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Coping with elderly parents – particularly Alzheimer’s Rant

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

  1. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Panorama tonight 9pm. Not sure I can watch it, it may be too upsetting for me. I am hoping that time will erase the memories of going through it all with my mother, but unfortunately I have always had a very good memory (maybe until it gets me).
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I thought I was coping well, being now able to remember Mum as she was before she developed it, but like you ivar I'm unsure if I could watch the full programme, going by my reaction just to the short news item. :(

    Though her point about something needing to be done to address the situation/ problem is spot on. It certainly isn't going to get any easier as more people are ageing and developing care needs.

    And dementia is a whole new ball game, compared to ordinary care needs. Even with f-I-l's cancer it was only those last 4-5 weeks which were difficult and although m-I-l's daily care needs were numerous at least we didn't have the behaviour problems and she was grateful for all we did- well mostly! ;)
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  3. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I'm watching now.

    Absolutely heartbreaking.....one carer said, ''unless you've experienced it, you can't describe it''. People are just going to crumble under the strain......

    And the funding difficulties.....very, very, depressing.

    (I got into a downward spiral with two different authorities claiming it was the other who was responsible for Dad's needs assessment. They obviously haven't got the cash. Only just got that done, ....will await results.....meanwhile brother keeps asking me how much I've got done regards (insert a million jobs here) and I just sigh.......)

    Edit: and the poor social workers, frustrated that they can't help as much as they'd like.
  4. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    We're really struggling to get my mother in law the help she needs. Her doctor was supposed to have requested an occupational therapy visit weeks ago but it turns out he didn't, and the 'urgent' request he made last week will be fulfilled within a month! I've persuaded them to try and see her this week. Today would be good really as she's gone downhill and is struggling to do things like get off the toilet. I'm inclined to go to the mobility shop and buy her a thing to raise the loo seat, with handles, and see what else they have. She also needs a commode but social services won't give her one so get doctors'surgery have been trying various places who might fund it. I'd they'd bothered to relay this information we could have bought one and she could have been using it, and managing better. We thought it was in hand. The lack of communication or any sense of urgency is breathtaking and very frustrating. We're two hours away and get over as much as we can but the local services are really not fulfilling their responsibilities.
    cissy3 and agathamorse like this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If you can afford the aids? Get them.

    It'd be great if more help were available for the elderly and inform but it just.....isn't.

    I'm not going to blame anyone. We're lasting longer and in failing health. We're outrunning the grim reaper thanks to antibiotics and all sorts of medical interventions but the quality of life suffers. If one is fortunate enough to have resources then one will soldier on. But this is now a society in which only those with substantial means can look forward to any degree of comfort in old age.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic. But get her the toilet seat. She'll be better and it'll be a weight off your mind.
    cissy3 and agathamorse like this.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Phone the Red Cross. Usually they will loan aids out. You sign a form, sometimes needs a deposit, returnable when you return the item.
    If you lived nearer I could supply you some from m-i-l as hers were bought and I'm donating them to the Red Cross as I used them for my mother in the past.
    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    @Doitforfree - sorry to hear this. I suspect a bit ‘ every man / woman for themselves ‘ these days ‘ . Not being able to get off the loo - unaided - how awful must that be ? so disheartening ...... Curiously just thinking about this thread as my MIL has been on the phone. Just fitted with a new more powerful NHS aid . The guy came to that house and adjusted it to the ‘ correct ‘ level. She has now knocked it inadvertently and can’t readjust the volume because she has no feelings on the tips of her fingers ... so has now reverted to using ‘no longer fit for purpose ‘private aid . I would have thought that a) she would have mentioned the problem with her dexterity or b ) the audiologist questioned the suitability of the aid ( she is 89 ) @ her hearing test ...,
    cissy3 and agathamorse like this.
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I was astonished by my mother-in-law's hearing aid. The whole thing is beige, so no contrast for older eyes to detect the buttons. The miniscule volume control is difficult for even a young and dexterous and fully sighted person to use, and doesn't work the way you would expect it to, and can't be operated while its being worn. And why are they not rechargeable? And why does the person issuing it suggest that the user puts the used batteries back in the packet? My grandma muddled them all up and was as likely to be putting in a dead one than a new one. There seems to be no concept in the supposed experts of what an older person's life is actually like. I can't believe that most people wouldn't rather have a hearing aid that was functional and they can use, than one that is less visible but so small and beige that the older person can't operate it.

    I'm really cross that the doctor didn't reveal the error in not requesting the visit, and then didn't do everything he could to get one as quickly as possible. The whole NHS drifts about in a world about thrity years out of date and with no idea of how they're making things worse, and ultimately, more expensive. I had a mad phone call about a physio appointment for my dad. They asked if I'd prefer Monday or Friday, but couldn't make the appointment on the phone, and sent it out by actual, expensive letter. I said Friday so you can guess, I'm sure, what day the appointment was for. Cue another phone call and more wasting of everyone's time.

    I can see I'm going to have a trip over there tomorrow. Do the toilet things fit all toilets? I guess the man in the shop will be able to advise me. He's very nice. My mother-in-law won't be pleased if i spend money on something she could have got for free, but I think speed is the important thing now!
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I have hearing aids. Oh, yes. Changing the battery weekly. Trying to remember which way is up. I can't adjust the volume and I'm only 63. it's so damned fiddly. Stuff them in the ear so they don't fall out.

    I don't even bother any more. That's very common.

    The man in the shop certainly will advise you. But that Red Cross idea is genius.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I just had a look as this would have been great, but the branch nearest my mother-in-law opens two Tuesdays a month for three hours! Still, well worth remembering for a less urgent need. Thank you.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Wouldn't you have thought that these days they'd come with a charging stand that you just put them on every night to charge? No more batteries, cheaper in the long run and a thousand times easier. Except for old people like my dad, of course, who wouldn't like the idea of leaving anything plugged in overnight...!
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I have worn private aids for nearly 30 years but have NHS as a back up. The latter can be hard to get used to and you do need to persevere but they are life savers and I wear one when I go to NT live screenings because no subtitles and NHS more ‘ powerful ‘

    Totally agree about NHS being non inclusive. When I have been with my Mum to AMD clinic the information on the walls is in black on white and tiny script !!!

    When she went for a heart monitoring thing the form that she had to fill in over 24 hours was badly photo copied and left little space to write . I brought this to their attention after having familiarised myself with their glossy mounted mission statement and even suggested an alternative.. cue ‘taking offence faces’ . At another appt the nurse addressed the board on which she was writing rather than the people in front of her and actually giving out some important information to an ageing hard of hearing visually impaired ‘ patients ‘ ... clueless as to how to address. I held my tongue but wish I hadn’t ...

    Re my MIL I suspect this saga will run and run as they are now suggesting bigger moulds ( I have them to help with my loss ) as opposed to that they have currently provided ( no idea ?! ) .... I would have thought this was worth pursuing first time round ?
  13. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    You can get aids with a charger but these are private.
  14. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Mil now has so many problems that her hearing aids area not really top priority at present, but it's frustrating that the NHS hearing aid service is so poor. My mum used to have a job to visit people with aids who might need help with them in the seventies, and they don't seem to have evolved very much since then.

    Mil is struggling to walk at the moment and needed a scan and another procedure at the hospital. I expected them to be scheduled for the same day, especially as she needs hospital transport and the hospital is an hour away. Silly me for thinking two departments (investigating the same issue) might communicate with each other. It's not just bad for the patients but it's wasting scarce NHS resources.
  15. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Yes I think this is common unfortunately
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    We had this problem with my in-laws, who needed transporting to and fro and for those last 10 years there was barely a week when we didn't take one or other of them to the surgery or hospital I always had to ask 'which department this time, so as to choose which of the car parks to get nearest for them. :rolleyes:
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  17. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Me and my sister always have to go together with Dad, as there's rarely a space near enough for him to walk, and his dementia means he can't be left. So I arrive really early ready to collect him at the drop off point. Which means two cars causing extra traffic in town (we live on opposite sides and far away) and two cars taking up space in the car park. So it would really be good if they could coordinate appointments so there are fewer visits.
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  18. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I have been 'liking' some posts in sympathy.

    I, too, agree about the lack of foresight shown at doctors, hospitals etc.

    With Dad hardly able to walk, or stand, I've lost count of the times that various procedures have been almost impossible. (eg the time that his head had to be X-rayed in a standing position only. Ridiculous)

    And staff not being able to talk loudly and clearly to Dad, who has lost one of his hearing aids. (That's something else I need to arrange) Although I don't like to blame staff normally, as most are doing the best they can in a 'broken' system.

    I went down the ''buying it myself'' route, just because it was easier, (I ordered stuff online, even Argos had some basic stuff)
    Does she have a walking frame? Do carers visit?
    Sorry, I don't mean to pry, I just don't know how you are coping being so far away.

    Anyway, as always, best wishes to all who're going through all this.
  19. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Yes always worth checking these outlets as nowadays they have so much more than they used to.
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  20. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    They do don't they! I was amazed at what was available.
    agathamorse and minnie me like this.

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