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Newbie - Carers UK Forum

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Hi all
I am looking for some advice please? My 85 year old mum lives with me and her health has been deteriorating, she is really struggling to walk in the past few days. I managed to get her to the doctors on Friday and he was not that helpful! He did agree to getting some xrays and an orthopaedic appointment but he felt that they would not do anything to help her.
I work full time and the rest,,, and I am wondering what is going to happen if she can't manage to walk, I am thinking about toilet issues and feeding her. Probably if I am honest it is the toileting issues I am most concerned about. What do I need to help her, can anyone help with advice please so that I can be prepared as I know she will be so upset when this happens, if I can plan with her it may help her dignity and self respect?
I give her breakfast before I go to work and her evening meal and she used to be able to do her lunch, but she is struggling in the kitchen now too, so I am leaving her lunch as well. I have tried to give her independence for as long as I can but I can see that this is no longer going to be possible.
We have a stair lift and we do receive some basic benefits.
Thanks in advance Jacqueline
Hi Jacqueline, welcome to the forum. From about the age of 85, a persons needs can increase a lot. As you are working full time, mum must understand that IF she wants to live with you, then some compromises are necessary. Otherwise you are going to get ill, frustrated, or worn out. Ask Social Services for a Needs Assesssment for mum, and a Carers Assessment for you, to find out what services are available in your area.
This would be a good time to make sure mum has made a will, and signed a Power of Attorney for Finance, and Health and Welfare. Without these, helping mum as her needs increase is going to be very difficult.
In the short term, a solution to the toilet problem is a downstairs toilet, or a commode, or similar. However, a longer term option is residential care, where there are a team of nurses rather than one tired daughter. My mum had serious spinal problems, and finally lost the use of her legs as a result. She then needed hoisting out of bed with two nurses. Residential became the only practical solution, but for me it was a huge relief. Mum was in a home just a mile away, on my way to the shops, I could pop in and out whenever I wanted, and became her daughter again, not just someone who did everything she couldn't. Do some research before things reach the crisis stage. Maybe mum would consider respite in the home of your choice? They might offer weekend breaks?
Hi Jaqueline
Welcome.
Both you and Mum have to accept that from now on Mum is going to need an increasing amount of help and you also need to plan long term. My own Mum passed away this year aged 100 (bar a few days). So you could be looking at another 15 or so years and it makes sense to start getting things in place now.
In order to be in control of Mum's health needs and also her finances in the future, as BB says you do need those POAs for both Health and Finance. Very important. Look it up on the .gov site and also click on the red help button on the top of this page and explore all the links. Not everything will apply to you but there's a lot of valuable information there.
Get in touch with Adult Social Services and ask for a Needs Assessment for Mum and a Carer's assessment for you. At the very least this will put mum on their 'radar' and pave the way for more rapid response for future needs. It should also provide contact with the Occupational Therapist. This magic person can provide equipment such as commodes, raised toilet seats, grab rails and lots more as Mum's needs increase.
Another very useful contact in the future, if not quite yet, is the continence nurse who can order continence products on prescription when mum needs them.
The needs assessment will highlight what care needs mum has , such as someone to make her lunch and maybe help her get washed and dressed in the morning or even a visit mid afternoon to make her a cuppa and check all is well.
Has Mum got personal alarm? Should be available from your LA, so that if she falls or gets into some other difficulty during the day, she can press the button and help will be sent and you will be alerted.
You also need to consider yourself. How long to you expect to be working? What happens if Mum suddenly (it can happen) needs full time care?
I could write a long essay on the trials and tribulations, triumphs and joys, of looking after an elderly mother. So could many people on this forum. But enough for now. I'm sure you'll get more answers from other experienced carers. Every caree is different but there are shared problems - and much advice- here. Not all points of view will mesh with your particular situation but everyone means well and wants to help if they can.
Oh, last thought for now. Have you applied for Attendance Allowance for mum?
KR
E.
I forgot all about the personal alarm. My housebound mum had one, in fact without this simple £2.50 a week aid she would not have been able to live at home alone for years. If you haven't met these before, there is a special phone with an extra large button on it, and a pendant necklace with a button. In case of emergency you can either press the big red button which puts you through to a call centre. If you can't get to the phone, you push the button on the pendant. Ideally, the call centre has the names and phone numbers of three different people nearby who can get in, in an emergency, and assist. However my mum often fell and needed paramedics to check her over before picking her up. I explained to the call centre that they needed to call the ambulance first and then call me. Following major surgery I'm not allowed to lift anything heavy. Social Services will know what scheme operates in your area.
If mum needed residential care, and have over about £23,000 in capital and savings, then she would be classed as "self funding". If possible, mum should pay you for the care you provide, under these circumstances.
Thank you for your advice folks have been getting my ducks in a row and at last social services have escalated her case!