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Leaving on a jet plane

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
I want to make a thread for myself and maybe others who come along, to chronicle my new life as a career for mum, who is English but lives in America, by myself who is American but lives in England. That was fine and dandy until she went rapidly downhill with her independent living during the extreme isolation of the pandemic. Now I am in the US having been called by my aunt to come over on an emergency basis, and preparing to move her back to England to live with me and DH, 18 year old daughter and dog, after 60 years out of the country. She doesn’t really grasp what is happening or remember for long, and I am trying to get people to stop pointing it out all the time! I’m worried she will kick off, it would be out of character as she was always apathetic, but having read up all the horror stories on here...omg.

Today I did her British POA forms, paid £160 (!) and printed them, arranged for her lawyer to be the certifier and myself as attorney and will take her and the forms over to him next week for signing with handy witnesses to the signatures in his office. It didn’t need to be the lawyer but he has literally just done the same job for the US forms, has integrity and discretion and knows the score, then I won’t have more “so when are you moving to England, Jan? Are you looking forward to all that rain?” Type Questions from her dotty friends.. I’ve made DH my replacement attorney in case something happens to me, as he is holding the fort in England and will have him sign, get our friend to witness HIS signature then I will have ten days to get it mailed to be registered.

This has been a stressful day! Mum has also not been feeling well with a persistent headache, had to skip exercise class and cancel lunch with her friends. She looks ill and has been very quiet all day.
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Thank you all, she is much better today, and I spent part of the day fretting about all the fuss I have made about her cognition issues and feeling I have made a show of myself to lawyers etc. But we all know which way this will go in time, right? Headaches seem to match with changes in air pressure which she has suffered from long term, they are very drastic here in Midwest US.

The neighbour was mowing his grass in the dark last night-all became clear in the morn when their house was up for sale with a parade of viewers! Mum is entertained. She went out off her own bat to do some weeding, again making me think oh she’s actually functional! But she only pulled up a few strands from the thicket of ground ivy (easy to pull weed here) in about 1.5 hours of struggle. The place is a mess, thankfully when dad became ill then died he had sorted out a firm to come cut grass, rake leaves or shovels snow, as needed, the proprietor went to school in my class. One of the few please I made that did not fall on deaf ears to organise some help!! He has been reliable and great, his mum ended up in a home but then just sat there passive and neglected all day and his family moved her home where she got more stimulation. The homes are bad here, my dad was in several and they were rubbish! and he didn’t even have dementia.

It’s been raining all week and I asked what she thought we could do, and she said go to a film! Gosh. She doesn’t know how to find out what’s on, since can’t use internet, and it’s not in newspaper, but I can. So off we went to see Dream Horse, about (captain obvious) a horse, set in Wales. We aren’t that interested in racing but it was entertaining enough and “heartwarming” and she stayed awake throughout which is rare. It was that or Mortal Kombat. So now I’m feeling why am I taking this drastic action to move her. But I have ample evidence she is generally not safe and I can’t stay here indefinitely I have a job and family of my own. She is never remembering her meds at all, for starters, even with the pill box.

We fly on 17th June, 2 days after her cancer treatment checkup at University hospital. They will want her back again in autumn for another check so I will buy a refundable ticket or insurance I guess for her to come back, in case she gets more ill and it becomes the least of our worries compared with dementia progression, or I need to move it to come back myself or send someone else with her. Her bile duct cancer was caught very early and seems very indolent and to the medics’ surprise the treatment might have actually worked! Which is good because she will refuse any more treatment I expect.

The other complication is her UK passport is from 1960 and they won’t just renew one that old, so she will have to enter on her US passport as a visitor. Hence we need the return ticket, and hence she needs to say she is only visiting, which is the cover story I’ve spun for her mind, to get her over there in any case! I’m finding witnesses etc for her application but it takes at least 10 weeks from in the UK. Getting it here takes even longer and I’m worried about redirecting post, not being here at the right time, etc. She will be living with me and DH, and 18 year old daughter just finishing forever with school and 12 year old lap doggie (she will like that, I’ve barely managed to talk her out of a cat or dog here).

She bought a secondhand Minnie Mouse soft toy dressed in a pink graduation gown in the old folks shop to take to her granddaughter, which I predict will go down well or at least be received politely. Older daughter 20 at uni heeded my pleas and has sent 2 greeting cards to mum with a newsy message, having worked out the ancient art of sending snail mail, with my instructions. So mum likes that a lot.
 

starryuk

Registered User
Nov 8, 2012
1,323
0
Hi.
It sounds as if you are getting on well with your plans. My mum died a few years ago, but I still come on here occasionally and will follow your thread with interest. Mum had gone to live in Australia, near my sister, but the time came when I had to bring her back to England...sadly into a care home as being a 'wanderer' and with me living on my own and needing to work, I wouldn't have been able to keep her safe. Her dementia was obviously much more advanced than your mum's.
There was one thing which worried me about bringing mum back. I discovered that in order to access NHS you have to prove you are 'habitually resident' here. Doesn't matter if , like her, you are paying UK taxes and receive a UK pension! At the time, that meant proving you had been here for 6 months when you registered with a doctor. I was advised to take out private insurance for the intervening period. Luckily for us, it seemed that the GP has some 'discretion' and ours agreed to register her immediately. You've probably got that sorted, but just something to check if you haven't.
Anyway, hopefully everything continues to go smoothly and the UK weather improves by 17th June!
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Thanks starryUk! Yes nhs is one of my worries. I have to keep her health insurance here (”medigap” which covers things the state Medicare doesn’t) in US for the time being in case we do actually come back for the check up in autumn, but I’m trying to establish her residence in UK at the same time. The US insurance apparently has some foreign cover provisions but I have to find out what those actually are, anoth mystery for me! And if we cancel it, she can’t get it back again as she now has a pre-existing condition (cancer). Mystery of the whole US system since I moved away age 19 when my parents were much younger than I am now.

Travel health insurance seems wise too.

The UK passport is one piece of the puzzle that we need for proving she qualifies for NHS. Now it seems she has to have a rental agreement or house purchase (no way, she’s living with us and if not, care home is next), proof of new address, something about Uk employment (um, she’s 82). And umpteen other things. I’ve asked DH to put her on one of the utility bills now for a proof of address.

I’m really worried she will have a fall and fracture her hip or something catastrophic.

Today’s chore is to make a spreadsheet with all her passwords to a zillion things as I try to move her into the digital age and stem the flow of post which she carefully opens then puts back in the envelope and leaves all over the house, including unpaid bills. At least she has stopped writing a check and sending back in the reply envelope to each begging letter that comes, there are several a day.
 

starryuk

Registered User
Nov 8, 2012
1,323
0
My goodness. You certainly have a very complicated situation to deal with, but it looks like you are up to the challenge. It is going to be such a relief when you finally get your mum on the plane. She must be feeling very happy at the prospect of her forthcoming 'visit' to see the family. You mention an aunt. Will she be able to sort out any outstanding business once you have left? Luckily, I had my sister living in Australia to do all that. We left with a couple of suitcases and she shipped stuff over later. None of which we needed, it turned out!

Keep up with your thread if you have time, because it will be a good source of information and support for you and others trying to move parents 'back home'.
 
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AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Hi @starryuk yes I have an aunt here but she is 81 and has a very sick and cantankarous husband and a son who is younger than me but not coping with the drawbacks of life in his 50s, basically! Depressed mainly but sooo obese and I think some hushed-up substance abuse going on there. Auntie did her best to help mum, who is her late brother’s wife and has been a wonderful sister in law. She wants to come over the few miles each week to check on the house, but I think I will try to simplify things and hire her handyman who mum uses for jobs to keep an eye, and do an empty-house jobs list, he lives next to aunt and clearly they have talked since he told my aunt that mum wrote 2026 on his check last week. I hope he was able to cash it, he is a nice man.

I put mum’s 7 gnarly overgrown African violets on Nextdoor to gauge interest and have about 50 replies - I guess houseplants are in fashion again! Sorry I did that because now I have to arrange people to come take them. Also she has forgotten how much she moaned and worried about just throwing them away, she would feel guilty about it. So now wants to take leaf cutting from each! The object was to not have living stuff for auntie to have to come and mind.

I also bought a bunch of plants in a sale with mum a few weeks ago, forgetting what a job it would be to dig a flowerbed, put them all in, and put a fence round so that the lawn guy doesn’t strim them off tomorrow, which sends mum nuts. These guys are not the sharpest secateurs in the tool belt, that’s for sure, but really these do look weedy, they are wildflowers. Mum was obsessed last year with raising a Monarch caterpillar butterfly, but had no milkweed in her own garden then frets that the Neighbours might mow them off (in their own garden!) . That’s all these butterflies can eat. So I have installed some of mums very own milkweeds! The should be pretty tough and not need much care by the time we leave.

Argh her brother in England just rang and left a message with her standing there next to the phone. I ran to pick it up but too late - why didn’t she pick it up? Instead wandered off. I dug out the very complex and long number to call him back but no answer. She wants to talk to him, he just had heart surgery!

Why does she only answer the phone when it’s a scammer? Why is she not interested in the plants I just put in? Why does she now want to propagate African violets after complaining she wants to get rid of them for 6 years and letting them get potbound and flowerless?

Because, we are in dementia-land, is why. I really need to get my own visa sorted out for this new country and move there properly.

Now she is trying and failing to call him back, best go try to help.
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Mum has left dementia-land it seems today! No headache and knows the answers to questions like, where is the fan? And how do we change the filter on the air conditioner because it is beeping unhappily. (She let the service contract lapse along with every other payment, except to scammers of course, when she was well ensconced in dementia-land during the winter, and once I reinstated it, June was the soonest they can now come for the annual service- just before we leave for England but best to maintain it Properly I suppose). Because it is getting hot. I am resisting putting on the aircon because I know she isn’t hot and I am missing my HrT which has run out. I’m sure she will soon return to the confused state but so far so good today.

I have also made an appointment with her lawyer at 4 pm to get both UK LPOA forms signed with him to be the certifier. She is a little, oh??.!,! About it but I’ve said they are largely the same as the US ones we did a couple of weeks ago. Hope she doesn’t get funny with me at this stage. Maybe she doesn’t remember doing the US ones? A little MORE of the normal apathy level would be helpful right now, eh Mum? It will be a relief to get that done.

And another triumph is after literally hours of struggling with robo-service loops on website and apps, and repeated logging in and security catch-22s, I finally got her mobile phone provider to provide the code needed to leave them and transfer the phone to a provider that DOES work properly and affordably abroad. Dealing with her current US bank accounts etc is not going to work abroad without a US mobile phone. Even if it’s just to close them all down over the next year or so. The key was threatening to complain to Trustpilot. Instant result from a human!

A neighbour came to the door to ask for some of our rhubarb (fine), and insisted we had met and I had borrowed a tool (and returned it thankfully) years ago. My parents moved here 11 years ago and I have hardly ever been here, I tended to have them visit us as my kids were small and they still could. I have never, ever spoken to anyone here! Now I’m wondering if I have dementia. I see it everywhere I look.
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Do you like my doggie? My daughter sent this picture, I am missing the dog. Oh yeah daughter too I guess!

Today we went to get the contract stopped on dad’s iPad, mum was being charged over $10 a month and could no longer use it. I made the mistake of telling her last night so she was up fretting at 5.30 am about what time we had to leave to do the 9 minute drive for the 11 am appointment. Dad died 5 years ago today. The staff were really nice, admired her driver license photo and didn’t laugh when she held the phone upside down to confirm her identity to their head office that she wanted the service stopped. She isn’t really sure even though I have explained that it’s not needed now I got the WiFi reconnected (that she cut off leaving her devices not working all through the pandemic) . It’s not needed anyway because she can’t work it, but I didn’t go there! I have POA but decided this would be easier and I think I was right.

I have much more important fish to fry than this $10, but thought I would do it while I was on the mobile phone subject and they are so difficult about letting people quit their service and we could go to the bricks-and -mortar shop (not present in UK)! To a human being, the situation was crystal clear.

I also got the handman in to do mum’s long list of complaints (some of which are due to her not trying hard enough to shut off taps and fridge doors, but he coped with good humour). I tried to engage him to check the house for us each week while we are gone so my aunt doesn’t have to come, but he said in confidence he is trying to get a new job in another city. At least he can do until end August anyway.

Then had a zoom meeting with the treasurer and a WhatsApp call with the organist about the chapel back home- they are really struggling to reopen and not have a nervous breakdown, and I am a trustee on the management board since last March 2020. Silly me to not foresee a global pandemic and my mum developing cancer and dementia 4000 miles away! I don’t know what I did in a former life to deserve it. Anyway I tried to calm them down, they mean well but are trying too hard. I’m not even religious, I just used to like singing in the choir, also ruined by the pandemic.
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Oh and I left a message on GP answerphone about mum’s toenails which are loose and coming off after an episode of severe leg swelling last year during lockdown-as in now what do we do? She refuses any help from me but will need to walk through airports etc. And I suddenly got a call from a podiatrist as she was referred directly from my answerphone message! Yay!!! so I will NOT be telling her about that appointment next week until 2 hours before and it was DEFINITELY her doctors orders, nowt to do with me, oh no sirree I am as surprised as anyone (see I am learning!).
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,628
0
Suffolk
She doesn’t have to walk through airports. When you book tell them that assistance is needed at all airports and it should be provided. I did some years ago and it worked really well. Wheelchair and assistant, or a bigger vehicle that will take several people will be given. Worked for me and my carer!
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
15,178
0
South coast
I noticed the little doggie this morning when I logged on ☺️

Phew! You definitely deserve a little reward after sorting out that little lot!
I feel tired just reading about it....
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
@Spamar of course thank you for reminding me! I need to sort that assistance out with the airline soon. She can walk pretty well thankfully, but I don’t think standing in line for hours waiting for screening in Chicago and then Heathrow is going to be a good idea. I don’t know how I will cope myself ( I’ve heard it’s hours in Heathrow immigration due to lack of staff), we will still be on US passports, I haven’t had my very much delayed citizenship ceremony yet, and her passport application will take weeks and we haven’t completed it yet).

I’ve been trying to get over my own low mood, it was bad there for a while. We went out to eat yesterday for lunch while it was blowing a gale and pouring and thoroughly enjoyed. Appreciated the opportunities we have missed for so long! Really sunny today but cold so we went and had a walk around the indoor shopping center which she seemed to enjoy. She suddenly wanted a dressing gown as she noticed her summer one is literally paper thin it’s so old, which was a surprise to me (not that old things are worn out, but that she noticed a problem and formed a plan) and to my surprise we found one for $8 in a juvenile-aimed earring shop that will probably do. Some little signs of lasting recovery since I have moved in, and now I have read up on the sometimes drastic effects of hospital treatment on the frail, plus some of her description makes me suspect she had delirium, it makes some sense and I am more hopeful that one can potentially recover a bit. I also am resigned that she won’t get very much better. While we are out, I’m more used to her trailing weirdly behind and have learnt not to slow down or she just drags even further back - the real object is to get some exercise I guess. It’s just odd.

Working hard on not getting annoyed about things, today apart from my online struggles with her phones and money, was the obsession with household rubbish; every time I put something in the bin, out it comes - it must be recycled! I know it often can’t but no point to argue- still don’t always manage to bite my tongue and agree. Last week she dragged the bin back at 6 am on collection day to look for some bill she thought she had thrown in unpaid - didn’t find or remember what it was, but I knew I had checked everything going out carefully so was able to reassure her.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
22,665
0
North Manchester
If your mum requires a wheelchair you could get priority clearance through the boarding and arrival processes.

To make this more likely, or if she does not require a wheelchair, inform the airline that your mum has a disability that means she is likely to become distressed, the phrase to use is 'hidden disability' many airports provide an identifying lanyard,

Before hidden disability was a common phrase I used to get priority of myself and ambulatory wife by organising things in advance and then identifying myself as required.
 

AwayWithTheFairies

Registered User
Apr 21, 2021
141
0
Thanks @nitram ! It’s like a secret code world isn’t it? We had a couple of afternoon outings over the bank hol weekend, one was to an old tyme place where they have assembled lots of little old buildings of various types, shops, cabins, workplaces, train, from early settler days which is always interesting, and to our surprise we found it was running a fete with lots of activities for a modest entry fee. Mum was really chuffed with that chance discovery and talked about it several times later in the evening, and told her friend about it with a little prompting, on the phone today!! We listened to some local Native tribes singing and drumming, made a doll out of cattails and had an ice cream and some other chats with organizers, so it went down very well and made some memories for me at least. Today we tried to find a place for lunch but it was all either closed for Memorial Day or limited choice of noisy sports bars in our area, so finally we went outside which wasn’t great, a bit windy and very slow service due to being ignored a bit but staff run off feet as well so we didn’t blame them really. The food was nice enough. It’s very hard to get lunches which don’t involve large lumps of animals here but it’s very agricultural and I have got big-city uppity I guess! She still seemed very pleased and kept commenting afterwards what a nice outing it was. I think I need to take her out somewhere each afternoon to keep her mood up, even though I have to somehow fit in 8 hours work a day. Tomorrow’s excitement is a haircut for her, I didn’t go in last time and she was dissatisfied with the length, they were very rushed and even before she got so slow and indecisive, she wouldn’t stand up to them (but *I* will!).