I don't know what to do next!

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Moley, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. Moley

    Moley Registered User

    Mar 31, 2007
    2
    Can anyone help me please?

    My father was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2004 and he lives at home with my mother and she is his sole carer. Both of them are in their 80s and my mother is not in the best of health herself. My sister and I both have young families and live a fair distance away from our parents.

    A couple of years ago, my father had a period in hospital for a suspected DVT and whilst he was in there he became very disorientated and agitated. I spent most of the week in hospital reassuring him. My mother wouldn't visit him and the time away from her made him more distressed. Whilst he was in hospital, I spoke to the discharge nurse and even got my father to agree that my mother could do with extra help and so arranged to Social Services to visit once he was out of hospital. Unfortunately, I had to return home to look after my children and so wasn't there when Social Services visited. My mother told them that she was quite capable of coping and didn't need any help.

    My father has deteriorated alot recently, and in order to give my parents a "holiday" I took them away for a weekend to a cottage by the sea. Despite my father being very relaxed and happy whilst away, my mother agitated the whole time, and my father was disorientated and very unsettled when he got home.

    My sister and I have reasoned with my mother on lots of different occasions that it would do both her and my father good for him to attend a daycare centre once a week so that she could have break and he could have a bit more stimulus or to arrange someone to come in and care for my father whilst my mother goes out. I think that my mother is depressed and, therefore, doesn't really want to go out.

    I think the basic problem is that my mother will not accept that my father has Alzheimers and that she needs help. In fact on a number of occasions, she has gone so far as to tell me that if I try to talk to Social Services again, or try to arrange any help, she will never speak to me again.

    My sister has told my mother that we both feel frustrated that she won't accept any help and that we are happy to organise everything, and she won't have to do a thing, but we can't do it until she gives us the go ahead. Sometimes I think that she actually wants us to arrange it all so she doesn't have to and also she doesn't "feel guilty" about having made decisions.

    I am sure that my sister and I aren't the first to experience this and if anyone can give me any suggestions on how to help my mother, I would be very grateful. It is tearing me apart seeing them both struggle. I have always been so close to my father, closer to him than my mother, and I am beginning to feel cross with her that she won't do anything to make his life better as well as making her own easier and better. It makes me feel so guilty having these negative thoughts but I really want to help them both but just don't know what to do next.

    Thank you for listening.
     
  2. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Moley

    Welcome to TP. You and your sister are in a very difficult situation here.

    It sounds as if you're right that your mother is in denial, but she is definitely going to need help.

    What sort of treatment is your father getting? Presumably since he has been diagnosed, he is being monitored by a consultant. If so, he could help. He must see your mum when he reviews your dad, and must be aware of the problems. You could write to him and give him all the details of your worries, and ask him to review the situation. He can make the referral to social services.

    If your dad is not being monitored, I would suggest that you write to your parents' GP, again giving details, and ask him to call. Alternatively, you could make an appointment to see the GP, but you might be up against the data protection act here. The GP can also refer them to SS.

    Either way, your mum does not need to know that you were involved.

    One other thing -- have you been in touch with the local branch of Alzheimer's Society? You might find that they have some suggestions.

    It's an awful situation to be in, and it's going to take great tact to get your mum to accept help, but do try everything you can. Let us know how you get on.

    Best wishes,

    However you do it, you must get help. It souns as if your mum is depressed, and she is not going to be able to care for your dad without help
     
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,879
    Kent
    Hi Moley, and welcome to TP.

    One of the most difficult things to accept is change. The older we get, the more difficult it becomes. It sounds to me as if your mother is putting off accepting the changes she knows are inevitable, for as long as possible.

    These changes include, coming to terms with your father`s Alzheimers, accepting the intrusion of strangers into her home and even going away for a holiday.

    I may be entirely wrong, as I am comparing your situation with my own, only in reverse.

    My husband has Alzheimers. I am the sole carer, but much younger than your mother. My husband becomes agitated when people come to the house, does not want the Social Services involved, `to interfere in his life` and feels if he were left alone, with just me to look after him, he would be fine. He is terrified of hospitals and when I recently had minor surgery, came with our son to visit me, made sure I was OK, then stayed outside in the car.

    I wonder how much of this behaviour is personality/character and how much Alzheimers, because on reflection, my husband has always tended to be like that, so really seems to have similar feelings to your mother.

    Of course this is no help to you. All I can suggest is as Hazel says, that you try to see your parents` GP and see if s/he has any suggestions.

    Please let us know how you get on. Your mother does need help, but first she has to realize this and be prepared to accept it.

    Take care
     
  4. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    1,213
    south lanarkshire
    Hi Moley

    When I took Dad to have the test for AD, Mum was there also. After the test, and a diagnoses of Alzheimers for Dad, the consultant suggested that Mum should also be tested, I suppose because she didn't shut her mouth, as per normal and wasn't making a lot of sense, but we were used to it and didn't think anythihg of it at the time "Just Mum, being Mum" the consultant quite rightly suggested, Dementia, even though she was not the one being tested.

    I am only telling you this, because Mum still denies there is anything wrong with her and in her mind, there is definately nothing wrong with Dad.

    We have had a long hard struggle to get Mum to accept any help. It is still a struggle, when a new carer comes. Mum tells them "I'm not daft, I can look after my husband, I can manage, I don't need you" NOT TRUE!

    I am not suggesting that your Mum has AD, only you will know, but from my personal experience, Ad or not, they will eventually need help and the sooner it becomes the norm. the better.

    Even if, to begin with, the carers do nothing, just spend time talking and get to be friends with your Mum.

    Alfjess
     
  5. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    10,854
    Wigan, Lancs
    Dear Moley,

    Your post really struck a chord with me. My Dad was diagnosed with both Alzheimers and Vascular Dementia in December 2006 and although we were aware that my dad had had problems for some time (possibly years), when the Consultant mentioned the words 'dementia' and 'Alzheimers Disease' both my sisters and I found it difficult to come to terms with. But this was nothing to my Mum's total inability to accept the situation.

    My Dad is 82 and lives at home with my Mum who is 76. My Mum has been very angry with my Dad, treating him like a naughty boy on some occasions and then on others expecting him to behave like a responsible adult.

    My sisters and I have tried to explain to our Mum that Dad is ill and that he can't help the way he is and that her constantly shouting at him and criticising him when he gets things wrong doesn't help anyone.

    She took any suggestion to handle things differently as criticism of her and has found the suggestion of help from any one outside the family as abhorrent.:eek:

    One of my sisters and I live locally, (whilst my other sister lives in Athens). My Mum was ringing one of us practically every day saying she couldn't cope.

    That was 3 weeks ago... since then my Mum has started to come to terms with things and started to listen to our suggestions as to how she deal with my Dad without jumping to the conclusion that we are criticising her. We are starting to work together and whether it is this, the drugs ( he started on Ebixa in January), or just the fact that the sun is shining :) my dad seems a lot happier and much less stressed.

    In our turn we have come to respect the fact that it is my Mum who is my Dad's main carer and we must, to a certain extent, respect her decisions with regard to his care. At times we have been more concerned about her well-being than that of my Dad's although physically she is perfectly well.

    At the moment we appear to be on the better side... but who knows for how long.

    I don't know if any of this helps, but I just wanted you to know that I and everyone else here on TP understands what you are going through.

    Sue xx
     
  6. Moley

    Moley Registered User

    Mar 31, 2007
    2
    Thank you to you all.

    I know that we need to tread carefully so as not to cause any upset but seeing my mother not being able to cope and my father detriorating is heartbreaking. I am going to talk to my mother over Easter when we are visiting as it is easier to do so than over the telephone despite having daily phone calls of half an hour or more with her. What I don't want is for her to get to breaking point before she will accept some help.

    I think I will also see if I can talk to the Alzheimers Society near to where they live to see what they can suggest too and also I will try and speak to my parents' doctor.

    Thank you again to those of you who have responded and told me of your experiences. Although I wish no-one else had to go through it, it is good to know that we are not alone. Sometimes you can get so bogged down with it all that you can become too inward looking and other people's experiences help to get you back on track.

    Thank you x
     

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