Buying and Hoarding Food

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by FoxMulder, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. FoxMulder

    FoxMulder Registered User

    Apr 16, 2016
    24
    Female
    Northampton
    Hello, I am new to this forum. My mother have recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Its has been a two year battle to get her referred for an Assessment with her G.P. I am her only daughter and I am profoundly deaf. It is very difficult to communicate with my mother as she can no longer operate a text phone. She rarely phones me but when she does my partner who is hearing takes her call and pass on her message onto me. So I have to phone her via typetalk or visit her in person. I worry something major will happen to her and she will be unable to text or phone me. She lives on her own in her flat and I told her she should get a panic alarm buttom for an emergency but she said she doesn't need one.

    Over the past year I have noticed she have been buying food and leaving them lying in the kitchen. Not putting them in her fridge. Gradually I have noticed piles of plates, glasses and knifes, forks building up waiting to be washed up. I have broached this with her but she wont let me help her. In February I asked my partner to take my mother out to the shops and café as this would give me the opportunity to tackle the kitchen. I spent half the day clearing out the fridge and filling up 12 bags full of packets of food and drink that are well past their sell-by date. I washed up all the plates, cups, glasses etc. Since then the kitchen is piling with unopened food and washing-up. She has the heating on and the flat is starting to smell. This is uncharacteristic of her as she used to keep her kitchen tidy and always put the shopping away. She now thinks this is normal and wont accept any help. I would like her to have an cleaner to come in and clean the kitchen and flat. I spoke to her memory nurse and he advised me that I should contact Social Services. Do I need to an referral from her GP to get some home care? .My mother have always been independent and its difficult for her to accept she needs helps. I would welcome any advice please
     
  2. SharonOOO

    SharonOOO Registered User

    Apr 15, 2016
    5
    Hi, I'm also new to the forum and have since found some interesting treads. Regarding getting some care for your mum, you will need to ring your local authority and ask for adult social care, they should complete a care assessment. You don't need to go through your GP. We found the difficulty came for my MIL when she initially refused help and we battled for about 9 months before they put 'very individual' (inadequate) care into place. We have since discovered if she continues to refuse or 'not engage' social services can begin a mental capacity test to judge if she is aware of the impact of her choices. Wishing you and you mum all the best.
     
  3. Owly

    Owly Registered User

    Jun 6, 2011
    538
    #3 Owly, Apr 16, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
    Hi, welcome to the forum both of you. I'm sorry you've needed to find your way here, but there is plenty of experience to be shared.

    There are private home-help firms on my local high street, so there may be some close to you, 'fox'. Mum will need to pay of course.

    If you go through social services, they will do an assessment (not necessarily quickly) and arrange carers if they agree it is needed. As for the cost, it will depend upon Mum's finances and they would ask her or you to fill out a comprehensive financial assessment form of her income and savings. Generally speaking, if she has over £23,000 in savings, she will need to pay for the care. However, there is a non means-tested Attendance Allowance benefit that is usually available and SS would give you the forms and help you apply for it, and that could cover the cost.

    As things are going downhill, it's very important for you to apply for Lasting Power of Attorney (via the gov.uk website is the easiest) so that you can handle her bills, banking and legals/finances, as and when she does finally become unable to do this for herself. If you leave it too late to apply while she still has some mental capacity to understand this, then you have to go down a more difficult and expensive route called guardianship.

    Parents with dementia are very often resistant to strangers coming in, and often don't agree that they need it. In their own mind, they think everything is fine. Sometimes it's easier to pretend the carers are your friends popping in to help, especially if they start off just doing general cleaning.

    Generally, the kind of carers that social services would provide would not be cleaners but personal carers, and your Mum doesn't sound in need of those yet. So the first thing might be a private cleaner. My Mum started with this, a neighbour mentioned that another neighbour was looking for cleaning work. So she began coming in to clean, then took over some cooking, then also added shopping, and showering my Mum when 'accidents' had happened. Later on, morning and evening carers were added to the day, via social services.

    You might find a private (non agency, therefore cheaper) cleaner via cards put up in Mum's nearest high street, in the newsagents for example? Obviously if there was anyone a bit familiar to Mum and yourself, that would be preferable. You need to be able to trust them, if they are going to be visiting your Mum and having access to her house. Check out references, if it's a complete stranger.

    One advantage of contacting social services is that they can suggest and organise things that you hadn't thought about. Mum got gas warning/cut-out devices for her kitchen, a key safe at the front door, a lifeline phone system. These all appeared in my parents house before I even knew they were coming. Very helpful.

    Best of luck!
     
  4. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    A warm welcome to TP, to you both. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

    As I'm not in the UK, I'll leave discussion of Social Services, assessments, et cetera, to the locals, but do encourage you to seek help. I believe Age UK and the UK Alzheimer's Society can provide resources and information. The Alzheimer's society has very good factsheets and information on their website, when you have a chance to take a look.

    I wanted to reassure you that the food hoarding/not cleaning thing is quite common with dementia, from what I have read here on TP and heard in my support groups. This is not to say I have great advice, or that it's easy to deal with, but sometimes just knowing it's part of the disease is reassuring in some way. I certainly went through this with my own mother (Alzheimer's and no short term memory) for some time, before she went into a care home.

    I appreciate that your hearing impairment, makes your situation that much more challenging. I think a "cleaner" is a great idea (whether it's actually a cleaner, and/or a caregiver) and imagine that if you're using private funds, you can do whatever you like, with or without the GP's support/knowledge/approval. PWD (persons with dementia) can be very resistant to change and often do not "see" reality the way it is (seemingly literally cannot see the dirt, et cetera) so it may be a bit of a battle, but stand firm.

    One good piece of advice I can offer is always blame someone else. I was told early on at a workshop that in many situations with older adults, with or without dementia, that you have to consider not only the message, but also the messenger, and that the adult child is usually the worst choice for messenger. So blame the need for the "cleaner" on the doctor, the council, the nurse, anybody but yourself. It is possible that given time, and with some sensitive handling on the cleaner's part, that your mother will accept the help.

    It may also be time, or getting close to the time, when your mother will need more supervision and companionship. A sad fact about dementia is that it is progressive and degenerative, so your mother will not get better, only worse. Any planning and preparation you can do now, may help ease the strain if and when a crisis occurs.

    It's horrible and I'm so sorry. Best wishes to you, your partner, and your mother.
     
  5. Risa

    Risa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
    483
    Essex
    Hi FoxMulder

    I contacted my local Age Concern to get a cleaner for my mum - they came around for an assessment and it gave me piece of mind that the cleaner was used to PWD and had been vetted. The cleaner is paid out of Mum's Attendance Allowance and Mum likes to chat with the cleaner so it has worked out well :)
     
  6. FoxMulder

    FoxMulder Registered User

    Apr 16, 2016
    24
    Female
    Northampton
    Buying and Hoarding Food Reply

    To everyone, thank you for all your replies and for your valuable, I will take all your advice and information on board.

    Yesterday I spent another morning cleaning out my mum's kitchen. I had to resort to tactics to divert her attention by asking my partner to take her out to the shops and café while I cleaned up her flat. When she arrived home she seemed happy about the kitchen but got annoyed about the hot water switch and was checking to see if it was switched off despite my assurances that I had already switched it off. I told her to go and sit down but to my surprise she lashed out at me when she hit me in the back. I left the flat immediately as I was so shocked by her outburst as it was not like her to be aggressive.

    I feel so sad that my mum is slowly disappearing in front of my eyes. She is becoming a different person. I am her only daughter and most of my family are either have passed away and are quite old and have their own health issues. My brother passed away 14 years ago. So I am all she has got now but I have two children to support. Luckily my partner is very understanding and helps her as much he can but his father has alzeheimer's Disease and is now in a care home. My partner comes from a large family and his brothers and sisters help their father and mother.

    Next week my mother will start taking the medication she has been prescribed by the Memory nurse to slow down the disease. I bought her a pill box dispenser which is a bright multi-coloured box displayed with each day of the week. Her short term memory is getting worse and the worry is whether she will remember to take each pill every day. We will have to phone her to remind her to take one. Also another concern my mum likes drinking wine and while clearing out her kitchen there were quite afew empty wine bottles. I have observed she is always buying bottles of wine she goes shopping. The nurse advised her she should drink alittle wine and not mixed it with the pills she will be taking. I am concerned she will do the opposite and get it medication mixed up. So I think its time to get the ball rolling getting her some form of home help and carer.
     
  7. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    786
    Hampshire
    Hi fox!
    Have you looked into Nomad boxes (also known as 'dosette', I think) Similar to the box you have bought but clear plastic and, more importantly, filled and delivered by the pharmacy! Days of the week and also morning, lunchtime, teatime & bedtime. With dementia you might well ring your mum to remind/check about tablets but you really can't rely on her memory to take them. I have bought mum a dementia clock (check out 'Dayclox') and her box is right in front of it.
    My mum is usually OK taking morning medication but not great at the evening tablets.
    I too would like to get some help (mum very resistant to the idea of any help) If you or anyone else has any ideas on how to introduce a carer I would be very grateful (I have mentioned befrienders but the answer was a resounding 'no'

    J
     
  8. FoxMulder

    FoxMulder Registered User

    Apr 16, 2016
    24
    Female
    Northampton
    #8 FoxMulder, Apr 18, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
    Hi J,
    Thank you for your post, it was the memory Nurse who gave my the mother medication which came in a packet. The memory Clock is a great idea. The memory nurse say there may be severe side effects like diaroherea, and sickness for the first three days of taking them but if she still continued to have these side affects then the memory nurse advised her to ring him and he will prescribe another medication. My mum have always been independent and is very stubborn. She is resistant to any form of help whether its suggestion of a panic alarm button or help with the housework. I am looking into getting some of form of care for her in her home and I not looking forward to broaching it with my mother. Don't give up.
     
  9. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    786
    Hampshire
    #9 jknight, Apr 18, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
    Fox, it looks as though we are in the same boat (albeit up the creek, without a paddle!!!) You can have new medication added to a Nomad box. You might have to administer new medication manually for a few weeks, until the GP & pharmacy have been brought into the loop. Keep in touch. We may well be able to help each other!!
     

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