Which is more important: happiness (in own home) or safety (in CH)

pippop1

Registered User
Apr 8, 2013
501
0
My MIL has fairly advanced dementia e.g. doesn't know the year, her age, the season and is unaware that carers come twice a day. Thinks that they come occasionally and do nothing. My husband (her only child) has both POAs for her which are activated. We do all shopping, pay bills, manage all aspects of the house (e.g. repairs). She thinks she does all of these things.

I think she should be on some kind of waiting list to go into the dementia wing of a local CH which my husband and I have looked round and is nice.

Husband thinks she should be in her own home (she lives alone) for as long as possible. She is in her late 80s and has a v bad hip which she repeatedly refused to have replaced (we even took her to see a private surgeon which we paid for). Now it's too late. She doesn't go out on her own as her walking is painful so that bad hip has stopped her wandering and getting lost. She hates going out, always has done though! She had, I would say, OCD before the dementia so still obsessively picks up crumbs and bits of nothing from clothes, carpet and even as she walks up the stairs (thereby not holding onto two rails) and gets cross if we say not to.

Various incidents have happened over the years but we dealt with them by for example having the gas cooker cut off when she boiled an electric kettle on the gas until the plastic melted. She doesn't cook (carers use ready meals, microwave) much by then anyway. Getting the carers to do her washing (I used to have to find smelly clothes and sneak them out, wash them at home and bring them back), having a cleaner every couple of weeks and so on.

A couple of nights ago she called the firebrigade out at 1 in the morning as her toilet was leaking. FB came ! and called ambulance as she was wet all over and shaking. Neighbour who knew our number called us (we live 20 mins away). She had apparently tried to "fix" the toilet which was making a funny noise when flushed (but working as normal). She removed the cistern's cover and water squired out when she disconnected bits of it. She somehow flooded the toilet room's floor and her hall dowstairs with lots of water. She was totally unaware of what she'd done. Some weeks ago we found a bottle of bleach and the toilet brush jammed in the cistern. We find strange things in the freezer (a tea towel) or empty food boxes in cupboards. Toilet roll insides are carefully hoarded all over the house (I throw them out every so often).

I think she is now unsafe to be on her own, because what will happen next, but I agree with husband that she would probably be less happy in a home. At the moment she is the happiest I have known her in 30years! No responsibility,nothing to do. She also believes that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her and that we are making a fuss. She says she does everything and no one helps her and that she is very independant. Even if we give her evidence she doesn't believe us.

We wanted her to go into respite care so we could go away on a short break but she refused and apparently (according to the person in charge of the carers that we use) we can't make her go into respite while she still has capacity to decide. Whenever we go away for a night or two in our country (UK) and we don't like to risk more than a few nights as things always happen, we get a call from the carers saying there is some other problem, eg she switched off the freezer and everything melted or she turns the heating down and then is cold. She pulls out the TV plug and it doesn't work.

Should she be in a CH, even though she might be less happy, for her own safety? She is an extremely stubborn person and has never had a social life, didn't go to clubs and so on so is not lonely on her own. I asked husband to guess her age of responsibility e.g. could she cope in a crisis. He thought age 10. I wouldn't leave a ten year old on their own for 23 hours a day and I would say her "age" is younger than that in some areas of understanding.
 

leedsfan

Registered User
Apr 1, 2012
421
0
Hello,

Just wanted to say I can understand how you are feeling.

I tried to keep my Dad in his own home for much longer then I should have. I see it now, but I didn't for many months, probably around 12 months!. My OH, friends and other members of the family were screaming at me to look at alternatives to me plus 4 carers a day, trying to cope with Dad and his bizarre and sometimes dangerous life.

I won't go into detail but he was doing similar things to what you say your MIL is doing. Plus endless phone calls demanding my attention, usually twice in the middle of the night.

You don't say how long you have been caring for her but I bet it's years. You need the help, your MIL deserves the constant attention at whatever time of day, from carers and possibly nurses.

Look, I am up early this morning, couldn't sleep. Going to visit dad this morning. He is in a local NH, EMI unit. We have good visits, twice this week I have left him feeling totally happy that he is settled. But, this disease plays awful tricks on all of us, and I don't know, ever, what to expect, when I go to see him. He can be nasty and blame me for his being in the home. He has suspicions that the staff are taking his things, and tells the Manager I am stealing all his money. I have sat in my car and bawled at some of the horrible things he says to me, which he forgets the next time I see him. So, care homes and nursing homes are not always the answer to our prayes, they are simply the best way to go when things become just too damn hard.

I do still get churned up, but I am at last learning that, Dad is very poorly, it's not his fault, it's not my fault, I have got to manage it as best I can, and always I'll care for him. I love him, he's my Dad, I can't give him the help he needs, on my own.

Don't leave it too long like I did.

Good luck.
Jane
 

1954

Registered User
Jan 3, 2013
3,835
0
Sidcup
Hi pippop1

Your post was as if I had written it about my MIL!

We dealt with it by just bringing her to live with us. Not everybody can do that I know.

I certainly would not leave an extremely vulnerable person at home when they are a danger to themselves and don't even realise it

To me it sounds like she would be safer in a CH. But I understand where you husband is coming from. I certainly would not leave someone who has a mental age of 10 alone to look after themselves :eek:

Also I would turn off my mobile if I was away so that the SS can deal with her crises. Sounds hard I know
 

wetnosewheatie

Registered User
Jun 5, 2012
59
0
Merseyside
My dad was similar to your mil and began ringing the emergency services several times a day saying he didn't want to be on his own and he wasn't feeling well. After about the fifth stint in a and e I thought like you would I leave a child in a house on their own and clearly the answer was no. I asked for respite to give me some thinking time and then looked for alternatives. He is now in a supported living scheme for people with dementia. We are nearly twelve months on and he has continued to deteriorate but I have no regrets. He simply wasn't safe at home .
 

Butter

Registered User
Jan 19, 2012
6,737
0
NeverNeverLand
I agree with your husband. And if she is happier than she has been for 30 years - well I would take all the risks. So much better .... so much better to risk falling downstairs (and never waking up) .. so much better to risk burning the house down (unlikely to burn next door down as well) ... the dignity and autonomy of living in her own chaos if humanly possible .... and ... from what you say, the happiness.

Also, given she is your husband's mother, I would encourage him to lead in the decisions because he is the one closest to the consequences.

Children telling us what to do are very very very annoying.

Of course she is fortunate that you are both giving her the freedom to stay in her own home, with the bills paid and the plumbing mended ... but which of us does not hope to be like her?

My own parents had many crises with the emergency services round. I remain sad that my mother was, eventually, sectioned. I remain glad that my father is still in his own home.
 
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mariebee_

Registered User
Dec 18, 2012
4
0
I really believe there is no way she should be living on her own! My gran has a 24 hour live in carer and a dog lives with them.
It's really dangerous if they live on their own - they can slip and fall, they can put weird things in the oven to cook, eat shampoo, give the dog fruit salad to eat, go out on midnight adventures into the woods, loads of really weird stuff! Plus they just sit their on their own being paranoid all day about the red car outside or something.
Don't listen to reasons or try reasoning with your mum. The best thing to arrange a person to come in a and share your mums home is to bring a carer around and say she will help cooking and cleaning. After a couple of days your mum will really miss having the company.

It was during the time that my gran spent alone after my grandad died that her dementia progressed at alarming speed. Being alone is really not good. If you try and explain to your mum that a carer is going to come and live with her then she will always says absolutely not, there is no way etc. So don't explain, just do. It's frightening to a person to have to think about changing their life.
Care inside your own home is probably better than a care home, if at all possible. Make sure your mum is getting enough vitamins e.g. Berocca, to make her happy and not paranoid. And also enough exercise outdoors.
Your mum will be happy anywhere if she gets the right nutrients and exercise and no sedatives/ medicines etc. And she will be safe if she has her own personal 24 hour carer, wherever she is.
 

Butter

Registered User
Jan 19, 2012
6,737
0
NeverNeverLand
I am sorry but people are not necessarily 'happy anywhere.' Some people may be, but certainly not all people. My poor mother screamed and cried to get out of the carehome until the day she died. But there was no alternative care for her as she was extremely ill.

If someone is happy where they are, that may be a situation to treasure and value, despite the risks.
 

Wirralson

Account Closed
May 30, 2012
658
0
My MIL has fairly advanced dementia e.g. doesn't know the year, her age, the season and is unaware that carers come twice a day. Thinks that they come occasionally and do nothing. My husband (her only child) has both POAs for her which are activated. We do all shopping, pay bills, manage all aspects of the house (e.g. repairs). She thinks she does all of these things.

I think she should be on some kind of waiting list to go into the dementia wing of a local CH which my husband and I have looked round and is nice.

Husband thinks she should be in her own home (she lives alone) for as long as possible. She is in her late 80s and has a v bad hip which she repeatedly refused to have replaced (we even took her to see a private surgeon which we paid for). Now it's too late. She doesn't go out on her own as her walking is painful so that bad hip has stopped her wandering and getting lost. She hates going out, always has done though! She had, I would say, OCD before the dementia so still obsessively picks up crumbs and bits of nothing from clothes, carpet and even as she walks up the stairs (thereby not holding onto two rails) and gets cross if we say not to.

Various incidents have happened over the years but we dealt with them by for example having the gas cooker cut off when she boiled an electric kettle on the gas until the plastic melted. She doesn't cook (carers use ready meals, microwave) much by then anyway. Getting the carers to do her washing (I used to have to find smelly clothes and sneak them out, wash them at home and bring them back), having a cleaner every couple of weeks and so on.

A couple of nights ago she called the firebrigade out at 1 in the morning as her toilet was leaking. FB came ! and called ambulance as she was wet all over and shaking. Neighbour who knew our number called us (we live 20 mins away). She had apparently tried to "fix" the toilet which was making a funny noise when flushed (but working as normal). She removed the cistern's cover and water squired out when she disconnected bits of it. She somehow flooded the toilet room's floor and her hall dowstairs with lots of water. She was totally unaware of what she'd done. Some weeks ago we found a bottle of bleach and the toilet brush jammed in the cistern. We find strange things in the freezer (a tea towel) or empty food boxes in cupboards. Toilet roll insides are carefully hoarded all over the house (I throw them out every so often).

I think she is now unsafe to be on her own, because what will happen next, but I agree with husband that she would probably be less happy in a home. At the moment she is the happiest I have known her in 30years! No responsibility,nothing to do. She also believes that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her and that we are making a fuss. She says she does everything and no one helps her and that she is very independant. Even if we give her evidence she doesn't believe us.

We wanted her to go into respite care so we could go away on a short break but she refused and apparently (according to the person in charge of the carers that we use) we can't make her go into respite while she still has capacity to decide. Whenever we go away for a night or two in our country (UK) and we don't like to risk more than a few nights as things always happen, we get a call from the carers saying there is some other problem, eg she switched off the freezer and everything melted or she turns the heating down and then is cold. She pulls out the TV plug and it doesn't work.

Should she be in a CH, even though she might be less happy, for her own safety? She is an extremely stubborn person and has never had a social life, didn't go to clubs and so on so is not lonely on her own. I asked husband to guess her age of responsibility e.g. could she cope in a crisis. He thought age 10. I wouldn't leave a ten year old on their own for 23 hours a day and I would say her "age" is younger than that in some areas of understanding.

Hi pippop1,

On the basis of what you've posted, I don't think you can ignore the fact that your Mother-in-Law is unsafe to be on her own, even with carers. If she is doing things with cookers (even though you've cut off the gas) and cisterns, she is going to injure herself or others sooner or later. One other comment I'd make is when someone asks a question like this, they already know what the answer is likely to be. From the content of your post I think you feel that the risk (of injury)/benefit (of being happy in her own own) balance has tilted in favour of safety and avoiding injury.

Kind regards

Wirralson
 

stillcaring

Registered User
Sep 4, 2011
215
0
I smiled at your post because my mum also dialled 999 when her toilet started leaking. It was 9am and she thought I'd be taking the children to school (they were all well old enough to be getting buses to school by then!).....

My mum isn't exactly happy at home, and she's probably not safe either. She doesn't believe her hot water works so carries kettles of water upstairs to wash. But in my opinion she would be a lot less happy in a CH so I think it's worth the risk. If she does have an accident then it will be time to go to a CH. LIke your MIL she believes she looks after herself fine, so would see no need to leave her own home.

And I also think it has to be you OH's decision, so long as it's not you that ends up doing all the hard work.

Just my opinion.....
 

Bumblegirl

Registered User
Nov 17, 2012
86
0
Hi,
The decision is yours and OH. Dad kept mum at home too long that everyone suffered. She was miserable at home and miserable in hospital. As she was miserable whatever, she will be going to a care home after hosp and not back home.

I must say everyone is much calmer now she is away from home and going back home to live wih dad is impossible (he is barely able to look after himself).

In my view, Safety has to be the priority - she is at risk but she can put others at risk too. Her happiness, regrettably, is secondary.
BG
 

janma221

Registered User
Apr 23, 2013
284
0
Powys
I think on this subject you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. My mother had 4 carers coming in a day (we live about 2 hours away) and she hated them all, they seemed perfectly nice ladies the ones I met when visiting but she started putting the chain on the door to stop them coming in and even went out to avoid them. Cut down to 1 carer calling about 8pm just to check she is okay but neighbour sent me a text at 10pm to say that she had just bought my mother back from trying to get into a shop and then insisting on catching a bus. Has been taken to hospital in a police car twice in dangerous situations but escaped from hospital each time. Talking to the mental health team and advocacy from the AS and it is a fine balance between mum's safety and the fact if she couldn't go out I honestly think she would just give up the ghost completely. Such a tough one and feel guilty whichever path you choose.
Jan
 

Big Effort

Account Closed
Jul 8, 2012
1,927
0
Hi All,
This all sounds so familiar. It could be Mum. She is here at home and also thinks she 'works hard all day, so needs to sleep early to catch up after the busy day'. In reality she does nothing, not even button her own blouse.

Luckily we live within 30 ft of her house, so she is independent, and out of our hair for some of the day, and I can check up on her. 20 mins away would worry me a bit.

You know, this may sound barbaric. We are all going to die someday. It could be a heart attack, a stroke, cancer or dementia. Dementia seems like the long-haul death. There are no guarantees of a happy time in a home (Mum is convinced it is a fate worse than death), yet there are people who settle well.

I feel very conflicted about this whole care issue too. On the one side I think it would kill Mum. Yet if we get to the point when she doesn't recognise me, nor her home, well I would imagine a care home is a better, safer, more interesting place to be.

Mum does recognise me. She doesn't want to go into a home either and would know if she left hers..... so the agony continues.

Mum isn't happy in her home or with my any more because nothing works for her and she doesn't know why. No soap or cleaners in the house in case she drinks them. No tea bags as she gives them to the dog. No cat food as I think she might eat it. So a bare and barren house. I can't help this or make it better. Safety issues.

Your MIL is happy. Happiness is worth a great deal. It is when our loved ones are distressed that all of us suffer non-stop.

I am most curious to know what decision you will make in the end. Take care, BE
 

Butter

Registered User
Jan 19, 2012
6,737
0
NeverNeverLand
The point BE makes raises the ethical questions. Some people believe life should be maintained at all costs. Other people believe that death is better than some life.
 

Lowlander

Registered User
Jun 3, 2013
113
0
Scotland
It is I believe, your husband's mother whom you are writing about.
Why is he not the person writing? Why are you taking this responsibility ? Why are you even contemplating looking after someone else's mother?

I can understand people, although almost universally a daughter, attempting to look after a mother, but, really, your husband's mother? You don't have the same childhood links.
Why don't men look after their own mothers?
Do you think they would?
Why do so few men ever post on this site?
Answers on a (very small) postcard please.

My kind regards
L
 

gringo

Registered User
Feb 1, 2012
1,188
0
UK.
Why do so few men ever post on this site?
Answers on a (very small) postcard please.

My kind regards
L

Hello Lowlander,
At various times, I have asked myself this question and never come up with a satisfactory answer. The 2012 TP. survey gave a figure of 83% for the female membership, which always astonishes me.
Many people prefer to ignore this disparity and pretend it either doesn't exist, or that it doesn't matter.
I've started ,at least two threads, on the subject and usually end up getting clobbered for my pains!
 

pippop1

Registered User
Apr 8, 2013
501
0
If I refused to do things husband couldn't do it. Also I work part time (made redundant a couple of years ago) and he works full time. Our kids are grown up and we are in our 50s.

It's not so much the actual doing (she has carers) but the responsiblity of it running two households and trying to guess what might be wrong with her house at anyone time.

Whatever I do I do to help my husband and not her. She never liked me, sad but true. I wish I could do stuff with a good heart but I just can't. I simply do it for duty reasons.

Husband has now agreed to find out by phone about the proceedure for her going into a home without actually doing it. This is progress. Today she asked him whose house this was (it was her own). I was encouraging her to drink as it is 30C here and of the three cups of tea I made her (in succession) she drank less than one in total.

Thank you all for your replies. It's a difficult dilemma and of course it is not my decision. I just know if it was my mum she would be in a home already.
 

Delphie

Registered User
Dec 14, 2011
1,269
0
My view is that everyone's happiness and well-being needs to be taken into account. Of course the person with dementia has wants and needs and they definitely need to be taken into account. But carers' wants and needs are important too. If mum-in-law is a bit happier at home (though is almost certainly unsafe there) but this is at a cost of major unhappiness and stress to the rest of the family, then the balance is off.
 

ellejay

Registered User
Jan 28, 2011
4,019
0
Essex
It is I believe, your husband's mother whom you are writing about.
Why is he not the person writing? Why are you taking this responsibility ? Why are you even contemplating looking after someone else's mother?

I can understand people, although almost universally a daughter, attempting to look after a mother, but, really, your husband's mother? You don't have the same childhood links.
Why don't men look after their own mothers?
Do you think they would?
Why do so few men ever post on this site?
Answers on a (very small) postcard please.

My kind regards
L

When my MIL was terminally ill she came to live with us. I loved and was closer to my MIL far more than I was & am to my mother. You speak of childhood links. Many of us on here didn't form the close links for one reason or another.
I cared for my MIL out of love, my mother is in a CH, my care for her is duty.

Lin x
 

Padraig

Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
1,038
0
Hereford
Few men post because women are by and large more compassionate and caring. Very few chose to work in NHs, that should tell you something. Women are also emotionally stronger.