1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    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.

Mum in nursing home now, dad deeply depressed & lost, I feel lost, too

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by GBFast, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. GBFast

    GBFast Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015
    10
    Hello everyone.

    Our sad story all starts about mid-2012 when my mum started to get confused, seemed lost in familiar surroundings, couldn't write or use cutlery easily, got forgetful, etc.

    I had just taken voluntary redundancy from my job of 24 years and was happy with that, and then went away for a while travelling and to study.

    My mum was diagnosed in February 2013 with dementia (I'm not sure which type, but it is not Alzheimers)/ When I cam back in July 2013, she had deteriorated, but was still able to hold a reasonable conversation.

    I then had a health scare and started to suffer from depression - lots of negative life events, including my mother's illness, had started to affect me. I was also worried about my had, who was then 75 and doing too much - he wouldn't let social services help with whatever help they could provide: he wanted to do it himself.

    My own physical and mental health also deteriorated because I was with my parents most of the time and it was getting me very down. I was also unable to get re-re-mployd because I was so concerned and affected by my parents' situation. Mum also had a hip-fracture in October 2013, which obviously didn't help with mobility.

    All of this continued during 2014 and my mum gradually got worse. At this stage, my dad;s mental health still seemed OK, but he was gradually losing weight. I stayed with them for company (probably as much for my own as for them).

    But, from about Christmas 2014, my mum went downhill. She started to suffer from double-incontinence, eating became difficult (she had to have food mashed or cut-up for her). At this stage, my dad's health noticeably got worse: he started to suffer from insomnia, had poor concentration, and started steadily losing weight. He stil wanted to do EVERYTHING for mum, and social services' involvement was limited to two brief calls each day to see how mum was.

    By Spring this year, it became obvious that mum was going to need to go into care. Again, my dad resisted this, but it became inevitable. We finally visited a brand-new, purpose-built care home very close to the house, which had just been opened for dementia sufferers in January this year. It was obviously an excellent facility, and it seemed like there was a mixture of residents with varying degrees of the condition. It actually seemed like quite an up-lifting place. They said they would be happy to take her, and a date for admission was set for 16 June.

    In the meantime, we had an appointment to take mum to see a memory consultant in late May. She scored poorly, and the consultant said a report would follow.

    We were all set to admit mum to the care-home on 15 June, and I came down to the house to take her and her belongings there. However, when I got to the house, my sister was there and she and dad said they could not go through with admitting her, and, instead, my sister was going to do more to help to keep mum at home. I knew this was a mistake, but didn't say anything.

    By later that week, it became clear that it had been a mistake - the double incontinence and confusion was so bad - and all agreed that admission WAS required. I rang the care home and they said they could not now take her for at least two weeks (because of other admissions) but would take her week beginning 29 June.

    However, in the meantime, the report from the memory consultant had been issued and this indicated that my mother had severe dementia (a score of 4/30). The care home that she was due to be admitted to was only registered for mild or moderate dementia sufferers, so they could not now take her. This felt like a real body-blow, and a terrible blunder by my dad, and especially sister who, with the best intentions, had obviously over-committed on what she could do.

    I then had to furiously phone-around and visit a number of reasonably local homes that COULD accept more severely affected sufferers, and finally found one not too far away. I was invited to visit it and speak to the manager. It was older and not as good as the new facility I mentioned above. The residents were also older and more badly affected by the condition, so the atmosphere was not so good.

    Nonetheless, I researched the place, and it had generally good reports. They said they would accept my mum, and she was admitted on 6 July.

    My mum seems to have settled OK. She had a minor fall the first week she was there and gets upset at times talking about dead relatives, especially her mother. She has also recently started to show some signs of agitation, particularly at bedtime. I spoke to her doctor about it and he said it was not unusual and that it might be appropriate to prescribe a mild sedative, as and when required, to calm her down if this became a regular problem.

    To be honest, and this sounds awful, I now feel like I have lost my mum, and am more concerned about my dad. He is lost. In the past 18 months or so he has gone from a stout but physically quite healthy 76 year old man of 16 stone to skin and bones at less than 12 stone. He is hooked on sleeping tablets and has lost interest in everything. He has no hobbies, spends his day watching Sky Sports News, and pacing-about. I've suggested he makes re-contact with cousins and acquaintances who he used to see quite regularly, and his response is "why would I want to do that?" His is existing and is mind is full of excessive worry about everything.

    Obviously, and quite naturally, he is grieving for the woman he loves and who he has been married to for 48 years, but his lack of other distractions and ANY interests is an enormous concern. He tells me about "bad thoughts" in his head, but won't expand on that. When he sees his doctor, he won't tell me what he discusses other than getting more sleeping tablets and getting weighed each time.

    I am staying with him at the moment because I am so worried about him, and would be even more worried about him if I was in my own house. Plus, if I was alone in my own house, I would also be alone with my thoughts and would be worried about my own depression affecting me.

    I should say: I am single and gay and, having taken redundancy from work and started suffering from depression, withdrew from old workmates and other friends. It is very hard to meet new people, because so much of that involves bars and clubs and I don't want to add drink to the mix.

    Meanwhile, my sister DOES have a life (which is probably why she wasn't thinking when she over-committed in June). She lives at home with her two grown-up children and is loved-up with a boyfriend. I'm not saying she isn't concerned about her mum, but she seems to be able to compartmentalise it and get on with the rest of her life.

    I have always been closer to my parents anyway, because my sister first got married and moved away when she was only 21. I left home when I was 25, but live less than two miles away, would talk to them every day, and see them 3-4 times a week. My dad also used to do night work quite a lot, so I would see my mum in the evenings (alone) and we would just talk for hours. The three of us also used to eat regularly together, especially on Sunday when either she or I would make dinner for the three of us. All of that has obviously gone.

    So my sister, if you like, has moved on to an extent. My dad and I cannot.

    I just don't know what we are going to do. I am continually worried about who is going to die first: my mum in the home, or my dad from heartbreak.

    I also cannot get a job. My skills are considerable but very specific, and I don't know if I could hold one down to be honest, but there's no opportunity to try anyway. So, I am lost, but I can still go out occasionally. But, last Thursday I went into town for a meal and a couple of drinks with a friend for a few hours, came home to my dad's house, and he said he was completely lost while I wasn't there. What is he going to do if I get a job some distance away can't see him for a week or weeks?

    What are we going to do?

    Gavin. :confused: :(
     
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    7,428
    Yorkshire
    Morning GBFast
    So glad you feel you can come here and write it all out - sometimes just doing that helps each of us focus a little more on what support we hope for - and it's good to just get it all out.
    Your poor dad rather lost himself in his caring role, didn't he - and it is hard to adjust to a life you hadn't expected to face. You say he sees his GP, so maybe write out all your concerns for him and send it to his GP, saying also that your dad doesn't say much to you and you wish he could. Then at least the GP will have a wider view than your dad's perspective.
    You too seem to be suffering - all this is not what we all hope for, for our parents and ourselves. Please go and chat to your own GP about the whole situation but mostly about your own feelings - you could take a copy of this post as an opening to the conversation. Maybe ask for a referral to counselling so you have someone to share all this with.
    Are there any openings locally for you to volunteer, to get out and do something and start slowly entering a working environment. I love family history so help out at the local society once a week. Maybe your local authority website has a volunteering page?
    Best wishes
     
  3. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    356
    Well done Gavin for being such a caring son, your Mum must be proud of you. Maybe it would be good if you and Dad went out together somewhere? A change of scenery may lift his spirits a little, garden centre even for a cake and coffee or a meal?

    Has your Dad been to see your mum, he feels lost as she was his world and he retreated from his own world so now is bobbing about unsure of everything. He maybe needing a bit more support than he admits. His GP could give him anti depressants to help with dark thoughts even for a short time. Is there a British legion or that kind of thing he could go to, even if you went a couple of times with him?

    You need to see your GP too for your depression and see if medication help or needs tweaking. Can you work volunteering for a while and maybe tell dad they need someone else could he help too? You have to be inventive sometimes to get what you need to achieve. How about if he's into gardening offering to help at your mums home? How would he feel about him going to your house once a week for you to cook his meal change of routine.

    He has been on automatic pilot for so long he has lost his identity which lots of us do with this disease unfortunately. Would he maybe go away for a week somewhere with you or someone?

    Your sister probably does worry about your mum but thinks you are capable of dealing with it all which is unfair, but she is involved in her children etc and funds it easier to be distracted from the situation than you and dad as you are still at the scene of everything.

    Take one day at a time both of you, and try to achieve small goals like going to shops, or walking round the block for now. This has consumed your life for a few years and will in a different way for a few more so don't expect miracles to happen quickly.
     
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,338
    Female
    South coast
    Hello Gavin and welcome to TP

    Life has been incredibly hard for you and your dad hasnt it? I would guess that your dad (and possibly you too) has suffered carer burnout and it is going to take a while to recover. I would agree with Shedrech that it would be a good idea to write to his GP explaining your concerns, in case he is not telling his GP the whole truth. I would also recommend that you go to your GP for yourself. Maybe anti-depressants and/or counseling would be of benefit.

    It is hard to pick up the pieces when you have got so low. Start simple - perhaps you can share dinner properly laid at the table again, or go out for coffee. Perhaps you could contact relatives again if he doesnt want to. Was he once good at gardening or DIY - perhaps you could do some and need a hand ;) ? Are there lots of photos that need sorting and scanning, but you need his input? Dont get frustrated if something doesnt work - try something else. Volunteering is wonderful way back into work.

    I think that posting on here was the first step.
     
  5. GBFast

    GBFast Registered User

    Jul 13, 2015
    10
    Thank you for responses.

    I knew my mum had dementia in early 2013, but I was fine then.

    It was when I had the health scare and came home and reality set-in that my depression became a problem. I have tried various anti-depressants, the atest being Citalopram. I have to say that I found counselling unbelievably tough and it drove me to drink for a time and I either gave up on counselling or the counsellor gave up on me.

    Today was awful: my dad suffers from chronic insomnia, and takes too many sleeping tablets. He told me how many he had taken, I told him this had to stop until the tablet was changed (he has developed tolerance to the one he is on), he got angry and sid he was going to go out and not came back. Concerned, I rang the police. They didn't take details but told me to phone the out-of-hours doctor. Now, dad says he won't forgive me and I have made the situation worse.

    I generally take dad to see mum every other night, but it's as it we are just thee - there is virtually no conversation now, and increasing agitation. Mum seems to have taken a dislike to the home and, last Friday and out of the blue, she said she just knew there was something wrong with her - so my instincts that she was still aware of not being capable of what she used to be seem to be the case.

    I've mentioned the Alzheimer's Society, Age Concern, other meeting groups, contacting old relatives, etc, to dad, and he's just not interested, and I just know it is dragging me down.

    That said, I know I would feel lonely in my largish house on my own with my depressing thoughts. I'm just hoping that the Citalopram will kick-in soon to give me a new lease of life and be able to get another job (unfortunately, it's rather specialised, I have a gap now in my recent CV, and there are few openings in Belfast).

    But things just can't just go on as they are - for it's an existence, not a life.
     
  6. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    356
    Hi Gavin, sorry things don't seem any better right now. Your dad maybe is taking his feeling of helplessness out on you and sounds like his depression is getting worse as you say. Don't take any notice of the statement about forgiving you as what is there to forgive? The fact that you care about him so much? He knows you are correct about the sleeping tablets probably but doesn't like his child telling him as an adult the truth or what is best for him. My dad is the same.

    I would try to take a step back from a Dad for now, he knows how to get in touch with you, maybe ring him three times a week, or just see him when you take him to visit Mum. When you visit Mum is it worth taking photos in for her to talk about when you go or a nice cake or something just as a surprise for her.

    The anti depressants take a good four to six weeks to work properly but will be worth it in the end so keep up the good work.but the counsellor may not have been the right one for you so ask to change, or may not have been the right type of therapy.google other types eg CBT or family therapy, get Dad to go but tell him he needs to go with you to help YOU get YOU sorted out not him! Obviously it will help him but if he thinks it to help you maybe he will go. Promise him a drink at the end of it, or something.

    Don't worry about the job situation if you can, sort yourself out first then when your medication is working you will be able to sort that out with a clearer head. Pigeon hole things in your head, if it creeps in your head and you don't want it to hit it with a bat, metaphorically of course, until you are ready yo think of it. It worked a treat with my exhusband (although I would like to have used a real bat).

    On the way home from visiting mum why don't you just pull in a pub for a drink or eats and catch dad on the hop and talk to him over a meal and then he won't feel he can just strop off with other people about. He has probably needed sleeping tablets over the years to switch off all his worries about mum, so it's another big step he's dealing with.

    Keep believing it will get better because it will, honest.
     

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