1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Hopeexists

    Hopeexists Registered User

    Aug 1, 2015
    6
    My Mum has alzheimers and my Dad is now her full time carer. She can no longer be left of her own as she has wandered a few times, and needs help with everything - dressing, showering, toileting, eating etc. She cannot communicate very well at all - she understands a lot of what you say, but cannot construct a sentence to reply. My Dad was not coping with the personal care, so we now have carers come in morning and evening to help. My Dad has extremely little patience and gets frustrated and angry easily, and I could see that things were strained between them both. I have spent a lot of time recently helping out to give Dad a bit of respite, and things did improve. However, the last 3 weeks I have been unable to do this, and I have started to see the situation deteriorating again.
    I have recently noticed some bad bruising on Mum and I have a suspicion that this may have been caused by Dad. I have also noticed that the carers that come around have noticed it, and have noted it down in the daily records.
    I do not really know what to do from here - I know my dad is doing his best to look after Mum, but at the same time I know I need to protect my Mum.
    Can anyone help to advise on how I should approach this?
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,860
    Female
    Scotland
    I think you need to contact social work for an assessment for your Mum as a prelude to going into care. If she is already showing signs of bruising this will get worse. Be insistent. The care workers notes will back up your concerns.
     
  3. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,497
    Female
    Near Southampton
    I understand that you are concerned but don't be too ready to jump to conclusions. Have you seen your Dad handling your mother roughly?
    Is she on aspirin or any other medication that could thin the blood?
    This can cause bruising just at a firm touch or a slight knock.
    In addition, the skin of an elderly person can be very fragile.
    Certainly keep your eye on things and ask for an assessment though to be on the safe side.
     
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,826
    UK
    If the carers have noted this and they are concerned then its possible they have reported back their concerns to the agency. Are you absolutely sure about this, if so, you should get social services involved sooner rather than later. You may feel that your mum is not ready for a care home yet, but she is a vulnerable person and needs all the protection and care you can get for her
     
  5. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    I'm guessing you haven't spoken to your dad about this. What would happen if you did? I agree with Saffie that you could try finding out yourself what is going on just in case your dad isn't knocking your mum about. However, if that gets nowhere you then have the dilemma of having to report one of your parents for possibly abusing the other. That's a situation no one wants to be in.

    I have the opposite situation: my dad has dementia and my mum is his full-time carer. She doesn't have much understanding of dementia and so when she first started looking after him, she thought that slapping him around the face could "snap him out of it". She told one of the nurses at the hospital that she was doing this and the nurses reported this to the SS, who opened a case. In the end they decided that my dad wasn't at risk and my mum seems to understand she mustn't hit him, but she still shoves him about very roughly if he annoys her. She'll push him out of the room and throw things. At one point, we thought she had broken his wrist. I wanted my dad to go into care to be safe from her, but he refuses to go and gets very upset if he is separated from her. He asks to go back to her all the time and refuses to eat so the SS decided it was better for him to be at home with her than in care and pining away.

    I think this situation is common. People can get very frustrated and if they are the type of person who releases stress by lashing out it's can be a pretty miserable situation to be in.
     
  6. Hopeexists

    Hopeexists Registered User

    Aug 1, 2015
    6
    Many thanks for your comments. Yes, my mum is taking aspirin, so this could be one of the causes.
    No, I haven't yet spoken to my Dad about it as I didn't really know how to approach it. I don't want to sound like I am accusing him of something if it is completely innocent.
    I'm sorry to hear your situation LS - my Mum is similar in that if my dad is not around, she continually asks where he is and gets anxious, so I am really reluctant to consider a home at this stage, but want to ensure she is safe at the same time.
     
  7. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,497
    Female
    Near Southampton
    #7 Saffie, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
    Further to my earlier post, now that you have said that your mother is on aspirin, I will say that I too take it and am never without a few bruises. I only take the 75gm tablet but that is enough to cause this. The slightest knock against a door handle or similar and I'll have a bruise. I have many and rarely remember where they came from as the knock won't have hurt that much when it happened.

    The carers will note every bruise to cover themselves I expect.
     
  8. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    I would just ask very innocently and matter-of-factly "Oh, what happened to mum's arm? Did she bang into something?" and see what his reaction is. Unless he is a superb liar, I would think it'll be obvious to you from his reaction if there is anything dodgy happening. If he's been hitting her, you'll see the guilt on his face, right?

    So your mum and dad's situation is very similar to mine. It sucks to have to be stuck with making a choice between two bad choices: put your mum in a home where she might pine for him or leave her with him where she might get abused.

    In my situation one of the reasons we left him at home is that if she is nasty to him, he soon forgets it due to the nature of the illness, but he pines for her constantly when away from her, also due to the illness. So we figured it'd be worse for him to be pining for her and not eating 24/7 than to be slapped about by her then forget it five minutes later. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that she goes no further than slapping. That sounds appalling maybe, but the reality of dementia is that there are often no nice, happy answers to problems. It's usually a matter of deciding on the lesser of two or more evils. Good luck.

    LS
     
  9. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    #9 fizzie, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
    This is so tricky. I wholeheartedly agree that you should speak to your Pa before jumping to social services.

    I looked after my Mum and she was really prone to bruising and only had to look at a door handle and a bruise would appear. She was on aspirin. One time she slipped and just bumped against the door and an amazingly awful blood filled lump appeared - it was a nightmare!!

    Some days she was a bit wobbly and I needed to grab her to save her from falling - another load of finger tip bruises.

    I should definitely speak to your Pa and then if it turns out that she bruises really easily I would also speak to her GP and explain what is happening under the banner of 'is her aspirin dose too high' so that it is noted in the records and protects both your dad and you and the carers.

    It is too easy to ask for an assessment and find everything is out of proportion.

    Take care, thinking of you xx
     
  10. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,717
    Female
    London
    I think your dad needs more help. You said yourself that respite improved the situation. Caring is incredibly hard, so why not see what additional support he could get? Anything from day care, sitting service to more carers and respite should be explored, and for that your mum needs a needs assessment and your dad a carers assessment. Social Services can arrange a lot of things, but you need to tell them they have duty of care for a vulnerable person at risk. The risk usually refers to wandering, putting themselves in danger or being defrauded. You don't have to tell them of the physical abuse if you are not sure about it or think it's not going to be helpful.
     
  11. Hopeexists

    Hopeexists Registered User

    Aug 1, 2015
    6
    Hi Beate, we did recently have a care assessment (within last 4 months) which resulted in help mornings and evenings, which has been really helpful, but I agree I do not think it is enough to cover respite. How do I approach a further request in a short period without highlighting that there may be an abuse issue?
    Many thanks for your help and support.
     
  12. Hopeexists

    Hopeexists Registered User

    Aug 1, 2015
    6
    Thanks Saffie and Fizzie for the info on aspirin. I will bring this up with the GP.
     
  13. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,717
    Female
    London
    Say caring is having its toll on your dad and he is close to carers breakdown? He really ought to have been offered some weeks of respite anyway. Would your mum agree to day care? Then mention it. If you don't ask you don't get. Good luck.
     
  14. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    OH is on both aspirin and warfarin. He does bruise fairly easily but also can have a little nose bleed just from a sneeze.
     

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