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Wondering if there's anything else I can do

Jazz_277

New member
Aug 14, 2018
5
Hello, I hope this is the right place to post this question.
A little background, I'm currently 24 and my mother (a single parent and Polish immigrant) was sadly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at 60, when I was 20, so about 4 years ago now. It's been a tricky journey, with her decline being quite rapid, and with no family or support in this country ( I have never lived in Poland and do not speak Polish so family ties are a little weak, although I now try and visit often and they are lovely people). I had no idea what I was doing for a few years and did not handle things as well as I perhaps should have.
After hospitalisation due to a UTI social services helped and she was on a 3× a day care plan for a year but this was not enough, and following this all social support/PIP/independent living or care homes in the UK were declined due to my mum unfortunately not having relevant documents. 3 years ago I made the decision (as I was still a student/working part time and had no savings so could not afford the >£2000 a month private care home fees in the UK) to move my mum to Poland to live with my aunt and grandma. This was an ok solution, particularly as she was now safe and had supervision 24h a day, and as she lost the ability to speak English as the condition progressed I could not understand her/vice versa.
Eventually however, this was too stressful for my 89 year old grandma and my family asked me to find a care home for mum. With their help we found one in Poland who would accept her, not too far from my family, with the exchange rate from pounds to zloty thankfully allowing me to work and study and pay for good care. She seems settled and the care home staff seem very caring and experienced, updating me often, facetiming mum, and (before coronavirus) I would visit 4-6 times a year for a week or two.

I obviously wish for many things- that this never happened to mum, or it happened later when I was more financially stable and could look after mum more myself, or that I at least could visit her every week rather than only a few times a year. I am not sure she honestly knows who I am any more, and I have not been able to talk to her in English for over 2 years (I have tried to learn polish but it is slow process, and her speech is a bit random, so even my cousin's find it hard to translate).

I know that the most important things are fixed- that she is safe, and has caring, professional people around her, but I still feel like I'm not doing enough. Not many things engage her but I try and send letters and pictures, and I'm currently working on making a sensory blanket that I hope might help her in case she is bored during the day. I often wonder if I just am a selfish person not looking after her myself as I always promised her I would never put her in a care home. As I understand she is much calmer in the care home than before but I don't know if she is truly happy.

I wonder if there's maybe something I'm missing- on what I can do immediately to make her happier, (I'm visiting finally again in September after my flights got cancelled due to coronavirus, and plan on going as often as I can after that), and perhaps if I should try and consider something longer term.
I am not sure I can move to Poland and get a well enough paying job without knowledge of the language, and I don't want to do anything drastic just for my sake and risk upsetting mum (i.e moving her for no reason and stressing her), so I just am not sure of what options I have left.

Sorry this was a bit rambling- I hope I managed to get some question across. Thank you for reading!
 
Last edited:

anxious annie

Registered User
Jan 2, 2019
442
Hi Jazz
Welcome to TP. I don't know what to suggest really, but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your mum to have this illness at such a Young age, and for you to have the worry and responsibility to care for her when you are just starting your adult life and should be having such a care free time.
I don't know what documents your mum needs, but am guessing she hasn't lived in the UK for a qualifying period of time to get SS assistance for care home fees?
If a person doesn't have the money to pay for care here and SS say they need 24/7 care, the family don't have to pay this money for a Local Authority home.
I understand that in Poland it is the family who have to pay?
My advice would be to stay here, this has always been your home, and not being able to speak Polish could be a barrier to employment over there.
You are doing so much for your mum, please don't feel you need to do more.
I'm sorry I'm not sure what else to suggest, but hope others will come along with more advice. Take care X
 

Jazz_277

New member
Aug 14, 2018
5
Hi Jazz
Welcome to TP. I don't know what to suggest really, but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your mum to have this illness at such a Young age, and for you to have the worry and responsibility to care for her when you are just starting your adult life and should be having such a care free time.
I don't know what documents your mum needs, but am guessing she hasn't lived in the UK for a qualifying period of time to get SS assistance for care home fees?
If a person doesn't have the money to pay for care here and SS say they need 24/7 care, the family don't have to pay this money for a Local Authority home.
I understand that in Poland it is the family who have to pay?
My advice would be to stay here, this has always been your home, and not being able to speak Polish could be a barrier to employment over there.
You are doing so much for your mum, please don't feel you need to do more.
I'm sorry I'm not sure what else to suggest, but hope others will come along with more advice. Take care X
Thank you for your kind message, I really appreciate the time you took to read/reply.

Yes you're right- essentially social services did as much as they could, but the local authority funded care housing would not accept her despite there being a place available that she qualified for. Basically because she was not a UK citizen and (although has lived in the UK since1989 for some reason she never applied for citizenship,- I never got the chance to ask her about it sadly, and once you are incapable of working you basically become illegible to apply), there were other gaps in the paper trail needed for this to be state funded as far as I can remember, so they just told me to give up trying.

In Poland it is easier, as yes you're right, most homes are paid for privately. Luckily I can quite easily work to afford the equivalent care so at least there was that option!
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,434
South coast
Im so sorry to hear about your mum and your difficult circumstances. One thing I would like to say, though, is that every carer I have met thinks that they are not doing enough and are horribly selfish - and it simply isnt true. If you were truly selfish you would just walk away and not care. But you havent, you are funding her care, doing your best to visit when you can and are thinking of ways to improve your mums life. Dont be so hard on yourself. You are doing a lot.
I made a sensory blanket for mum and she loved it - I hope the one you make for your mum will be loved too as it takes a labour of love for the carer to make one.