Tea bags in the kettle

Beezed

Registered User
Apr 28, 2009
446
Southampton
Hi everyone,

I am really worried about my mum. Over the past couple of weeks I have realised that she has lost the capacity to make a cup of tea for herself. I know this may sound trivial, but, it is her only source of fluid. Often I will find the kettle full of tea bags and stewed tea. I observed her making one yesterday. She boiled the kettle, filled two mugs with water and stood there not knowing what to do. It would not occur to her to drink water or juice. Between myself and the carer we keep her hydrated as much as possible but she can go from mid afternoon until I get there the following day having had nothing to eat or drink.

I rang social services and they suggested leaving a flask! She wouldn't know how to open it and I can't get someone to pop in late afternoon. I am usually busy with my children then.

I have read a lot on this site about UTIs and the problems they cause. I really want to avoid this.

Last week I (reluctantly) put her name down for two care homes very close to me. I cried all the way home because I have been trying to avoid this for a long time. Also, mum always said not to put her in a home. Feeling very guilty right now. At the same time I am hoping a place comes up. Catch 22.

Did anyone else find that it was a little thing that forced their decision to move a loved one into care?

I have been caring for her for 3 years but the deterioration is now marked. She does nothing for herself anymore except surprisingly, making her bed every morning. She doesn't notice that the sheets are soiled though. I can cope with the other aspects of her care but I think that I have got to the stage where her health will be affected by not drinking.

I don't know if anyone can give me any advice but it feels better to get this off my chest. I realise that many of you are dealing with much worse problems.

Regards,
Jeanne.
 

Lisa M 99

Registered User
Feb 12, 2009
247
Winchester
Dear Jeanne,

I really feel for you. My mum was in EXACTLY the same situation in March of this year. I had noticed that she could no longer make a cup of tea and despite carers going in each day, she was not getting enough hydration.

Have you checked her for a UTI? I am not saying that this will solve the problem but often a UTI can significantly impair behaviour.

Mum ended up in hospital with malnutrition in April and stayed there for 3 weeks before moving to a care home. I felt the same guilt but that's normal. Please try not to feel upset (easier said than done)!! But you're not alone and by providing your mum with 24 hour care you are helping her to make sure that she is safe and well looked after.

I know that you need to find the right place but if it's any consolation my mum had also said in the past that i was never to put her in a home. However the time came when i had to and it was for the best for her and for us because best will in the world, one daughter can't do that all on her own!

The people at mum's home are especially trained in dementia care and know how to handle her and since being there she has really blossomed. Try not to feel bad. You love your mum very much and are just trying to do the right thing by her. You are doing an amazing job and I can see from your post how much you care.

By the way, yes most people have NO CLUE or understand what it is to have dementia so that comment about leaving a flask out for your mum was just said out of pure ignorance, but it is very frustrating nonetheless!!

Best of luck with everything. xx
 

Clive

Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
716
I agree with everything Lisa wrote.

When mum got to the stage of having problems making a cup of tea I began looking for a safer place for her. I was finally prompted to move her to the Home when she had a little fire when ( I think) she tried to light her enclosed gas fire with a rolled up piece of paper from the gas oven.


Looking back, moving mum to the Home was the best decision I made, though it was very hard at the time. There is only so much you can do and the deterioration just goes on.

Best wishes

Clive

PS

In mum’s case she started making the tea with chocolate biscuits, and eating the tea bags as biscuits. Also she was stopped once or twice from putting the plastic electric kettle on the gas stove.
 

Bookworm

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,581
Co. Derry
Agree with everyone who has already posted - this now must be made safe - fluids are just one issue here - there are probably other safety issues looming. Please don't worry about your mum's prior wishes - a large per cent of people would say the same - but when you get to the point of not knowing you are not safe at home there is no other option and it is actually a good option because she will feel so much better with regular drinks and food and can enjoy eating and the company may really cheer her up - so don't focus on the down side - look at all the benefits for her and for you. Take special care Jeanne - driving for example - you will be a bit distracted at present with this worry.
 

Sandy

Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
6,847
Hi Jeanne,

I whole-heartedly agree with the excellent advice you have been given already.

Last week I (reluctantly) put her name down for two care homes very close to me. I cried all the way home because I have been trying to avoid this for a long time. Also, mum always said not to put her in a home.
I think it is always better to err on the side of caution and identify the very best homes in your area and put down the name of your relative with dementia. Most homes know that this is how the process works and if a place is offered before it is needed, it can always be declined.

Like Lisa's mum, my MIL's quality of life has been improved by being in a safe, stable, caring environment with people around (both carers and residents) 24/7. She could not believe that she was actually in a care home as the cheerful, modern surroundings were so at odds with her mental image of some Victorian nursing home.

It sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing. The coming weeks of transition may be a bit difficult, but hopefully the end result will be an improvement for both you and your mum.

Take care,
 

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
3,725
North Derbyshire
Beezed

ARe you sure that your mum cannot be helped in her own home for a while longer? I can see that the teabag issue is a sign of dementia, but I wonder if it can be got around? There are now machines that you put the teabags into and they make tea, but perhaps mum wouldn't cope with them. What danger does putting teabags in the kettle pose? I don't know. Perhaps potential overheating.

I think you are wise to have sussed out potential care homes now, but see if you can find a way around the tea issue, so tha mum can remain at home a bit longer.

Love

Margaret
 

living in hope

Registered User
Dec 14, 2008
552
69
yorkshire
Hi
My husband started putting tea bags in the kettle and this was closely followed by pouring boiling water onto the worktop (no cups), great risk of scalds, he would try and push the tea bags down the spout and there was always the chance that the kettle could have just boiled. I stopped him from making tea but he was able to help himself to tap water so got regular drinks. He is now in a care home and is only 60, but it was the only option to keep him safe as he also wandered a lot and was in danger of getting lost. No easy answere unfortunately!
Love
Lorraine
 

Hunnyb22

Registered User
Sep 4, 2009
11
Hull
Beezed

ARe you sure that your mum cannot be helped in her own home for a while longer? I can see that the teabag issue is a sign of dementia, but I wonder if it can be got around? There are now machines that you put the teabags into and they make tea, but perhaps mum wouldn't cope with them. What danger does putting teabags in the kettle pose? I don't know. Perhaps potential overheating.

I think you are wise to have sussed out potential care homes now, but see if you can find a way around the tea issue, so tha mum can remain at home a bit longer.

Love

Margaret
It is so easy for someone with AZ to confuse the teapot with a kettle and the risk of them scalding themselves is tenfold. My granny had AZ, she was living with us at the time and in the later stages of her illness she put her hand in a pan of boiling water. What if she had picked that pan up and thrown it at someone? We were only little kids then (1950s) and my mother had to have granny sectioned.

Yes, there are many safety issues, dropping water on the floor and her mum slipping on it is one issue, putting the electric kettle on the gas ring is another, and the list goes on. Jeanne shouldn't feel guilty, she has done the right thing by putting her mum in a care home, where there are people there to look after her 24/7. She would have felt more guilty if she had done nothing and her mum had had an accident.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
We were regularly visiting a relative who had cancer and who died a week or so ago.

He didn't have dementia though we thought he might be going that way when we found he was putting milk and tea bags in the electric kettle.

Confusion, whether dementia-related or not, seems to screw up the process of making tea which, if we think about it, is relatively complex if it is done correctly.

I know the Filipino care workers at Jan's home have no idea at all about making tea because they never drink it themselves. They have the same sort of confusion about what to do when, and where, and how, and for how long.
 

sussexsue

Registered User
Jun 10, 2009
1,528
West Sussex
Hi

It is strange how its the little things that make you realise that major changes are needed.

To some people not being able to make a cup of tea seems such a trivial thing. However it is a process/sequence of tasks that are ingrained in most of us, having done it literally thousands of time. Its a stark realisation when the poor AD brain cannot even manage that simple process. As you say, it in turn leads to not drinking, because of course that is all part of the same process.

Dont feel guilt-tripped by the "dont put me in a home" phrase. No one wants to be put in a home in the same way no one wants to end up in hospital. But these things happen.

Strangely when my mum was younger she always said "if anything happens to me, put me in a home, I dont want to be a burden to you". So guess what, when the time came I decided to bring her to live with us, although I dont rule out a home later down the line.

You have to do what is right for you all, and at the moment it sounds like your mum is getting close to needing full time care.

Good luck
 

Beezed

Registered User
Apr 28, 2009
446
Southampton
Thank you all for taking the time to reply and for your kindness. The support from this forum is truly breathtaking and I am so grateful.
We have her six monthly check up at the memory clinic today so I will discuss what is going on with the consultant.
Interestingly I had a call from another care home I had looked at which had a bed come up. I declined because I had a really bad feeling about it. Going to hang on as long as possible to get the one/s I want.

Regards
Jeanne.
 

JamesT

Registered User
Aug 5, 2009
29
BERKSHIRE
I've had the same problem

My Mum has put tea bags in the kettle occasionally. Also, I've checked her ability to get herself a glass of water a few times -and once, she got it from the hot tap.

But still my overall feeling is that she's ok to be left when I go out to work (she lives with me). I guess she is not going to have a major hydration problem in 9 hours, but risks of scalding might be there soon. Perhaps at that point, I'll be looking at using day care every day for a while, but perhaps a move to residential care would not be far off.
 

Flooz

Registered User
Sep 8, 2009
139
UK
She does nothing for herself anymore except surprisingly, making her bed every morning.
I never thought I'd see someone else notice the same thing as I have with Mum. Her bed is impecably made every morning. At one stage I even doubted she was sleeping in it as it always looked so perfect!

Sorry, can't help with any suggestions for drinks though :eek:
 

maudy plum

Registered User
Feb 9, 2007
9
Used to have the same problem with my dear Mum, she too would put the tea bags in the kettle.... would also put electric kettle on the electric hob to heat up hence, melted plastic. My brother made a locking device for the electric point to the cooker as we were so worried.

Pat
 

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