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It's not even been a week! - Carers UK Forum

It's not even been a week!

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Hi, my name is Shelley and I've been a carer for my son who has Asperger's and is now 25. The reason I turned to this site and forum is that last Sunday my Dad moved in with us (there's just me and my son). I've let him have the front room as a sitting/bedroom and I've moved upstairs. My Dad moved 200 miles away when he retired and he's now 83 with COPD. He was living alone with a sister a few miles away when he got a chest infection and almost died. He had talked about moving back down here when we were up visiting in October, so he had put his flat up for sale and we were looking for somewhere for him to buy, not easy since I think he wants more for his flat than it is really worth. I felt like moving in with me was the quickest and easiest solution and so for the last couple of weeks it has been non stop. I work from home (ironing service) so it's been quite challenging but I have managed. I am very aware that it was a huge step for him to take so have been trying to make it as easy as I possibly can. My biggest issue is that he doesn't wash very often, I was warned about this and when I said we could get a shower put into the downstairs loo he said not to bother because he has a strip wash using the basin. My aunt said I would have to be strict with him but it's hard because he is pretty ill, has lost his independence to a degree and I keep in mind that for me there will be life after Dad, but not the other way round. I'm just spraying air freshener in the hallway and Febreze on his bed while he is in the toilet! He does his own cooking now and of course, gets in my way but I am trying to cope with everything by thinking of it with humour. I tell my son that we will have lots to reminisce and laugh about in the future. So this is my story and I'm glad this forum exists because now I won't feel so alone :)
Oh dear. Do he actually have to buy a flat for your dad, or could you rent one for him for six months? One thing I worry about is that he will 'move in' to you, in the sense that he'll get so used to living with you that getting him into his own place will be met with strong resistence....

That's what happened with my MIL when I had to move her south 400 miles - it was a 'knee jerk' reaction, and I was looking for a place near me for her, but when she finally did move out (with dementia becoming evident, it actually couldn't be the flat I was hoping for - whether rent or buy - but a 'bedsit' in an Abbeyfield) she really didn't want to. And I couldn't blame her. She was my permanent 'house guest' and I used to call my home 'Hotel Jenny'.....(I got her back up to Scotland for brief 2 week breaks - which she hated and I lived for.....).

My point is that it might prove a lobster pot - easier to move him in, than out.

To be honest, I would move as fast as you can to take a rental flat for him if at all possible. Can you apply to the council (faint hope!).

Do you feel he doesn't shower because he doesn't want to, or can't - or both? My MIL had to have a care-worker come in to the Abbeyfield to help her get up and showered and dressed.

It's horribly common for the elderly to get 'sloppy' about hygiene and cleanliness. Happening to me already (sigh), and my 'standards' are dropping. Comes of living alone, irrespective of any health or dementia problems.
Hi Shelley and welcome to the forum :)

I do understand your thinking on moving Dad in with you, but what is sustainable in the short term is likely to become a millstone in the long term (!) so keep on trying to sell Dad's flat and looking for another for him near you. As he is still relatively independent sheltered accommodation is probably the best way to go, especially one where they can offer 'extras' such as communal living areas so that he has 'company' on tap.

As Jenny has already said 'sloppy' personal hygiene is, alas, all too common (more so with men I think :( ).

In the meantime I would suggest that you arrange a Needs Assessment for him and a Carers Assessment for yourself via the Adult Services Department of your local authority and, if he isn't already claiming it, see about applying for Attendance Allowance which will give him some money with which to pay you for the care/lodgings you are providing or which can be used to pay a cleaner or care assistants. I might also suggest you set up a kitchen 'rota' so that he has use of the kitchen at set times that don't clash with when you need it !
I know this sounds awful, but get him out again asap because every day he is there he will be more settled and less willing to leave! We also had an elderly relative who said a strip wash was OK, I was really embarrassed when we went to his place, especially in the summer when clearly not enough washes were being taken.
I'm sure it's a generation thing, we all bath or shower early unless we are dreadfully ill, but the older generation, who may not have had a bathroom available when they were younger, simply don't see the need. As the sense of smell diminishes too as we get older, we may not always realise a bath or wash is overdue! COPD is a progressive illness and certainly I would go for renting rather than buying a place - you know it will be you sorting things out from now on!
Hi Shelley
You are loving and kind. You are also a parent and a carer.

A phrase often used in here is 'elderly toddler' and one has to set boundaries and expectations at that level. You already have experience of Asbergers and you may find that useful too as some traits overlap, the lack of hygiene for one and the awareness of how it impacts others for example.
You have to be the parent here and say, while you are here in my home Dad you must wash properly daily, and if that doesn't work well enough then I, or someone else must help.
It is a rule, not an option. If he disagrees what are his opitions, he could move back to his flat ? Get carers in, let you help? He may have a toddler tantrum.

It is firm love. It is also vital for your business and your income., and ultimately your own well being

Xx MrsA
Thank you everyone for taking the time to read and comment. One thing I should emphasise is that Dad can't move out. His COPD is at 'critical' level and quite literally catching a cold could kill him. I offered to put him up because the thought that he was alone and might die alone was unthinkable in his present condition. It's hard, I won't deny that but if I'm perfectly honest I know it won't be for years. He is currently somewhat active but he's on steroids, a nebuliser, inhalers and beta blockers. He owns property so the council won't house him anyway. Even if he sold his flat and bought one here, firstly I'm not sure he could cope with another move - he's brought some furniture with him but doesn't have enough to completely deck out a flat or bungalow. Secondly I think he'd be lonely, it would be far more difficult to call round to see him somewhere else. So that's the situation I'm in, and I'm still thinking about the hygiene issue. Luckily we don't have to share a bathroom and have separate sitting areas, so I only need to sit with him for around an hour or two a day, and he doesn't smell of urine or BO just a kind of stale smell. I know it could be a lot worse, I've read other peoples stories! My brother is coming round this afternoon so I'll be able to talk to him and see if he could perhaps have a word - we're both very unassertive people that's the problem. I'm very grateful to be a part of this community now, that helps a lot!
Shelley, as dad is very poorly, is he claiming Attendance Allowance? It's a lot to deal with when you are running a business and have a son with Aspergers as well.
Yes, he put in a claim before moving down here. Still waiting to hear.