1. fluff

    fluff Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Hi - I've not been here for a while but I really need some advice.

    Both my in-laws are frail and elderly, my mother-i-l has dementia and other serious health problems. My father-i-l has been the main carer but his health no longer allows him to take proper care of himself, let alone looking after both of them. Until now somehow they managed together, by helping each other and they are both adamant that they want to stay in their own home but the situation is getting worse. They want to retain their independance and will not accept any outside help. Their GP is aware, worried and will put help in place immediately they give consent but says he needs their consent to act. They won't give consent and tell us they can cope alone, which is becoming a nightmare for the family.

    What can we do? I guess simply put, the question is, is there anything we can do to force intervention against their will, before it is too late to help them? How bad does this have to get before anything can be done? :(
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi fluff,

    From my experience with an elderly neighbour, who lived alone, was incontinent and kept getting infection because of poor hygeine, nothing can be done against the will of your in-laws.

    They are probably frightened of being institutionalised and separated and would rather manage as they are.

    I know how difficult it must be for the family, but whilst they are both alive, I can sympathize with them.

    My neighbour was taken to visit a friend of his in our local care home, and was so impressed, he decided he would be quite happy to live there too. Mind you, he was 90 by then. Is there any chance your in-laws could be taken on a visit. It might just persuade them.
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    They may also be concerned about being separated and who can blame them. Could you perhaps research possible homes and see if they could stay together? I think Sylvia's correct: if they won't accept help, it can't be forced on them.
  4. fluff

    fluff Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Hi Sylvia
    Thank you for your reply- I agree, I am sure they are scared of being separated but we can't even persaude them to accept meals on wheels - and really they need a carer to come in morning and evening if they are to stay in their home but they won't countenance it.

    But you are probably right, there is little we can do.
  5. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    it sounds to me as though they are reluctant to have help even in their own home. Am I correct? If that is the case then you could try shocking them into it by explaining that if they don't accept help in their own home then they may need to go into residential care. This could well prove to be true - if one of them were to have an accident whilst cooking etc.

    I do sympathise as I had similar problems with my parents. My dad would inisst that he was independent even though he spent the latter part of his life housebound and virtually living on the sofa. He had to knock on the wall on one occasion to get a neighbour to help him up after a fall. When I asked him what he would do if the same situation happened again he said he would knock on the wall again! Thatl's not my idea of independence!

    Also while he was proclaiming his independence my sister and I were running around like blue a***d flies doing everything for him that he couldn't do!
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I used to make an evening meal for my neighbour. He had no family . He didn`t like my food, it was either too hot, too much, too peppery or too something else.

    He had been a cook in the Army and was quite particular about the food he ate. He was quite happy to make himself poached egg on toast.

    He had a small appetite and wouldn`t throw a crumb away. His fridge was full of bits of left over food, waiting to be reheated for another meal.

    When he took a loaf of bread from the freezer, I found he`d laid all the individual slices out on his worktop to defrost. His cutlery drawer was full of crumbs and food went mouldy in his fridge, but he was adamant he was capable of looking after himself.

    Even so, he was 92 when he died.
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Further to Brenda's point: how much help are you and the rest of the family giving them? If it's a lot, perhaps another way to "shock" them into accepting in-home help is to "withdraw your labour". I know that sounds harsh, but it sounds like the rest of the family are at the end of their respective tethers: you do have a right to your own lives as well, you know.
  8. fluff

    fluff Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Hi Jennifer - we have totally given up on the idea of persauding them to look at residential homes of any sort, I don't blame them for hating that idea and would hate to seperate them, but they won't accept help to stay in their own home either. We don't live locally to them so frequent visits are impossible and, to be honest, I think even if we were next door they need more care than I could give. Ideally, at least for our peace of mind, they would be together in a nursing home but that won't happen.

    When we ask how they are coping we are told everything is fine but they can no longer get upstairs (despite a stair lift) and are both becoming housebound to the point they are now reliant on freinds and neighbours to do their shopping.
  9. fluff

    fluff Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Oh dear Brenda - that made me laugh, we don't (can't given the distance) run round that much - but other people do our running around for us and much of it in the name of retaining independance and also - not being a worry to anyone!

    You are right, that talk has to happen because we are in exactly the situation you describe. Whether they can be made to understand I don't know.
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    So, this is really a peace of mind issue, rather than an intolerable amount of running around? If so, I don't think there's much you can do. You could arrange for groceries etc to be delivered (when my mother was still at home I would do that all the time - thank god for Tesco's :D ) Perhaps you could persuade them to have cleaning help? Sometimes that's more acceptable than "personal care" help: lots of people have cleaners. Of course it's likely that there's an element of your parents not wanting outsiders to see just how really bad the situation has become, and I don't think there's a lot you can do about that. Pride etc.

  11. Louise.D

    Louise.D Registered User

    Apr 13, 2007
    This is exactly the same situation I was in until 9 weeks ago.

    My mother has dementia and my dad had cancer. He was adament that he would not have any help, I informed social services who tried to help but he refused. My mother lived in an unsafe enviroment. My dad was too proud and beleived that a cleaner would run off with the family brass. He also worried that she would be sectioned and 'hid' her dementia from everyone.

    9 weeks ago she had a fall. My dad could not get her up and had to call 999. They sent her straight to hospital and informed social services. (Probably after viewing the state of upstairs and the 14 sets of soiled sheets in her room)

    That night my father died. Leaving me with my mother who has a 24/7 supervision need for dementia. How he ever coped amazed me.

    We are now having to cope not only with the death of my dad but caring for someone with dementia as well as looking after two children.

    Shock tactics are what you need. If I had known exactly how bad things were I would of put my foot down and got him the help that he needed. I would of stopped being so nice and understanding and would of really forced the issue.

    He won't like it, he will put up a fight but you must be strong. I was to worried about upsetting the apple cart that I didn't press my dad.

    It's hard, but I believe that if I had been more firm with my dad he would still be alive. The stress of looking after my mum and a large house killed him.

    If only I could turn back the clock.
    If only I had been more firm.

    On a more positive note:- Mums okay living with me and my two kids. It's hard but very rewarding and I wouldn't have it any other way (at the moment)
  12. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    south lanarkshire
    Hi Fluff

    Could the carers be introduced initially in the guise of visitors, friend's of the family.
    The first few visits, it wouldn't matter if they did/achieved nothing, but over time if the carers were good and well briefed, they could gradually start to make cups of tea, sandwiches etc (because they, the carers needed tea or something to eat);)
    This was the way I had to handle it with my Mum and slowly, slowly it worked. It then became routine, until the normal carer was on holiday or sick and then we were back to square one.

    Hope you can get things worked out

  13. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    How I can relate to all of this my parents also refused home help until it was forced on them and only because I needed surgery(this was last august) prior to that I was doing everything, admittedly the help offered wasn't anywhere near enough and my daughter ended up having to take leave without pay, fortunately we were able to reimburse her for loss of wages. I needed six weeks to get on my feet but had to do it in two weeks. Mum is now in the dementia secure home and dad who really should be in a assisted care living hostel is still at home thinking how well he is coping and I'm run ragged, and thinking it was in a way easier when they were both under the same roof. I had POA for mum and was able to sign her into care but only dad can make that choice for himself and only god knows how much the medical side have tried to get him to see reason. I do hope everything works out well, try and be strong something I'm not.
  14. Lonestray

    Lonestray Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006
    Hi Fluff, As an oldtimer over 75 I can only too well understand your folks not wanting help.
    I think Alfjess has the right idea, also look at Karen's post on Buddying.

    Here's a little look in to to the thinking of some older folk. They dread being put in a 'Home' and will grab on to anything with what ever strength they have left as family members and SW'ers attempts to drag them off to their 'Last Stop'.

    Prison has the advantage over a NH. There you don't have to pay for your food and lodgings! Best of all you have every chance of walking out one day without being badgered by your loving family trying to put you back in.
    Breaking out of a NH is harder when your in your 80s. Should you be lucky to find your home the strangers there will phone the cops, who'll return you the more welcoming arms of the staff at the NH!

    Then again NH may not be all bad, I understand the staff dish out narcotic tranquilizers. By being stoned you can go on plesant trips.

    You can ignore what I have typed so for except for the first three lines.
    I'm NOT suffering from Alzheiler's just Oldtimers. Padraig
  15. fluff

    fluff Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Thank you all for your responses and good advice.

    Louise, my heart goes out to you, you were in exactly the situation that is coming so close and we would like to avoid. Because neighbours and friends are rallying round, my in-laws believe they are coping but so obviously they are not. Trying to talk to them at the weekend got nowhere, we will try again next weekend but there is a question of how far to push it, I don't want them to dread family visits though the only choice at the moment seems to be to let them slide into real misery.

    Living with us is out of the question, apart from selfish motives and the fact we both work full time, we live at too great a distance and they like their 'safe' neighborhood. My mother-i-l loves to watch from the window and recognise passers by. She couldn't do that and would feel more isolated with us. I think one worry is that she needs familar things around her and moving her, I suspect, would be the last straw. So, from that perspective, I really do understand why they want to stay in their own home.

    Padraig, you make a good point as does Alfjess - they are quite sociable people and would want to make sure their visitors were comfortable so might accept carers they saw as vistors and friends.

    Well, we will keep trying, I'll let you know if we progress.
  16. Sleepy

    Sleepy Registered User

    Mar 28, 2007
    My aunt refuses help point blank, she refused to accept meals on wheels, she cancels every day, but the people know her now and still deliver her meals daily! As I don't live nearby it is a worry. Her doctor, social worker, CPN are all ready to help but she insists she's fine. She goes shopping and forgets her way home, doesn't know what day month or year it is, and goes from suspecting everybody to trusting anybody in a blink. I worry constantly about who she lets in to her house. Her social worker is absolutely brilliant, a very caring lady, and she is just so frustrated and concerned for my aunt's welfare. The magic word is consent, which she won't give. So we sit, and wait and worry. But if I put myself in her situation - she just wants to clinig to her independance and normality for as long as she can. In her own little world she's happy - its everyone else who worries - she's forgotten how!

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