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Coping with elderly parents – particularly Alzheimer’s Rant

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lindenlea, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh CarrieV, your Dad certainly is a saint.
    Your Mum sounds very like my own mother when she was officially diagnosed about 18 months ago. Not being able to tell the timeis a known symptom and using the hoover involves remebering how to switch it on. (My Mother stopped using anything 'with buttons';washing machime, oven, hoover,microwave, tv etc. about 3 years ago come to think of it.) Up until her 'diagnosis, she was still walking to the shops and doing her own shopping. But hearing the term 'Alzheimer's, even if she doesn't remember it, just took all the life out of her.
    Like my own Mother who's seen a number of relatives with end-stage Alzheimer's, your Mother must understanably be frightened about the prospect.
    Take care and come here for support when you need it.
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    She was coping well until recently when she had to go to the doctors. The medication she is taking for her osteoporosis means she alternates between diarrohea and constipation. At the doctors she saw a locum who asked her when she had last eaten and last "been to the toilet" Understandably she was anxious and confused and couldn't remember. So the doctor told her that " he couldn't be expected to help her if she couldn't even remember when she had last eaten" and sent her home. Of course she couldn't bloody remember when she had eaten, she has sodding Alzheimers, for heavens sake!
    My Dad, who is extremely protective of Mum, went round and told him where to go! But even Dad was upset when he received the letter about Mum's appointment for assessment, which came from the Mental Health Unit. To him that was the last straw, he insists she is NOT mentally ill,just forgetful. We call it the Memory Cinic now, which doesn't seem to worry Mum (or Dad!) as much[​IMG]
  3. My sympathy Carrie. my mum was always very active until 80. Dad always blamed her slipping and cracking her head. She ended up in casualty with concussion, but the 'memory experts' said that was just a coincidence. He looked after her, with our support and took over all the cooking and cleaning as best he could. Incontinence problems were a big problem, as he hated to think that their house smelt. He was always buying air fresheners!
    He coped until he fell and broke his hip and mum had to go into respite care. When he got out of hospital, she was fetched back home, but even with carers he could no longer cope. We managed to take him to see her once in the carehome and he was pleased that it was a lovely modern place 'Just like a hotel!' She didn't really know him anymore and he deteriorated and died soon after. Very sad!
  4. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    And yet dementia is associated with brain injury.

  5. An interesting article and an interesting link. Thanks for that. I shall be sharing it with my sister. She is a marvellous daughter who lives near to mum and visits her regularly. I live further away, but try to get there each week if I can. I always think that mum will be better cared for if they know we are regularly looking out for her. Also I hate the fact that she would have so many more visitors if she had a physical ailment. It can be that some of her fellow residents seem frightening, particularly to children. I'm used to it now and have got to know their different ways.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Sorry, just need to vent, and ask can anyone else help and stop me panicking?
    Just as I thought we were doing OK with Mum another problem.
    Came home from church, popping in to Mum's to fine son's car and ambulance outside! Rush in to find glass evrywhere, from where they'd had to break down the door and Mum being attended to by a very nice ambulance man.
    Apparently she's fallen (though she insists she hadn't), but other than that is fine. BP, heart and lungs all check out OK, no sign of stroke etc. Medic warned me, she might lose confidence after the fall and that's just what's happened. Says she can't get up, will fall etc.but she always has 'put things on' with me anyway. Suggested she might like to go for a 'short holiday' where someone could keep an eye on her, but she said she didn't want 'putting away'! Both medic and CN say it's best to keep her independance as long as possible, but just feel at such a loss!
    Off tomorrow to get a toilet frame, already had a little walker put by (wouldn't accept it before) near her chair and contact CN, Dr and Occupational therapy about making the home safer, but how long will that take? What else should I be doing?
    Anyone can help?
  7. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    We've had to kit my dad's house out with lots of aids as he has Parkinsons along with other conditions. He had a fall just before Christmas and so we've had to put more in place.
    He has a stair lift and that is a real blessing. Essentially though we have had lots of handrails fitted around the house. At the front and back door, along the hall, in the bathrooms and as pull-ups in the bedroom to help him get out of bed. Quite a lot of this, apart from the stair lift, was done by a local charity. They have volunteers who come and fit these types of things for free. We have equipment from the Red Cross too. His most useful walking aid is a frame with wheels and brakes with a built in seat - he moves quite confidently around the house with this. He bought this - as the one from the Red Cross was more of a standard walking frame. We got dad's toilet frames from the Red Cross, but he still like to have the wall mounted handrails for extra confidence.
    We have also raised the height of his armchair as this made getting in and out much easier. He did have a fall once trying to get out of his seat. M-i-L who is a very spritely 83 recently bought one of those types of armchairs that you often see in care homes - high back and seat - she has found it really easy to get in and out of.
    At the moment we are fortunate to have carers coming in twice a day to help him at bedtime and then getting up. This is provided free for a limited time following his release from hospital. One of the advantages of being admitted to hospital after his fall - you have access to all of the agencies.
    I don't know if any of this helps - but I understand your difficulties and wanted to offer support.
  8. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    My mother got help after a hospital visit. Hope your doc can put you on the right track. Might be wise to wait to see what's on offer before buying more yourself.
    Take care.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Thanks for the reply marlin and responding so quickly.
    Gosh, aren't there a lot of us dealing with this problem (elderly parents)?
    Yes I had raised Mum's armchair the other day with extra cushions underneath. But, inevitable with my Mum, she had removed them, probably because it made the chair 'look funny'. I've just put an extra 'lounger mattress' under the sofa cushions to lift that up (that was where she fell from we reckon) as that's where she sleeps. Interesting if it will there tomorrow? Once OH come they'll probably lift the whole thing up, like they did for my aunt.
    Rails around the house will be an idea, if the plasterboard walls will support them.

  10. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    My brother built a small wooden box and covered it with carpet to stand Dad's chair on. It has pegs so that the chair can't slide off.
    You can get special rawplugs for fitting things to plasterboard walls - a diy person would be able to advise.
  11. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Didn't get to the edit button quick enough.
    It's one of those Stressless chairs with a round base rather than legs.
  12. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    After my father had had a fall and spent a few days in hospital, the hospital arranged for an occupational therapist to see him and then assess his house for his needs. They were excellent and everything was done free for him within the next two days. As Marlin said he got handrails by his front and back doors, in the toilet and bathroom he was given a raised seat that went over the normal toilet seat and blocks that were mounted on a criss cross piece of wood that fitted underneath his armchair so it was raised from the ground rather than lots of cushions.The chair raiser didn't really show much, the blocks went under each corner and I think screwed in to the chair.
    We did buy a stairlift and a walking frame with wheels but not with a seat, his has a bag or basket attached to carry things with him.You can often get these secondhand.
    The most important thing he had was one of those emergency pendants to wear around his neck to press if he had a fall and needed help.

    Once we got him to wear it (rather than keep it in his fruit bowl so he knew where it was) it was invaluable. As soon as they press it , the call is picked up at a central place and they can hear if they can still talk and could tell he was lying on the floor. You give the company numbers to ring and they ring you and tell you the situation or call an ambulance if they can't contact a family member. I was lucky as my brother lived nearer so he was the one who always got called out! He lived with this for over a year and we must have got called about half a dozen times. It definitely gave us peace of mind.
    Unfortunately in the end after 3 successive night falls, the last time he had taken his pendant off to get ready for bed and fell, so was on the floor until I managed to get a neighbour to go in to check him at 11.00 the next morning. That was a bit of a nightmare keep phoning that morning from school and getting no answer.
    Oh dear, these elderly parents are a worry. He is now reasonably happy and safe in a care home.

    Good luck to everyone going through all these problems at the moment.
  13. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Thanks to marlin and May2 for your suggestions.
    Hopefully if Occupational therapy come fairly quickly it will be alright and we can fix things up. My friend's Mother has one of those pendant alarms, but doesn't realise it's only for emergencies and uses it like a 'normal phone' when she's lonely. So although miL has one, I'm not certain if
    1 Mum would wear it and if she did would know what to do if she had a fall -hasn't used anything with buttons (oven, microwave, tv, radio, lamp etc )for 3 years now!
    Good luck to everyone going through all these problems at the moment.
  14. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    My dad wears one of these panic buttons too, but when he had his fall he'd taken it off. Too long a story to explain why here, but fortunately he was only on the floor for an hour before he was found. He's normally pretty good at using it correctly though - just a chain of unfortunate circumstances this time. The fall that prompted us to get him one of these had left him on the floor all night and to lunchtime the next day.
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Thanks for everyone who responded to my panic yesterday.
    Today, Mum doesn't remember a thing and, although a bit more hesitant than before, is still 'fighting fit', according to her GP who visited this morning. (If she didn't have Alzheimer's she would be wonderful for her age!)
    Thanks to whoever recommended Red Cross. Absolutely brilliant! Have to wait for a self-referral form from Occupational therapy but will come out within 2 days as soon as they receive the form.
    For future reference; for anyone who has to break the glass in a double-glazed front door- it takes a <u>lot of force</u>,3 strong blows with the wooden handle of a fork wielded by a 13 stone strong man did nothing! Had to put the prongs to it and even that took a couple of goes!
  16. This is an interesting thread. I am f/t carer for my mum who has Alzheimer's. She lives with us now as having her living so far from us was causing all sorts of problems. She did have carer's coming in every day but it just didn't work. I am not sure taking her into our home was a good idea but she's been here for over a year now and seems quite settled. I didnt have the heart to put her in a home. She has definitely deteriorated in the last year. She is often confused, sometimes doesn't know where she is. She repeats herself all the time and comes out with complete nonsense sometimes. We've recently had problems after she fell and broke her arm ... I spent HOURS sitting in A&E with her, while she kept saying to the dr and nurses that someone had pushed her over. I was interrogated by the medics about her accident ... I felt as though I was under suspicion of abuse! Turns out she was recalling an incident a long time ago when someone ran into her on a bike .... She had no recollection of her latest accident. When we got home from hospital it was gone midnight so I put her to bed. The next morning I was go smacked to find she'd woken in the night, forgotten she'd broken her arm, managed to take off her sling and plaster cast and gone back to bed! She had to have help with everything ... Going to the loo, getting dressed, eating, getting in and out of bed ... A really awful time. She's recovered well and is generally very fit and well ... Much more healthy than me! I often wonder who will go to meet their maker first, mum or me! It is a terrible illness ... Sometimes I don't recognise my mother at all as the person I know and love. She is like a silly child. I feel awful for thinking badly about her and feeling embarrassed by her behaviour.
  17. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Welcome to the thread Mrs Mo. Hopefully we can all support each other here just like on the Bereavement thread.
    Gosh, you're brave taking on your Mum f/t. I know I just couldn't do it and one or other of us would probably kill the other if we did!
    They say they may be like a toddler emotionally and behavoiurally, <u>but</u> they have a lifetime of being sly and crafty, getting their own way etc. which I've found, unlike the memories etc., do not fade or diminish.
    "Much more healthy than me!" Certainly true of my Mother and I sometimes wonder if I'll go before she does. Her sister lived till over 90 with it!
    The 'loss' of ourparents with this terrible disease, is indeed a weekly event as yet another ability vanishes. It is no respector or education and seeing often very intelligent people reduced to helpless individuals is one of the most difficult emotions we have to face, even when we've had difficult relationships in the past. It is a really slow, bereavement!
  18. I know I'm lucky in that my mum is a lovely, kind person; no aggression (yet), although I know that could well come in due course.
  19. My mum is still like that most of the time, but there have been three incidents in the last few weeks of her being aggressive. My mum was never like that, so we know it is the illness to blame.
    My mum also fell and broke her wrist. She refused to keep on the sling and they gave up with her in the end. She still complains about a painful wrist at times- over a year later!
  20. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Just back from a visit to my two. Was with them for less than 24hours but oh boy! My mother is such a misery. It has been soul destroying. I'm not going to rant today, I'm too dejected. She wound me up so much last night I was awake most of the night and am now knackered. My father is also very cunning and plays us all. They do need our help and support and I do what I can but it was not a good visit.
    Some of you are b l o o d y angelic, but I'm hoping you have some sympathy.[​IMG]

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