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Residential Care - when is it time to force the issue

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
Mum (who has Alzheimer’s) is in residential care after her third serious fall in a year and it is clear to me that it is not safe for her to come home. The dilemma I have is my dad. He also has Alzheimer’s and struggles to consistently remember where mum is. He doesn’t accept that she needs residential care and is constantly asking when she is coming home. I do not live nearby but in the last year have spent most of my time staying with my dad while my mum has been in hospital or a care home. I have lost a job because of it and am just about hanging on to another part time job which I can do some of from a distance. I have organised carers who do his medication and lunch and another carer who takes him to see my mum every day and then out to do a bit of shopping. He doesn’t accept that he needs these carers. I hoped that would be enough but am getting numerous phone calls every day (often five minutes apart) asking where I am and when I am ‘coming home’. I visit and stay overnight very regularly but have a family and can’t live with him (which is pretty much what he seems to want). My dad will not consider residential care and does not accept that he needs support even though he wants me at his beck and call. When is it time to say enough is enough and insist he goes into residential care. Or do I just leave him as he is and unplug my phone ? My worry is that if he goes to the same place as my mum he will unsettle her by insisting they both go home. I don’t think he is unsafe but he isn’t happy either and very disoriented at times. But maybe would be much worse in residential care if it is against his wishes. I feel that in the writing of this I’ve almost answered my own question but would welcome advice and thoughts from others. Thank you.
 

thistlejak

Registered User
Jun 6, 2020
122
0
I empathise with your dilemma. It does sound as though it would be better for everyone for your Dad to go into residential care.

In our case FIL went willingly into care after going missing for almost 10 hours on the hottest day of that year ( 5th time in 4 months) Our social worker organised for MIL to go into the same place, they both had dementia - different types and different issues. She refused point blank and threatened me , herself and the social worker with a knife - later on when the team came to section her she was all sweetness and light so she stayed at home. She eventually went into hospital and was sectioned 6 months later. She went into a different home from FIL as it was felt better for him as he was very settled and having the time of his life. She would have upset him and the whole home ( she upset the home when visiting him so they wouldn't have her anyway)

To some it seems cruel to split them up but sometimes you have to do what is best for them as individuals .

Your Dad sounds very much like MIL , in that he sees nothing wrong with him , it is everyone else that has problems.

As you say you really have answered your own question, good luck with getting him the help he so obviously needs . As we tried for 6 months to get MIL into care and had to wait for a crisis, I have no suggestions as to how you manage it.
 

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
Thank you. I have been thinking it might be a good thing for them to be together if he would accept residential care but after reading your reply, it may not be the way to go. I’ll think carefully about that.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
3,158
0
Dorset
A friend’s Mum was in a care home and after a while it was decided his Dad needed to go for care after a fall at home. He was sent to the same home as his wife but caused trouble by shouting and arguing with her. He returned home but later, when he needed full time residential care he went to a different one because of the earlier hassle.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,279
0
This is a difficult dilemma because like me you have got two parents to worry about, both with their needs.

You already have carers in place and I think you're going to have to stand your ground and set some boundaries around the times you visit. I live 125 miles away and am not going to go and live with my dad (mum is in a care home) but I do visit him weekly and play a substantial part in the care arragements, leaving carers to cope when I am not there. Would it help to set a timetable for your visits, so you go to him at a planned fixed time one, or twice, a week? You could say when he calls "see you on Wednesday, that's my day to visit you", which might only help a bit but he might accept it. You will have to be insistent about accepting carers and that may be the most difficult thing. His phone calls will be difficult to deal with as you have to answer in case there is a genuine emergency. Perhaps send some of them to voicemail and listen as soon as you can?

I don't really think people should be put in care homes against their will when they are safe at home as you say your dad is. His time may come but until he needs 24 hour care or is unsafe on his own at home, care in his own home is the kindest thing. This is especially true whilst care homes are, as at present, far from back to normal. My dad needs carer support but doesn't need a care home yet. I also foresee a danger that if my parents were in the care home together there would potentially be trouble as he has little patience and cannot cope with mum's various conditions and will either be in tears or will lambast her for her behviour.

You may also want to consider matters financial. The value of the house, if they own it, will be disregarded as long as he lives in it - if he goes in a home it might have to be sold to pay for care depending on what other savings they have.
 

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
Thank you. Very helpful and I agree that as long as he’s safe enough, home with carers may be the kindest thing. I’m increasingly thinking that being with my mum may not be a good idea. I leave whiteboards with a clear timeline for when I’m back and when he is with carers. He forgets to look at it or forgets what day it is. I’m ordering a clock with the day on it to help with that. I’m hoping the phone calls will settle down.
 

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
A friend’s Mum was in a care home and after a while it was decided his Dad needed to go for care after a fall at home. He was sent to the same home as his wife but caused trouble by shouting and arguing with her. He returned home but later, when he needed full time residential care he went to a different one because of the earlier hassle.
Thank you. Yes I’m thinking carefully about it for similar reasons.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
446
0
Hi I am wondering if having a carer take him to visit your mum every day is unsettling him. Do you think if he went less often that he would be able to get used to living alone?
Could you monitor him more remotely to allow you to visit less. My parents Gp recently suggested we install cameras in the house to keep a check on them. We have installed an Alexa show on my Amazon Prime account I can "drop in " on them and have video calls to check they look ok and mum with Alzheimers after seeing my dad do it a few times has even asked Alexa to play music for her. Dad who is blind now asks Alexa to call me and other family members that I have put in its contact list. The Alexa can be programmed to give out information or take actions at certain times of day and can later act as a hub for controlling lights, heating, cameras etc.
 

Bettusboo

Registered User
Aug 30, 2020
38
0
Thank you. Yes maybe. I’ve been thinking about cutting down visits as I also think it is unsettling for my mum and gets in the way of her joining in with activities in the care home which she is clearly enjoying. If he doesn’t go though he gets very upset for a while although when I took him out somewhere different he was ok with that instead eventually. I’m not sure he’d cope with any devices in the home though. He unplugged and moved a fall alarm box the same day it was installed so I don’t think a camera would be tolerated. I’ll have a look at what’s available though. Thank you.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
446
0
Hi @Bettusboo,
Ive found with my family members that change is resisted and upsets them initially but when it becomes the new 'normal' after 2-3 weeks they start to focus on other things. We have bought plug covers online that screw onto the baseplate and stop the pwd removing plugs and turning off electrical items. These have been very effective with MIL.