1st Post... mum gone into care - what now?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by sparkle, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. sparkle

    sparkle Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    14
    Spain
    Hi

    OK - long story cut short.... Mum is 76, has had Alzheimers for about 10 yrs, diagnosed for the last 7 approx. Dad has been caring for her 24/7 with a few odd weeks respite i the last 18 months after nagging from us for him to make sure he got time to himself.

    He finally realised it was time to think about long term care for her, and last week collapsed with breathing problems and was taken to A&E - I think all a result of his decision. This meant Mum had to go into a home she'd been in before and Dad has selected for her long term.

    I thought I had come to terms and done my grieving for Mum thru the past years, but this step seems to have bought everything back again with a vengeance, and I am sat here in tears typing.

    The reason for this post, is I know Mum is safe and getting the best care - she has more stimulation and its for the best. But what about Dad?
    Married for 54 yrs, a devoted couple. How does he come to terms with loosing her like this, away but not gone totally. Having cared 24/7 theres now a void in his life and he is so down. He can't drive as he's fallen 3 times and hurt his ankle. He can't sleep. He's got someone (family members) now caring for him 24/7 at the moment as he wasn't eating.

    I live in Spain but all this in the UK.. I go back in 2 weeks when the schools go back as my sister works in a school so its harder for her to be with him then.

    Any hints as to things to make it a little easier for him? We thought of taking my sisters dog up - they've looked afer it before, to make sure he has to look after it and have a bit of focus each day..... but it tears me apart to think of him hurting so badly.
     
  2. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Sparkle, I can empathise with your dad. I dread the day when my husband has to go into care. Apart from the loneliness, I think the biggest problem is guilt, feeling you should have been able to cope. You'll have to give your dad lots of reassurance that he is doing the best thing for your mum, ensuring that she has round the clock care.

    Apart from that, all you can do is make sure that he himself feels appreciated. After so many years of caring, it's easy to feel that you no longer have any purpose in life. You need to make him feel needed, that you rely on him for advice and support. Take hom out as much as possible, but try to make sure that he knows you really want his company.

    As for the dog, I don't know. I wouldn't be without mine, but you'd have to be sure that it's what he wants. Perhaps take it there for a week or two while you're there, to see how he reacts?

    Just make sure he knows he's loved.

    Can he use a computer? Perhaps he'd like to join TP. We'd make him very welcome.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Love,
     
  3. sparkle

    sparkle Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    14
    Spain
    Hi Hazel

    Thanks for your quick reply.... sadly Dad doesn't use a computor.... it took me 10 yrs to get him to have a microwave! (Bless him!).
    the whole family has pulled together on this one and my brothers were in there first, not telling me what had happened, I think not realising how serious it was or how gutted Dad would be... sadly some men seem unable to come to terms with emotions, and my brothers have been with their heads in the sand for a few years so it was a shock to them.

    He's being taken out as much as possible, but is also sleeping an awful lot during the day as he's not sleeping during the night, so isn't getting total body rest with catnaps.

    I like the idea of letting him know we need him for advice... thats a good one, as he's always been in control and now hates being organised etc.... so will use that tip.
    As for the dog I think I'll suggest we leave it until hes a bit more mobile... I know he'd love that, but don't want to push the issue too much.

    Kathy
     
  4. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Kathy

    It is really difficult wheen they go into full time residential care, I can understand your tears, but it will get easier once you get a bit more used to it.

    As for your Dad, he made the choice to give her the care she needs and he is probably exhausted at the moment.

    My parents were married for 54 years too, sadly my Dad died suddenly which led to Mum's residential care.........we had no other option, but it is the very best thing for her.

    I agree completely that your Dad will benefit from feeling wanted and needed as much as ever.

    Let us know how things are progressing.

    Kathleen
    xx
     
  5. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Kathy,
    My mum went into care, under very similar circumstances to your mum and dad.

    The fact that dad has physically not been able to cope any longer may in fact be a blessing:
    1] He knows that he has physically done all that he could for your mum
    2] The family has made the decision for him - so his guilt is lessened.

    My dad was able to visit mum daily, and he established new routines. Your dad is still caring for your mum, he is still vital to her life, and will continue to be so till the day she dies. Just give him time to adjust. Let him know that he is loved and valued.

    Take care.
    Love Helen
     
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,560
    Kent
    Hello Kathy,

    It`s difficult for you being away from the UK at this critical stage in the lives of your parents.

    It sounds as if all your family pull together, so your father will be as good as he can be, once he sees you all rallying round.

    It is very upsetting when anyone has to accept residential care, but even more so for a couple who`ve been together for many years. Your father will probably never recover from the thought of your mother in a home, as he`s tried so hard and so long to do the caring himself.

    All you can do is make it as painfree as possible, and hopefully he will begin to accept the idea.

    Love xx
     
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    Have you suggested your dad goes to see his GP? It might be that there are medications to at least help him to sleep - the great healer.

    Also, it really sounds as though your dad could benefit from professional counselling - possibly even bereavement counselling, since he is effectively experiencing the grief of a "bereavement". The GP might be able to refer dad to a psychiatrist or counsellor.

    I believe that NHS trusts are obliged to provide a bereavement service, but this is more to do with relatives of patients who have died in hospital.

    But there's nothing to lose by at least asking.

    Is your dad at all religious? If he is - would be benefit at all from speaking with a local vicar/priest? I realise that this is not suited to everyone.
     
  8. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    That sounds like a good thought also would give him company , I do no that that cat dogs are very therapeutic, dog would need walking so would get your father out
     
  9. Isobel

    Isobel Registered User

    Aug 13, 2007
    6
    Central Scotland
    HI,
    I Think taking the dog to your Dad could be a good idea, I used to do therapy visiting with one of my dogs years ago. I was allowed to take my daughter's small dog into the hospital recently to visit my Mum and her face just lit up. I am hoping when we get to the stage you are at we will have registered the dog as a P.A.T.
    dog so that it can visit with me and be of some comfort to other residents too.
    I guess that is me taking the advice on the site and thinking of the positive. Good luck
    will follow your experience with interest as it is what I have to do soon.
    :) Isobel
     
  10. sparkle

    sparkle Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    14
    Spain
    Hi

    Thanks to you all for your replies.... Its great to have people in similar situations to bounce ideas off.

    I spoke to my sister who took Dad to see his Dr today, and he has been prescribed some anti depressants, but can't take anythign with them to help him sleep, os they'll have to ride out the sleepless nights a bit til these pills kick in.

    He seems to have taken a couple of steps backwards - hes restless and yet doesn't want to leave the house, pacing up and down and doing things hes really not able to do. He's a handful for my sister to say the least but she's doing a fab job with him, and will be there til my brother can take over on Friday.

    She is taking him out for the day tomorrow, - back to her house, where her dogs are to see how he reacts to them, and has taken him to see Mum as well, so hopefully its just a case of time while he comes to terms with everything.

    I've given her the link to here and also the phone number so she can ring up as she's not on the net at Dads. I also thought of some form of counselling... which she thought might be a good idea, but at the moment he's not that receptive, just wallowing in his own thoughts.

    Its hard as we'd not realised how hard this would hit him when she went full time, and its devasting to hear how bad he has taken it.

    Kathy
     
  11. elaineo2

    elaineo2 Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    945
    leigh lancashire
    Dear Sparkle,
    I do not envy yiour situation one bit,But congratulate you for the way you have accepted it.Hopefully this is a long way down the line for my dad,but,knowing that there are people like you who have dealt with it is something that means alot to me.Knowing i can come on this site to have a rant or for advice is a comfort. wish you all well.love elainex
     
  12. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    627
    Yorkshire
    Hi Sparkle

    Read your story and thought how similar to mine. My Mum went into care in March after Dad had looked after her 24/7 for the last ten years with help from me(Mum was only diagnosed in 1999, and then we fell through the net, but that's another story:mad: ). Dad had got used to 'sleeping on a clothesline' because Mum used to be up at night and he would have wet beds to deal with, so his sleep patterns were shot to pieces. We were lucky in that he could still drive in the initial stages and would go and see Mum every day, but he really did not know what to do with himself. From being a man who did EVERYTHING all of a sudden, his purpose in life was whisked away from him. He then had a major heart attack, I'm convinced brought on by the decision he had to make, and his emotional reaction at being 'separated' from 'his girl' of 62 years, (they started 'courting when they were 18.:)). Thankfully he has made an amazing recovery from the heart attack, his consultant told him, he's a very lucky man. He now seems to be coming to terms with the decision, and keeps telling me he knows it was for the best. He's trying to do things around the house as he used to do (with me shouting from the sidelines, saying 'don't you dare, clean the car, climb that ladder, cut the grass, move those boxes, clean those windows etc, etc, etc!:D ) He goes to see Mum almost daily and Ive encouraged him to do the 'niceties' for her such as massaging her hands and feet, putting face cream on, making sure her teeth are clean, combing her hair, feeding her meals etc, it keeps him involved in her care. I think in the early stages he felt that he was 'intruding' but as we've come to know the nurses and carers he's more comfortable to think of them as 'part of the family' ( and the home is brill at encouraging this) and knows he's not having to 'give up' his place at Mum's side. It doesn't make it any less painful for him when he has to leave her, but then you can't just wipe out 62years of partnership.
    I suppose what I'm trying to say Sparkle is, it takes time. Give your Dad as much encouragement as you can to do other things, even if only in a small way such as trying to read a book again or listening to favourite music or tv/radio programmes(I know those are things my Dad missed when he was caring 24/7). Small steps, he can only do this in his own time, as others have said, it is a grieving process. I try to ask my Dad to do something for me 'if he has time', even if it's only fetching milk from the supermarket, I know if I ask him, he'll go out and do whatever it is, where as, if it's just for himself he may not bother (I know, I know, but it gets him out of the house and talking to people;) , he now chats to the girls on the tills:D ). The dog might be a good idea for your Dad, play it by ear, see how he goes. If you can get counselling and Dad's OK with it, go for it. Our NHS trust (found through the CPN) run special courses for carers/family of dementia patients, I never thought my Dad would go to this but he did and he does say
    now he benefited from it.
    It's difficult being the 'child' of a carer, you want to protect, your parents are adults who you respect and have looked up to all your life. Heartbreaking when you see them in pain and know you can't do anything but be there when you're needed for support (and I don't mean that in a physical sense, a phone call to say there's something good on the radio or just to say good morning or goodnight means they know you're thinking about them).
    Last but not least Sparkle, don't forget yourself in the middle of all this. I pushed the boundaries too far, it's not good for you!:( Give yourself space and permission to grieve.

    Thinking of you and sending virtual hugs, take care.

    PS. Gosh, what a missive, sorry!
     
  13. sparkle

    sparkle Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    14
    Spain
    Hi Elaine

    Thanks for your wishes..... i wish I was as strong as I must sound, but inside this is bring emotions back to the surface and I am finding this very hard indeed. I think my sister and I must have started grieving for our Mum when she was first diagnosed.. and I thought I was on top of the fact she can't get better etc... but her going into a home, in a way is worse that I could ever have imagined. Plus knowing what line to tread with Dad...I'm struggling hard to keep together, but I'll do it... as someone told me, it'll be hard but I have to be strong for Dad.

    I agree with the fact that at least we can gain some help, advice and support from everyone here....much comfort is gained from that.

    Kathy
     
  14. sparkle

    sparkle Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    14
    Spain
    May - thanks for your lovely post. You've given me some great ideas, and highlighted some very apt things. I think all of the family are worried Dad will slip downhill, and possibly get ill from the enormity of his decision, as you say, a lifetime of partnership isn't dismissed so easily... With my parents its 54 yrs.
    Its a day by day thing we have to do.... its just that some days seem never ending.... but with love and hope then theres light at the end of the tunnel.

    Kathy
     

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