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Sandra Dean – Registered Member


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Nine weeks and one day. Dementia. Care homes. Social services and parents.

Oh thank goodness for Chris, some lovely supportive friends, Bach’s remedies, Titus (my cat who is great therapy), Molly (hamster), my fish, my potted garden, my counselling course and my writing… Staying positive, doing things I enjoy and using mindfulness have been key to getting through recent tough times.

Titus

Titus

This last nine weeks and one day have been quite tense…

I found a local care home for mum when she left hospital and she went to stay there twelve days ago. I was under immense pressure from social services to choose a care home from a list of three, and had to make a formal complaint about one of the social workers at the hospital.

Mum hates it. She is far too compos mentis for the place, which accommodates mid to high level dementia residents. The shouting, moaning, confusion and wanderings of her fellow residents scare mum. Her things going missing are annoying mum. Doors are never locked, and dementia residents do ‘wander’ in and out of other resident’s rooms picking things up etc.

After mum’s miraculous recovery from Lithium toxicity, smashed ribs, broken femur and puncturing her lung (falling down the stairs nine weeks and one day ago), and then Sepsis in hospital, she deserves more. She wants to go home and is being told she cannot. She is questioning her marriage to my father “Why don’t you want me anymore?” “I don’t want to go home if you don’t want me” etc.

Dad says he cannot look after her anymore and is staying in their house alone. He has been moving her stuff about, getting new curtains, windows, a car and fence during the last two months, and I have been feeling resentful towards him. But, he has supported my mum for many years, so I know I cannot call him selfish. He is dealing with it all in his own way.

Social services only offer four visits from carers a day and leave patients overnight. Dad doesn’t feel like he can keep her safe

and be her carer anymore for mostly 24 hours a day. A ‘Sits in’ is offered by social services but they are only four hours per

Some of my flower pots

Some of my flower pots

week maximum which is not enough. And respite would only mean mum going in a care home for a period while he has a rest if unwell, so it could also be disruptive to her. But I do wonder if everyone is making it sound like my mum needs more ‘care’ than she does. It is too easy to say she has dementia and needs 24 hour care. I disagree. She had a fall in hospital, and then a fall in the care home, smashing her forehead both times, but they refused to put her on the six week ‘reablement’ course for her physical repair. She is walking with a zimmer frame now and is doing so well on her own, but I would certainly trust to leave her for periods of time once her leg repairs more and she stops getting dizzy when she bends down.

To hear my mum say she wants to go home and is desperately unhappy has crushed me. “I only have a few years left, why can’t I do what I want?” she says. I have been ‘piggy in the middle’ of my parents since I was a child, but this is a game I don’t want to play in this situation.

My three brothers are not willing to visit care homes or help with her relocation (I asked dad to invite them to get involved just

Molly my hamster

Molly my hamster

to be clear), and dad feels incapable. I, personally, have taken my role as mum’s advocate very seriously, and could not do anything but my best to help her.

But, after visiting nineteen care homes, there are only two that I feel ‘could’ be suitable for mum. They are not full of bubbly, chatty, active people like my mum. I know she will go downhill, psychologically, living in a care home, but I have to admit I cannot live with her as an option either.

Everything has been ‘temporary’ which is even worse for mum, and myself, but her absolute unhappiness where she is brought about an urgent meeting with the care home and social services, my mum, dad and I. We came up with a three month temporary plan, where dad would have time to look into moving to a more suitable home without stairs so they could live together, but the very next day he admitted he cannot move. I wish he had listened to me the past twenty years, where I have tried to convince him to move to a bungalow, but hey ho.

So, now mum will have to be told she will never go home and I am already looking for a suitable ‘home for life’ for her.

my tropical fish

my tropical fish

I just hope I can arrange things this week, and that she can at least get into one from my shortlist, but they are so expensive, with many charging £600 to £1000 per week for a single room, and social services only pay around £400, so it’s very tough. I have no money.

It has been a big lesson to myself, and Chris (who has kindly been to quite a few care homes with me and has supported me through the last nine stressful weeks) as to how many people’s lives end – in care homes, with the vicious progressive disease called ‘Dementia’. We have discussed what we will do if we are diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer’s ourselves.

I can only hope mum stays as she is for as long as possible before her brain gets too damaged as well.

One thing she said in the hospital was that she will never walk again, and she’s now walking. She also said she will never go to

holidays

holidays

Costa coffee again, and I took her last week in a wheelchair for a pot of tea and teacake. And she said that she will never get to

Spain again… I won’t say anything unless I am sure, but I am hoping that, at some point soon, I will be able to take her to Spain for a week – just mum and I.

Fingers crossed this will be possible.

If you have had to help place a parent in a care home, have had a diagnosis of dementia in a parent, or are going through it now; I can certainly empathise and also sympathise now that I know how heart wrenching it is.

xxxxxxx

 

 

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4 comments to Nine weeks and one day. Dementia. Care homes. Social services and parents.

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