Isolation and impact on mental health

BrummieG

Registered User
Feb 19, 2019
20
Hi everyone, I care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia and my father who is increasingly frail physically. He doesn’t really do any caring for Mum and certainly doesn’t carry out household tasks, cooking etc. That’s all firmly mums domain ( she thinks that too) but as her dementia progress it’s all getting erratic or neglected as is her self care. I visit 2 or 3 times a week to refill dosette boxes, help with or do housework, cook some meals and encourage her to change clothes and wash. (she’s now slightly incontinent too but refuses to accept this). My partner and I have had endless conversations about whether all these tasks are necessary in the light of Gov advice re Covid-19. I’m terrified I will pass on the virus to them which may well kill them. My partner is working from home and the only place I’m going is the supermarkets to get food for us and them but I’m still very anxious. Obviously I’m washing hands and staying at least 6 feet from them though this is hard as they both keep coming closer and I spend all my time backing away and re-explaining how important it is to maintain distance. He gets it but isn’t really taking it seriously and of course she forgets. I am explaining the whole Covi-19 story to them endlessly and that’s very gruelling too. Mum is really missing hugs from me and doesn’t understand why I’m so far away. Of course I could just drop food and meds at their door (though they probably wouldn’t make it to dosette boxes without me) but then I’d be worried about the impact of the extreme isolation they’d experience. He wouldn’t care so much as long as he was fed and watered but she’s much more sociable and the necessary limiting of her activities is already getting her down. I don’t expect anyone to have any answers but good to write it all down. Good luck to you all.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,110
Bristol
Sorry @BrummieG, I have no advice for you. It is so hard to know what to do, and this is the wrong time to set up carer support from your parents. My partner has vascular dementia, a history of kidney problems and diabetes. I should self isolate with her, but we have nobody to sort meds or food either, so I go out shopping and it is stressful.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,294
I think (as so often with dementia) there isn't a right answer, only a 'least bad' one. And to me, the least bad option is for you to continue to go and help them. The tasks you are doing are necessary and you are taking all the precautions you can. If you don't go, you will have no idea what is happening with them, and things could deteriorate markedly. They need care, and you are providing it.

Whatever you do, you will probably think it is the wrong thing. All you can do is go with your gut instinct.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,516
My friend is shielding for 12 weeks with underlying health issues, however, she is spending her day's, on behalf of the British Red Cross, phoning vulnerable / isolated people.
She told me this morning The Red Cross are keen to enfold anyone and everyone who needs a bit of help at this time and can point the way for any community groups that may be close to where your parents live, or will step in themselves.
Do you think your mum in particular would welcome contact in that sort of way?
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,294
@Dimpsy that is a nice idea for people who don't have a relative to step in. But why would it be safer for a stranger to visit her parents rather than @BrummieG going herself? Any person visiting will present some risk to older people, so if the OP is prepared to do it herself there is no reason to involve anyonelse.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,310
Yorkshire
hi @BrummieG
for the meds, you can ask the pharmacy to provide these in blister packs ... dad's had each day's meds split into morning, lunch, evening pills ... and these will be delivered
you seem to be being very careful yourself, keeping the risk low, so maybe keep the visits up, with lots of hand washing and washing of surfaces you touch

might your parents benefit from the type of phonecall Dimpsy seems to be suggesting ... or just for your father if it would simply confuse your mother ... I think AgeUK are offering something too
 

BrummieG

Registered User
Feb 19, 2019
20
Sorry @BrummieG, I have no advice for you. It is so hard to know what to do, and this is the wrong time to set up carer support from your parents. My partner has vascular dementia, a history of kidney problems and diabetes. I should self isolate with her, but we have nobody to sort meds or food either, so I go out shopping and it is stressful.
[/QUOTE
Hi everyone, I care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia and my father who is increasingly frail physically. He doesn’t really do any caring for Mum and certainly doesn’t carry out household tasks, cooking etc. That’s all firmly mums domain ( she thinks that too) but as her dementia progress it’s all getting erratic or neglected as is her self care. I visit 2 or 3 times a week to refill dosette boxes, help with or do housework, cook some meals and encourage her to change clothes and wash. (she’s now slightly incontinent too but refuses to accept this). My partner and I have had endless conversations about whether all these tasks are necessary in the light of Gov advice re Covid-19. I’m terrified I will pass on the virus to them which may well kill them. My partner is working from home and the only place I’m going is the supermarkets to get food for us and them but I’m still very anxious. Obviously I’m washing hands and staying at least 6 feet from them though this is hard as they both keep coming closer and I spend all my time backing away and re-explaining how important it is to maintain distance. He gets it but isn’t really taking it seriously and of course she forgets. I am explaining the whole Covi-19 story to them endlessly and that’s very gruelling too. Mum is really missing hugs from me and doesn’t understand why I’m so far away. Of course I could just drop food and meds at their door (though they probably wouldn’t make it to dosette boxes without me) but then I’d be worried about the impact of the extreme isolation they’d experience. He wouldn’t care so much as long as he was fed and watered but she’s much more sociable and the necessary limiting of her activities is already getting her down. I don’t expect anyone to have any answers but good to write it all down. Good luck to you all.
[/QUOTE

I think (as so often with dementia) there isn't a right answer, only a 'least bad' one. And to me, the least bad option is for you to continue to go and help them. The tasks you are doing are necessary and you are taking all the precautions you can. If you don't go, you will have no idea what is happening with them, and things could deteriorate markedly. They need care, and you are providing it.

Whatever you do, you will probably think it is the wrong thing. All you can do is go with your gut instinct.
Sirina
That’s kind of where we’d ended up. I’m thinking regular but shorter task focussed visits is probably the way to go. That way they’re seeing me and jobs are being done but I’m minimising the risk to them. Thanks.
 

BrummieG

Registered User
Feb 19, 2019
20
Thanks for replies everyone. Mum did go to a couple of social groups (not dementia specific ones - she’s consistently refused them) but she’d ‘gone off’ one of them and of course they’re not running currently anyway. She gets calls from a couple of friends which is also good though of course she doesn’t remember. I may check out calls for Mum but Dad would hate calls - he really doesn’t do people! I’m hoping to reintroduce the mum going to a dementia group, probably with me, once we get back to normal. Take care all.
 

Grotti1

New member
Mar 29, 2020
1
Hi, I'm new to this forum. I am in a similar situation to BrummieG. My mum has Mixed-type dementia and has gone down very quickly in the last few months. She lives with my step-dad who is also old and frail. We were just about to start getting extra help for the, when this Cornavirus thing started. Now all I want to do is keep them safe by not allowing outsiders to come in to do things for them. I would rather be the one to do these tasks although it's very hard. I had to help my mum bath last week for the first time, it was very embarrassing stressful for both of us, but it had to be done. I am worried that if the Government step up restrictions, then I won't have a valid reason to visit them as I'm not registered as their 'Carer'. Do I need to be so that if I am stopped by the police I can show them some sort of proof? I frequently have to go over in the evenings as Mum will not go to bed and she thinks she can go outside in the dark. can anyone answer my question please?
 

kindred

Registered User
Apr 8, 2018
2,511
Hi, I'm new to this forum. I am in a similar situation to BrummieG. My mum has Mixed-type dementia and has gone down very quickly in the last few months. She lives with my step-dad who is also old and frail. We were just about to start getting extra help for the, when this Cornavirus thing started. Now all I want to do is keep them safe by not allowing outsiders to come in to do things for them. I would rather be the one to do these tasks although it's very hard. I had to help my mum bath last week for the first time, it was very embarrassing stressful for both of us, but it had to be done. I am worried that if the Government step up restrictions, then I won't have a valid reason to visit them as I'm not registered as their 'Carer'. Do I need to be so that if I am stopped by the police I can show them some sort of proof? I frequently have to go over in the evenings as Mum will not go to bed and she thinks she can go outside in the dark. can anyone answer my question please?
No one can really know the answer to your question yet, but there are things you could do. Simply make a card with family carer for .... plus their names
And write under it. Official carer card applied for.
Then ring social services and put the question to them how you can get some kind of official pass or whatever.
warmest. Kindred. Or your gp surgery may be able to give a letter confirming that you are caregiver for your parents.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,856
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Grotti1

Have you had your carer’s assessment done by Social services? After I had mine they sent me a letter. The actual assessment was done over the phone (this was a couple of years ago while I was caring for my dad). The letter would be proof that you are a carer. It’s probably emails now.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,310
Yorkshire
hi @Grotti1
a warm welcome to DTP

I know it's sensible to look at worse case etc but honestly I doubt you'll be stopped and questioned .... so carry on doing what you deem best, taking all necessary precautions ... you are an informal carer and those visits aren't restricted ( though keep to a mimimum for all of you to keep the risk low)

if it will help you not to worry, do you or your mum have any documentation to confirm her diagnosis/care needs and that you were about to start home care visits ... maybe photocopy/scan&print and carry with you ... for back up maybe have something with both addresses on to show your journey start and end

is your mum still able to get in and out of the bath/shower safely? ... don't put either of you in harm's way if she's not, especially if tension or embarrassment may make the procedure more awkward (though after the first time, you both may be more relaxed) ... a good all over wash with flannels is fine, and your mum can be wrapped in a warm towel in her bedroom ... maybe followed by a footbath (in a washing up bowl): I tended to foget about dad's feet as he liked to keep his socks on!
 

Floundering

Registered User
Mar 28, 2017
15
No right or wrong answer. Just go with your gut feeling.its all you can do. My husband has had alzheimers for 10 years.also hydrocephalus which affects his balance.now has a uti and on second lot of antibiotics. Very incontinent. I need him to go in for respite somewhere but there is nowhere I want him to go at the moment. He is very confused.doesnt know that this is our home and some days doesn't know who I am.
Am hoping that when he can go back to day centre for twice a week he will go back to how he was before lockdown but who knows?
Just take care everyone.
 

Mydarlingdaughter

Registered User
Oct 25, 2019
134
North East England UK
The government guidelines are very clear that disabled people (your parents) should not stop essential care.
Esential care involves dressing, washing and feeding. If the obtaining of food is part of feeding, because thy cannot obtain food on their own, then shopping for that food would be part of essential care.
You are providing care, you are a carer, but this is informal support.
However I wonder if it would be wise to look at some ways your parents could get more support.
The NHS can refer to NHS Volunteer Responder scheme.
This would involve a referral via health professional such as GP or Practice Nurse. You can phone GP or practice nurse, even practice receptionist, to get the health professional to make a referral.
They can be referred for community responder who will do errands, shopping and the like, also check in and chat (phone support) and transport to medical appointments.
Secondly have they been registered with the Government Sheilding service. This will allow weelky food parecels and priority slots to online shopping, so you can get supermarkets to deliver to them. Very important to check if they are registered. Maybe they had a letter but didnt open it?
The medications. Dosette box can be made up by pharmacist, and delivered to them by pharmacist. Pharmacists do make a lot of money from peoples NHS prescritions and many will deliver for free because they want to retain those valuable customers..
You can also get help and support for yourself from your local branch of Alzhiemers Disease Society,, have a carers assessment from your local council, get a needs assessment done for your parents from local council, or get support from Carers UK.
I know this may seem like a lot to take in, but this situation is not going to go away for a while , so may as well get the help you all need.
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
116,517
Messages
1,703,814
Members
67,294
Latest member
Tsreck