My Dad is my mum's carer and had a heartattack last week...

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I am new to this forum but was looking for advice and simply an outlet for the drama of the last few months. <br/>
My mum, who is 73, Type 2 diabetic, persistent UTI's and has difficulty walking, fell and broke her shoulder (after an overnight wait for the ambulance to show up - she was left on the hallway floor for 7 hours!) she spent time in hospital and her walking ability vanished - she has been so afraid she'll fall and is very weak and her short term memory is dreadful! <br/>
Flash forward and back at home (following an unsafe discharge) and we have carers come in to clean her up and get her out of bed etc. Sadly she is living in our front room, washing in a bowl as she can only transfer with help. <br/>
My dad is 81 and in good health, he has been feeding mum (a task he struggles with - its chips and beans most days), and helping mum as best as he can but on Wednesday he had a heartattack - I believe from the stress of the situation (Mum is not an easy lady at times). <br/>
Both of them are in hospital, my Mum as well, as my Dad is her primary care giver but now I'm at a loss. I live over 3 hours away and am an only child (my brother sadly died when he was 18) and leaving my Dad to look after Mum when he comes out of hospital next week is unthinkable. But Mum does NOT want to go into care - she has some savings over the £23k threshold so has been told is self-funding. I think it'll pay for about 6 months and that's it. Her life savings. So sad. She wanted it for me but didn't plan I suppose.<br/>
My mum was 37 when she had me and I am that age now - I don't really know what to do. I'm very anxious about both of them and I'm not sure what is best. <br/>
Can anyone help? Thank you in advance to all of you who are caring as well. What a difficult, life consuming thing!</t>
Elly, hi and welcome. There's a huge wealth of collective experience on the forum, so I hope between us all we can 'mine' that to point you in better directions.

One thing that very often emerges from postings here is that a care situation can 'build and build' for some time, but that it can take a crisis - in the case of your parents, your mother's fall and your father's heart attack - to 'break' the set up, and require a radical rethink.

Your parents have 'soldiered on' but now they can't any longer - that's sadly all too familiar.

Both are in hospital at the moment, is that it? Your dad in cardio but your mum, presumably was taken back in because no one was 'at home' to look after her? Or in connection with the original unsafe discharge 'hustling' her out (to get the bed back, sigh)

This then is your 'assessment time'. You really need to get a 'solution' sorted BEFORE they come out.

One thing that MIGHT be possible is for them to move closer to YOU. Have you checked out Abbeyfield's in your area at all?

My MIL moved into one near me when I had to get her out of her flat in Scotland (400 miles away - the journey's up and down were crippling!) when she just got to the point she couldn't cope with living on her own any longer.

Abbeyfields come in various 'types' - the closest one to me was a full on 'care home', but the one she went into was far more 'communal living' type.

She had a lovely ground floor 'bedsit' which opened up to the gardens with a patio door, with a bed tucked away, and the rest of the space a living room with her own furniture in it, and a little ensuite for her. They can have kettles in their rooms, and a fridge, but not toasters or microwaves because of potential fire risk.

Residents gathered for lunch and 'high tea' in the dining room, but they made their own breakfast in the resident's kitchen, which they could use whenever they wanted (eg, for snacks in the evening). There was a communal lounge and some entertament, but not huge amounts - though residents would gather to play board games, or watch TV (they had TV's in their rooms too).

The cost was £1500 a month, which really is not bad (I live in the Home Counties so rents are expensive anyway!), and included all the food (including breakfast). Those who needed a bit of care could have carers coming in (my MIL was developoing dementia, and needed someone in the morning to help her get up, make breakfast with her etc).

I felt it was a REALLY good 'half way house' between independent living, and complete residential care.

I do feel, from the way you describe your parents now, that some kind of 'assisted living' is required, and, ideally, moving them closer to you. IF they can afford it, they could, maybe, rent out their existing home, rather than sell, and use the rental income to help pay for where they would be moving to.

The one thing I would be VERY careful of is moving them in with YOU....that is a 'kneejerk' reaction we all too often make (I tried it before the Abbeyfield - it 'took over my life' caring for MIL 'full time' - broke me!)
Hi Elly
With both of them in hospital and you the only relative living so far away, the hospital/social services will be planning for their discharge(s). I would have thought the discharge team would be contacting you to talk about it in good time (in an ideal world). Realistically this may not happen so ensure the relevant ward staff know the situation. Write a short description of the situation and ensure it is attached to each of their notes.
Mum may not want to go into a Home but this might be the kind of situation that forces such a move because of her needs, even if only for the short term while Dad gets sufficiently better.
Someone somewhere has obviously realised that Mum has to have Dad there else she wouldn't be in hospital now.

Meanwhile get Poa for both and wills sorted so that (heaven forbid) anything worse occurs you can make decisions for them. Yes, looking to move them closer might be an option, but at their ages and medical issues their care needs are only going to increase and even you couldn't care for 2 of them 24/7. Best to start seeing yourself as Care Manager rather than carer, some managing can be done from a distance, but no caring can.

Do keep posting and reading
Do NOT rush to the rescue!!!
Your parents must have the care they need to live their lives without you doing anything for them. I know it's going to be hard, but you'll regret it forever if you end up caring for both of them until they have both passed away. That's the brutal truth I'm afraid.