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Advice for my elderly Dad with Altzheimers and his care - Carers UK Forum

Advice for my elderly Dad with Altzheimers and his care

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Hi,

my Dad is 84 and lives at home, he has mild Altzheimers, is generally fit and well and is a lovely chap.

He wants to stay in his own home and for the past 2 years has been cared for by several care companies. Currently he has 2 sets of 2 people at home with him all the time, they do 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off. He needs 24 hour cover as his sleep pattern is bad, which means that a sole carer does not get enough sleep.

The care company has very badly let us down, with serious issues that I won't go into. This is not the first time and the previous companies were no better.

I have no faith in these so called care companies any more, although some of the carers have been excellent.

I live 250 miles away and cannot keep an eye on the situation.

I thought that I would be able to trust these companies to provide good carers and be able to know that Dad was being looked after properly, this has not been the case.

What to do?

Are there any good care companies? I checked with the CQC first and chose companies that had excellent reports. It made no difference.

Dad really does not want to move into a home. I must respect his wishes, although I do feel this would be a situation that would be safer for him, given the failings of the care companies.

In 2 weeks the current carers go on their 4 week break and we are left with whoever the existing company choose to put in place, I have no confidence that they will look after Dad properly.

Help!
I can understand your frustration. May I ask if your dad's care is funded by himself? If so, then if he has to go into residential care (assuming his assets are worth more than £23k) he would have to fund it himself. For around the same cost more or less (as in, not an order of magnitude more) you might find that having a full-time live in carers would be a better option.

If you could find a live in carer you liked and trusted and was competent, that would be easier to manage long-distance than the current set up of multiple carers going in and out all the time.
Hi Rod,

Unfortunately your and your Dad's experiences with care agencies are not unique.

Another alternative is to directly recruit the Carer workers yourselves. Obviously this could lead to a different set o problems eg if a care worker was sick or wanted to go on holiday, which would be difficult for you to manage at a distance. In our area we have Penderels Trust http://www.penderelstrust.org.uk They help with recruiting and can operate a payroll for care workers (for a small fee.) This could be financed by direct payments or self funding.

Melly1
Hi Rod,
Would it be possible for your dad to go into respite care for the 4 weeks? There would probably be Christmassy things going on to distract him but he would be back home before the 'big' day. It might also give him an insight into what residential care is like but with a going home day included.
I wish you luck.
Tracy
Hi Rod,
I understand the dilemma of hoping your parent would choose a Care Home when they really are frightened of the thought. Almost as if it's the 'Workhouse'. My 99 yr old Mum is the same. Won't entertain the idea.
It's hard enough keeping an eye on carers when you live 5 mins away, as I do from my Mum, never mind at that distance. My Mum was living much further away when she was your dad's age and she moved close to me. Very traumatic and as she was 90 at the time, I really didn't expect so many years of caring to come. Would your Dad move do you think? It does put a lot of pressure on you and can go on for years but your Dad is only going to get worse and more and more vulnerable. Before long you will find yourself driving those miles frequently or fretting and pacing at home because you can't get to him and there's an emergency.
As you say, some carers are great, some are rubbish as with the actual Care Companies. It's a job, it's a business, none of them actually have your dad's welfare deep in their hearts as you do.
Note, I am not suggesting that you move Dad in with you. It would never have worked for me, but it does for some people. If dad was closer to you he might consider day visits or respite care in a local Home which specialises in dementia care. Then when the time comes that he really must go to a Home he will be accustomed. My Mum is not mobile and is almost blind so such visits would be very hard to organise even if she was receptive to the idea. I am finding it very time consuming and very stressful looking after Mum now. Spend a lot of my time in tears BUT if she was hundreds of miles away and I didn't know what was going on or who was doing what to her and for her, whether she really was being cared for or being neglected and taken advantage of, I would be frantic and so worried. Hard though it is, we made the right choice.
You need to get on top of this. Are you really content to leave dad to strangers? As his condition worsens, every carer is going to be a stranger, however many times they've visited. One national company I've had a brochure from lately is 'Helping Hands'. I've no experience of them and there are others but might be worth a look.
Hard choices. Hope you find the right one for you and dad.
Elaine
Another possibility, taking up Elaine's post, is for your dad to move near you, but into a care home. Then, the 'deal' is that he is in a care home, yes, BUT, he can come to stay with you at weekends (every w/e or every other maybe) so he still has family life. I did this for a while with my MIL when she had to move from Scotland nearer to me - she couldn't cope with even sheltered accommodation in a flat of her own, so she went into an Abbeyfield and came over to me twice a week after lunch, and stayed the night. It worked well enough, and gave me enough of my own life back, yet some 'family life' for MIL (I'm widowed, so there is only me to look after her). (Her dementia got too severe, and she had to move into a dementia care home, but I still take her out as often as I can, but not overnight).

As Elaine warns, your dad's condition will only deterioriate. Have you sorted things like Power of Attorney, and if not, is it too late? My MIL's mind, sadly, went downhill pretty fast once I realised it was going, and there was no time to set up PoA. We're managing becase I managed to open a joint bank account with her before she got too bad to do even that. Is your dad still capable of making decisions about his own end of life - eg, Advance Directive, so that you know what he would prefer to happen when that time comes, even if he is beyond voicing an opinion when it happens. I know these things are distressing, but they do, sadly, have to be addressed once dementia comes into the picture. Such a dreadful disease.

Wishing you a good resolution for yourself and your dad - kind regards, Jenny
Hi Rod,
I agree with Jenny that the only thing that would work for your father staying at home would be live-in carers, at a pinch. Or just possibly people you employ yourself.

Care companies can't be consistently good even if they are good, because there is a constant turnover of staff and problems training management. I live with my brother and every day I have to sort something out (we have double-handed care four times a day). When I am away on respite more things go wrong. Medication is not consistently given, supplies are not replaced, things are misplaced, there's no end. And we are now with what I think is a good agency. (I don't think the CQC can afford to be open about potentially bad agencies for fear of repercussions). Some of the carers may be good, but even they forget things. I suppose they have a very stressful job too, but I'm surprised sometimes at what they overlook. The management is more problematic, and certainly was in our old care firm.

I was thinking about this when a neighbour across the road who was 95 fell and broke her hip and didn't want carers in. Her son, who lives three hours' drive away, wanted to believe that our care agency would work for her, but it wouldn't (in fact she fell again so she could not live at home again anyway).

At the moment we have seven days of antibiotics and I have to count them every time, although they are correctly entered in the file. Some carers claim they have learnt everything but then don't change the Conveen urisheath because they don't know how, and in addition they have not read the care plan. Others don't understand they need to contact the office or me when they find tablets they don't understand about.

At all events, I've decided that an old person cannot live alone with carers coming in unless he or she is mentally very fit and also prepared to keep an eye on things - which must be rare. Anyway, I don't believe you will find a care agency that will do enough for your father.
Thanks for the replies,

my Dad will not move, or entertain going near a home, even for respite care.

I do have POA. He already has full time care in his home, the company that has let him down has completed their investigation and basically are doing nothing about it at all, a bit of re-training for the carers involved.

I'm possibly interested in recruiting 2 private carers who would live in long term, but do not know where to look. I can't find a similar organisation to Penderels, around Dorset, where my Dad lives.
Hi Rod,

Social services should be able to tell you which organisation in your Dad's area operates payroll services etc.

You could also contact Penderels http://www.penderelstrust.org.uk/contac ... ffice_id=2 as although they haven't got offices for adults in Dorset, they are still operating payroll services for people in Poole.

Melly1