1. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    66
    Sheffield
    I joined today because I'm going to be needing some help and support!

    Meg, my 97-year old honorary mother-in-law, has just been diagnosed with vascular dementia. She's currently in the hospital being assessed. Her consultant said she's unlikely to get any better and suggested a Nursing Home.

    I said I wanted her to come home and I'm now waiting to see a Social Worker, to see what support I can get at home. It's likely to be a strugge to get help, because the consultant said Sheffield City Council (bless them) has very limited day care centre places and has recently closed down the home that offers regular respite care!

    Meg left Aberdeen to come and live with my partner, Maggie, and I, about 10/11 years ago, because she couldn't manage on her own any more. She was physically a bit doddery but mentally sound. Maggie did the caring then, because I was working and am not what you would call a "natural" carer.

    When Maggie died in April 2005, I took over caring for Meg. I found it difficult because she was very demanding, liked me to be in the same room with her all the time and sulked if I went out without her. I was also suffering from depression, as a result of Maggie's death, which didn't help.

    We went on a Turkey and Tinsel break in Llandudno, 12-16 November and Meg was fine, she'd got a bit forgetful but was happily doing her Christmas shopping and enjoying herself on the coach trips. The next week she'd degenerated into a confusion and disorientation. She had a chest infection, and the doctor thought that could be causing the problems. After a couple of courses of anti-biotics the infection had gone, but she wasn't any better.

    She was particularly bad during the evenings and night, wouldn't go to bed, demanded to be let out, wanted to go home, etc, so the doctor was trying various meds to try and settle her down.

    I was getting more and more stressed, depressed and unable to cope. On 31 December, I called the doctor in again and told him I was at the end of my tether, so he arranged for her to be admitted to the hospital so she could be properly assessed.

    So, here I am, trying to work out what it's going to be like and how I'm going to cope with it all.

    Sorry I've rabbited on for so long - but I am a bit of a chatterer.:)
     
  2. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    Hello Doreen and welcome.

    There will be much advice here which you will heed or not as you wish.

    Thankfully Meg is being assessed and I suggest you will learn more as this continues. Try not to worry - easily said I know!!

    You have admitted you are not a natural carer and there is no shame in that (good for you for admitting it). At the end of the assessment I feel you will be given good advice - probably either (a) care at home or (b) care home. If it is care at home you have to question whether you can cope with that, especially if support is not easily available. The consultant should put you in touch with Social Services who should advise on what is available.

    Then if it is care home, then you will need to look into the most suitable with regard to quality, standard of care and cost. There is no harm in sussing homes out now because almost inevitably at some stage you are going to need one.

    Have you looked into Power of Attorney (? next of kin) as this an important issue too.

    This only skims over your enquiry but I hope others can offer advice too.

    Good luck Jan
     
  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Doreen, welcome to TP.

    First, can I say that I'm full of admiration for the way you've cared for you honorary MIL for all these years. Not a 'natural carer'? I'd say you deserve a medal.

    Any sort of infection can have a devastating effect on someone with dementia, and I'd say that at 97 she's not likely to recover completely from the neurological damage.

    I've recently gone through the same thing with my husband. He's only 74, but an infection caused so much damage that he has ended up in care.

    Are you prepared to consider this as a possibility? It sounds as if you were at the end of your tether before this latest admission. There's no shame in admitting you can't cope, it comes to most of us in the end, and it's not going to help if you make yourself ill.

    With all the will in the world, you are unlikely to get the sort of support package you need. Why not find a nice care home for your HMIL where she will be comfortable and safe, and you will be able to visit and spend quality time with her without wearing yourself out?

    It's your decision, of course, and others may have other advice for you. I know in the end there was no other solution for me.

    Let us know how you get on,
     
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,583
    Kent
    Hello Doreen.

    You`ve shared a caring role for 10 years, been a sole carer for nearly 3 years, not a natural carer, not for a blood relative or a partner, and the consultant has reccommended a nursing home.

    You said you wanted Meg to come home. Is it what you really want or is it out of loyalty to Maggie?

    Only you can decide what to do, but whatever you do decide, bear in mind you are unlikely to get the support you need, and things will not get better.

    It`s a tough decision, but you have put your life on hold for a long time now. perhaps you deserve some life for yourself now.

    I hope you are able to make the right decision.

    Take care xx
     
  5. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Doreen,

    I am assume she is Maggie's mother? And you say she moved to be with you 11 years ago because she couldn't cope on her own. And you are still feeling the loss of your partner Maggie?

    I get the impression that you have done a great deal for Meg (incidentally I am known to some friends as Meg), and that it has been difficult for a while. Maybe now is the time to consider care in a home. It comes to us all, to make that decision, and in most circumstances people are glad that they made it. At least start looking at homes, cos that can be time-consuming. Get your social worker to tell you what homes are available, and which could cope with Meg and her particular circumstances. The Social Worker won't recommend homes but will tell you which ones can cope with her, and also the fees payable, if any.

    I wish you every luck. Post back on this site for anything you need help with.

    Best regards

    Margaret
     
  6. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    66
    Sheffield
    Thanks all for the replies.

    I am quite resigned to the fact that Meg will probably having to go into a care home at some stage. When Maggie was alive we obviously discussed it and agreed that if it got to the stage when we either couldn't cope with her any more or she was becoming a danger to herself, then into a home she would go.

    When I saw the Consultant, I hadn't actually given any thought to the fact that the time might be now - I'd only been thinking in terms of what support I would need when she came home. But when he said she should go into a nursing home, my immediate, gut reaction was a very bald "No"! Since then I have been giving it some rational thought and still hold by my instinctive reply. I want to at least try, but am quite prepared for the possibility that I might not be able to cope, and she will end up in a home any way.

    This is certainly not an entirely altruistic decision, based purely on what's best for Meg. In some ways, I need her as much as she needs me.

    I need the Carers Allowance and board money that she gives me - I only have a small pension (having taken early retirement) and, because Civil Partnerships hadn't actually come into force when Maggie died, her pension went with her. Without Meg's financial contribution, money would be very tight, although I could obviously get a part-time job or take in a ldoger if I didn't have Meg to look after.

    But, more importantly, I rely on Meg to give me a purpose and structure to my life. One of the symptoms of my depression is the "can't be bothered to do anything" syndrome. It's very easy for me to just sleep and slump in front of the TV most of the time. This isn't good, it just makes the depression worst, but finding the motivation to move is very hard.

    When Meg's at home, I can't do this. I have to get up on Tuesdays, because we get the mobility bus to the local supermarket, I take her to Meadowhell shopping centre every Thursday. In the summer, we go up to the local shops and walk back through the park, we have day trips out to the Peak District and feed the ducks, go the Botanical Gardens and feed the squirrels, etc.

    So, I'm certainly not sacrificing my life for her benefit - I'm far too selfish a person to do that!

    I know it's likely to be a battle to get the support I need, but I'm certainly going to give it a go. I've now just got to wait until I can see a Social Worker, and I'll just take it from there.
     
  7. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    I am so impressed with your wonderfully positive post. I think you are managing this situation as well as, or better than, most of us.

    I do hope the Social Worker can respond to your great attitude.

    Keep posting - lots of support here.
    Best wishes Jan
     
  8. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Doreen, I can only second what Jan has said. I have immense admiration for what you are doing, and I hope you can get the support package you need.

    Please let us know how you get on.

    PS Meadowhall was a regular haunt of mine when I lived near Scunthorpe. I miss it!
     
  9. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    66
    Sheffield
    Well, let's face it - it's damned easy to be positive when I'm not actually dealing with the problems of coping with someone with dementia!

    Once I've had Meg home for a few weeks, I might well be dissolving into a heap of blubbering incompetence, with not a positive thought in sight.

    But one thing I'm very sure of - I have found a great source of support and advice with this Forum.
     
  10. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    THAT is me much of the time!!:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek: Jan
     
  11. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    1,170
    Australia
    Dear Doreen,

    You are inspirational! I love your honesty and the fact that you are seeing so clearly! Can I please just make a couple of sggestions - probably superfluous as I think you have it all under control!

    Just that I'd be telling the Consultant that you realise it may not work over the long term and therefore you'd appreciate keeping in touch with him/her, in case things change suddenly.

    I'd also be looking into homes so that, when and if the time comes, you have had some genuine choice and some control over where Meg goes. This will help you feel better if the time does come when you can no longer have her at home.

    Also remember that if she goes into a Care Home, it is not the end of caring for you. She will still need you for visits, for all sorts of chores and tasks that the Care Home won't do (or won't do to her liking! ;)) and you will still have commitments which will keep YOU going!

    Every best wish for a successful outcome - I admire you enormously!
     
  12. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Good post, Nell. Can I just add, Doreen, that you'd still be able to take Meg to Meadowhall, and for walks in the park etc.

    You would just be spared the hard work and constant exhaustion of 24 hour caring.

    Not putting pressure on you, just trying to be positive.
     
  13. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    66
    Sheffield
    Duh! I hadn't actually thought of that - sometimes I'm not terribly bright.

    I think I will be looking into Care Homes - just in case. I'm in the very fortunate position of having a friend who's a receptionist at the local doctors. She has contact with the District Nurses (I don't think they're called that any more, but I'm sure everybody will know who I mean). The nurses go into all the local care homes and are very well placed to judge just how good they are. I do know that some of the local nursing homes leave a great deal to be desired, so I will be very wary.
     
  14. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    1,314
    Dear Doreen,

    I would just like to welcome you to TP. I am sure you'll find plenty of support here.

    I also admire your honesty and wish you well in caring for Meg. Research all the avenues of support that is available to you as I'm sure you'll find it a godsend. Which ever way things work out for you It sounds like Meg is in good hands.

    Best of luck,
    Taffy.
     
  15. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Doreen

    You will probably find that the District Nurses are precluded from giving you any advice, I think you are going to have to look for care homes yourself.

    If you want some company next time you bring her to the Peak District there are a couple of people on here who have responded to you, who might be able to join you for an afternoon somewhere.

    A bit of company for you.

    Much love

    Margaret
     

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