1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Thurs 29 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Thursday 29 August between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

  1. BrummieG

    BrummieG Registered User

    Feb 19, 2019
    13
    Hi everyone

    Just wondering if anyone has any tips or thoughts. I’m caring for my mum who has Alzheimer’s. She lives with dad and they’re 20 mins drive away. I see them for most of the day on Mondays and Thursdays. Mum can no longer remember what she cooked the night before so they often end up with the same thing two nights running. Plus they’re often eating food that may have been defrosted some days previously which also worries me. I’ve been trying writing on the calendar what’s supposed to be for dinner each day but of course she often doesn’t remember what day it is. We’ve bought her an electronic screen which displays the day and date. but she often forgets to look at it. I’ve also been encouraging dad to remind her about meals when I’m not there. Dad finds this difficult to do as he’s never been involved with cooking etc plus she gets irritated with him if he ‘interferes’. Dad says the quality of the cooking is getting worse too but that’s a separate issue. Any thoughts anyone?
     
  2. Bedllington

    Bedllington Registered User

    Jul 22, 2018
    10
    Hi BrummieG
    Your mum sounds very similar to where my mum is at the moment (except mum lives on her own)
    Ive tried getting ready meals for her, but she forgets how to heat them up on the microwave. And isn't aware of the best before dates.
    Our 'new approach' - which we are in the process of sorting out... which will also sort mums daily tablet regime.
    We are getting carers to come in, prompt mum to have breakfast/make it for her. Make sure mum takes her pills, and while mums eating, the carer will make a sandwich for the evening, tidy up etc. They will arrive mid morning, and stay for a couple of hours, then pop the microwave lunch in for her. Thats the plan! Mum might have something to say about it all, but i want to help her keep independent for as long as possible. Fingers crossed, hope this helps a little
     
  3. BrummieG

    BrummieG Registered User

    Feb 19, 2019
    13
    Thanks for the response. Mum hasn't got care workers yet and would strongly object to them at the moment. She thinks she is managing OK. Problem is dad is complaining about quality of food and expecting me (somehow!) to sort it out. Best wishes and good luck with your plan.
     
  4. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,414
    Female
    Your mum may get irritated by your dad 'interfering' but it needs someone who is actually in the house at the time to sort it out - and that's him. Rather than complaining, he needs to take some responsibility. Could you suggest ways for him to 'help' your mum without annoying her? You could do an online weekly shop for them (and include some ready meals) and he could ensure the right foods are available at the front of the fridge, and prompt her by mentioning he's looking forward to having x for dinner. You know them best so you will know what strategies might work.

    One thing I'd be wary of is your mother's ability to use the cooker as time goes on. My mother got to the point where she was putting food under the grill, forgetting it and setting off the smoke alarm, and having no idea why it happened.
     
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,899
    Female
    South coast
    While written notes, white boards etc can work well in the early stages, people with dementia get to the stage where they will ignore or forget them and even telephone prompts dont work anymore. They need an actual person there in front of them reminding them what to do.

    If your dad is unwilling to help, then the only alternative is outside help. Would meals on wheels (or similar scheme) be acceptable?
     
  6. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    926
    As others have said, notes and white boards are of little use once the person with dementia has lost their initiative. I think there are 3 choices. Your father takes some responsibility for cooking, or hot meals get delivered or carers come in. By the sound of it,none of these are going to appeal. But your father will have to change his way of dealing with her and not expect you to step up all the time
     
  7. BrummieG

    BrummieG Registered User

    Feb 19, 2019
    13
    Hi Sirena

    Thanks. I already go with mum to do the weekly shop each Thursday and including some ready meals may work. You and others are of course right to say dad needs to step up but I fear it’s unlikely he will. He never has and much prefers moaning and blaming others from the sidelines. I really don’t want one if the others to be mum. I’m not even sure I can trust him enough have an honest conversation about it all without him repeating it all to mum and making her feel like a burden. She isn’t at least not to me and doesn’t need to be encouraged to think she is.
     
  8. BrummieG

    BrummieG Registered User

    Feb 19, 2019
    13
    Hi RosettaStone57

    Thanks. See my reply to Sirina!
     
  9. chickenlady

    chickenlady Registered User

    Feb 28, 2016
    94
    There is going to come a point when your Dad will have to take over the meals and he needs to persuade her to let him help so that he can learn how it's done. Fill the freezer with ready meals that can last up to a week if defrosted, ie. avoid fish and rice. She can then take them out and put them straight into the microwave. Or just get your Dad to keep a list of what's in the freezer and tell him to say, "I fancy ........ for dinner, do we have any?" You could cook on Mondays and Thursdays and leave a meal in the fridge for Tuesday and Friday so that she's only got to find something for Weds, Sat and Sun maybe. Good luck.
     
  10. Banjomansmate

    Banjomansmate Registered User

    Jan 13, 2019
    987
    Female
    Dorset
    The Banjoman started taking things out of the freezer and moving them into the fridge for unknown amounts of time, then, last summer he was leaving food out in full sunshine in the kitchen. In the end I ordered him microwaveable ready meals from a firm called Parsley Box which could be kept in the cupboard and used when needed. They are ‘sous vide’ meals, ready cooked then the air removed and just need heating, the same system as pubs and restaurants use, only these are in individual plastic dishes. My dogs’ food is done just the same!
    It saved me the worry that he would get food poisoning and he quite enjoyed some of them.
     
  11. BrummieG

    BrummieG Registered User

    Feb 19, 2019
    13
    Thanks Banjomansmate. I’ll maybe look into some ready meal options along the lines you and others have suggested for when parents might be up for it. I have referred to possible need for ready meals one day but currently both of them are resistant and I want them to be as independent as possible for as long as possible.
     
  12. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,899
    Female
    South coast
    Be warned - there comes a time when you have to change from enabling their wants to implementing their needs.
     
  13. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,414
    Female
    Thank you for your reply @BrummieG
    As Canary says, you do need to be ready to switch from helping with their wants to implementing their needs. If your dad is unwilling/unable to help at all, and wants you to 'sort it out' the options are that they pay for someone to come in and cook, or they eat ready meals. It is likely they will say no to both, but those are the options, and I suspect ready meals will be more popular than 'a stranger' in the house. My mother used to use Wiltshire Farm Foods, who were easy to deal with (I don't know if that would make the idea more or less palatable to them).

    You need to decide where you 'lines' are, because it would be easy to find yourself obliged to do more and more hands-on care for them.
     
  14. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    1,469
    Hi Canary
    This is so important. I find so many of your comments really practical and always helpful.
    Susan
     
  15. MrsBen

    MrsBen New member

    Mar 31, 2019
    2

    Can I ask you a question as your mum sounds like she’s very similar to mine at the moment, have you noticed she’s forgetting to drink and if she is have you found any solutions to this? Or has anyone else? Currently leaving a water jug out as a prompt and have bought orange juice/smoothies as an alternative
     
  16. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,414
    Female
    You will probably need to verbally prompt, just leaving a drink available won't necessarily help. When my mother was in hospital last summer the nurses commented she wasn't drinking - they thought just leaving a water jug and glass within reach was enough, and it wasn't. If I sat with her, poured a drink and suggested she drank it, she did. She has never been interested in drinking plain water, but tea or a smoothie or fresh juice goes down well.
     
  17. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    4,839
    N Ireland
    Hello @MrsBen, welcome to the forum.

    You seem to be trying the right sort of things. With my wife, I have found that I actually have to prompt her to get her to drink(unless it's alcohol - but that's a different tale!).
     
  18. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,899
    Female
    South coast
    Hi @MrsBen I found with mum that eventually even prompting did not work. She would pull her stubborn face and just ignore the drink. I found I had to actually pour us both a drink (usually tea) and I had to sit down with her and drink it. Then she would also drink hers.
     
  19. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    926
    This was always a problem getting my mother-in-law to drink properly . She used to live on her own with carers coming in 3 times a day but during the heatwave last summer it became more of a problem. It was in the care plan that the carers would leave her glasses of fruit juice or water on every visit including prompting her to drink tea with meals. Once the carers were gone however and she was on her own she simply would ignore any drink poured out. I remember going round on one afternoon and finding several still full cups of tea and water just placed around the house . It looked like she picked up the glass or the cup and then just moved it somewhere else without drinking it. To be frank unless someone was with her either drinking with her or prompting her to drink she would just simply forget to take in any fluid. Eventually in the severe heat she actually became dehydrated and then ended up in hospital . That, along with other things that had come to light in the previous months meant as a family we made a decision that she should move into full-time care
     

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