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New to it all. - Carers UK Forum

New to it all.

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Morning Everyone,
I am new here so thought I would say hello.

My mum who is 88 had a fall in June and broke her hip and arm. After a stint in hospital and rehab unit she is now in residential care.
This has been a nightmare to organise as she needs funding from local authority, as well as emptying her council house, that's a whole new story.

Mum has changed so much since his fall in June.
She has become aggressive shouting at other residents and throwing things. She is so lost and frightened I don't know how to help her at all.
Then she will cry and say where am I ? And is lost and confused. She is going to have a mental health assessment soon as I fear something is really wrong.
I feel totally out of my depth and alone with every thing that has to be done. There seems know where to turn for advice and support.
Hi Joan, welcome to the forum.
Sadly, the "very elderly", defined as those over 85, develop increasing health issues, almost like a "tipping point". They can muddle along in their own environment quite happily, until something happens. Looking back, it will be a "life changing moment". I saw this with each of our parents, now all passed away after a prolonged period of ill health.
It's heart breaking to see a once fit and active person go downhill, we can't give them what they want most of all, their old health and life. There are lots of people on the forum who have been through similar situations to you, all you need do is tell us what you are struggling with, and you'll get lots of suggestions based on our different experiences. Hopefully, one will be a solution for you.
You are now not only a daughter, but a "care manager/supervisor" who works out what mum NEEDS which may be different from what she, and you, want. You will become spokeswoman for mum too. Do you have Power of Attorney? Has anyone explained the DWP Appointee scheme to you?
Can you tell us more about the home, is it a care home, or a nursing home, or a home for the Elderly Mentally Infirm? Is it as near as possible to you? #Were you involved in the decision about which home she went to? Are YOU happy with the care mum is receiving? When I chose a home for my mum, I asked myself the question "If it was for me, would I be happy with this home?
Sorry for all the questions, don't ask any you don't want to, but your answers will help us to help you.
Sadly, it does rather sound, from the way you've described her behaviour, as though dementia of some sort is now in the frame.

You might wonder that it's arrived 'overnight' but consider - it can be caused as an after-effect of a stroke, and could it have been that she had a stroke that itself made her fall and break her bones?

Mental confusion can also be exacerbated by, of all things, a urinary tract infection - UTI - that's well attested to on these forums! That said, I would think she's been checked for that, and had she had one, would have been put on antibiotics.

Also, dementia can seem 'masked' so to speak, for quite a while, partly because we don't recognise it in early stages, or regard it simply as 'old age'. Up until she was 89 my MIL was capable of living independently 400 miles away - she got a little forgetful, a bit vague, was a bit 'harder work' when she visited/we visited, but I didn't think she had dementia (she was the last person I would think that of - so capable and independent!).

But it was there, all the same, and came to a 'head' when she phoned me to say she couldn't face winter on her own any more. She'd been to stay with us (my son and me)(her surviving son is in the USA and can't help) for a fortnight and my son and I had been very relieved to drive her home - she'd been 'hard work' (ie, full on).....that, looking back, was the warning sign.

She'd become incapable of looking after herself. Increasingly dependent on 'others' (me, in practice).

Yet for all that, the first care home she went into, near me, didn't think she had dementia, and it was really only when she kept 'wandering off' (trying to get to me, sigh) that it was finally accepted that yes, she had dementia, and it was getting worse. She's now (in her third home), so bad she just sits in her chair and stares mostly (or sleeps). So desperately sad.

All this is really by way of preparing you for the fact that not only, as BB has pointed out, she is now in the 'very elderly' category, but that you may have to brace yourself for her 'slipping away mentally'. She MIGHT 'rally' but she might well not. So now it will be a question of managing her needs, and keeping her as 'reassured' as possible.

Please, do NOT consider 'taking her home with you'....not without reading all the correspondence here on the site about those who attempt to look after an elderly parent with advancing dementia (and dementia advances inexorably, until death...it is, brutally, terminal.....)(and the average length of time, apparently, to live post diagnosis is EIGHT YEARS....that is a LONG haul to look after someone getting worse and worse all the time).

It's all desperately sad, and also exhausting, right now, mentally and physically. There is 'so much to be done'. When my MIL moved south I had to sort out accommodation/care here, sort out the finances for it, then sort out selling her flat, physically spending several days there packing everything up (her entire life, really, sad), and then arranging the removals, the sale process, the money, the storage of furniture/allocation of 'stuff' (including huge amounts given to charity shops etc etc etc). It was a major undertaking, and took, really, about a year to get it all 'done'. It simply 'took over my life'.

BUT, now that it's done, now that poor MIL is permeanently in her care home, we are pretty much steady-stating. I visit - and the ironic 'blessing' of advanced dementia is that time has blurred so much she no longer misses me, or frets to leave - she forgets I exist the moment I'm not there, which is a comfort really, though a sad one.

So, please do take on board that although the current period is exhausting, you will 'sort it all out' and then you can find an even keel - the mum you knew has 'gone' in the sense of her 'old life' is not coming back, but hopefully you will find that as she adjusts to her new life, and you do too, that you can find 'good things' to be reassured about (ie, that she's being well looked after, and yet not taking over your life), and spend what quality time you can with her, in terms of visiting/outings and companionship.

Wishing you as well as can be at a sad and anxious time, Jenny
Mum was at rehab unit after hospital for nine weeks. She didn't make much progress with walking at all . As she has really high anxiety, not just the fear of falling again.
But change of routine and new places.
When mum lost my dad seven years ago, she has hardly ever gone out only to the doctors really, and didn't like any one in the house except me or my sister. So you can imagine how far out of her comfort zone she is.

I looked at lots of nursing homes for mum as this is what the social worker at the hospital said she needed. Well after find one and getting assessed etc, took mums bits in night before so her room was ready, only to be told by the bed finder, no no , get your mums stuff out, she now needs a care home!!!! I couldn't believe it.
The bed finder gave me two names of care home and I got mum in this one River Court in Watford.
Everything going well at last I thought?
Only for social worker to ring me yesterday and say " oh I don't think River Court can handle your mum, she might have to move, or maybe go home!!!!!"

I said " she hasn't got a home now it's been cleared and keys given back to council, plus mum is not moving agian she has bad anxiety and that needs to be addressed!
Social worker said oh let's give it till Monday and see what the doctor say.

To say I was fuming is an understatement.
I have rang River Court home, only to be told, we would never ring a social worker and say that we would ring me next of kin for a chat.
So I don't know what social worker is up to.

No one has explained to me about mums funding from local authoritiey and her pension etc, other than once mums been at home for a bit we will do financial assessment then?
It's all so worrying and stressful.

Sorry for the rant and thank you for the replies.