Trying to figure out out what i need to do...

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by tripolitrx, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. tripolitrx

    tripolitrx New member

    Jul 29, 2019
    HI all, newbie post here, so apologies if this is more of the same for you folks...So my Dad has signs of dementia now, and I am at the stage where i need to reach out for help, or at least find out what those options are for help. I have been researching but i am going in circles, overwhelmed, and frankly very confused on how to proceed. My main problem is I now live in US, i moved over around 8 years ago and my folks are still in the UK. My Dad has rapidly declined over the past month or two, has kind of blindsided me with the extent of the problem. We chat on Skype most weekends and I didn't realize how much of a problem was there until my Mum finally cracked and decided to fill me in.

    My Mum is trying to cope, but she her self has an ongoing leg injury (getting on for 2 years now) which, for the most part, makes her very dependent on my Dad helping her out driving her to appointments, dressing the wound etc. Now however, my Dad seems less and less able to help, and seemingly incapable of doing simple tasks like shopping without being supervised. He is prone to confusion, agitation, forgetting what task he was doing, mixing keys up and so on.

    I am trying to work out what they need to do next. Dad wont go to the docs as he doesn't think anything is wrong, and from what my mum is saying, he needs to be diagnosed before being able to receive any help in the form of a carer or any other assistance out there. (this being a major factor i simply don't know about)

    Could someone shed any advise on what i should try to do to get them some help? Would they be eligible for any assistance without a diagnosis? Is it possible to get an in home assessment from a GP? Dad has started to randomly "Go to the pub" at very odd hours, he drove to the supermarket to get shopping and came back empty as he didn't know how to get out of the car, and also my mum said he has fallen a few times and not understood what was happening.

    Help with resources, processes, well anything really, I have never felt more disconnected from anything being so far away. I have managed to secure power of attorney and access to their bank accounts from over here, but in regards with how to proceed with looking for aid, I am at a loss.

    Thanks, and sorry for the long post...ANY advise is greatfully received
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    Welcome to DTP @tripolitrx.
    Firstly, I’d contact the GP & spell exactly what is happening.
    Secondly, contact their local social services & ask for an assessment. Again, explain exactly what is happening.

    Please keep posting as you’ll get lots of help & support here.
  3. mickeyplum

    mickeyplum Registered User

    Feb 22, 2018
    A very warm welcome to you. If you stay with Tipping Point you will find that one of the things most of us, as carers, do is tell a few white lies. The aim is to allay any anxiety. My husband aged 90 has always been resistant and mistrustful of any find of official 'interference'. These are my white lie (repeated when necessary)
    1) I don't mention visitors till about an hour before so he won't ask a million questions, get agitated and then forget..
    2) I tell him casually that the doctor is worried about me cos of my age and me not being well and is sending a man/woman to talk to me and see if I can get any help.
    3) I tell him this is what doctors do with all their patients when they get to a certain age so it's no big deal. (I mention the names of a few people I know and pretend they have the visitor too)
    4) I act excited enthusiastic and say aren't we lucky in this country that so many good folk are out there who take an interest in us and want to help.
    5) When the visitor has left I prattle on about how kind he was and it's a good job there are folk around to care about old folk.
    Hope this info might help your mum if you think it's worth passing on.
  4. tripolitrx

    tripolitrx New member

    Jul 29, 2019
    Hi Cat27, thanks for the reply. Would their GP even speak with me in regards to this? I didn't even think that would be a possibility. I could certainly at least try to have my mum explain what has been happening to their GP. She has told the nurses she sees regularly for her treatments, but they usually say my Dad needs to want to come in to be diagnosed and there is nothing they can do, she isn't really sure where to turn in regards to that either.

    I will look into local services, again, i was under the impression my dad needed a diagnoses first before even reaching out to them.
  5. tripolitrx

    tripolitrx New member

    Jul 29, 2019
    Thanks for that mickyplum, i had actually thought of having my mum do something like that to "persuade" him into a GPs office with her, it certainly reinforces my thoughts on the matter. Will definitely relay to me mum, she has been walking on eggshells in some situations.
  6. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    You say you have PoA? You should be ok. At Mum’s surgery I had to show the practice manager the PoA documentation and I was immediately made point of contact for Mum’s health issues (other than vascular dementia and macular degeneration, neither of which can be medicated, she doesn’t really have any). My brother and I have been to see Mum’s GP twice recently about her without her being present.

    Could you contact the surgery by phone and see if you can scan/email a copy in order for you to be able to speak about your Dad? Doesn’t mean he couldn’t access his own doctor if he wanted to.
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Even if you didnt have POA, although the doctor cannot speak to you about your dad, you can certainly speak to him! Alternatively you could write a letter which will go into your dads file.

    I think it is important that your dads GP knows what it going on. Unfortunately, it is very common for people with dementia to refuse to go to the doctor, so you have to get them there by stealth. Some GPs are willing to organise an appointment with the pretext of a "well mans" clinic, "drugs review" or some other idea in order to get him there.

    Even if your parents cant get help for your dad, it sounds to me as though your mum could help for herself in getting someone to do those things like bandaging her legs that your dad is no longer able to do.
  8. tripolitrx

    tripolitrx New member

    Jul 29, 2019
    Yes I do have PoA, not a physical copy, but seemingly increasingly prudent to get a hold of one (only learned i had it two weeks ago). My Mum does however also have PoA for my Dad, so i am assuming she could enact the same thing as myself. If I am understanding correctly, its a case of getting him to the doctors with my mum, her enacting PoA for a diagnosis so something official is in his records.

    I do agree about my mum hopefully being able to get some help also, again this is an area i am frustratingly oblivious to, and something i am trying to get my head around over here while trying to do my day job. I don't know if the NHS would accommodate visiting her to dress the wounds, or its it something social services would be involved with.
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I dont understand this. When OH and I sorted out our POA we added our children to the POA, but everyone had to sign, so the children knew about it.
  10. tripolitrx

    tripolitrx New member

    Jul 29, 2019
    Hmm, i was merely informed by my parents solicitor that i had PoA when i called him to ask about their will etc. He didn't indicate i had to sign anything and it was all in place. Guess I will have to double check on that.
  11. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    You cannot have POA without knowing. You have to agree to do it, and sign the paperwork. So unless you did it a very long time ago and have forgotten, you don't have POA.

    The solicitor may well keep the POA until it's needed, and then release certified copies to you. But it wouldn't be a surprise to you!
  12. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    #12 Shedrech, Jul 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    hello @tripolitrx
    this gov site may help you with the LPA question
    you can check whether LPAs have been registered with the OPG
    these pages may help too
    I wonder whether Attorney and Executor of a will have been confused

    you may have been granted 3rd party access to their bank account

    having LPAs in place for both your parents would give you legal authority to support them in managing their affairs .. worth having 2 Attorneys acting jointly and severally with a named replacement if possible

    even with LPA for health and welfare in place, it does not come into effect until the donor ie your dad is no longer considered to have capacity ... so would not necessarily mean that his GP would share information with you or even your mum without your dad's permission due to rules on patient confidentiality
    your dad could write to his GP giving his permission for your mum and you to be given information eg about appointments, to be consulted and for you to be able to ask questions ... this could then be added to your dad's medical notes ... though I'd have some duplicates kept safe to produce when needed
    however, his GP has to note any information given to them, and some do become proactive
    I suggest you write to your dad's GP giving details of all the things your dad has difficulty with and needs help with, if possible with an idea of for how long, and all your concerns eg his driving, the falls ... ask if the GP might invite your dad for a 'well man' checkup, or something similar ... or your mum might make an appointment, telling your dad it's for her and asking him to go with her for support ... that may get things moving

    your mum herself sounds to be having difficulties, so she can go chat with her GP about her own health, especially that her husband isn't able now to deal with the dressing to her leg and ask for a district nurse to visit her at home ... and that way explain her worries about her husband, that he needs help, as well as that she needs support with coping with her leg

    also, could you and your mum keep a journal of how your dad is day to day, so that there are specifics to give to medics as evidence for your concerns and to help with any diagnosis

    what you write of your dad's driving is a worry ... you might look into how transport could be arranged for your parents should your dad no longer drive ... eg local buses, taxis, whether there is a minibus service which picks up from their home ... check their Council website
    their local AgeUK may have useful info for you

    if your dad needs help with everyday living, he can apply for support without a diagnosis ... a diagnosis will give an explanation for his needs, and it may be that some meds can be prescribed

    to give you an idea of the level of care needs that would be a sign that support is needed, have a look into how to apply for Attendance Allowance, which is a benefit awarded on need, not means tested

    for care at home, your mum would need to contact their Local Authority Adult Services and arrange a care needs assessment for your dad and a carer's assessment for herself ... they each have a right to these ... it may be early days for this yet ... a care package could include home care visits eg to help get up, washed, dressed and breakfasted, take medication, day care and respite
    paying for such services depends on your dad's finances

    of course, if your parents have sufficient funds, they can privately put in place whatever support they wish
    this links to the AS directory of local services

    might your mum (or you for her) order groceries online and have them delivered, maybe consider having ready meals (many are nutritious and tasty, I used them for my dad, especially the microwaveable ones) or something such as Wiltshire Farm Foods
  13. Lynmax

    Lynmax Registered User

    Nov 1, 2016
    Depending on your parents finances, there might be things you can do to help. Althiugh you do need confirmation of power of attorney as unless you signed something, you will not have it. My sister in law, who lives in Arizona, does have POA for her mother in the UK and manages all her finances, medical appointments, online food shopping, carers etc from the US.

    But, if your parents can afford it, they, ie your mother, can pay for as much help as they need without a diagnosis or a carers assessment from Social Services.

    If however your parents do not have enough income and savings to pay for their care, then your father will need a diagnosis I think. In which case your mother will need to work with their GP to collude to get your father to visit for an initial assessment. Would your father go to his GP for a "well man assessment for those over a certain age" ? Or for a blood pressure check? That's how my mother got assessed, after we wrote to her GP with detailed notes of our concerns with specific examples, she was called to the surgery for a free health check for over 75s!
  14. tripolitrx

    tripolitrx New member

    Jul 29, 2019
    Shedrech, thank you so much for all that information, extremely helpful! Also thanks to all who chimed in, I am blown away by how responsive this place is.
  15. mickeyplum

    mickeyplum Registered User

    Feb 22, 2018
    It seems to work for us if I pretend that all the fuss is about people helping ME now that I'm 85 and not well. I usually email the GP before any appointment to fill her in and she's very good at playing along tactfully and bringing hm into the chat about how a few changes can make it easier for both of us.
    I think a lot of men have an life-long allergy to men in white coats or anyone trying to interfere and it's harder when we 'oldies' have always made our own decisions in life but there comes a time....

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