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Covid19 Am I Doing the right thing re care home?

Schmiler

New member
Jun 13, 2019
1
Hello out there!
I’ve been caring for my mum (aged 87)for roughly 12 years, after TIA’s, I moved back to my home town after 20 years in London,as she had her driving license taken away and I wanted to “look after her”. She moved into a granny flat at our home as her needs were minimal at that time- help with shopping etc.

3 years ago she was diagnosed with dementia, I am very fortunate, I run my own business, so that allowed me to have more time than most to keep her safe ,take her out, lunch, perhaps the zoo, or some fresh air on the beach. She has always refused outside help.
We were doing ok, and then Covid 19 hit- pre Lock down she was still managing to get in and out of bed, shower herself and dress herself, but I have done every meal for the last 3 years. However 2 weeks into what for us has been a 12 week lock down and agitation, aggression ( not violence) started. Walk about, wanting to go home, for her that seems to be her childhood home, over 60 miles away,I spoke to our GP and she was prescribed additional meds to calm her moods, I spent a week on a matress on her dining room floor in order to monitor how she responded to the new meds- these really helped for about a month, other than additional personal care needs and then she had a week in bed, back to the GP, who did a video call with mum and put a Statement of Intent in place, things were looking bad!
Then remarkably she improved, but with raging aggression so we have had to up the meds again, as she started waving her stick at me.Another week on the floor!!!
Mum’s moods are reasonable again, but the additional personal care she requires is now beyond my capability, showering, dressing, toileting, now signs of incontinence too, and 3 falls in the last 8 weeks, the last resulting in a probable cracked rib, no X-ray as nothing they can do with a cracked rib, and they don’t want to risk taking her to hospital, because of the wretched Covid. Tonight I’ve had to lift her into bed with her so upset and apologetic because “she feels so ill, and can’t do anything for herself”. She’s right, and I have contacted social services, spoken to a Covid free care home, and can with a negative Covid test result place her middle of next week, but i’m In bits- and I don’t believe it’s just the usual guilt of finally admitting I can’t cope, (My gran suffered with dementia too, so I’ve always known that I was setting myself up to fail and that at some point we’d need a care home) I can’t believe we’ve got so far on our own and I now see no option but a care home, despite Covid and consequently not being able to physically see her so late in her dementia journey.
Thoughts please, and thanks for reading. X
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,115
Welcome to the forum @Schmiler you'll find lots of friendly advice and support here. My first thoughts when reading your post is could your mum be in pain? The lockdown is having negative effects in those with dementia, but a sudden change in behaviour may be due to something else and she's had three falls and doesn't appear to have had a thorough check over. I appreciate the concerns about attending hospital during the peak of the pandemic but things have changed considerably in hospitals now and she may have injuries that are more than a possible cracked rib.

My mum had a fall followed by agitation/agression, constant walking about and further falls. She was checked by the hospital who diagnosed 'delirium', and was prescribed a variety of medication by the GP to calm her mood but these didn't work so had to go into a care home as she needed 24hr care. She was then treated by the mental health team but they also couldn't find an effective medication to help either. She had further hospital check overs and they dismissed our concerns and concluded that the problems were dementia related. To cut a long story short we eventually discovered - after insisting on another x-ray via the GP - that the hospital had missed a fractured spine and hip injury. As soon as mum received sufficient pain relief all of the agitation stopped. It is easy for the elderly to fracture a bone during a fall or receive other injuries but for there to be no visible signs. Is your mum receiving any pain relief at the moment? If not then it's worth asking the GP to prescribe something to see if it helps, and if already receiving this she may need a higher dosage. Your mum's symptoms may not be pain related but in view of her falls and subsequent reduction in mobility I think it's worth considering, as is a thorough check up to rule out any underlying health issues.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
272
Hello @Schmiler . Well, you have done a magnificent job of caring for your mum. Part of coping is knowing when to accept help and it does really sound as though your mum needs more than one person looking after her now. Could you think of a move to a care home as respite and see how things go? It may seem easier for both of you if you think of it in that way. You may well find that your mum is much happier not having to depend on her daughter and you will be able to move back from carer to daughter. I know it feels dreadful. I thought I would look after my mum for the rest of her life but had to move her into a care home after two years (falls, stroke, more falls, aggression, wandering). We know it's the right thing to do but it feels so wrong at the same time. However, when I look back at how things were before, it seems crazy that I tried to look after her myself. If you were reading your own post as someone else, what would you advise?

@Louise7 raises a good point about pain. Was your mum checked over by paramedics after her falls? My mum has been extremely agitated and aggressive at times over the past two years but, after much tweaking of medication and visits from various dementia nursing teams, now has pain patches which seem to have improved her mood considerably (I have my fingers crossed as I type).

Keep posting. Will be thinking of you.
 

Cazzita

Registered User
May 12, 2018
558
Hello @Schmiler ,
Hope you are okay and that your mum is in less pain now and is settled in. You have definitely not failed at all - you are clearly a wonderful caring daughter. x