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Introducing myself - caring for elderly Mum - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Introducing myself - caring for elderly Mum

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I don't think I could inject myself, BB. I know people who do - my daughter's friend does it every day. I always thought that if you did have to inject yourself they gave you plenty of practice first with an orange until you felt confident. This was at about 11.30 last night, and they more or less assumed I would be happy to do it. I did the first injection with the doctor, and then they sent me home with a box of syringes and a sharps bin. I don't suppose I can do much harm or they wouldn't have expected me to do it, but I am still very nervous about sticking needles in my own mother.I suppose it's something else I can put on my CV.
Sorry, I posted a reply to Myrtle but it disappeared. I probably did something wrong.
Trust me, Myrtle, I too am terrified. At least Mum sits still - the dog is a bit lively.
Years ago the district nurse used to visit every day when Mum came out of hospital after her first hip replacement and I wasn't allowed to do anything apart from make the tea because I wasn't trained.
Times have clearly changed.
Posts do that sometimes Florence! Image
Actually the dog was brilliant, he'd give me 'that look', resolutely turn his head away....and cringe! Image Image
I started to get used to giving my mum injections, and now I don't have to do it any more. We went for the scan yesterday, which turned out to be an ultrasound. Mum's leg is still very swollen and the yellow tint is much worse. However, she now has quite bad bruising on her thigh, and I realised that the yellow is actually bruising rather than the jaundice it looked like at first. The problem is that Mum bruises so easily - the dog wagged her tail once and it hit Mum's leg and she had a bruise for about two weeks. Actually the dog wags her tail a lot, as she is a very happy dog, but mostly she doesn't injure my mother.
There is no DVT which is a relief, so we can stop the injections immediately. However, an x-ray revealed that one of mum's hips is so badly eroded that there is no bone there. The artificial joint has nothing to hold on to, so the whole hip is non-functioning (the consultant's word) or f***ed (my word.) There is nothing to be done, as the operation to sort it out would take an estimated eight hours, and there is no way she would survive it. I know it isn't hurting her, but I can't help feeling slightly defeated, as though one of her problems has got the upper hand. Does that make sense?
Mum is quite accepting of the whole thing. She is just relieved that she didn't have to stay in hospital. She got quite upset and cried while we were there, because she wanted to go home. I had to explain that we couldn't just go home in the middle of all the tests, and promise that I wouldn't let anyone do anything without her agreement.
However, I know from reading other people's stories here that our family's problems are nothing compared to some others. There are lots of people worse off than we are, so we keep smiling. Image
Hi Florence, I'm glad it wasn't a DVT, but sorry to hear about the hip, at least you know what you are dealing with now. The hip problem should now give you extra leverage with SSD, as you have clear proof that mum isn't just old, she has a very clear disability, because of her hip. Hopefully, it should be possible for you to arrange a day free of caring each week, that "me" time is so important. Incidentally, this might mean that the local authority would consider issuing a Blue Badge for her, I'm not certain, but would be worth investigating further.
Thanks bowlingbun, but, as I said we are actually in a good position. Mum has had a blue badge for a while, which we have found incredibly helpful. She hasn't been able to walk far for quite a few years. However, I try to keep away from our local SS. We asked them for advice about building a ramp for the wheelchair a while ago - Mum had become almost a prisoner in her own home because of high steps at both doors. They couldn't just advise, they insisted on doing a full assessment.It took them eight months to make and keep an appointment, and when the woman turned up she was only interested in my parents' finances. They are not rich, but they have lived frugally all their lives and have some savings. We just wanted some advice about practical things - optimum heights and slopes and stuff like that - but this lady was telling us how much carers would cost. She had no interest in the kind of care my mum actually needed. It was all about cash. I asked her to leave in the end and we paid a local builder to do the job.
When Mum suddenly got a bit worse a couple of weeks ago, the GP referred us back to SS. I went through an assessment over the phone, and she had to admit that we have everything covered. Dad is still able to do a lot alone - he can get her up, and she washes and dresses herself, although she is a bit slow and all her clothes go over her head. He can make them cups of tea and cooks simple meals. This means I can leave them alone some days. The neighbours keep an eye to make sure curtains are drawn and lights go on etc. Mum has an alarm in case of falls, and they both carry mobile phones with them. If there are any problems they simply phone me. I live a few minutes drive away.
We are a large family and I can delegate tasks and ask for help when I need to. Mum and Dad have lived in their house for most of their married life, so they know lots of people and are involved with the church. We have an enormous amount of support, for which I am so grateful. Of course, they are very proud and private people, which is also why I try to keep everything in the family as far as possible. So far it is working - yesterday I spent six hours at the hospital with them, but today I have been at home, pottering in my garden. Dad only had to heat up their meal, and a friend from church was visiting this afternoon for tea and cake (which I baked.) I phoned morning and evening to check they were OK. I'm back there tomorrow, but my batteries are recharged.
I feel desperately sorry for people who have to cope alone, but I am very lucky.
Hi florence, I know what you mean about social services. I realise that you have got the ramps etc sorted, but if you need to know about that sort of thing in the future Id like to say that the best people to ask are occupational therapists.
You are doing a very good job, but do ask if there is anything you need to know
x
Thanks Crocus. Because Mum has needed a bit of help for a long time Dad and I have collected a few bits and pieces that helped her stay independent. We have grab rails in the toilets and by the back door, a raised toilet seat, grabber things so she can pick up stuff she has dropped on the floor, a tool for putting on your tights, a commode, a wheelchair etc. Some of the earlier things we bought are no longer of any use to her because she has deteriorated but Dad can use some of them to help him. He isn't disabled, just getting old, and even I appreciate the grab rail by the door when it's icy outside. We have a brilliant mobility shop quite close by, and we just go and look at what's available.
We did have an OT assessment a few years ago, and it was very useful. When the GP referred us to SS a couple of weeks ago, she was supposed to have referred Mum to physiotherapy, but we haven't heard from them yet. Mum had a set of exercises a few years ago, but she can't do some of them now, and I think a new programme might be helpful for her. Because she lacks confidence and is afraid of falling (which I totally understand) she is inclined to sit still for too long, just reading, which makes her stiff and makes walking even more difficult. It's a vicious circle.
By the way, if anyone thinks I am unnecessarily suspicious of SS, the one we are talking about is the one which snatched a foreign lady's baby at birth and tried to force adoption against the family's wishes. It caused an outcry in the news a few weeks ago. Would you want them involved with your mum's care?
Hi Florence!
Been reading your story with interest, as I also have two very frail elderly parents, albeit they live a long way away from me and my 5 sibs provide all the care. One thing struck me: "one swallow does not make a summer". i.e., just because we have a bad experience with one health care or social work professional doesn't mean they are all the same: I had a meeting with my son's social worker yesterday, and she is a real treasure, known her now for over ten years and she's like a family friend. Its a stressful and demanding job, and she has had some serious health issues of her own.
So, sometimes it is worth keeping trying with them, because if you can find an ally out there in the care system then things become so much easier, especially when things go wrong and you need a break or extra help.
Thanks for your interest Scally. The local SS are not particularly good, but I think I have now found a contact in the elderly care team who I can call on if I need her. I have had quite good advice from my SS department - I only live a few minutes drive from my parents but come under a different local authority. They have been really helpful, advising me what help etc we are entitled to. However, they can only advise and can't do anything because of where my parents live. The difference between the two departments is startling.
I am inclined to be a little impetuous, and I am grateful for all the advice from more experienced carers. Thanks.