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Attendance for meals and company

LunaJ

Registered User
Mar 24, 2021
22
0
Hi

My Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers in March, and lives alone. She can still do her own personal care, and heat up basic meals.

I live a few miles away, and visit her daily, although the timing and length of my visits varies depending on my own family and other responsibilities.

If I put a meal in front of her when I'm there. she'll generally eat it, but if I'm not around at a mealtime, I think she's not eating or drinking, or hardly at all. She has lost a lot of weight, although she doesn't yet look underweight.

I really feel that she'd benefit from someone attending her house at a set time every day for meals, for perhaps an hour at a time around lunch and dinner. Also just from the company point of view as I'm often the only person she sees during the day. There will be times coming up as well where I can't make it to her house at all, or not until evening.

We're in Scotland. Does anyone know if such a service exists, and if so where do I start looking? Am I best to just try and advertise for someone? I'm happy to pay for it, so it doesn't necessarily need to be a charity.

Many thanks
 

Lorraine D

Registered User
Jan 31, 2020
16
0
Go to social services, If she is registered with a memory clinic they will put you touch with a social worker. And they can arrange carers to come in at lunch time and give her something to eat.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,051
0
Chester
Ultimately it depends on what you think your mum would accept, what's available locally and whether or not your mum is self funding.

My MIL is in rural Scotland and we are a 3.5 hour drive away so care has been arranged by friends/distant cousin.

She has morning carers to get her up and help with breakfast for 2 hours each day. Prior to this she was phoning friends alot due to loneliness. She does have mobility issues (due to a congenital hip defect wheelchair predicted early 30s still walking but with a stick) so this made sense and was an excuse to get a foot in the door but in reality she only needed the company and was managing.

I queried with cousin about an SS assessment as personal care is free in Scotland (getting up and washing are eligible) and she said whilst MIL qualified she doubted MIL would accept SS getting a foot in the door and if they did she would present as not needing any help (known as hostess mode on the forum) together with a long waiting list so not worth trying. (Cousin is a retired palliative care consultant).

Therefore if you are self funding you could try a care agency or enquire with Scottish version if age UK about a sitting/befriending service.

We were lucky as one of MIL s friends is a retired district nurse and knew self employed carers who were available. MIL doesn't see the need for 2 hours of care and has been persuaded that her attendance allowance covers it. SS would likely only provide half an hour which wouldn't be enough from a company perspective. The friends think she needs an afternoon/teatime carer now but MIL is refusing to consider paying (a different story - I think hubby needs to use POA to pay for it).

If you are in a small town you might be able to ask round and find someone.

If your mum is not self funding them you are best contacting social services.
 

Bettysue

Registered User
Mar 21, 2020
71
0
I’m in Scotland too and after my partner’s diagnosis we had a CPN (community psychiatric nurse) allocated who visited and offered advice on support etc .She was able to refer my partner to a day care centre. He currently attends 2 days a week. I never dreamt that he’d accept this but now seems to enjoy it. I also have a ‘babysitter’ carer who comes for 4 hours a week to allow me to go out. As he is also now incontinent he has personal care for showering and dressing. All of this is free and was allocated via Social Work. I’d contact your local Social Work Dept and find out where you stand re. support. If they can’t provide what you require and you are able to pay they should be able to put you in touch with care agencies. I’d also look into applying for Attendance Allowance. I’d definitely say ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’. I feel very fortunate in receiving all this support but it seems the norm in our area.
 

Emmcee

Registered User
Dec 28, 2015
113
0
Hi

My Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers in March, and lives alone. She can still do her own personal care, and heat up basic meals.

I live a few miles away, and visit her daily, although the timing and length of my visits varies depending on my own family and other responsibilities.

If I put a meal in front of her when I'm there. she'll generally eat it, but if I'm not around at a mealtime, I think she's not eating or drinking, or hardly at all. She has lost a lot of weight, although she doesn't yet look underweight.

I really feel that she'd benefit from someone attending her house at a set time every day for meals, for perhaps an hour at a time around lunch and dinner. Also just from the company point of view as I'm often the only person she sees during the day. There will be times coming up as well where I can't make it to her house at all, or not until evening.

We're in Scotland. Does anyone know if such a service exists, and if so where do I start looking? Am I best to just try and advertise for someone? I'm happy to pay for it, so it doesn't necessarily need to be a charity.

Many thanks
Hi there,
This is exactly what my Mum was like a few years ago. Over a two year period she actually lost a tremendous amount of weight. She lives in Fife. Unlike yourself, I don't live locally.
Personally, I found it incredibly challenging because she just didn't fit into any of the "boxes".
I couldn't organise carers via SW services because "social stimulation" didn't fall into their definition of personal care. Nor could I find (let alone employ) a private carer to provide a regular pop in type service on/off during the day and it would have driven my Mum bonkers had someone been there all day (although my initial, long term goal, was to have live in carers).
Cameras that allowed me to prompt her to eat/drink/socialise didn't work. (Step ladders and paranoia is the best description of that trial :) )
Day Care didn't work because most of the clientele were more impaired than my Mum and she complained of being bored.
On that seemingly negative note, what did work wonders and what has, until recently, enabled her to continue to live independently without a package of care:
1) An extremely rigid schedule and use of both an orientation clock as well as a memory calendar to provide a prompt. Initially the orientation clock had alarms set e.g. take pills/ prepare lunch. (As time has passed these prompts have changed or been ignored completely). I also phone at the same times every day - be that to prompt medications/ making coffee/ eating breakfast or whatever (excluding the additional times she may phone me.)
2) Local lunch clubs. These are normally charitable organisations that charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of transport & lunch and, I believe, they will be restarting again soon. (SW should have details of these)
3) Meals on wheels..... on the grounds that whilst a person may be able to use a cooker or microwave when someone else is present, they often lacks the initiative or ability to eat/drink when left alone - often because they require that social prompt. Encourage your Mum to get appropriate cutlery/crockery/ glass of juice etc. ready for a specific time and ask the driver to plate up. (This also serves as a bit of stimulation, a prompt & reminder and also provides a wee check - if they have any concern it should be reported back to you.) From experience, I have only found a lunch time service to work well. The optional sandwich for tea time is invariably forgotten or ignored.
4) Purchase one of these timed/ on the go type of water bottles and a selection of juices of differing flavours & colours that she may like (Aldis have quite a nice selection of new flavours). Place them in an obvious place, in a row, along a kitchen counter. Encourage her to "top up" every am or pm. Knowing what colour she tells you will give an indication of the flavour/colour and whether or not she has actually topped up. (I talk my Mum through the process at the same time every morning & evening. I also know that if she tells me that she has already topped up and - for example - says the juice is "Orange" for two days in a row, then I know she's not drinking because I have placed Lemon before and Strawberry afterwards..... if that makes sense?)
5) Buy a selection of nibbles/ finger food/ fruit. Depending on what your Mum is like, she may benefit from them being observable/ on a table close by. Be prepared to purchase food whilst knowing that much of it will end up in the dustbin. (My Mum developed a terribly sweet tooth and I notice that the only nibbles that she consistently eats are the biscuits, bars of chocolate, ice creams etc. but I reckon that, at her age, healthy nutrition is almost of secondary importance to the maintenance of a healthy weight even if she's eating junk).
6) Once a week I would take her out for lunch and she'd eat enough to sink the Titanic!
Sorry for this appearing to be such a long, woffly, post :)
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
381
0
Hi @LunaJ, you could employ a personal assistant or carer yourself and ask them to do what you need, but then you would be responsible for tax, National Insurance and pension payments. I find it easier to use agencies for my mum and mum in law. It was easy to get an agency for mum in law 5 years ago but I had to contact 13 to find one that had capacity for mum. The local admiral nurse gave me the names of a few agencies that she had experience of when I was struggling to find any with capacity.
 

LunaJ

Registered User
Mar 24, 2021
22
0
Thank you everyone for your replies, there are some helpful suggestions that I'll certainly try and follow up on.

@Emmcee yes, you are right, I think, on not fitting into a box. I'll try social services first, although as my Mother doesn't need personal care, I suspect they won't be able to help. We're quite rural (Angus), and I don't think there's any chance of me finding someone myself to just pop in at mealtimes regularly.

This is all so difficult, as every patients needs vary, and family/personal circumstances are all so different.

My Mother has never been a sociable person, or entertained the idea of any clubs even pre-dementia, so I doubt she'd go to anything, even if they were on outwith covid. She does get meals on wheels delivered several times a week, but I often find them untouched if it's later in the day before I can visit. The delivery people dash in and out so quickly I can't imagine them plating it up for her.

Very recently (just the past week or so), my Mother has also taken to staying in bed unless I'm there to coax her along, even though her mobility is still fairly good. I try to get there around 11am/noon, but a couple of days ago it was 4pm before I could visit, she was still in bed, and I don't think she'd eaten all day. I'm not even sure that she'd had something to drink. If I ask if she wants something to eat/drink, she'll usually say No, she can't manage anything. When I just put something right in front of her, she'll eat it though. She'll also get out of bed once I'm there to jolly her along.

On Saturday, and other days looming soon, I'll not be able to visit until around 6pm. I really fear that she'll just be lying in bed all day with nothing to eat or drink, and seeing no-one. It seems so difficult to find the appropriate help and there's no other family around, or anyone I can ask to cover.

Thanks for all the help here, it definitely makes you feel not quite so alone with it all.
 

Emmcee

Registered User
Dec 28, 2015
113
0
Thank you everyone for your replies, there are some helpful suggestions that I'll certainly try and follow up on.

@Emmcee yes, you are right, I think, on not fitting into a box. I'll try social services first, although as my Mother doesn't need personal care, I suspect they won't be able to help. We're quite rural (Angus), and I don't think there's any chance of me finding someone myself to just pop in at mealtimes regularly.

This is all so difficult, as every patients needs vary, and family/personal circumstances are all so different.

My Mother has never been a sociable person, or entertained the idea of any clubs even pre-dementia, so I doubt she'd go to anything, even if they were on outwith covid. She does get meals on wheels delivered several times a week, but I often find them untouched if it's later in the day before I can visit. The delivery people dash in and out so quickly I can't imagine them plating it up for her.

Very recently (just the past week or so), my Mother has also taken to staying in bed unless I'm there to coax her along, even though her mobility is still fairly good. I try to get there around 11am/noon, but a couple of days ago it was 4pm before I could visit, she was still in bed, and I don't think she'd eaten all day. I'm not even sure that she'd had something to drink. If I ask if she wants something to eat/drink, she'll usually say No, she can't manage anything. When I just put something right in front of her, she'll eat it though. She'll also get out of bed once I'm there to jolly her along.

On Saturday, and other days looming soon, I'll not be able to visit until around 6pm. I really fear that she'll just be lying in bed all day with nothing to eat or drink, and seeing no-one. It seems so difficult to find the appropriate help and there's no other family around, or anyone I can ask to cover.

Thanks for all the help here, it definitely makes you feel not quite so alone with it all.
We also live semi-rurally in Angus and I am reasonably familiar with the services in the NE. Where about are you? On the sociability scale, your Mum sounds like my Mum :) Meals on wheels will plate up but it has to have been requested along with details of where to find cutlery etc. It's just unfortunate that wee guardian angels, who sit up in the corner of the rooms and go "Oi, come on Maggie (or whatever your mum's name is)!", aren't readily available.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
65,279
0
70
Dundee
@LunaJ - you said that your mum was diagnosed in March. Does she have a designated Post Diagnostic Support Worker? You are probably aware of this but everyone in Scotland who receives a diagnosis in entitled to one year of post diagnostic support.


This support worker should be able to guide you to what kind of thing might be available for your mum. I would certainly ask for her care needs to be re-assessed. I’m in Dundee and for both my mother and my husband I used the Self Directed Support and used the budget to employ carers who provided a mix of personal care and social care. It was a god send for us.


As @Grannie G said it might be helpful for you to phone the Alzheimer Scotland helpline. There’s also a contact number in the Age Scotland site.


They might be aware of any befriending schemes which might be available. My husband had a befriended from a charity for a while but to be honest it didn’t really work for him!
 

LunaJ

Registered User
Mar 24, 2021
22
0
Thank you again everyone.

@Emmcee I'm at Lunan Bay, right on the coast.

@Izzy I'm not sure that she actually has a designated support worker. Someone phoned me up a few weeks after diagnosis to basically tell me that there was no-one in that role at the moment. She sent me an Attendance Allowance form to fill in, and there's been no other contact.

It probably needs me to go back to social services myself and start pushing for some type of help. My Mother's been keeping quite well over the summer, but there's been a change in the past two weeks. I'm not sure if it's a temporary blip though or a sign of things to come.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
65,279
0
70
Dundee
I see @LunaJ - I did hear that some areas can’t fill their post diagnostic support vacancies. That’s such a shame. There’s a strong team here but they have many cases on their books.

Yes I think your best way forward is to go
Back to social services and ask for a reassessment of your mum’s care needs.
 

Emmcee

Registered User
Dec 28, 2015
113
0
Thank you again everyone.

@Emmcee I'm at Lunan Bay, right on the coast.

@Izzy I'm not sure that she actually has a designated support worker. Someone phoned me up a few weeks after diagnosis to basically tell me that there was no-one in that role at the moment. She sent me an Attendance Allowance form to fill in, and there's been no other contact.

It probably needs me to go back to social services myself and start pushing for some type of help. My Mother's been keeping quite well over the summer, but there's been a change in the past two weeks. I'm not sure if it's a temporary blip though or a sign of things to come.
Lunan Bay was always covered by the NE team. If you phone the Social Work department @ Panmure Street, Brechin, they will be able to tell you whether or not your Mum has an allocated worker. The post diagnostic support worker works with the mental health team. If your Mum doesn't have an allocated worker, ask to speak to the duty worker for the CMHT.