1. oldbean

    oldbean Registered User

    Feb 2, 2006
    4
    arial7black

    Hello, I am new and have never joined a group like this before so please excuse errors.

    You sound lovely people and I can identify with so much that has been said.

    Is there anyone out there who can help me with information. My father and step mother live in France. His dementia is worsening as he ages (now 88). The problem is I do not speak fluent French and do not know the system. The GP has done blood tests, and Doppler scan to check blood supply to brain but has not ordered an assessment or anything but I do not know if they do that in France. Does anyione have any French experiences? I am desperate as I cannot go over at present and my step mother appears to be going the same way.
     
  2. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Hello Old Bean! (sorry, just had to do it)

    You need Michael E.
    He & his wife Monique live in France (Monique has dementia) so I'm sure he will be able to help when he sees your message. Watch this space ...

    Best wishes
     
  3. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Old Bean hi,,

    Lynne sent me an email saying you wanted French info and here I am - a Brit - alive and well and living in France -

    Quickly to put your mind at rest the system here is at least as good and possibly better than the UK - My experience so far has been:-

    Firstly the GP gave Monique a certificate de malady de long duration - franglais!! which means all drugs, treatments, brain scans are paid for by the state 100%.

    The GP sent her (us) to a neurologist and she has 6 monthly check-ups.

    Brain scan had a waiting time of 10 days, Neurologist about a month, Doctor 3 hours, hospitalisation - immediate - even for something like constipation!!

    No question about getting the best drugs available - Aricept Ebixa et al are prescribed by the neurologist and I get prescriptions for 6 months worth - get the impression that the neurologist empowers the GP to keep writing the scripts.

    Home care seems similar to UK - I did have (till Monique fired them) nurses who came in 3 times a week to get her up - bath her - free of charge.... I think that sort of service is available according to the patients needs without too much problem.

    There are also day care centres - organised by French Alzheimers - but you pay - €38 per day including lunch and 5 - or 6 Euro for a car ride to and fro. £1 = €1.50

    I have a lady from the social services who comes in for 4 hours once a week to let me escape and I pay for that at €12 per hour so it costs me 48 Euro to escape for an afternoon........

    I get the impression that the system wants 'care in the home to happen' and provides some support for that - I do not know how the above compares with the UK but I know which country I would prefer to be sick in... I think

    Let me know what your worries are and I will do my best to answer - if you want me to make 'French' phone calls I can - bit garbled sometimes but mainly works!

    regards

    Michael
     
  4. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    :confused: Crikey, do I foresee a mass exodus of AD-sufferers & their Carers from UK>>>France?!
     
  5. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain

    I do get the feeling I have got it easier - Certainly the general medical facilities are better here I think - not sure further down the road... Bruce seems to have got a good deal with the care home and I am not sure that is available here but the GP is so understanding and so far has guided me and provided all I could ask for. As for the drugs the government would fall if the French did not get what was required - And I am a card carrying socialist!!
     
  6. oldbean

    oldbean Registered User

    Feb 2, 2006
    4
    Thanks Lynne for alerting Michael and your quick response Michael.
    I am living in England and my father in the Loire valley. Distance as well as language complicates things.
    My father does have 100% for his drugs, hospital care etc. but not for a home. As far as I know the GP has not suggested any further investigations. The problem is my step-mother does cannot accept that as a possibility, consequently she does not see the need for further iinvestigations. I honestly believe she is also suffering from early dementia as well. She is very forgetful, and has become irrational, misses meals etc. She refused suggestions that I should be given power of attorney to pay bills etc. but she cannot cope with the finances, remember who she has phoned, paid etc.
    I stayed for a month when after a fall my father's dementia became much worse. My step mother (although able to pay) refused any more than someone to come in 3 mornings a week, for an hour, to shower and dress him, saying she could not afford to pay. She does actually have enough money. She was happy for me to do it and thought that I could just up sticks, leave my family and move to France.
    She does not do any of his care when the carer does not come in. Friends who drop in as often as possible say meals are missed and my father is still in his pyjamas in the afternoon and tends to sleep. My step mother complains he keeps her awake all night with wandering about. When I was there I got him showered and dressed, downstairs and took him for a walk daily and cultivated a routine for him and he slept better.
    We managed to get him into a private home just after I left as my step- mother was obviously exhausted and unable to cope. She only agreed as she was expected to go into hospital herself in January. However, she has now taken him out of the home saying "he was bored" and she can't afford it, so we are back to square one. The irony is she can pay. She wants me to go over to look after him. Believe me I would if I could but my husband is not well and as he is self employed I need to work to pay the bills.
    I feel stretched in all directions. I want to look after them both in France but also need to be here in England.

    Would he be better channelled through the system of neurologist etc? The GP has not shown any obvious initiative in all this.
    Sorry about this torrent, but I am at my wits end..
     
  7. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Oldbean hi again,

    Sorry I came up with all that bland stuff - you do seem to have a lot of issues and I am sorry about that..

    Others here are better qualified than me to offer advice.... I think most would agree that putting a lover in a home is a difficult step for both and someone was posting a while ago about how lonely the person who is caring can become without the person they are looking after.......

    The only problem with further investigation is that if it is AD then there is no future and no cure.... If they are appropriate then I would have expected your dad to be offered Aricept for openers...Just to slow up the advance a bit... Certainly I have never got the impression, in France, that the cost of these drugs is an issue, if they are needed.

    My experience with Monique, my wife, was that the GP sent her urgently ( 2 weeks) to the neurologist - the neurologist made an assessment then sent her for a brain scan and a load of blood tests.... Then decided that she should have Aricept... A short while ago she put her on Ebixa.. I really do not enjoy the 'test' process as Monique finds it demeaning. So why bother to monitor, accurately, something you can do nothing to alter....

    I think the medical system works like this, here in France: The GP will always refer anything a bit special to a 'specialist' - the specialist makes a diagnosis and prescribes treatment, which the GP monitors and adjusts.

    It is of course the GP who has organised your dad getting 100% so it would appear he knows exactly what the problem is with your dad. I wonder if he knows your step mum has the same problem????

    French doctors are realists - I think he would see you and discuss the problem - you must pay €20 for 20 minutes of his time - flexible - see what he feels about your dad - step mum situation... If after that interview you are still concerned then I would be inclined to speak with the Neurologist. You would probably again need to 'pay' for the interview. In your situation it would be hard to reclaim the fee but I think you would be looking at £50 = €70 ish euro.... As I said earlier (appointments take around a month maybe 6 weeks but it may chang area to area.)

    The French are certainly 'into' care in the home and 'into' keeping couples together so it may be that which is going on???? I suppose the issue is are the social services monitoring the situation at all? If not then the GP would be the one to alert them...

    I know all I have said means another trip to the Loire but maybe that's what it needs - I live far from there but maybe there is someone in the ex-pat community there who could be helpful? There are several website created about that are and maybe that could be route --- I will ask around here to see if anyone has relatives down there, who could help, if you want to give me a slightly more precise area but I do not hold out great hope...

    If there is anything I can do please contact me again - I can look up the web sites of the expats if you want??

    Michael
     
  8. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Michael,

    Hurray for carers overseas. Thank you so much Michael for your invaluable assistance and support.

    Jude
     
  9. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    627
    Yorkshire
    Hi,Sorry to hear about the problems you have. I'm afraid I have no knowledge that can help on arranging care, but one thing struck me. If you're not fluent in French there's a nifty little website called babelfish which does basic translation online, type in the French, hit the button, hey presto,usually readable English!
    Don't know if it's of any use, but you never know!

    Hope you find a solution to your problem. Take care.


    http://babelfish.altavista.com/
     
  10. oldbean

    oldbean Registered User

    Feb 2, 2006
    4
    Thanks May
    I have written a letter to the doctor in France using Babelfish.
     
  11. oldbean

    oldbean Registered User

    Feb 2, 2006
    4
    Hi Michael

    Sorry not to have responded to your message sooner.

    I suspect the reason my father is not on Aricept or anything is due to his age, 88.
    He was on 100% treatment reimbursements because he was over 80 years before it was obvious he had dementia.
    My stepmother is due to go into hospital shortly and tells me the Dr is arranging for my father to go into "a place" as she calls it, run by the state. She is unclear for how long. I have written to the doctor using the babelfish translation site so hope to get a response. I asked if my father should see a neurologist and what avenues of care are open to him, as well as explaining my concerns about my stepmother's ability to cope and the possibility of early dementia.
    Thank you so much for your offer of help with expats etc. We have 2 very good English friends who live close to my father and have done as much as they can to help but my stepmother does not want help and every time we have made 2 steps forward she changes everything and we go one or two steps back again.
    I dont think she has genuinely any idea of the effect of her actions, and on those people who are trying hard to help her. It is going to get more complicated if she also suffers from dementia especially if she refuses to give me or another person power of attornery, which she has so far rejected.
     
  12. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    618
    Male
    Ronda Spain
    Hi Oldbean,

    Not sure how good your French is? The problem with Bablefish and Systran which I have in my computer is that unless you can 'edit' yourself the 'French' version it all comes out a bit garbled and incomprehensible to the reader... Try Bablefishing the French version to English!

    Doctors in France are under the same patient confidentiality requirements as English Doctors although I think more likely to be realistic about the situation. If you do not get a reply I can only repeat my advice that you fly (Ryan Air - Flybe whatever) and make an appointment with the doctor and express your feelings - worries...

    I can help to some extent.... If you decide to go down the (paid for) meeting route call me and I will telephone the Doctor and see if he will make an appointment to see you and I can try to make that coincide with your flights.... Let me know how I can help.......

    Frankly people with AD are pretty much difficult to reason with... My wife will not have nurses help her wash, will not go to meetings to give me time off, does not want to get up in the mornings (or afternoons sometimes) wanders around at night - is so bored it is tragic and has nothing wrong with her all...... There really is no reasoning... I think the French are more pragmatic than the English and less afraid of being sued... I do not have a French Power of Attorney so I do not know what is involved but I wonder in this situation if it is really necessary???

    All that is far too long ... Just private message/email or post me if you want any phone calls making.
    Michael
     

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