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Just need some advice - Carers UK Forum

Just need some advice

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi all,
Unsure whether I should be posting about this, but just feel I need to talk.
My mother in law has always told me she is disabled throughtout the time I have known her, 12plus years. I care for my own daughter so over the years I have been busy with my own caring reponsibilities. But many times we have had to accommodate my mother in law's needs.
Yesterday, she visited us and was talking about the results of tests. She has had x-rays and a full body scan. Know she is going for a mri scan. But she said she has never been given the dignosis of arthritis. Over the years this is what we were told was wrong with her and she has been using a wheelchair. But she says she may have osteoarthritis but thats why she is having a mri to find out.. Now please understand I am not questioning or judging her but she was telling she would need to have
carers etc and I could just do with any advice/treatments if it is osteoarthritis of what to expect. Hope this makes sense.
Hello. Image

I know little about osteoarthritis apart from the fact that my mum had it badly for more than twenty years but was never in a wheelchair - perhaps someone can offer more expertise than me.

China, this is absolutely the place you should post and you should not feel guilty for doing so. I am no longer a carer in the "hands on" sense so am able to take a more on the fence viewpoint..and boy, do we carers feel guilty all the time!
Absolutely I would be questioning what ma-in-law has been telling you all these years, why shouldn't you? If you had no real input in her life then fair enough but seeing as you have been called upon to look after her needs as well as care for your own daughter, you have a right to know..others may disagree with me.

I am slightly concerned about your last paragraph asking for advice/treatments. Are you automatically considering caring for her as well as your daughter? If so, i would think very carefully about taking on such a step, even more so as it sounds as if it might be expected of you. It is possible to care for two people at the same time..well..hmm. Jury is out on that one.
Should they be expected to care for more than one? Not at all and mum in law is not your responsibility, even if you do have a good relationship with her. Perhaps you can help her organise care for herself with the help of social services or privately if that is what is needed.

Hope it works out.
A friend of mine has osteoarthritis and uses a wheelchair only if she's going somewhere she knows will be busy so she's likely to be knocked, or if a lot of walking will be involved. She was diagnosed in her late 50's and is now in her late 70's. I've known her for 25 years as we used to work together and after she retired and we both moved, ended up living 5 minutes from each other!
She doesn't have care workers on a regular basis, uses a taxi for doctor's visits and hospital transport to see the consultant etc. and with occasional help from her family manages fine.
I'm not an expert by any means, but if you are already caring and helping out with your mum in law, do think very carefully about increasing your own load.
Basically there are two types of 'arthritis' - rheumatoid which is an auto-immune disease and which is characterised by twisted/swollen joints and osteoarthritis which is 'wear and tear' in the joints and from which most people suffer who say they have arthritis; osteoarthritis is generally recognised to be age related and is the most common cause of hip and knee replacements. X-rays and blood tests are usually the only tests needed to confirm diagnosis and treatment is usually anti-inflammatory painkillers and physiotherapy to build muscle strength in the affected joints.

Chinarosie - are you sure your ma-in-law didn't mean osteoporosis ? Tests to diagnosis this do include MRI scans as well as the usual x-rays. Osteoporosis is when bones lose density and start to 'crumble' and are liable to break easily as they become very fragile. Generally it is older women who suffer, especially if they had an early menopause. It is commonly associated with losing height, especially if the spine is affected. There are a number of effective medications to help re-build bone density - Fosamax is one that is frequently used often in conjunction with a calcium supplement. Weight bearing exercise, like walking, is also good.

I have had osteoarthritis in my lower spine, hips and knees for some years; my sister has it in her neck and shoulders but neither of us think of ourselves as 'disabled' - just unlucky Image Mum had it badly in her knees and both were replaced because of it; she also had osteoporosis in her upper spine and was on Fosamax for some years which had the desired effect of increasing her bone density as it was started early enough. But in extreme cases of osteoporosis the patient develops a 'dowagers hump' and cannot straighten up. If the 'bent over' condition progresses it affects lung capacity and the ability to breath properly resulting in a tendency to contract pneumonia and other chest infections.