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Carers UK Forum • Hello to all - new here
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Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:33 pm
by martin_160112
Hi all
thought i would post up and introduce myself before diving into the subforms
I have been a carer for my step son ( along with him mum ) for a few years , but am now looking for support help and advice re my elderly parents , who live a considerable distance away form us . Due to family and work commitments and my son's care here , I am unable to devote as much time to their needs , well as they probably need ...
Both are being treated for physical ailments at the moment , but the real concern is the development of memory loss for my mother , and the lack of recognition or denial this is happening .
I am looking for some advice re what i can do from a distance with organising support. getting the relevant health care professionals up to speed with then situation ..
Am i best to post in the Dementia sub forum perhaps

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:03 pm
by Juggler
Welcome to the forum, Martin. I'm sure you will find it an informative and supportive environment.
If you don't yet have Power of Attorney for your parents, I'd definitely recommend this as a starting point so you can deal with a number of matters at a distance. After that, check that they are receiving all the payments they are entitled to. The CUK website has a useful list.
Juggler
x

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:08 pm
by Elaine
Hi Martin and welcome
You aren't in for an easy time with your parents being so far away and the possibility of dementia looming. Are both parents in denial? Are you an only child?
First thought, any possibility of your parents moving to your neck of the woods, to sheltered accommodation perhaps? Otherwise you'll be doing a lot of travelling back and forth as time goes by.
Following questions are for you to consider, I'm not asking for answers.
Do they claim attendance allowance? Not means tested.
Do they have any help at the moment, cleaner, gardener for example. Are they on the radar for social services? Would they accept a care package? One professional to contact is the occupational therapist. He/she will assess needs and produce any equipment which might help like walking aids, raised toilet seats, shower chairs, grab rails etc. This equipment will be on loan and therefore must be returned when no longer needed, but also free in the meantime.
Another person who will be needed sooner or later is the continence nurse. Again an assessment then when/if Mum /Dad need continence products they will come on prescription.
A needs assessment by social services would be one gateway to both OT and CN. GP is another.
I suggest that, if you haven't already done it, you urgently get POAs in place for both Finance and Health. Especially if you are going to be dealing with health professionals at a distance. You can do it online yourself but each one costs £110.00 at the moment to register.
I am aware that my Mum has some form of dementia but as she is nearly 100 and isn't deteriorating very rapidly I haven't asked for her to be formally diagnosed. Someone else will probably tell you about that.
I think the first port of call is their GP who may or may not discuss them unless you have that Power of Attorney.
Elaine

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:21 pm
by Scally
Lots of good advice here already, so I'll just say a quick welcome. I care for my son, but my parents live 350 miles away and both in their 90's, my 5 sibs live closer to them, but we have opted to organise a paid live-in carer for them so they can stay in their own home, and this works very well. We run a rota of visits and phone calls so they are far from abandoned!

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:34 pm
by martin_160112
Hi thanks for the swift and kind replies and info
I don't have power of attorney at moment. There is no family near them , they have friends close that are concerned but in reality are not able to provide support for them .
Nurses etc have recognised Mum's need to be assessed but thus keeps getting blocked by Father and Mum is in denial .
Father has little close eye sight , so can't work things like Washing machines or read txts or use a computer , he is also unwell and under treatment for Cancer at moment .
Mum is also under going chemo at the same time, she is physically still very capable but short term memory has gone . She still drives :( , i fear this is why things are being blocked at the moment as if she looses her license then they fear they will be without travel.
Father has refused to say who their doctor is ( although i know the surgery ) or to let us attend appointments with them .

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:14 pm
by Elaine
Oh dear. You won't get Dad to sign POA if he won't even tell you who his GP is. However, there's nothing stopping you writing a letter to the Practice Manager, expressing your concerns and your interest in your parents' welfare. Reading a letter from you isn't the same as discussing your parents with you and breaking confidentiality.
I would ensure that Social Services are aware of your concerns too. While your parents are deemed mentally capable, they are entitled to make their own decisions, however bad those decisions are. It might be that they will go their own way until it gets so bad that SS have to step in and remove them to a place of safety as vulnerable adults. However SS need to be aware of them in the first place.
Presumably they won't talk about it? Are they trying to spare you as you have enough on your plate, or are they frightened and pretending it isn't happening, or too proud to accept help?
You could look into the 'Court of Protection'. I've heard it's a long process to gain powers such as attorney or representative through them but maybe it's a way forward.
I wonder if they would allow the OT access? Free equipment on the NH? Entitled to it having paid their taxes?
A needs assessment by a Social Worker isn't the same as an assessment for mental capability. It's to see what help can be offered. Would dad accept that?
Just a shivery thought but if your Mum is getting quite bad, shouldn't something be done about her driving anyway. Before someone's child gets in the way and she forgets which is the brake? The GP could report her to DVLA if he considers her to be in danger.
Perhaps if that is the reason then if Mum cannot drive any more they might accept help?
Elaine

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:19 pm
by jenny lucas
Martin, hi - I wrote a longer reply about the stress of caring for FOUR people.....(but the post got eaten).

THe most important immediate point, however, is that your mum is still driving while mentally impaired. You don't need me to tell you that this is DANGEROUS both for her and your dad and worse, for other road users. Please tell the DVLA immediately so they can take steps to get her off the road (and yes, this may finally trigger the end of their 'denial' about needing help etc etc.)

In terms of their care, if they have to be self-funding, then I would think Scally's notion of having a live in carer to be the least costly (and enable them to stay in their own house etc with minimum disruption.) Here in the home counties a live in carer costs at least £800 upwards.

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:15 pm
by martin_160112
jenny lucas wrote:Martin, hi - I wrote a longer reply about the stress of caring for FOUR people.....(but the post got eaten).

THe most important immediate point, however, is that your mum is still driving while mentally impaired. You don't need me to tell you that this is DANGEROUS both for her and your dad and worse, for other road users. Please tell the DVLA immediately so they can take steps to get her off the road (and yes, this may finally trigger the end of their 'denial' about needing help etc etc.)

In terms of their care, if they have to be self-funding, then I would think Scally's notion of having a live in carer to be the least costly (and enable them to stay in their own house etc with minimum disruption.) Here in the home counties a live in carer costs at least £800 upwards.

Thanks for the reply , appreciate it .
Yeah I am aware of the consequences for her driving and am in the process of addressing it . It may well be the one unforgivable thing I could do but hey ho ...Father didn't agree with his license being taken away ( due to eye sight )
Re Live in carer - £800 for what period ?
Thanks Martin

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:57 pm
by Scally
I don't actually know how much my parents are paying the agency that employs their live-in carer - as it is my older brother and sister who have the POA and make the payments, and frankly I don't care: let's face it, I have my hands full at home anyway caring for my son: but I could probably find out: whatever it is is cheaper than a nursing home and far better value for money in terms of quality of life. My parents are fairly well-off: I would be surprised if it much under £2,000 a month, quite honestly, and it may be bit more. My guess is costs vary depending on the area. Why not ask a local agency for a quote?

When she has holidays, they always make sure there is good back up. And that is hard to arrange by employing people directly - ( if anyone born in Britain would take on a live-in care job, which I rather doubt). She is Romanian , reliable, caring, emotionally intelligent and conscientious to a fault, warm, rather religious, and totally trustworthy, and presumably saving money for her own retirement one day back home.

PS, agree about the driving: that is really critical. Feels dirty, doing it, but it would feel worse having an innocent life lost or maimed through your inaction. I once lived in a seaside town and had to take the car keys off an elderly, confused motorist who pulled out of a junction in front of me: the poor old lady should not have been in sole charge of a guide dog, let alone a car :blink: :whistle: :woohoo:

Re: Hello to all - new here

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:00 pm
by bowlingbun
You are sitting on a time bomb. Two parents receiving treatment for cancer, one losing his sight, both in denial. Before long, there will be some sort of crisis which will mean they are forced to accept some sort of change. Until then, it will be difficult. (All four of our parents were very ill, very stubborn, very independent, so I know only too well what your situation is like). Are either of them receiving Attendance Allowance? Do NOT think of moving them. As long term residents of their own area, moving them will mean that they will lose all ties with anyone, and be totally reliant on you for everything for the rest of their lives. So many people here have done that and regretted it bitterly.
Your dad has no right whatsoever to block any medical assessment or possible treatment, was he always so controlling? Sometimes, doctors will "drop in" to elderly patients at the nurses request, saying it's a routine visit for the "most senior patients".
It might help if you start "drip feeding" the idea that if they won't accept care at home, then they will end up with no alternative but residential care sooner, rather than later.