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Aunt is 93, living at home, becoming confused

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by estiet, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. estiet

    estiet Registered User

    Sep 13, 2017
    #1 estiet, Sep 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Hi everyone,

    I've been my Aunt's carer on and off for the past 12 years since her husband passed away. Over the past few years my sister had been caring for her, as she lived closest - but neither go on well and the relationship has soured. I am now her 'carer' although I use that in the loosest sense of the word - I feel quite helpless as I am around a 90 minute drive away.

    She is 93, has diabetes and uses a frame to walk. She has had falls in the past but thankfully always been able to return home. She is comfortable financially but has always refused 'outside' help in the past. Over the last year since her most recent fall she has agreed to have Local Authority carers come in once every day to dress her. She is usually dressed before they arrive! Very stubborn, bit like me and I admire the way she has stood her ground and resolutely stayed in her own home, even though it has been difficult for those around her to accept.

    Her next of kin is her brother (my dad) he lives in France and visits once a year at Christmas.

    I do her shopping online, and visit as much as I can. I work full time.

    In recent days she sounds confused on the phone, and has told me she is not eating. She has started throwing food away. She has called four television repair men in the past month to 'fix' her TV - she is using the wrong remote control. I am concerned that she is calling these people up out of the phone book, and though they may be reputable, they now know there is a 93 year old, confused and alone in that flat. Is she putting herself at risk now?

    I'm going to see her tomorrow and taking some food to see if I can coax her to eat. I'm taking my little dog who always cheers her up. She goes for days without seeing or speaking to anyone. One of my Cousins does visit occasionally and my Dad rings her once a week.

    Today I've telephoned a care line because if I find her in a bad way tomorrow I just don't know what to do. They've advised me to contact Social Services if I think she needs to be reassessed, and I've told my Dad this. But if I do this, my Aunt will likely FLIP! and probably never speak to me again or could refuse my help altogether, send the Social Services team packing and be in a worse state even more alone.

    Does anyone have any advice for me speaking from your own experiences? I dearly want her to not be alone in her flat and to be taken care of. I cannot have her at my home as accessibility is the issue - and she wouldn't leave that flat even if I asked her.

    Around ten years ago she had a brain scan and the doctors said she was in the early stages of dementia. Thankfully I think progression has been slow, however when I speak to her she seems to be stuck in a 'loop'. And she cannot get figures correct (£18 can be £1800 or £80 in the same sentence) I'm worried she is not taking her medication correctly either.

    All advice so gratefully received
  2. Oh Knickers

    Oh Knickers Registered User

    Nov 19, 2016
    #2 Oh Knickers, Sep 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Whilst I understand your concerns about your Aunt getting cross, she is now a vulnerable adult. It would be advisable to call SS (Social Services) to assess her and use the phrase - vulnerable adult. She may be feisty but she is now really vulnerable if she is not taking medication, confused about food and unable to use the TV and is calling odd bods in.

    You could go through the whole loop of getting someone you are happy with to sort her TV out - but - realistically, would she remember who to contact?

    Unhappily, it does not sound as though the carers are either seeing her confusion, as your aunt may be adept at hiding it from them, or they are not reporting any concerns. So time to get the SS involved.

    Whilst your aunt might object to losing her independence you may well find she is happy after a period in a decent home. She will be better looked after, eating regularly and should find a sense of safety.

    Before we moved mother I was doing 5 hour round trips as she had switched the central heating off - yet again. Seeing 'disreputable men' who were frightening her and then claimed they had stolen her jewelry. It was in the safe the whole time!! That was when I lost it as it was yet another long trip to sort this latest incident out as well finding her fridge, yet again, had little in other than mouldy food and she was not taking care of herself.

    It is the wall of independence a PWD (Person with Dementia) throws up because they are, fundamentally, very scared. Scared of a move and what the 'unknown' is like. Mother is much happier where she is despite fighting tooth and nail over 3 years against moving. I am glad we shall not be doing that again. It was very stressful.

    Call SS and put your energies into finding a decent care home. It is getting to what aunt needs rather than what she wants. SS may very well up the care rather her going into a home. Should your aunt be self-funding you do not need to involve SS. HOwever, I would still put it past them should there be any need for funding further down the line

    Any move by SS will hinge on whether you aunt has capacity. But mainly it will be how vulnerable she is . Start putting together a list of your concerns. You may very well be surprised at how long that list is.

    May I suggest you do not try to dicuss this with your aunt. She will just put her heels down. It sounds as though it needs to be done in her best interests. Being rational goes out the window when dementia comes thorugh the door. If any thing just tell her you are trying to find 'a nice break' for her.

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