Food again - need to scream!!!!!!

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Tender Face, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Ear muffs everyone, sorry. :(

    Forget the 'conversation' I have just had with mother: ('I've brought you some bacon for the assessment in the morning', 'What assessment?' 'The OT coming to observe you cooking a bacon butty', 'Oh, I'd better go out and get some bacon, then.' etc ....) .... it is obvious she is happily trotting off to the corner shop - obvious from the variety of bread which I did not buy for her... which sat alongside the pack of sausages I did not buy for her - in her bread bin ..... !!!

    But worse, a carton of eggs found in her fridge - two missing - with a 'use by date' more than a month gone. They were not there yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that etc .... and I just can't fathom where she is stashing food .... which then mysteriously appears somewhere in her kitchen!!!!!! I can manage checking bread bin/fridge etc daily - but I can't do a thorough search of everywhere in the house every day.

    Sorry, I realise it's very trivial in the great scheme of things - but given I cited my main worries to OT last week as 'security' (locking her door/not using the cooker etc) ... I'm am increasingly worried she is at far higher risk of giving herself food poisoning. Short of putting the neighbours on red alert if they see her arriving home with a shopping bag, anything I can do? Or is this one of those 'risks' we are just going to have to live with?

    Have rung and left message for OT but anyone got any ideas?

    Thanks for listening - can take ear muffs off again now. :eek:

    Karen, x
     
  2. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Karen

    What a nightmare. As you know, mum used to stash all her food on the bay window sill, even in really hot weather, so it used to go rancid in no time at all. I know she was giving herself dreadful stomach upsets (wont go into the graphics on the state of the bathroom floor), but it was a nightmare, and like your mum, goodness knows where she used to get it from.

    Honey, you can only watch and wait, you may discover her stash place eventually.

    Good luck with the OT visit on Friday, hope she sees the picture exactly as it is, thats the best result you can hope for.

    Love

    Cate xxxx
     
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Karen, does your mother have an impaired immune system? Because if she doesn't I think humans, particularly ones you have been alive for a while, are remarkably resistant to things that really should kill them i.e. food poisoning. Although if you have any reason to suppose she might be eating any of these things raw (e.g. the sausages) I would have to revisit this answer.

    I quite understand where you're coming from: I don't see how you can search her entire house everyday to see where she's stashing these things, and even if you could, what would you do then? I think there's a fairly good chance that even if you put them in the fridge, they'd get moved again.

    Not much help I'm afraid. I suspect that you are correct: this is one of the risks you (and she) are going to have to live with. You see her most days, correct? So in the event that she DOES give herself food poisoning you'll know pretty quickly? I understand how hard this is, waiting for the other shoe to drop, but unless there is someone with her every minute of every day I don't see how you can control this. Even if she couldn't get to the shops, there is no way to ensure that she isn't improperly storing food that YOU have purchased for her.

    Love
     
  4. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    It might be an idea to start avoiding highly perishable food items such as eggs or fresh meats. You could substitute powdered milk for whole, and so on.

    Concentrate on foods that keep well, or which are less risky if kept for a long time. For example, things like biscuits, pastas etc keep for a very long time, and generally have a best by rather than use by date. The former merely means that quality is not guaranteed after expiry, the latter means the food is unsafe for consumption after expiry.

    Other than this the only way forward is to only provide one day's food at a time and to conduct regular searches of the kitchen.

    The stash could be anywhere, and needn't be a place that makes sense - it could be the airing cupboard or washing machine for example!

    Of course all this throws an added strain upon you but I can;t think of anything else really.

    If your mother is unable to deal with food it'll have to be restricted..

    Have you considered things like Meals on Wheels? Could it be "sold" to you rmother as "the government provide free meals to people over 60" or however old she is!

    My grandmother didn't have dementia but was an absolute terror where food was concerned. She believed things kept forever in a fridge and would eat all sorts of things that were off, and then wondered why she had tummy upsets!
     
  5. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    10,856
    Wigan, Lancs
    Karen,

    If your Mum is anything like my Mum, brought up during the war when you NEVER threw food away, then sell by, best by and use by dates are just there for cissies. My mum thinks nothing of eating food which is weeks past it's sell by date. Brandy butter bought at Christmas, according to my Mum, lasts well into August because of the brandy. :eek: :eek: :eek: And my Dad is the one with dementia (and more often than not stomach upsets). She was most upset when they started putting the year on use by dates as she could no longer kid us that her biscuits were still in their prime.

    As a result she has developed the stomach of a concrete elephant. Not so my sister who was ill within 24 hours of coming back from Greece due a pork pie which was more than a week past its best. My sister has been away too long and was caught off guard - you'll never catch me eating food in my mother's house without demanding to see the packaging. She tried to give me a piece of pork pie on Monday but again it was out of date (don't ask me why it's always pork pies!) Later in the afternoon the dog was gassing us all and I asked what she had given him to eat. 'Nothing' she replied a little too quickly. 'You haven't given him that dodgy pork pie have you??' 'Well...er....' :mad:

    Karen, the point of all this apart from me sounding off about my mother ;) , is that no matter what I say she will not accept that sell by, use by, best by dates have the slightest significance. If I can't reason with someone of the war generation who doesn't have dementia I think the chances of convincing your Mum are pretty small.

    On the positive side your Mum may have that concrete elephant stomach and it won't make her ill.

    You can't be expected to go round every day with sniffer dogs searching for food. Just do as I do with my Mum, sneak in to her fridge when she's not looking and bin everything that's out of date.
     
  6. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Karen, that's a real problem, and one that those of you who care for a parent who lives alone are bound to face. I don't know what the answer is, I know your mum goes to the shops herself, so if she stashes things, there's no way you can know what she has bought.

    I've been known to find strange things in my fridge, but at least I can check the dates before using. Until your mum is ready to let you take over shopping and food preparation altogether (which would defeat the object of her OT assessment :eek: ) all you can do is be vigilant. And trust that your mum has an iron constitution!

    I guess it's checks and balances again; you want your mum to have as much independence as possible, but you want her to be safe. It's a question of where do you draw the line?

    Love,
     
  7. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Karen

    Just a quick note to say thinking of you and mum today, hope it all goes well.

    I was just thinking how SW, OT, Doctors and the like hold our lives, or quality of it in their hands. I do wonder if they realise how much we wait for appointments with anticipation, and sometimes trepidation. Their decisions can have such an impact on our lives, and that of our loved ones.

    Let us know how how it all went.

    Love

    Cate xx
     
  8. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hi Karen

    Although my mum doesn't hide food, she does ram the fridge full of it, to such an extent that things freeze to the back of the fridge. Even when things are obviously 'off' she often does not notice. At first, I really railed against this; tried to reason with her, but was greeted with blank looks. As Sue said, sell by dates are for cissies, despite the fact sometimes the food inside the packet or whatever, had turned to liquid. The veg rack is also something out of a horror film at times.

    However, I have now stoped railing against it. Each time I visit, I check the fridge. Having kept her occupied with a newspaper by way of distraction activity. I throw everything out that is obviously off or on the way. I do not eat anything there, unless it's something I've bought when we're out together and I can 'identify' it! :)

    Now we have a little routine going, she fills the fridge and I empty it. To be fair to her, since I completely cleared out the freezer (containing what looked like the polar ice cap and various unidentified pieces of 'meat', which even mum admitted, she didn't have a clue what they were ... ) she hasn't re-filled it (at the time of writing). But at least if she does, I can keep a watcheye, until the next time. All very wasteful and pointless, but so is arguing with her or trying to make sense of it.

    I wouldn't worry too much about where she might be hiding food. You will soon smell it. In terms of her eating food that is off, well, you can't be there all the time. If you have an OT visit today, I'm guessing she will give you more constructive advice than I have, which having re-read this post isn't very helpful!:D

    You take care, and honestly, no ear muffs needed!

    x
     
  9. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    Karen

    If you saw the catalogue of out of date stuff my Mother hadv/ bought/ ate and the state of her fridge long long before her decline into oblivion you would stop worrying

    What would have been food poisoning to you and i does not seem to affect the elderly one iota

    We all need to step back and stop woorying and accept that time and tide will roll on and our sell by date is pre ordained no matter what happens in between
     
  10. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Update

    Thank you everyone. I'm loathe to comment really - but will ;) . Except to say that the OT's idea of risk management and mine clearly differ. I just want to switch cooker off at mains - then mum can't burn pans (including the blackened one I was greeted with after cooking under OT's 'supervision' yesterday!) - not that she even needs to cook!!!!! Apparently that was OK 'cause once mum sensed burning she knew which control to turn off!!!!! Well, what about the times she dozes off and has no sense of burning? (no sense of smell anyway, which doesn't help!).

    I take on board - whatever I shop for, whatever I cook for her is taking away her 'independence' ... felt guilty 'cause I wash and chop salad, including fruit, 'plate up' meals so she only has to manage the microwave button twice if I'm not there to do it for her ..... is this taking away her independent living or just making sure she is safe?

    It's twelve months since we removed her freezer because we recognised she was defrosting things and then returning them to refreeze ......

    If I prepare too much food she might stash it, if I take too little she might be more tempted to wander to the corner shop ..... not to mention she uses her dark ceramic hob to leave herself 'notes' - show up well there :rolleyes: ....... only when she decides to put the hob on she doesn't think to move things first ...... :eek:

    But it's OK everyone, :rolleyes: - we're going to have a special smoke detector fitted which which alert her (thru some kind of 'walkie talkie' technology) if the kitchen is immersed in smoke. Now - how much might that freak her out?????

    Sorry, but there is promoting independence and promoting independence, non?

    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr:mad:

    Karen, x
     
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Oh dear Karen.

    The "talking" smoke detector rang a bell: you may remember me posting about how confused the interactive feature of her alarm system made my mother: the disembodied voice was an absolute disaster in terms of reassurance (i.e. none whatsoever).

    I wonder how sanguine the OT would be if it were his/her OWN mother in this situation: a lot less I bet. Frankly, I would be inclined to discount this sort of input: independance is all very well, but not if that included the independance to burn the house down.

    Love
     
  12. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Oh Karen, that's the point, isn't it? You know what your mum is capable of doing in safety, and you do everything you can to make sure she doesn't have to exceed those limits.

    OT comes in for a morning and makes assumptions based on what she sees your mum do, under supervision.

    There is no comparison.

    By trying to keep her safe, you are giving your mum independence for longer, not taking it away. Why can't these officious idiots realise this?

    I'm not surprised you're mad.

    Love,
     
  13. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    68,661
    Kent
    I don`t suppose it will be of comfort to anyone to know I didn`t solve the problem of my mother and food until she was in day care 5 days a week.

    Once she was having lunch out, and we were providing her evening meals and week-end food, all she needed in her cupboard were very basic rations.

    I emptied the freezer, because she too would defrost food and re-freeze it, just left milk, eggs and butter in the fridge, and one tomato and a couple of eggs etc., bread in the bread bin, biscuits in the biscuit tin, tea and coffee, and very little else.

    Prior to that it was chaotic, unhygenic and unsafe.
     
  14. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Karen

    The way I see it is, you are keeping mum safe in spite of the ‘help’ you are getting from OT.

    Personally I would disconnect the cooker anyway, you know better than anyone else your own mum’s limitations. Bottom line is you have to be able to sleep at night knowing that mum isn’t going to set her house on fire, or burn herself making an attempt to put a fire out.

    You are doing a superb job ensuring that mum has good nutritional food, doing all the cooking, shopping, cleaning etc., etc., for her.

    Love

    Cate
     
  15. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    1,170
    Australia
    You are doing a superb job ensuring that mum has good nutritional food, doing all the cooking, shopping, cleaning etc., etc., for her.

    Hear, hear! Well said Cate!

    Dear Karen - just ignore the "do gooders". The OT's advice would be fine if your Mum were just elderly and didn't have demnentia - but is obviously flawed when it comes to a person with dementia.

    I agree with Cate and others - do what you are doing; do what seems right to you, and ignore the "professionals" unless you concur with their advice!! :)

    And by the way,
    SCREAM all you like (I'm twelve thousand miles away!!). :D
     
  16. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    Absolutely! The OT's advice sounds useless to me. And you're certainly not going to have any piece of mind. Personally I'd have the cooker disconnected!
     
  17. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Thanks again everyone ....

    I confess I think I am more cross because I was desperately hoping the OT would back me up - knowing if I suggest mum doesn't attempt to cook anything anymore it will be greeted with - well - you'd hear HER screams!!!! :eek: If someone 'professional' suggests it she will probably go along with it ...... :rolleyes:

    One thing that did crop up in conversation with OT I didn't mention was this was little to do with what meals / food I am / am not providing, (honest it's not my cooking!:rolleyes: ) but mum's determination to prove what she is still capable of (or not as the case may be)......

    Current thinking is 'one more burnt pan and that's it'! I will just have to insist and take the flak .....

    Other thought - mum's mains switch is in a pretty obscure place ... have wondered about switching it off (when I can do it without her knowing - need to get step ladders out!) and pretending the cooker has broken ..... and no point wasting her money replacing it .... Got away with that scam with the washing machine when she kept managing to flood her kitchen last year and I subtly managed to take over her laundry???;)

    Bit devious/unethical???? :(

    Love, Karen, x
     
  18. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Devious maybe, unethical, absolutely not! If you think it would work, go for it.

    Love
     
  19. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    10,856
    Wigan, Lancs
    Karen,

    Ethics can go hang if it's a question of safety. One of my staff left some washing on the working top next to the cooker and one of her 2 year old twins managed to turn the ceramic hob on just before they went out for the day. They came home to find the kitchen burnt to a crisp and the rest of the house and contents ruined by smoke. They had to move out for 6 months while everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was replaced. The smoke alarms just melted!!

    I'm sure the OT's heart is in the right place, and she's probably been on a course on human rights. It's your mother human rights to set her house on fire whether she intended to or not. :rolleyes:

    So yes, I would just do it and pretend it's broken.
     
  20. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    I agree. Just do it! It's not unethical, you're doing ot to prevent your mum burning herself (and the house).

    In my book, it would be unethical not to. But then, as someone once told me, women have elastic principles!:D
     

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