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What to say to my lovely sister....

Senga

Registered User
Oct 1, 2013
17
0
My lovely sister (aged 76), had a fall on the 4th July and broke her hip. She was taken to hospital where 4 days later it was operated on. She seemed to go off her head about 4 days after the op but I was told it was prob., due to the anaesthetic. She did get a lot clearer when once again it started about 10 days after the op. This time it was due to a UTI (catheter had been left in for about 8 days after the op). She was in hosp., for about 3 weeks and had 3 UTI's during that time. She was then sent home, barely able to walk, with a zimmer frame, carers were arranged but the different faces made her very confused and stressed.

She was home about 10 days when her carer came in to find her lying on the floor, (had been there all night). The carer called an ambulance as my sister was unable to get up then phoned me. Back to the same hospital, same ward but now with a broken shoulder. It was decided to let the break heal naturally, to be honest the last thing she needed was to have another op.

After 5 days she was sent to our local rehabilitation hosp., which we were both quite happy about as she went there after having a stroke some 3 years before as they did a marvellous job getting her walking and almost back to normal. I have noticed she has been getting more and more confused and voiced my concerns with my husband about her being safe enough back in her own home. The little home we put a new kitchen in, decorated from end to end which she has only been in for 2 years

Now, today, I am utterly devastated as I was taken aside and told the doctor has decided she cannot go home but must go into a care home as she does not have the mental capacity to stay safe. Although I know it is the correct decision for her safety I am finding it so hard. We were a family of 7, she never married, went too work (on her own aged 24 year old), to America in the 60's when it was unheard of and has been fiercely independant all of her life. Never even visited a doctor until her stroke.....

I couldn't face her today after getting the news but will go in tomorrow. The nurse has said she will tell her about the care home but I know with her memory loss it just wont stay in. What do I say when she asks me when she will be going home, as I know she will.....
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
66,663
0
71
Dundee
Oh Senga, I'm so sorry. Your love for your sister shines through and you have obviously given her lots of support up to now. I know you can see that this is the best thing for her but I do understand how difficult it must be to find the right words. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. x
 

lin1

Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
9,350
0
East Kent
Hello Singa, Welcome to TP
I hope you find TP as helpful as I have

I am sorry to hear about your sister.
This must all be a terrible shock for you.

Many of us find that sometimes it's best to tell a few white lies, ESP when the truth will cause the sufferer of this vile disease, to become distressed or agitated.

I suggest that when your Sister asks when she is going home, you say something like,
The Dr says you need to build up your strength first

Others will be along soon with more helpful ideas
 

Austinsmum

Registered User
Oct 7, 2012
304
0
Melton Mowbray
Oh Senga how you’re heart must be breaking for your sister. I think the kindest thing now is the little white lie route. Tell her there’s been a water pipe burst and the sitting room needs replastering and redecorating, or somesuch so she can’t go home just yet. Meantime, she can stay in a hotel...
Good luck, and your love shines through. XXX
 

Senga

Registered User
Oct 1, 2013
17
0
Thanks so much for your very kind replies, I can't seem to get control back at all tonight. Just feel as if my heart is breaking.

The thought of having to go up and break up her lovely little house is tearing me apart....

I've always been known as the strong one in the family but at the moment feel so lost and alone...... I'm so very glad I found this forum and can share this desperation with....
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,705
0
Wiltshire
Senga,

I am sorry to hear about your sister and all the things that are going through your mind right now. It is a shock to hear that things need to change but one important thing that will remain constant is the fact that she is your sister. She will need you more than ever and at the end of the day the staff at the care home can tend to her physical needs but they can't replace her family. You're the one that knows her, her personality, her likes and dislikes and also her history. There is so much for you all to contribute to, starting with her move to the home. Think about her new room and the things from home that might bring some familiarity to her. It might be photos to put up on her wall, or some of her ornaments or even maybe her favourite chair...some care homes let you take items of furniture in too. How about putting together a 'this is me' scrapbook to help the staff get to know her too. One tip for any photographs that you include is to make a note about who is in the photograph. This helps the staff start conversations with her which can be important to encourage her to reminisce. Beyond any initial involvement and preparations, you can then work as a family to give her the best quality of life based on what her capabilities are. This might need some innovative thinking on your part to try various things to find what she likes and what she doesn't like. Maybe, for example, she can't concentrate to read a book on her own, but maybe she would like audio books that she can relax and listen to. A big thing you can also do is to help her integrate into her new home. Introduce her to other residents and their relatives. Spend time with her in the lounges and help her to join in and feel comfortable around others. The temptation will be to go sit in her room when you visit but this may not be the best benefit to her in the beginning. Don't forget too that these people will become part of your extended family as well. Overall, things might be changing, but the family role is now more important than ever, so this not the end it is a change of direction.

In terms of your own shock and pain we can perpetuate our own suffering. By this I mean that it is a bit like toothache. Things improve and the pain settles down but we're never happy. We perpetually stick our tongue in there just to keep checking that the pain is really gone and then we are surprised when we stir the whole thing up again and we are back to square one! Be kind to yourself. Take things in stages. Ask others for help too.

Finally, between the anaesthetic and UTI's it can take a considerable time for some improvements to happen. With my mother it took nearly 3 months before we gradually saw some little changes and although she never returned to 100% of what she was previously, there was a vast improvement over how things had been in hospital. I am telling you this as this might apply to your sister too so keep your eyes open to little things happening and encourage her with things like communication even if it is gobbledygook to start with and keep things lighthearted and fun.

Hope this helps,

Fiona
 

Senga

Registered User
Oct 1, 2013
17
0
Many thanks for your kind words Fiona, it's just so good to be able to release some of these horrible feelings.

Well, I went in yesterday and the nurse who gave me the news had spoken to my sister after I left. She said she got really angry and blamed the doctor and the nurses for it.. Then she told them 'wait till my sister hears about this' .... God love her. She had also had a fall in the ward thru trying to get up and walk, when I asked her about it she dismissed it as 'only a tumble'. There was no doubt she was confused but she did ask me what's going to happen when she has to leave her apartment, it's a little sheltered house she is in but something has obviously registered.

Today my husband went in to visit and she said she had to see me to make sure the rent was being paid. Again, something is there, to be honest it would be so much easier if she forgets her house, or is that just easier for me......

Today I had to take the first step in breaking up her little home by cancelling her phone contract. It broke my heart. How am I going to do this......
 

Senga

Registered User
Oct 1, 2013
17
0
It's 2.00 am, I had a nice night out with 2 of my closest friends ( with the instructions nothing be said about my sister, couldn't cope in public..)

My sister has never been able to say how she feels but maybe twice a year I would receive a lovely letter from her. Just been reading a couple of them written before this monster took over our lives. Her words: ' and again Nett ( my family pet name) comes to my rescue. How many times have you come through for me Nett?'.

Not this time sweetheart and its breaking my heart......
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,705
0
Wiltshire
Hiya Senga,

It is lovely that your sister acknowledges how much you mean to her and how she appreciates the help you give her.

Have you spoken to the hospital SW yet? I only ask because normally what would happen is that they would tell you what type of care home your sister needs and ask you to view some and come up with your 3 preferences. That way you could find somewhere that you think would best suit your sister. Maybe there is a nice home near where you live so you could pop in every day or so. Somewhere with nice gardens maybe so that you could take her out in a wheelchair. I would try and make contact with the SW so that they don't do the choosing!

Another task that is necessary and time consuming is that you will need to order name tags and label everything, clothes, underwear, slippers, shoes, ornaments, anything that you are planning on furnishing her room with. Most places let you have your own duvets so don't forget to label those too!

This to me would be the priority rather than rushing to clear her house out. Depending on her financial circumstances, the chances are her pension will be taken to contribute to her care costs and she will be allowed £23 a week to cover incidentals. So, if you have to pay another month's rent then so be it, if you see what I mean. On the other thread you mentioned the SW visit...this is probably to do a financial assessment for your sister. For this reason, it would be useful to have details of bank accounts and recent statements showing how much savings she has etc. Does she have an insurance policy that she should be allowed to continue paying for? Also think of what she might need in her new home. For example, she might want a tv for her room..tell the SW that you intend buying that so it can be deducted from any financial assessment. The same if you think she needs some new clothes etc too (care home laundries can be quite brutal) plus, after a broken hip it might be easier to get trousers so she doesn't need to struggle with tights etc. or maybe get some pop socks instead.

Have you considered that you might need to take over her finances for her? If you need some info about this then let us know what your options might be in that regard.

So, it looks like you are still coming to the rescue ...

Fiona
 

Senga

Registered User
Oct 1, 2013
17
0
Thanks Fiona,

What a minefield.... can the SW actually decide on which home? does the family have any rights in law to make this massive decision?? Unfortunately I have found the SW sadly lacking in my frquent dealings in the past.

I have labeled most of her clothes as I take her laundry home myself, (then I know she is getting the rght clothes :)).

I'm not sure what to do about her finances, she doesn't have a lot and it is in an ISA. Advise on this would be appreciated.

Many, many thanks to all for your help..
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,705
0
Wiltshire
Yes they can, especially if she is considered to be bed blocking as there are financial penalties that start to apply for not moving people quickly enough. That is why I was suggesting that you get out there and have a look around for yourself. Just check with the nurse or the Dr whether it would be a residential home or a nursing home that would be needed.

As to finances, in big handfuls, if she has less than £14,250 in savings then she gets to keep that but they take her pension. If she has over £14250 but less that £23,250 then they take her pension plus a tariff payment of £4 per week for each £1000 she has over the £14250. If she has more than £23250 she is classed as welfare funding and must pay everything herself but she keeps her pension and any other benefits she is entitled to.

If she is becoming more lucid, then you might be able to get her to sign to give you Lasting Power of Attorney. This is the easiest route to go and fastest too. Someone has to sign to say she understood what she was signing the papers for...but you can get a friend or minister or someone like that to sign it. You can access the forms here...https://www.justice.gov.uk/forms/opg/lasting-power-of-attorney. There are two of them one for finances and a separate one for health and welfare. In the circumstances I would get her to sign both of them. You then have to register them with the OPG Office of the public guardian. You have to pay for registration but this is a lot less than if you have to go down the Deputyship route. Even if your sister improves and goes home, I would get these LPAs done now so you are in immediate authority if she needs help at some point in the future. The finance one gives you the authority to take over her bank accounts and act for her in any financial matters as though you were in fact her. The health and welfare one lets you make decisions on her behalf about where she should live, on health decisions etc. as you can see, they are important documents which will always let you act in her best interests. If you have any questions then just give us a shout.

Fiona
 

Senga

Registered User
Oct 1, 2013
17
0
Thanks for that Fiona,

Just had a look at the LPA's....... Wondering if I should go to a solicitor, seems overpowering....

Senga
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