without any warning it becomes clear that Mum is talking about my brother instead - well [Eek!] The generations have become smeared in our family (my brothers were much younger than me) which doesn't help, but at the moment it's very hard to pin down exactly which member of the family she's on about (if you can guess a gender, or a generation, you're doing well!)

To be fair, she knows her memory is going [Confused]

And whoever it was upthread (was it Ariel?) who bought her mother a Roberts radio - I got mine the simplest radio John Lewis could provide. She's managed to lose the tuning on that - it was only tuned to Radio 4, but I think she gets like Homer Simpson and just mashes the controls till something happens. (That's what happened to the last one) She seems to have stopped using her glasses for things like that, which can't be good news.

Mrs. S, hoping the Dowager has forgotten she has a gas fire [Help]
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Clocks! My partner has three older sisters, who all live overseas (London, New York, and a tiny village in Germany on the Swiss border). After many years of phone calls from the parents in the middle of the night, one of the sisters gave the parents a useful set of four clocks in a case. Each was clearly labelled with the city and the sister's name and was set to the appropriate time.

Within days, my father-in-law had buggered up the settings "improving" them, and then it was too much trouble to fix them all again. It should have been such a good gift...
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
One of those clocks might really help, but it rather horrified me to see them sold for dementia patients. I must get her to the doctor's for an assessment...

Mrs. S, adding another thing to the list!

The trouble is things like the clock only help for so long - he had to remember to look at it.

My brother would tick the boxes for a lot of the behaviour Ariel mentioned, yet there are some things he can discuss as well as anyone.


Tomorrow I am going to Wellington as he has yet another assessment. Fingers crossed it will result in a change of residence. Apparently this particular assessor says 65 is very young to go into care. Stupid woman! I know some 90 year olds who would be nowhere near ready for the level of support he needs.

I hope I can remain polite.

Huia
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
In her last months my mother would really only have coped with a radio with one button and that saying "On/Off". All other buttons would have been fiddled with.

The other problem was that she couldn't listen to it anyway, because there's an odd sort of twist to some kinds of dementia that involves deja vu, so she was convinced the radio was jammed and broadcasting in a loop. Same for the television, once she came out of hospital she couldn't bear to have either on.

I think part of the problem was that normal speaking pace was by then too quick and too complicated for her to be able to follow and she could only catch at words as they went past. If a topic is discussed, keywords are inevitably repeated. It used to make her quite angry - partly through frustration I think. The other part of the problem was that if I said something she'd say I'd already just told her.

Books and reading were also affected. It was rather like the buffer zone of her memory had contracted considerably and could only cope with the first few pages before it was memory overload and inability to take in any more while the contents scrolled past again in something of a jumble. I know people aren't computers but I honestly can't make sense of this in any other way.
 
Posted by lily pad (# 11456) on :
 
Just jumping in here with a practical suggestions re. radios. They make extension cords and power bars with an on/off switch. I've used one because I wanted to place a couple of things slightly out of convenient reach without losing the ability to turn them on and off - a radio once and a lamp another time. Something like that might work for the senior years if managing radio controls is too complicated. Just leave the switch close to hand and place the radio slightly out of easy reach.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Caz said:
quote:
We are just beginning to explore moving my parents in with us.
Do your parents live near you? One of our very vague ideas is to move out of London to free up some capital. If mum came in with us, we could probably get a place with an annexe for her. But it would mean moving her away from places she knows and friends she sees a lot of, and I think she'd feel very isolated.
Thanks for the tips about dementia, Ariel, I'm still not sure what's going on with my mum and my MiL I just know they are not quite what they were even five years ago.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:

Watch out for "sundowning". They sometimes get active around twilight, as night sets in, and maybe want to go for a wander once it's dark.

I've always heard "sundowning" to refer to the opposite-- the fact that many of the elderly are able to rally fairly well when they are well rested, but as the day wears on they become increasingly fatigued, so that by "sundown"* you see a marked decline, mentally even more than physically. So that any assessment needs to take place at various times throughout the day.

*"sundown" only being the most obvious time-- the same sort of fatigue-effect can occur after an exhausting medical examination, a long and tiring visit (especially if there are multiple visitors as in a large family where lots of conversations are going on at once), etc.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I've always heard "sundowning" to refer to the opposite-- the fact that many of the elderly are able to rally fairly well when they are well rested, but as the day wears on they become increasingly fatigued, so that by "sundown"* you see a marked decline, mentally even more than physically. So that any assessment needs to take place at various times throughout the day.

Yes, having googled this I think I've misused the term. The after-dark wanderings and night-time activity can be a thing though; and confusion can set in once the sun's gone down.

You can tell a doctor your concerns, but they can only assess on what they see at the time. And many dementia patients, in the early stages, know that something is wrong with them and will go to some lengths to behave as normally as possible in front of medical staff or social services. They can make you look like a malicious fantasist.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
The after-dark wanderings and night-time activity can be a thing though; and confusion can set in once the sun's gone down.

Yes, definitely a thing. My late MIL used to call at 3 am to come rescue her from dark seedy inner-city corner after her wanderings.


quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:

You can tell a doctor your concerns, but they can only assess on what they see at the time. And many dementia patients, in the early stages, know that something is wrong with them and will go to some lengths to behave as normally as possible in front of medical staff or social services. They can make you look like a malicious fantasist.

Yes, very true and problematic. The more experienced physicians will be aware of this, so resist the urge to feel like a fool-- they probably know better. But it definitely does not help in the very important task of obtaining a good diagnosis.

[ 29. August 2016, 15:25: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:

You can tell a doctor your concerns, but they can only assess on what they see at the time. And many dementia patients, in the early stages, know that something is wrong with them and will go to some lengths to behave as normally as possible in front of medical staff or social services. They can make you look like a malicious fantasist.

...to behave as normally as possible in front of anyone who isn't me, in fact!

I'm sure my son and my brother both think I'm exaggerating, because Mum puts her best foot forward in front of them - at least in part because they are male, and she likes men better! That isn't a criticism, btw, just an observation.

Mum has now reached the stage where she can only handle one thing a day - the cleaner or the hairdresser, say - but not both. After a busy day a week ago, when Mr. S and I left at 4 in the afternoon, she was saying in all seriousness 'I shan't be long out of bed!'

Mrs. S, busy sympathising with all posting here

[Votive]

[ 30. August 2016, 04:29: Message edited by: Welease Woderwick ]
 
Posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:

Watch out for "sundowning". They sometimes get active around twilight, as night sets in, and maybe want to go for a wander once it's dark.

I've always heard "sundowning" to refer to the opposite. . . .
My mother exhibited sundown syndrome -- her mood became melancholy as darkness fell. It was of course much worse in the winter.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
So, this morning at 7 am I picked up my mobile phone to send Miss S a text - it's her first day back at work after maternity leave. I've already missed a call from Mum (the phone doesn't ring between 10.30 and 7)

Voicemail to say 'I fell over last night and hit my head last night. Now I don't feel very well and I don't know what to do'.

Me, in reply: 'Yes you do. Call 999. Or press the red button'.

Mum: But I'm standing here in a little short nightie...

Me: Then put your dressing gown on. Or get dressed. But stop making excuses and press that button. DO IT!'

Mum put the phone down, but she did press the button, which fetched an ambulance and her kind neighbours. The paramedic was very helpful, and convinced Mum that a care visit daily ('But I don't need them!') might save my sanity [Overused]

When I rang her later, she had grudgingly accepted this, but asked 'And how long is this going to go on for?' Me: FOR EVER!

Anyway, I've managed to get a doctor's appointment for next Monday when I'm next down there, and explained the context. Let's hope that helps!

Mrs. S, who has gone back to biting her fingernails
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Glad your mum called somebody Mrs S. I hope you get a carer sorted and the doctor's appointment is helpful. I was pelased my MiL used her button when she had a fall.
I'm off to see my mum tomorrow. The holiday seems to have made her depressed, she managed to bruise her coccyx, catch a virus and not like her cabin ('It was all brown'). I just think it is too stressful for her to go on holiday indpendently anymore. She's talking about moving nearer my brother, but think I need to talk through all the various options with her beofe she does anything rash. I think getting some help in where she lives would be a start.
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Intrepid Mrs S:
...to behave as normally as possible in front of anyone who isn't me, in fact!

We had an interesting variation of this. My partner finally convinced her parents (aged at that point 93 and 90) to be assessed by a geriatrician. The geriatrician assessed them, we believe, completely accurately, as needing to be in full time care. However, she was unable to tell us this, as father-in-law refused to let her, and he was still legally competent.

They went on living in their home for another 18 months, with my partner having to weather increasing numbers of falls, turns, and accidents without having basic information on their incapacity. We did wonder if it was somewhat negligent on the hospital's part, but all inquiries went into a black hole.

We discovered later that their GP had assessed them as needing full time care even earlier, but they'd sacked him in favour of someone who wouldn't say anything uncomfortable.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
At least he allowed the Geriatrician to make the assessment. [brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

All right he likes to do one thing at once but he is cancelling the appointments that enable access to assistance.

Jengie
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
It's not assistance, it's the start of a clearly defined path that involves strangers coming into your house daily, your things starting to disappear along with your rights, and escalating to your being taken away against your will (because they'll deem you to have lost capacity) and put in a horrible care home with lots of mad people for company and where you lose any privacy and the staff mistreat you.

They can hide their illness for a while but sooner or later it becomes increasingly obvious to everybody.

I don't know how anyone copes with this in a spouse and for years, especially when both parties are elderly and one has to look after another who may have become violent and incontinent.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
My Dad is the carer!

He is of sound mind and no one would think of him as mentally incapacitated..


Jengie
 
Posted by Piglet (# 11803) on :
 
Having expected the worst, my sister and I came away feeling that we'd really had a very good (albeit very brief) visit with Dad.

The first afternoon, which was a beautiful, warm (for Orkney!) sunny one, there were people doing a doggy-agility thing in the garden of the old-people's home, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it (even Dad, who doesn't particularly like dogs).

Afterwards, we were able to take him out in the car, and he seemed to enjoy himself - he was even laughing at amusing reminiscences we were having about Mum.

In particular, my sister was very relieved, as the previous time she'd been up to see him, he hadn't seemed at all well, and she was quite worried about him. He's certainly looking older; his face seems to have sort of shrunk in on itself, making his eyes and nose seem bigger (does that make any sense?) but he seemed pleased to see us, and I think he enjoyed our company.
 
Posted by The Intrepid Mrs S (# 17002) on :
 
That's such good news, Piglet [Yipee] I'm really pleased for you.

I have to call the Dowager this morning, first to see whether the carer turned up yesterday - following the latest fall I have insisted she gets a daily visit. Second, I need to ask why, when the son of her oldest friend called last night offering to take her out to lunch, she referred him to me???? [Confused]

My suspicion is that she doesn't want to go, but doesn't want to hurt his feelings by saying so. She complains of loneliness, but then doesn't want to see people; or maybe she just doesn't want to see them for very long [Confused]

Anyway, I'm taking her to the doctor on Monday so we'll see where - if anywhere - that gets us.

Mrs. S, wishing phoning her mother wasn't always a chore [Frown]
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Good luck with the doctor's visit Mrs S.
I went to see my mum on Wednesday, and her holiday seems to have totally knocked her out, to such an extent that she is in a pretty similar way to when she had that virus at Easter.
We went out for lunch (not that she wanted any), where I intended to re-open 'the you can't carry on like this' conversation. However we bumped into one of her friends and invited her to join us, so that conversation was off. It turned into a very pleasant lunch, though it did make me feel about twelve again!
There are various things that are ringing alarm bells with me, but as Mrs S says, I'm not sure that they would with anyone else yet. When I reported my visit and concerns to my brother his reaction was 'stay cool'. Nothing more guaranteed to make me feel less cool I'm afraid!
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
OK, I wonder if anyone can get me any advice. My mum seems too be suffering from permanent deja-vu - everything she watches on TV she has "seen before", and we went to an exhibition that she has seen "last time".

The TV thing I can accept that so much is similar, so it might just be a faulty memory. The exhibition slightly different, and as I have experienced deja-vu I recognise the presentation as something like that.

Has anyone got any thoughts on what it might be? It has been going on for a while, so is not just a periodic wobble. I strongly suspect she has a neurological problem, something broken in her brain. I should point out that she won't go to the doctors whatever, and I am quite reconciled to the fact that she is deteriorating and dying (she is 86). I just find this particular symptom puzzling.

The thing is, she isn't showing any other signs of mental disorder - yes her memory is sometimes hazy, almost as much as mine. But she is still in control of her senses, broadly. So I think this would rule out degenerative problems like dementia (I think).
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
OK, I wonder if anyone can get me any advice. My mum seems too be suffering from permanent deja-vu - everything she watches on TV she has "seen before", and we went to an exhibition that she has seen "last time".

This is what my mother had and I described this to