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Care & carers

she does need to move to care home.

(55 Posts)
michellejane1 Sat 01-Jun-13 14:44:48

hi everyone,
mum is 98, yes an amazing lady. she lives alone 55 miles away from me. my sister lives in nz.
has always, always said from about the age of 50, 'don't you ever put me in a care home'.
Now she has been diagnosed with dementia.

Well the time has come when we all think she would be happier, less lonely and safer in a care home. But how does one go about arranging this. she does not have enough money to be self funding.

has had an assessment from social services who decided in their wisdom that mum was quite capable to look after herself at home, without any help from s.s. to be fair, mum did manage to put on a very good show when the social worker came, but almost collapsed into her chair when they left.

I have just had to have her gas hob turned off as she was using the gas to heat her electric kettle. twice this happened, i reported it to social worker who said get her a microwave. but i had to throw mums microwave out as she did not understand how to use it. i.e. cook for 2 mins. on packet, mum would cook for 20 mins. resulting in black smoke filling her kitchen. very unsafe, but social worker did not register that. Mum is now just cooking ready meals in electric oven, but i feel before too long she will loose her ability to do that.

any ideas. do i just say to s.s. that i think my mum should move to a care home, or do i, as one social worker suggested to me, wait for a crisis to happen.

HildaW Sat 01-Jun-13 17:48:49

michellejane. Shame Social Worker is not fully aware of the complexities of Dementia in all its forms and guises. It is quite well documented that people can 'mask' their conditions. Dear old FIL we cared for could put on a lovely performance for an hour or so but only we knew he was on a sort of 'loop' and everything would be said and done all over again an hour later.
Waiting for a crisis is hardly an option. Get more advice, go back to Social Services and explain your worries, they can be very good at letting you cope unless you make a lot of 'noise'. Perhaps some drop in carers for a while might be an option. You will need to do some homework about care homes, there are good ones around but it takes time. Also Age UK can offer advice I beleive.

Good Luck and don't give in to just waiting for a disaster.

Ella46 Sat 01-Jun-13 18:28:12

michellejane1 I found when my dad was vulnerable, that stressing that he was at risk and not safe to leave, seemed to trigger some action from social services.

Perhaps a casual mention that they would be held reponsible, if an accident occurred after you have warned them that she is not safe.

Lilygran Sat 01-Jun-13 18:49:42

I think it is very irresponsible to suggest you wait for a crisis! It might help if you could get her GP on side and also get a diagnosis. You don't say why social services were doing an assessment but they should have had some clinical input. Very good luck to you and your mother flowers

FlicketyB Sat 01-Jun-13 19:56:16

Whether waiting for a crisis is irresponsible or not that is what you are generally expected o do.

A friend and his wife who live 100 yards from his mother who has dementia have been keeping everything working, despite his mothers increased dementia, for some years. Now things are getting too difficult, mother has started not to recognise her son and wife and wanders out at night, but usually gets home. When my friends spoke to Social Services, because, like your mother, michellejane1 my friends's mother put on a good show SS said she was capable of making an informed decision about whether to go into a home or not!!! and as she said 'no' there was nothing SS could do. They recommended that son and wife withdraw all support, wait until the inevitable crisis arises and then SS will be able to help sort things out and she will be deemed to be at risk and not safe to be left alone

laidback Sat 01-Jun-13 20:07:24

Contact your local office of Age Concern they will be able to advise you well and make a great assessment. Its sounds like she will be better cared for in care. Get the ball rolling....

janeainsworth Sat 01-Jun-13 20:25:26

Michelle I know how distressing it is to see someone you love developing dementia.
Of course you want your mother to be safe and for the SW to suggest that you have to wait for a crisis before she can be adequately cared for is plain callous.
As others have suggested, I would go back to your mother's GP and if it hasnt already been done, ask for a psycho-geriatric assessment (ie with a consultant psychogeriatrician). The SW will not then be able to fob you off.

Mishap Sat 01-Jun-13 20:56:48

Indeed the right way forward is for a full assessment by the local Dept for Mental Health for the Elderly (DMHE) who can be accessed via your GP. And this needs to happen pdq, so you may need to stress the urgency. As has been said, the SSD will not be able to argue with the results of a full assessment. Sadly there are SWs who are not well-versed in dementia, and it is time to bring in the medical professionals.

Is she self-funding? - if she is, SSD do not need to be involved. She (in conjunction with your guidance) can opt to go into a home.

HUNTERF Sun 02-Jun-13 22:32:26

I do know of a case where a son had to phone for an ambulance when his father started doing dangerous things.
It got to the point where the father was coming in to the son's bedroom at all hours of the night mainly saying he has got to organise a funeral.
The son called an ambulance in the end and even the ambulance drivers did not want to take him to hospital until the son said if nothing was done they would soon be having 2 patients to deal with instead if 1.
By the second night the father was causing problems to other patients and a carer was bought in just to supervise the father.
The father was getting violent all the time and sometimes other patients had to help to control him.
The father did finish up in a secure nursing home and it was NHS funded as the father was basically dangerous.
He could not be let on to the streets as he could have attacked children for example.
The mental health nurse did take the son to a room for a coffee and supposedly to talk about the father.
The son found out later that she was really wanting to check the son's mental health had not been affected by the father's antics.



tilly200 Sun 20-Oct-13 19:48:55

My mum is 91, she lived in a flat until last year, she would stay in bed all day and not eat, I told the social worker my mum would be better in a care home, I was told my mum was happy in her flat and she could decide for herself, how when she had dementia.
One day my mum fell broke her hip and her wrist, after that social services decided she would be better off in a care home,
She is in a lovely home and very happy, just a shame she had to fall to get into one.

merlotgran Sun 20-Oct-13 20:03:29

Don't get me started on Social Services and care for the elderly. I have written at length on here about my battle to get my mother into a decent nursing home as I had proof she was being neglected and abused at the care home she was in.

It took me nearly two years and when she was almost on the point of starvation I threatened them with a copy of the letter and photos I had compiled to send to (don't laugh) the Daily Mail.

They moved her inside a week!

She is still with us, her dementia is a lot worse but she has gained weight and is content, comfortable and well cared for.

You have to keep on and on and on at Social Services to get a result.

tiggypiro Mon 21-Oct-13 14:09:30

My mum moved to a care home 3 months ago when she was 100. As she was moving out of area we were told it would take a few weeks for the paperwork to be done. The next day when my sister visited her she saw there was an accident waiting to happen, rang SS and they said we could move her asap and the paperwork could follow. She moved the next day and is very happy in her new abode and is now well fed and hydrated and the care is excellent. Full marks to her local SS.

Mishap Mon 21-Oct-13 15:23:43

Jeremy Hunt's idea that people are using residential homes as a first option is not borne out by these posts. In my experience relatives regard it as a last option - sometimes because they do not want to be seen as "putting her in a home", which has somewhat pejorative connotations. And there is often pressure from SSD to keep people at home if SSD might finish up funding it - although, having said that, GOOD care in the community does not cost less - but SSD hope that some of the brunt of care at home will fall to the relatives, so they can save money. The lack of funding from central government is the problem.

An important point is that there are times when residential or nursing care should be the first option - as long as you can find a really good home.

We were lucky with Mum and Dad in that we found an excellent home for them, although they were never there at the same time. But there are some seriously bad homes out there as well. Word of mouth recommendation is much better than the CQC's reports - I have seen some good reports about some seriously c**p homes.

The " market model" in residential care has not resulted in a rise in standards - quite the opposite, it results in cost cutting.

Aka Mon 21-Oct-13 15:46:52

I know at least a dozen people who've put their parents in a home when they became unable to live independently, and only two who took their parents into their own home.

FlicketyB Mon 21-Oct-13 20:42:07

It is not always easy for a adult child to take a parent into their own home. Frequently, quite simply the house isn't big enough, there are no spare bedrooms. If there are children in the house it may not be a suitable environment fro some one who is frail or confused. An older person who moves in with a child usually does so because they need continuous care. If their adult child and spouse are both working that is not possible.

My father was widowed and became ill with an infection and back problem. Concerned about him I suggested he came and stayed with me for a while. Four days after he arrived he was taken acutely ill and rushed to hospital. We live in a 500 year old house with a narrow twisty staircase. The ambulance men found it impossible to get him down the stairway next to his bedroom. In the end he had to be carried through several other upstairs room to a secondary staircase and then out through the garage. For someone in extreme spinal pain the jarring from this difficult journey from bedroom to ambulance left him almost unconscious from pain.

tilly200 Mon 21-Oct-13 21:11:47

I work in a residential home, it is suppose to be person centered care, some days its more like carer centered, some of the day staff want the night staff to get as many residents up in the morning before 7am so they don't have to get as many up, it means they can have more tea breaks. Some of the night staff expect all the residents to be in bed before they come in at 8pm.
When I am on the residents get up when they wake up and go to bed when they want to.
It appears they sign for medication then not give it to the residents, I check by counting the signature's on the MAR sheets then check the medication.
I reported it to the manager but she is not prepared to do anything about it, there is a few good staff in the home but some I would not let them look after my dog.

Aka Mon 21-Oct-13 23:21:58

Sadly I don't think any of that comes as a surprise tilly sad

FlicketyB Tue 22-Oct-13 10:12:20

tilly200 I sympathise with you. I know that some care homes have great difficulties with the quality of staff they have, but while pay is so poor they have to take what staff they can get rather than selecting the best. Sometimes, like with you, they get good quality and sensitive people but other times.....

We seem to have totally unrealistic ideas how much it costs to look after people properly . Councils will pay as little £400 - £500 a week for care. £70 a day. You would be hard pressed to find a half decent hotel prepared to provide bed and three meals a day for that price, let alone a full personal care service, all laundry, entertainment and a 24 hour call service.

To do it at that price means economies and short cuts and sadly quality of staff and wages is the first economy that is made.

tilly200 Tue 22-Oct-13 20:18:20

Every care home pays the same minimum wage unless it is local authority, lots of those are closing down.
I am classed as senior carer so get 6p an hour more than minimum wage
I think if people go into that work they should be caring.
I think the residents we look after have been the same as us, worked brought up a family and need to be treated with respect.
Some homes I have worked in I have come home depressed thinking I could end being looked after like that.
I have problems with some of the staff they don't want to work with me as I make sure the residents who need assistance to the toilet get the help they need, that is too much like hard work for some staff.
While I work there I will do the best I can and make the residents lives as happy as possible.

Stansgran Tue 22-Oct-13 21:05:50

It's dreadful to read what you write tilly . I wonder if there is some way we can get carers who care. I know more money is ideal but how do you weed out the people who are wrong for the job. I do remember a relative in a sterile unit(there for a transplant) saying he watched night staff arrive , put their heads round the door(so they didn't have to scrub up) tell him he didn't need anything and because his room was an interior corner opposite the staff room ,then saw them go into the room and lie down to sleep. Night duty was solely for catching up on you sleep and being paid

Iam64 Wed 23-Oct-13 08:08:59

I suspect we all dread either going into residential care, or that stage where we have to consider it for our loved ones. Care of the vulnerable shouldn't be all about profit, and increasingly, that's what is happening. We have private fostering and residential care units for vulnerable children and young people, as well as for other vulnerable adult groups. What about not for profit organisations staffed by people with a vocation - they'd have to be paid at least a living wage though.

Galen Wed 23-Oct-13 08:28:40

Dd says she pitied the home I move into hmm

Iam64 Wed 23-Oct-13 08:33:09

Galen - my parents generation were less likely to do what they called 'make a fuss' than I suspect those of us born after the 1930's may be.

lilybet Wed 23-Oct-13 14:35:48

Do you know how hard staff work in Nursing Homes. I do because I work in one. Do you know how many guilty relatives make constant complaints.Too many to mention. I feel very strongly about the negative moaning. If you don't like the care move your loved one.lots of places out there. Staff are paid low pay. They work hard and love what they do. This is the case in my home. Sadly this is not true of all homes. So I am asking do not taint us all with the same brush.

FlicketyB Wed 23-Oct-13 17:31:33

lilybet I do not think anyone on this thread has criticised care home staff. In fact reading the posts they seem mainly to be sympathetic and understanding.

Today I have made a 130 mile round trip to visit my aunt who is in a care home. She has been there for over 5 years and over that five years the care I have seen her receive from staff has always been kind and considerate.

But it is inevitable that when we hear of vulnerable people, whether children, mentally disabled or elderly people being abused and neglected we get up in arms because these people are so vulnerable and can do little to speak up for themselves. It is also true that when a home is badly run and people are suffering good staff tend to leave and only the least capable stay or are recruited.

To get good staff consistently they have to be paid a decent wage, but people constantly talk about the 'extortionate' cost of care home fees without thinking about what the costs are of keeping someone in a home.