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Deep Breath - Hello - Carers UK Forum

Deep Breath - Hello

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hello I'm Milly

I am 61 years old (62 in October) and sadly I have come to the point of life where I have to admit that I am a carer for my 90 year old Mum and need help and support myself.

It is with a heavy heart that I realise that Mum is starting to have short term memory loss, not hearing what is said to her and becoming more and more irritable.

An example was when I visited her yesterday and my own daughter text me with a problem, I discussed it with my Mum. Just four and a half hours later when I was at home, I had a brain wave how to help my daughter and telephoned my Mum about it - she could not remember her Granddaughter sending me a text and then me talking about it!

In fact she could not remember a thing about it and did not have a clue what I was talking about......

Mum was 90 in June, I lost my wonderful Dad to Lung Cancer in 1998 the year after my own husband passed away with a major sudden heart attack and I don't have any brothers or sisters of my own or his to turn to.

I have various health issues myself including Rheumatoid Arthritis / Fibromyalgia plus all the associated problems they cause as well as having had Breast Cancer treatment in 2013.

I just have my daughter and son who try to help but both have very difficult very busy jobs so can't really physically help unless there is an emergency.

Re my Mum - she lives an hour or so away from me, still in the same house she and Dad bought when they got married waaaay back in 1950.

She flatly refuses to leave it unless she "goes in a box" and has made me promise that I will not sign her house over to put her in a care home and that I and my children will look after her.

I phone her every day in the morning at the same time to check and try to drive over to keep on top of the house, clear out her fridge of food out of date and restock it etc every weekend.

She has had gardeners supposedly looking after what is admittedly a long garden but over the years the various gardeners haven't kept on top of the fruit trees and shrubs so they are just running wild.

I got a new person to look yesterday and give a quote - when I told Mum that he said some of the trees and shrubs were diseased and needed to come down she went wild with me.

I don't have a Power of Attorney and when I thought of speaking to an advisor for people caring for elderly parents I was told that if I don't have such a thing and Mum gets too ill to make her own decisions the care services will take her care out of my hands and a Judge will decide what happens to her home etc.

However when I put these facts to Mum she just starts shouting at me - despite the fact I am trying to make things simple and easy for me and my own children to help her and also because I have my own health issues to reduce the stress factor for me.

I am in a difficult place and when I saw this site I thought it might just be worth joining and seeing if I could get a little support and encouragement if nothing else.

I am sorry to have rambled but needed to put everything in writing to somebody (not sure who though)

Thank you for taking the time to read my post
The question is does she have mental capacity to make powers of attorney? If she does and she doesn't want to, harsh though it may be there's not a lot you can do about it other than try and talk to her when she's in the right mood about it. If she hasn't got the capacity, and maybe this is something for the future, you can apply to the Court of Protection to be made a Deputy for your mother, i.e. if she can't make the decision, but it the CoP are happy for you to do it, and they probably will be, she doesn't have any choice in the matter. It's pretty tortuous - I did it years ago for step ma in law under older legislation - but it's something to consider. Link to all the info is here:

https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy

This is an impossible situation for you and it must be an enormous strain. It may be your mother's irritability is because she knows she is losing control, knows she can't manage and is impatient with herself and very frightened of the future. My mother would not let me do things when she was starting to go downhill as she used to think that it would be as hard for me as it was for her; she would just lock up as it were. Was your mother normally irritable before all this started?

Could you have a word with her GP and see if the GP will get involved and push her in the right direction?
Hi Milly and welcome
I am in a similar position so far as my elderly father also refuses POA and makes things as difficult as possible to deal with . Can I suggest that you try to get third party access to her bank accounts. Your mother will need to sign in agreement but sh emay be more willing for this than POA as it won't involve fear of losing her house, which is not really a problem these days as the house need not be sold until after probate . A charge is put against the house to fund care home if needed but does not need to be sold immediately.
Dad is also very deaf an if your mum does not yet have a hearing aid this is well worth looking into.
I've struggled with our garden for ages and had a few gardeners of varying ability. I have struck gold at the moment and have a wonderful gardener so my advice would be to keep an eye out on local adverts and give them a one off trial job without the promise of more work and test them out until you get a good one and then hang on to him!
Dad has just had his first assessment with the memory clinic and awaiting his second. I suggest you speak to your mum's GP get yourself officialy recognised as her primary carer and request a referral to teh memory clinic. This will pay dividends later on with good advice, medication where appropriate and diagnosis of underlying conditions.
Hi Milly, welcome to the forum. I was in a very similar position to you, until recently. Disabled, newly widowed, with a disabled mum living in her own home 6 miles away, and a son with severe learning difficulties 14 miles away, living in a flat, with carer support, but endless problems.
It is absolutely vital that YOU set the rules from now on. Mum is lacking mental capacity, which means that her decisions are "unsafe". She only has as much power as you let her have. Those over 85 become very self focussed, even if they don't have dementia, and they just don't appreciate how much people are trying to help them. My mum never got used to the fact that I was over 60, she still thought of me as a young fit woman, and I kept having to remind her that I too was disabled (after a car accident).
Mum doesn't really have a lot of choices. If she can't do the garden, and you can't, it needs to be sorted out so it's as easy as possible to care for. Borders flattened, quick mow, job done. I did this myself, so much easier when it's a large garden. If she starts shouting at you, walk out.
From now on, you need to have a very clear focus about what she NEEDS not what she wants. More than anything, she wants to be young again, and fit, but that can't happen. First, work out what jobs you do for her. Are they vital, or can they be scrapped, like ironing? Does she have a good washing machine and tumble dryer, or a washer dryer? A dishwasher? These will make a huge difference to her workload. If you do her shopping, start doing it online. Once you've worked out what she needs, think about whether it's vital you do them. Could she accept a "cleaner" who is really a carer?
Once you've worked out a rough plan, ask Social Services to do a Needs Assessment for mum, and a Carers Assessment for you. The sooner mum accepts help, the longer she can stay in her home. You need to look after your own health.
Hellooo Everybody,
Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughts and advices.
I have approached the possibility of a carer/cleaner type person and Mum just refuses point blank to have a stranger in her home.
I tried the 3rd party access to her bank accounts and actually had a letter giving me that access but then when something went wrong and I tried to sort it out on the phone I was told that the letter of 3rd party access only gave certain access to a point but in order to discuss the account fully I had to have a POA.
That is a couple of years ago and I discussed the idea of a POA with Mum then but she said she was fine and she / we didn't need one.
This morning sadly my daughter's Partner's Mum has been admitted to hospital after attacking his Dad due to early onset dementia.
Everything seems to be putting blocks in our path when we are trying to sort it out.
I know that I am on the first rung of the ladder in the journey, however I am well aware (especially with my daughter's MIL going into hospital) that at some point things are going to get worse.
All I am trying to do is get things set up so it is easier for me and my children when that does happen.
Sometimes life is very cruel isn't it........
Thank you again for your offers of advice and guidance - I feel a lot better knowing that there are people who understand. x
Mum will always resist any change - but at the end of the day, she only has the power that you let her have. I know that may sound nasty, you just have to think about what mum needs, not what mum wants - hence my idea of you doing a list first of all of what you do for mum. A cleaner/carer is much more likely to be accepted if you and she go to mum's together. Then you can show the "cleaner" what you usually do, and how to do it. Stress to mum that the cleaner is helping you, not her, and she will be more acceptable. Saying to mum that "at the moment" you are not feeling well enough to do...might make it easier - remember mum won't remember that you are now 60+
Trying to sort anything out with a bank on the phone is a nightmare, even with POA. Go into your mum's bank and speak to them face to face. You can become mum's DWP "appointee" handling her pension and Attendance Allowance, without a POA. If you take this route, mum's pension and AA will go into an account in your name, for you to manage. Only you know if mum's dementia is sufficiently advanced to make this an option at the moment. If mum has savings over £23,000, she will be classed as "self funding" should she require nursing care, and that would cost £1,000 per week. It is quite in order for you to be paid to look after mum to reduce her savings.
When there are a lot of things which need changing, sometimes it helps to write them down and then put them in priority order. Then just deal with the top three. I'd suggest sorting out the money situation should be up near the top, plus claiming Attendance Allowance and Council Tax exemption, because then there is more money available to make a few changes for the better. Personal hygiene may well be an issue, it is for many in mum's situation. Just try to make everything as streamlined as possible.
If you have third party access you should be able to sort everything out via your branch face to face and maybe set up a password system if you wan tto deal via the phone. I am not aware of any differences to holding POA besides not being able to sign cheques (just do bank transfers) or for use supposedly while account holder still has capacity but in reality if account holder never goes to bank any more where do you draw the line and no need to bring it to attention of bank when she deteriorates.
Dad is getting a huge pain over money. I asked him to sign a cheque for payment of his podiatrist today and he complained I was spending his money. He also misread a bank statement and thought I had been on a spending spree of several thousand pounds because he read £200 somewhere and thought that was his new balance.
It is getting to the stage where it will be easier to just do bank transfers from now on, and explain the statement when it arrives depending on his level of unsderstanding at the time.
Hi again,
Right, thank you, I have lots of things to think about but with today being a bit upsetting for my daughter, her partner and her partner's family I can't think clearly today.
I am going to Mum's tomorrow so will try and talk to her, make lists, and also try to get her to go to her bank with me.
I have a lot to think about - and a lot to do.
Best wishes and thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to me. x
Hi,
After all the wonderful calming advice you all gave me last week, I took another deep breath and travelled to my Mum's this weekend to tackle the cleaning, check how she was etc.
I have to say by the time I'd finished cleaning the house on Saturday I was totally shattered.
Yesterday was shopping day and went to supermarket for her supplies.
Then whilst having a coffee I got into a discussion about the state of her garden and her health and the house.
Not too sure how I managed to turn the conversation into the subject I was dreading bringing up but hey ho I did.
As someone had suggested I pointed out my own health issues and how they are exacerbated by stress, I also pointed out that whilst as a family we wanted her to continue being independent with our help, the time might come when she is not well enough to manage her own affairs and someone will have to step in.
I told her that in order for me and my children to help her if that happens, then she must help us by creating a Power of Attorney to take away the stress of the situation we might find ourselves in because purely by having the POA I (and my children) will be able to say x, y and z as appropriate and manage her affairs on her behalf.
Then I pointed out that if a POA was not in place and she did become so unwell, then all financial affairs would become a minefield, various options would be removed and taken our of our hands and the stress of it in turn would make me unwell.
Somehow she took all this on board after a short discussion and told me to make an appointment with her Solicitor who helped her with her Will and where the Deeds of the House are.
Mum didn't even argue - she just told me to make an appointment - amazing!
So I feel a lot better than I did when I took the steps to join the site.
Thank you ever so much for your support :D
Well done, that would be No.1 job ticked off the list.