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Caring for Mum and Dad

(14 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 26-Apr-12 10:00:10

Chris Moon-Willems shares her own experiences of looking after elderly parents in her blog post Caring for Mum and Dad

Add your comments and stories here.

westieyaya Thu 26-Apr-12 16:17:41

Chris Moon- Willems blog struck a chord on so many emotional levels. I never had to care for my parents and my experience of care was with my children. It came as a complete shock to the system to find myself as my husband's 24/7 carer -the dressing and cleaning are very similar to a two year old. There are no guide books on elderly care! - even the internet doesn't help greatly. My husband is considerably older and very frail physically and increasingly, mentally. If I wasn't a fairly savvy senior I wouldn't know where to turn to find my way through the maze of social services, help from carers, assessments etc. A recent week's respite care just exacerbated his condition - albeit in a brilliant care home - and made me even more determined to keep him at home. I know that there are thousands of partners out there in similar situations - it would be good to share experiences and create a self help group.

hilary1 Thu 26-Apr-12 21:29:13

Every time I see an article regarding caring for the elderly I feel compelled to read it, even though my mum died 20 years ago, and my husband and I cared for her in her own home for about ten years, holding back the decision that she needed full-time attention until it was vital for her own safety when she was alone. She was in a wonderful care home for seven years, so from the onset of Alzheimers she lived for 17 years, passing away at the age of 83.
We tried so hard to keep her independence for her, thinking it would prolong her life but, in retrospect, it would have been so much better and easier for her if we had looked into alternative arrangements much earlier. We had the mistaken view that being independent at home was the best for her but, in her personal case, we were wrong, as proven by how much happier she was with the company of other people, and it was lovely to visit her and see her laughing with her special friend Kath - even though their conversation did not make any sense to us, but to them it was wonderful, and their life still seemed fulfilled and worth living.
I felt so guilty for thinking about a care home for her for a couple of years before we started looking, but sometimes this can be the best place for the remaining time they have, and the guilt is unnecessary - hopefully this comment may help some people who have to make the same decision.

tanith Thu 26-Apr-12 22:04:01

Hilary1 I agree completely with you, I just watched the Louis Theroux program on Alzheimers and have had some experience with such people, and not only are they happier but I feel the carer can also once again become the husband/child of that person when someone else is doing the day to day caring..

gangy5 Fri 27-Apr-12 16:37:27

tanith I also watched the program yesterday and do so agree with you. As much as you're fond of your loved ones I think it can be quite detrimental to the carers wellbeing and sanity if they attempt to care for someone with Alzheimers in an effort to keep them in the surroundings of their own home until their end arrives.

I find Louis Theroux rather weird but, I do think that, he should be congratulated on this program for giving us a well rounded insight into some of the problems of Alzheimers. I wonder why he chose to do this in America?? Perhaps he couldn't get permission to film here and maybe there could have been a greater risk of litigation.

Dannyb0y Tue 26-Jun-12 14:32:47


I'm pretty new to this website... I'm a carer for my nan. I',m 29, live in the same house in Liverpool but work all day in Manchester.

I'm in a relationship and have a very large family but due to ridiculous arguments, health issues, other responsibilities and untruest worth family members I am alone in caring for her.

My nan is all there mentally though her mobility has suffered drastically in the past few years. simply walking a meter or two is a huge exhausting struggle. Only over Christmas she was admitted the hospital with breathing difficulties, only for the fact my step mother had dropped round she wouldn't have made it.

My nan is a very stubborn and proud women but its blatantly obvious that she needs help and being alone ..not eating or drinking until I return around 7-9pm each night isn't best for her.
Because of her condition she is becoming increasingly demanding which is effecting me as if things aren't done quick enough she gets angry an frustrated. There are constant demands on my time which pulls me away from my girlfriend and I feel I cant get a moment to myself.

Usually I return home, cook her a meal and a cup of tea then hide away in my room...that doesn't last long as I'm constantly being shouted.

Can anyone suggest any kind of home care? im in need of help. I can feel myself becoming more an more frustrated, stressed and depressed as time. goes on. My life now consists of working and caring for my nan apart from the odd meal out with my girlfriend.

Any info on home carers, volunteers etc would be a massive help.

Thanks guys

Annobel Tue 26-Jun-12 14:39:07

With such evident care needs, your nan should not be alone without help for such long periods. Her needs should be assessed by Adult Services. This is an essential step in getting help with her care. Also, does she have Attendance Allowance? This would help with any extra expenditure incurred by her care needs. You should speak to Age UK who would guide you through all the procedures to get your nan the care she needs and also give you the respite you need and deserve.

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 14:40:12

1 go to social services
2 consider if she is entitled to any benefits such as AA65+ this would enable her to buy in care
3 best of luck.

MrsJamJam Tue 26-Jun-12 14:42:53

Contact social services and ask them to come and do an assessment of her needs. Also make contact with your own GP and make sure he/she is aware of your stress and possible depression.

Any chance of a family conference to discuss in an adult way how others can contribute?

Annobel Tue 26-Jun-12 14:54:27

Well, there you go, Danny. Three grans giving pretty much the same advice. Go for it - your needs are important too.

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 14:58:19

Good grief! If three of us agree it MUST BE RIGHT!

And when shall we three meet again?

FlicketyB Tue 26-Jun-12 20:09:14

Dannyb0y, Dont forget Age UK, it used to be called Age Concern, they can offer help and advice, including acting as an advocate for you and your nan. They also do fact sheets on all sorts of topics that are really useful if you are dealing with Social Services and want to check precisiely what you can expoect of them.

Your nan will probably qualify for Attendance Allowance, a disability payment for older people. Ring the Benefits Agency on 0800 88 22 00. As well as providing the forms they can arrange for an advisor to visit your grandmother to help her complete it. If you do this make sure that you are present at the interview. My experience is that many older people, particularly independent ladies like your Nan, tend to underestimate the problems they have or do not mention them because they do not want to admit their problems and it helps to have somebody with them, who can in the nicest possible way when they insist that they have no problem walking half a mile to the shops when you knoiw they cannot go out unaided.

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 20:37:17

Tell me about it. I went once to one who was bed bound. She'd filled the form in as needing no help!
Because the family did all! She won her appeal!

RINKY Wed 24-Oct-12 01:12:01

Oh the problems of mum and dad! Won't go into whole story but two years ago we had to persuade dad 88, to let mum, same age, go into hospital as she seemed to be starving herself to death and dad was becoming so exhausted he looked on the verge of collapse and it wasn't fair on either of them. They were so stubborn about sorting it out themselves, very proud and always independent.

Mum is now in an EMI unit...elderly mentally infirm unit for those who don't know. I have moved in with dad. He has finally come to realise that she is better off where she is and he is starting to enjoy life somewhat again, going to the pub with my brother etc. also I now cook proper meals and he is starting to take interest in food again after existing mainly on ready meals while trying to interest mum in something other than a boiled egg or boiled chicken. She had become obsessed about her high cholesterol and would not eat any fat.

Lots of other things too. She now has regular B12 injections and some medication to help depression. She has become a different person, social, bright and friendly which she definitely was not for years. On a good day you would swear she could come home but other days she is away with the fairies but as she says...well I can't remember yesterday, so it doesn't matter!

The family are sad that after 67 years together they are apart but we think it is better that they can now both enjoy life to some degree apart than the state they were in and both possibly gone by now from the sheer stress of trying so hard to stay together. Dad visits mum about three times a week and they still love each other.