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problems with mother in law

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by sabine, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. sabine

    sabine Registered User

    Dec 12, 2015
    2
    Good evening,
    I hope I can get some advice from here.
    My mum in law is 80 years old. She lives in Lincoln and we live in Scotland. She is diabetic and doea not see very well. All her 3 sisters have died with alzheimers or are in the late stages of the disease and in the last 15 months, my mum in law has somewhat deteriorated. I phone her regularly and check on her (we have 4 kids and work on shifts? So travelling down to see her is always a world trip but we try and manage 1 - 3 times a year). Her memory is getting worse and worse, she cannot remember what day in the week it is half the time or what she has had for dinner (or what she is actually cooking at that present moment). She does not recognise her neighbours and wjen we saw her in July, she did not recognise us either (after we just went back to the bed and breakfast to pick something up and returned to her house). She frequently talks to me about "Robert and Sabine up in Scotland" - unaware that it is us she is actually talking to. These are just examples and the list cut go on and on.So my hubby tried to contact her gp and social services because we are really concerned about her wellbeing. She refuses to sign powers of attourney to my husband. They refuse to do anything. Unless she has an accident or hurts herself they do not see the need to support her. So yesterday I discovered that mums phone has been disconnected because she forgot to pay her bills. I then contacted her neighbour (who is as concerned as we are about the state she is in) - and she went round to check on her, only to find mother in law sporting a massive black eye. Obviously she cannot remember how she managed that. The GP the got an ambulance out and she was kept in hospital over night. I thought that this would be the point when someone would notice what is going on. Until the nurse spoke to my hubby (who hardly ever speaks to his mum, it is always me who checks on her) - and asks if she has always been that confused, to which my husband answered "she is getting worse as she gets older!". Not one word about her not recognising him, forgetting that it was christmas, sending several birthday cards with money in, not paying her phonebills, trying to boil eggs and turning them on and off several times because she could not remember what she was doing with them or any other story that has happened over the last 15 months. End of story: mother in law is getting home tonight. No care package, nothing. Apparently she wants to go home and they reckon that she is fit enough. I honestly genuinely do not believe that she should be left alone, with noone there to check regularly on her. My husband is angry at me now because I told him that his answer probably did not help. I have no means of contacting her (and 2 weeks before christmas i cannot afford to pay the bill for her, I really do not have the money just now) and I do not know what to do. Sorry for moaning, I feel so helpless.
    Sabine
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    hi Welcome to TP
    i am puzzled
    Does she have any other relatives nearby?
    If she is so forgetful how is she managing her money and how is she managing shopping and washing and eating and drinking?
    I understand that you are concerned and it sounds as though she had fallen but social services and the hospital would normally pick up on someone living alone with no relatives and no support who has memory loss. i'm not a great fan of either of the services but they are usually able to pick up on the basics.

    Is she unable to pay the phone bill and if so does that mean she isn't managing her money?

    The only thing that I can suggest is that you phone adult care social services duty desk on Monday and tell them that you feel that she is unsafe and that you consider her to be a vulnerable person at risk and she now has no means of contacting anyone.

    Is she going to be alone for Christmas when all services shut down - if so you need to tell them. It sounds as though she needs some day care if nothing else.

    Age UK also have some visiting services (as she hasn't been diagnosed the Alzheimer's services won't kick in). Age UK have a helpline and it might be useful to phone them. This is the info and they are open now
    Age UK Advice line

    We run a free national advice line that is open 365 days a year and takes in excess of 250,000 calls annually. To talk to someone, just call 0800 169 2081.


    If she is completely alone and has just had a fall I would be worried too.

    i can't be of any more help but AGE UK may be able to give you more info. Good luck
     
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,715
    Female
    London
    Social Services are legally not allowed to ignore the sentence: "You have duty of care for a vulnerable person at risk." Then explain how she is at risk as that's the important part. Is she at risk of falling, wandering, setting the house on fire or being scammed by fraudsters on the doorstep or on the phone? Then they have to put measures into place to keep her safe. I had to ring them nearly in tears and involve the GP, but they finally listened when I told them how my trusting OH was nearly scammed by fraudsters as he was on his own during most of the day. I had to metaphorically bang my fist on the table a lot and become very assertive, but in the end he got the help he (and I) needed.

    I know that all this is difficult from afar, so contact local carer organisations in her borough plus Age UK and the Alzheimer's Society. Explain the situation and ask them to act as your advocate. They are all helpful in their own way. I found the Carers Centre best in advocacy and Age UK best in practical help. Ask what each of them could help you with in their own right, but especially with dealing with unwilling Social Services and incompetent hospital workers. They should not have let her go without testing her capacity and the hospital social worker getting involved, plus, as you say, a care package being put in place.

    Best of luck. I know how worrying and stressful it is.
     
  4. sabine

    sabine Registered User

    Dec 12, 2015
    2
    Hello,
    Thanks for your replies. From what I see, she has a very strict routine with regards to her schedule, she does certain tasks in a certain order and keeps on top that way, things she has always done a certain way, she manages them. But if she gets interrupted, it throws her. Like one day 2 weeks ago I phoned whilst she was making her dinner. So i asked "oh what are you making?" - her reply was "i cant remember, let me go into the kitchen and check!". She has a diary that she uses to follow the dates but she gets confused with the dates really often.

    We have phoned social work numerous times, so have her friends and neighbours. And all we hear is "unless the gp refers her or something happens we cant do anything!". The gp refuses to talk to us because of data protection. The receptionists are aware she turns up for appointments she has not got quite regularly but the gp does not seem to know or accept this.

    We have just been told by hospital that she is getting referred to mental health and kept in tonight - apparently she started wondering the wards, thinking she is in the cathedral she used to work in.

    We have asked her to come up and visit us or stay with us but she is so stubborn, she refuses to. And I have to admit that just coming to stay for a weekend with her down in lincoln, costs us a large amount of money that we really cannot afford monthly. So we are trying our best from here.
     
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    That is good news that she is being kept in tonight however I would still suggest that when she is sent home you phone age Uk to see if they can help - they have visitors and she also needs help with getting the benefits she is entitled to such as Attendance Allowance - Age UK will help with this even before she has been diagnosed. Someone will do the forms with her. She is so vulnerable that you need to get her all the help that you can, it must be a struggle for all of you but she has done so well so far and now she needs extra help.
    Good luck, keep posting

    you might want to put in writing to the GP that you have told him several times that she is vulnerable and at risk. If you can ask your MiL to sign a letter saying she gives the GP permission to speak to you then he will have to but really someone should have power of attorney (you can do this partly on line and it is cheaper than going to a solicitor - someone put a link on here a while ago if you use the search box to have alook)

    There is so much to do!!!! but there is also a huge amount of help out there but doing it from a distance is very hard xx Thinking of you
     
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,715
    Female
    London
    Try to phone Age UK as soon as possible. They send people round hospital wards to check on vulnerable patients. I saw one of them while OH was in hospital recently. They also have a programme for people discharged from hospital. And try to get hold of the hospital social worker. Also, is there a chance she could see another GP, one who doesn't ask for an LPA before talking to the relative of a vulnerable adult? I've never shown anyone my LPA, and yet everyone has always talked to me.
     
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,548
    Female
    South coast
    I know the GP cant talk about her with you, but they can listen. Without your input her/she wont know what is going on because Im sure your mum wont be going to see them.
    Why not write a letter to the GP Saying that you are concerned that she is at risk and saying all the things that you are worried about? The letter will go in her file and the GP may be willing to do a home visit if you cant get her to see him/her.
     

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