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Hello - new joiner looking for advice please - Carers UK Forum

Hello - new joiner looking for advice please

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hello everyone. I'm a newbie here, I'm having a bit of a situation and I'm not sure what my options are. Can anyone help me out please ?

Here's the background. A year or so ago, I moved back to the family home to help mum and dad with their care. Both parents are in their early eighties and getting increasingly dependent. Thankfully they are still fairly clear-minded but they are both very frail and have limited mobility (mum has severe arthritis and uses a walking frame, dad is in a wheelchair). Dad was recently diagnosed with cancer and probably has a year or so to live.

We have paid carers in the morning and evening to help them with dressing and washing, while I do the meals and cleaning and laundry etc. So far this arrangement has worked well although there have definitely been some ups and downs.

The problem is that dad has been losing arm strength and can no longer get himself out of the wheelchair safely. This is difficult because he's a very early riser and likes to get out of bed before the carers arrive. So for the past few weeks I have been waking early to lift him out of bed (or maybe "drag" is a better word, as despite being very thin he's still as heavy as a sack of potatoes).

This routine has been starting to grind me down a bit. I know it doesn't sound like a lot but I'm a night owl and, for me, having to wake at 6am is practically the middle of the night. I'm getting increasingly tired and irritable as this goes on. Plus of course i'm worried about hurting him every time I have to do this.

The problem as I understand it is that carers aren't allowed to actually lift people, so even if we got an earlier visit I don't think that would help (please correct me if i'm wrong here, that's what people have told me).

What are my options here ? I've heard of hoists, could that help ? It would be ideal if there's some gadget he could use himself. Alternatively, are there special types of carer who are allowed to lift people ? Or do I just have to set my alarm early and get used to the early starts ? I'd appreciate any ideas you have.

thanks!
Chris
Chris,
You have a lot on your plate.
You should NOT be putting your own health in peril by trying to get dad out of bed on your own.
I need to ask a few questions to find the best solution.
Are both parents claiming Disability Living Allowance?
Do they have savings over £46,000? (Just yes or no is all I need).
When did they each have a Needs Assessment from Social Services?
When did dad last have an occupational therapy assessment?
Has anyone mentioned NHS Continuing Healthcare to you?
Is the house disability friendly? Tumble dryer? Dishwasher?
Do you have Power of Attorney?
Would it be easier for you if dad moved into a nursing home?
Do they own or rent their home?
As I said, apologies for the questions, but your answers really influence what the best step is for all of you.
Hello bowlingbun - nice to meet you, thanks very much for the reply

Are both parents claiming Disability Living Allowance? -- mum is, dad is not (as far as I know)
Do they have savings over £46,000? (Just yes or no is all I need) - yes
Do they own or rent their home? -- they own

When did they each have a Needs Assessment from Social Services? -- not sure about this, i'll find out (they certainly haven't had anything since i've been here)
When did dad last have an occupational therapy assessment? -- same answer, i'll find out
Has anyone mentioned NHS Continuing Healthcare to you? -- no but thanks for the link, i'll google it

Is the house disability friendly? Tumble dryer? Dishwasher? -- mostly no (there are a couple of handrails but those were installed years ago). I take care of all this stuff so it's not really a problem
Do you have Power of Attorney? -- yes, I have a financial LPA but not health
Would it be easier for you if dad moved into a nursing home? -- almost certainly yes but I don't think he'd be very happy with that !

I'll find out the other things tomorrow and post back when I have more answers. You've already made me aware of a few things I didn't know about (the needs assessment etc).

As I say, we already have help in the mornings and evenings and my role (so far) has just been to help around the house and keep an eye on them, although it's starting to get a bit more demanding. Mum and dad are quite fiercely independent and they refuse to discuss the subject of care homes... I don't think they quite grasp how dependent they are getting, that's the most exasperating part !

i'll post back here when i have more info, thanks again.
Definitely claim DLA for dad, you can do this as you have POA.
It's time to explain that they need to help you look after them.
Definitely a tumble dryer and dishwasher.
Can dad have a bath or shower?
Nursing home fees are well over £1,000 per week, so you are saving them a fortune.
I would suggest you give up cleaning, anyone can do that, you are their child, not slave!
What about their garden? My mum drove me nuts over her garden and plants!! When I was disabled in a car accident, soon after I was widowed, we gave away all the plants, covered over the borders, and built a wider patio. Now it just takes a quick mow, job done!
Hi again BB - I've been busy with work all week, but I just wanted to post a quick update and a big thank you. After a few more early mornings, dad was finally diagnosed with a possible DVT (a blood clot in his leg which is probably what has been causing the weakness in his limbs). He's in hospital at the moment and is expected to make a full recovery. But the main thing is that you have really opened my eyes to the help that's on offer. I had no idea about the DLA or Needs Assessment before I commented here, but now I'm much better informed - thank you very much for the suggestions.

It also turns out that our paid carers are willing to help lift dad in and out of bed, if necessary. I know there's a bit of controversy about this (legal concerns etc) but I was pleasantly surprised when they said it wouldn't be a problem. I'm hoping dad will regain his arm strength, but if not then it's good to know there's a 'plan B'.

Your comment about gardening made me laugh :) The garden here was in a terrible state when i moved back, and I spent most of last summer trying to tame it a bit. Who knew what hard work it is !? As a flat-dwelling Londoner until recently, the only gardening I ever did was watering a few pot plants. But against all the odds, I think i'm catching the bug. Pulling up weeds is strangely relaxing even if half the stuff I pull up probably aren't weeds at all. But yes, a couple more years and I might be reaching for the cement bag :)

thanks again
After I had a very serious car accident, I had to flatten my lovely garden, but it was the best thing to do. Now my sons give the lawn a quick whizz round, job done.
Maybe use some of the DLA to get a regular gardener in for an hour or two, to do the bits you don't want to?
Same with the cooking and cleaning.
How does the idea of coming home to a slow cooked meal and prepared veg sound??
Bathroom and kitchen all done, floors vacuumed?
If you were employing people you had chosen, cleaner an hour in the morning, food prep in the afternoon, that would take a lot of pressure off you.
Hi Chris,
I have read your initial post but not read the dialogue between you and BB, so please excuse me if I repeat what she has already said.

First of all from one night owl to another, you have my sympathy. Request an OT assessment for your Dad. They will be able to assess his needs and if there is away for him to manoeuvre out of bed with gadgets independently, they will know and be able to provide them.

However if your Dad needs a hoist, he won’t be able to use that on his own.

Most agencies insist on a two person care visit for moving and handling with a hoist, although in some cases some agencies are agreeable for the additional person to be a family member. However, most family carers use the hoist on their own.

Melly1
Before dad is discharged, there should be a home visit from the occupational therapist, checking that he has all the aids and equipment he needs for a "Safe Discharge", a Care Plan, and free reablement carers arranged. You should be fully informed. Do not let dad say "my daughter will do it!".