Looking after our parents (part 2)

Order yourself a latte, and a pastry (The virtual cinnamon buns are excellent today). And have a nice chat.

Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » December 22nd, 2017, 9:04 pm

:D
I plan to have as many naps as I can in the next week and a bit!
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby WWordsworth » July 18th, 2018, 3:31 pm

My turn now.

Mother is 91, still lives in the house she went to as a bride in 1950.
She has lived alone since Dad died in 1991.

Eyesight is awful and hearing is even worse.
I can no longer telephone her from work because I have to bellow down the phone.
She has hearing aids but won't wear them because they are uncomfortable - I tell her she has to practice and it will get better, but she won't.
She says her TV isn't working properly because there is no sound. If she would put the bl%%dy things in she would know there is plenty of sound.

9 times out of 10 I can't get through on the phone because she hasn't pressed the red button at the end of the call, so I get the engaged tone.

She's not eating or drinking enough.
She has all the excuses - I'm not thirsty / I'm not hungry / I'm not underweight - she's 6 stone.
I no longer ask if she wants a cup of tea because she will decline. I just hand it over with "Here's your tea Mum" and she drinks it.

Bro is her main carer, he is half an hour away.
I have a 3-hour drive and SFH has 5 hours.

Bro is buckling because as well as keeping an eye on Mum, his in-laws have both been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

I visited 4 weeks ago and she effectively said goodbye to me.
The stubborn old mule is still with us, still at home.

Something had to give so Bro has arranged for carers twice per day, starting this weekend.
2 x 1-hour visits per day for medication prompts and assistance with preparing a meal.

Bro is away this weekend so I will go up, SFH is going next weekend.

Wish us luck.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Busybee » July 18th, 2018, 3:41 pm

I don’t know about luck, but I’m certainly sending you lots of love. It’s never easy :hug: :hug:

It sounds as if your brother is doing the right thing in trying to spread the load with carers etc.

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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby suffolk » July 18th, 2018, 3:58 pm

:hug: :hug: :hug:

Make sure the carers are instructed not to ask if she wants a drink but to give her one as a matter of course and if she drinks it while they're there they should give her another one before they leave.

:hug: :hug: :hug:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby WWordsworth » July 18th, 2018, 4:01 pm

Good point, thanks
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Zosherooney » July 18th, 2018, 8:35 pm

I feel for you WW :hug:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby uschi » July 18th, 2018, 9:27 pm

Try and get her a folding phone. My father carefully pressed the buttons for so long the thing would turn off. Once I got him a folding phone things got better. To answer a call he had to open it and to end a call he'd just fold it. It made a world of difference.
Won't help with the hearing, though. Why they won't wear their hearing aids is beyond me. I've had to wear glasses since I was 9 and even back then I enjoyed the correction they gave my vision. :kneel:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby miss mouse » July 18th, 2018, 10:36 pm

uschi wrote:Why they won't wear their hearing aids is beyond me.


Me too. Or even admit that they are deaf. It happens, it can be corrected, there are worse things, It is exasperating.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby TeresaFoodie » July 18th, 2018, 10:48 pm

Some of these for you WW. :hug: :hug:

I have no experiences to share, but can I just say.....a problem shared here is always a problem helped. :hug: :hug:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby StokeySue » July 19th, 2018, 12:22 am

So sorry it's all hit you WWordsworth, the carers seem to be a step in the right direction
The problem with hearing aids mainly seems to be that people put off getting them until they are a) too deaf and b) too old to learn to use them, they don't after all just restore your hearing you have to learn how to get at the sounds you want to hear
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby earthmaiden » July 19th, 2018, 3:35 am

Such a difficult time :hug: :hug:.

I hope that the carer will be a good move. It may be that the visits, although short, will be something for your mother to look forward to. It can be such a difficult time of life if you want to hang onto your previous lifestyle but can't quite manage.
MIL had a lot of trouble with hearing aids. I don't know what sort your mother has but think the ones that clip over the ear might be a lot easier to deal with on the long run - and don't get/cause endless issues with excess ear wax.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 19th, 2018, 7:22 am

I can relate to all of that, WW, although my mother's deafness went away after she stopped taking quinine, so I am grateful for that. She does have her phone on speaker phone mode though.

I hope yours will be ok with the carers. 2x1 hour a day is amazing. Although it is awful that my mother can't walk, her having to have the carers in (she has half an hour three times a day) gives me so much more peace of mind. They have also encouraged her to eat better (still doesn't eat much at all but she is at least having a couple of eggs a day.) She too says she is never hungry. 'Geriatric anorexia' is a common thing.
The not ending calls properly drives me nuts. I bought mine a mobile so that I have an alternative means of getting in touch, but of course it doesn't get charged.

I hope your weekend with her goes ok. It's all very stressful, exhausting and depressing I know...
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Ratatouille » July 19th, 2018, 8:29 am

:hug: :hug: :hug: from me too. It's a long time since I had oldies to care for and I suspect there was more on offer at that time. My cuz and I - both only children ended up with 5 for whom we were responsible but we did live nearby and we could help each other outand all 5 had their marbles well and truly in line which made life a lot easier.

The only one who wouldn't eat and wouldn't wear her hearing aid lived in so-called sheltered housing, She was actually very very depressed but her GP refused to recognise this because she never asked him for help and he claimed there was nothing he could do.

Good luck at the weekend. We'll all be there ourselves one day and we have our plans in place for when it's our turn
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Seatallan » July 19th, 2018, 8:37 am

Oh Wordsworth, it all sounds horribly familiar.... :( :hug: :hug: :hug:

There may come a point (possibly fairly soon) where a care package just isn't going to be sufficient and she may have to relocate to a residential unit for everyone's sake. I know she's been in the house for a very long time and will be extremely reluctant to uproot but when I was in a similar position with my father he eventually not only came around to the idea but was quite cheerful about it- I think because deep down, he was feeling increasingly vulnerable and aware he was no longer in control of his surroundings). I shall be thinking of you all....
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby PatsyMFagan » July 19th, 2018, 9:22 am

miss mouse wrote:
uschi wrote:Why they won't wear their hearing aids is beyond me.


Me too. Or even admit that they are deaf. It happens, it can be corrected, there are worse things, It is exasperating.


As a very recent wearer of hearing aids, can I just say that aids shouldn't be uncomfortable. I was amazed when I first got mine that I couldn't feel them when I wore them. However, if the little thingamy at the end of the tube that goes into the ear is too big, then they will cause discomfort .. I had to have mine changed to much smaller ones than I was originally fitted for. Also, (speaking personally) if you also wear glasses, then there is a knack to wearing the aids too. The arm of the glasses need to sit against the back of the ear and the hearing aid between the glasses and your ear... this can though be uncomfortable too (again speaking personally)
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Meganthemog » July 19th, 2018, 10:01 am

Nothing to add except some :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: My MIL's GP prescribed Amitriptyline in small doses and it really did work for her - her mood was much lifted. Sometimes it's the depression that causes them to not want to eat or drink.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby suffolk » July 19th, 2018, 10:28 am

Meganthemog wrote:Nothing to add except some :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: My MIL's GP prescribed Amitriptyline in small doses and it really did work for her - her mood was much lifted. Sometimes it's the depression that causes them to not want to eat or drink.


The same with Ma ... it lessened her anxiety which in turn helped with her memory ... it's when they get anxious because they know deep down that they're losing their grip that things begin to spiral.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 19th, 2018, 11:56 am

Seatallan wrote:Oh Wordsworth, it all sounds horribly familiar.... :( :hug: :hug: :hug:

There may come a point (possibly fairly soon) where a care package just isn't going to be sufficient and she may have to relocate to a residential unit for everyone's sake. I know she's been in the house for a very long time and will be extremely reluctant to uproot but when I was in a similar position with my father he eventually not only came around to the idea but was quite cheerful about it- I think because deep down, he was feeling increasingly vulnerable and aware he was no longer in control of his surroundings). I shall be thinking of you all....


Local authorities, if they are involved - and they probably are with most people in the end - seem very reluctant for people to go into care homes these days, as presumably they are more expensive. Most people will run out of funds at some point and thus need financial help, I suppose. My mother's account is running down art an alarming rate. Her account balance is decreasing by £1000 a month - she will very soon reach the threshold that should entitle her to help. She is very worried. Her care alone costs more than her income, and that's before fuel, council tax and other bills and food. The day she is no longer able to get onto her wheelchair commode on her own will, I suppose, be the day she has to go into a home or tolerate soiled 'pads' until the next carers arrive. I suspect, although it horrifies her, the latter will be the option she prefers. And I don't blame her. The homes the local council will pay for you to live in are truly horrible.
My mother tells me that her carers go to totally bedridden people and people with (presumably mild) dementia.
I am trying not to worry and just take it a day at a time, but my visits up there exhaust me and send me into a pit of depression for the following week. She can be very unpleasant. I know why, but it doesn't help.

Anyway, many :hug: from me WW. It's very very hard. And sometimes I find myself really wanting my mother (the one I would once have turned to...)
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Amber » July 20th, 2018, 9:05 pm

My 93/94? year old with hearing problems loves to send and receive texts (on a simple folding phone). Is this an option?

https://shop.ee.co.uk/mobile-phones/pay ... lsrc=aw.ds

Many sympathies to you, its not an easy time for anyone. I’m sure many of us have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt too.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby TeresaFoodie » July 21st, 2018, 12:46 am

I have looked at the Doro for my mum. Her sight and hearing is deteriorating and she would so benefit from the change, but she hates change. I would get her one tomorrow if the stubborn mule would let me. :lol: Sorry, that's not intended to bs a joke on the subject! I've had a play about with the handset in an EE store and it seems perfect for her. I offered to pay for the handset. She stormed out halfway through the sales pitch. So, why don't you go in and mess about with one, ask questions, I've just renewed with EE, I find them helpful. Might take a bit of hand holding for a week or two, practising with her with it, setting up contacts etc. For my mum it is the fear of change I think. Over-come-able of course!
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby TeresaFoodie » July 21st, 2018, 12:49 am

Meant to say, my mum's current phone is a folding one too. She won't entertain a swipe phone. Even more reason for it to be perfect for someone who is not up for change. Plus, I can foresee no end in fun being able to take and view and share photos for the first time digitally, with a little assistance of course.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby uschi » July 21st, 2018, 5:51 am

Herbidacious wrote:Anyway, many :hug: from me WW. It's very very hard. And sometimes I find myself really wanting my mother (the one I would once have turned to...)

:hug: :hug: :hug:
I only had the reversal for a very short time and it is hard. Cuddle up to your OH as much as you can (even if it's only by email).
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby cyprusmoira » July 21st, 2018, 6:15 am

Tezza, I gave up with my smart phone, it was not logical to me. I now have a new dumb phone

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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Ratatouille » July 21st, 2018, 9:39 am

Even our new fixed-line handsets defeat me Moira !
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby StokeySue » July 21st, 2018, 12:52 pm

I have an iPhone plus, I find it invaluable for various apps for transport and little things like magnifier. But I have a guide now to apps for low vision, which is ptobably on the RNIB site somewhere, need to implement it
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 21st, 2018, 9:22 pm

Thanks Uschi.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby WWordsworth » July 23rd, 2018, 12:05 pm

I have spent the weekend with Mother, got home about 9pm yesterday.
She wasn't quite as bad as I expected but she's certainly very frail and exhausted.

She refers to the carers as "home helps" and says they are very nice.
I don't care what she calls them as long as she lets them help her.

She spent all of Wed-Thu-Fri in bed.
She got up mid-afternoon on Saturday for a few hours, same again yesterday.

I floated the idea of a stair lift - NO.
I suggested we move her bed downstairs until she feels a bit stronger - NO.

SFH is there next weekend so she will try again.

I spent the weekend shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, changing her bed.
I washed her duvet as well. She uses some prescription skin creams which stain so I sorted that out.
Left a few tiny home-cooked meals in the fridge and the freezer and made her favourite raspberry posset.
All conversations had to be shouted as she still won't wear the hearing aids, therefore I got crotchety and tired.
I escaped for half an hour yesterday afternoon by going for a bath :lol:

She talked again about her funeral plus how she doesn't want the 3 of us fighting over things.

I'm afraid I had a bit of a sob when I got in the car to leave.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby suffolk » July 23rd, 2018, 12:09 pm

WW :hug: :hug: :hug: sounds like you did all you could at the time ...

WWordsworth wrote:
I'm afraid I had a bit of a sob when I got in the car to leave.


After visiting my Aged Ps I used to drive up to the seaward end of Southwold Harbour ... park up and 'spend some time becoming me again' :hug: :hug: :hug:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Ratatouille » July 23rd, 2018, 12:20 pm

:hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: WW you slearly did absolutely all you could this weekend. Keep hold of that!
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Seatallan » July 23rd, 2018, 12:36 pm

Oh WW.... I really, really know where you're coming from.... :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby uschi » July 23rd, 2018, 1:00 pm

:hug: :hug: :hug: From me, too, WW!!! You did so much for her, it is really touching.
As for her talking about her funeral, after the first shock, it is a good thing. I was glad I knew what my parents wanted, so I didn't have to think about everything when the time came.
As for the hearing aids, maybe you and your siblings should write her a letter together.
It is exhausting shouting everything five times until it is understood.
My father would not wear his aids, either. The neighbours must have thought me a right nasty cow, when all I tried was to be understood (OK, the fifth repition may sound a little impatient ... :? :aww: ).
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby earthmaiden » July 23rd, 2018, 2:11 pm

Oh WW. I too recognise all that. You are kind, loving and normal :hug: :hug:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby StokeySue » July 23rd, 2018, 2:29 pm

WW :hug: :hug:
All sound horribly familiar
I once went to vist mine and found 7 loads of laundry tucked away in various places. Trouble was, the only way of sorting that much is in heaps on the floor and mum kept trying to "tidy" them away

There was a lay by in the forest where I used to stop for decompression before the 2-3 hour drive home
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 23rd, 2018, 5:31 pm

:hug: from me too.

It is all exhausting, physically and emotionally. V good that she ok with having carers. A friend of mine’s mother refuses and my friend has to travel across town by public transport to do stuff for her most days. ( she won’t eat either.)

I think home help is what they used to call carers btw. My grandma had them.

My mother resisted a stair lift, but gave in. She resisted moving downstairs but was persuaded to when she had a fall trying to get off the stair lift chair. (This is still ‘temporary’ of course.)I had no influence in her accepting these things. It took ‘people I authority’ and perhaps a little common sense to bring her round. So perhaps when she has little alternative she will come round.
Have you had someone round to assess her needs - grab handles, ramps etc.? They might help.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Amber » July 23rd, 2018, 9:36 pm

I remember many of those issues too.

Can you bargain with the stair lift? That or a care home, or move to bungalow? Or can you say it’s for your benefit? Because you have a poorly knee (don’t forget to limp) , use it to help carry washing or breakfast tray upstairs? For carers benefit?

It’s back to those ‘loving lies’ again.

Exactly five years on, and I still don’t think I’m fully over all the angst and guilt. I hope my children never have to go through it, but who knows how we will be when we’re suffering in very old age and illness.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby suffolk » July 24th, 2018, 6:41 am

It was so much easier in some ways because both my Aged Ps were still alive ... when they were at home they were able to justify things like stair lifts and carers to themselves because each of them was doing it for the other.

Over two years since Ma went ......... I've still not cried ........ don't suppose I will now .......... the sense of relief was so overwhelming and she'd not been my mother for quite some time ..........
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby uschi » July 24th, 2018, 6:56 am

I don't know about other people, but I find that mourning is strange.
Sometimes I seemed to feel not that much and then it came back later, "biting me in the backside" out of the blue. I cried for my grandfather six or seven years after his death, while standing on a chair, because I had found a basket he had woven for me. It just attacked me and I stood on that chair and cried.

Not that crying is a measure of mourning. When it's a relief for someone to die, then the relatives have already "said good-bye" during the long illness in a way. Things came in drips and drops.
I was so relieved for my mother that I felt almost elated. She was past pain and boredom. :kneel: :kneel: :kneel:

We all cope differently and express ourselves differently.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby earthmaiden » July 24th, 2018, 8:01 am

I agree Uschi. I think it depends on so many things, including the natural disposition and spiritual beliefs of the bereaved. I'd guess that everyone gets those moments as years go on when they are swept back to days that can never return and shed a few tears as a result.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby suffolk » July 24th, 2018, 8:05 am

There was some other very difficult and sad stuff going on in the extended family when Ma died, and a couple of days later a young person I'd worked with and who meant a lot to me died of a severe epileptic seizure ........ odd times :rolleyes:
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby uschi » July 24th, 2018, 8:23 am

Indeed, I lost a good friend whom I met on the BBC-food board many years ago this spring. We used to exchange e-mails almost every evening for 14 years. I still think of her every day.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Ratatouille » July 24th, 2018, 9:10 am

I think you are so right Suffs and Uschi.
I still miss my parents but they both went when they wanted to after long and ,mostly, very happy lives.

However I am still so sad and upset at the loss our two best friends here in France who died within a year of each other leaving their autistic son - the same age as our son. Those two made our life here a joy and taught us so much not least how to throw a great party!!


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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 24th, 2018, 5:33 pm

I am afraid my father’s last words - to my mother as they waited for the ambalance - were that he didn’t want to die. I can’t begin to imagine what that must have been like for my mother. Or perhaps I can. They tried to rescucitate him for half an hour. Just awful. He’d just turned 77. I was due to come home and bring him belated birthday presents I’d bought him in Ireland. He was not a well man, but didn’t have anything particular wrong with him to suggest that death was imminent. A terrible shock, but without the sense of huge surprise, I suppose.

Anyway just had a long phone call to my mother. She didn’t task about my holiday at all ;) but she did spend yesterday in hospital with a suspected heart attack. (Angina, they think). She seemed more excited by this rather than anything else....
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby suffolk » July 24th, 2018, 6:12 pm

Sometimes a brief change of environment and some attention from 'important people' like doctors and nurses can perk them up no end ;)
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 24th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Yip!
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby WWordsworth » July 26th, 2018, 12:19 pm

My cousin and her partner visited Mum yesterday.
I warned her that Mum would quite likely be in bed, and that she is looking very fragile these days.
Mum has a key safe so I gave cousin the details.

They arrived about 2pm and Mum was fast asleep in bed.
However I spoke to Mum about 5pm. She said they had just left and she was now exhausted.
I asked if she was in bed and she was not :D she had got up when the visitors arrived.

We then talked about what she was going to ask the "home help" to prepare for her tea.
I asked if she fancied a piece of salmon or some of the veg pie that I had made, she said she had eaten it all, she had finished the poached salmon in a sandwich.
(I don't care how she eats it)
She had clearly forgotten I had put some portions of cooked salmon and some slices of pie in her freezer because she sounded quite pleased when I reminded her.

SFH arrives at Mum's today for the weekend.
Heaven knows what she will serve.

Bro and I get the weekend off.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Ratatouille » July 26th, 2018, 1:02 pm

Fingers crossed then!
Je pense, donc je suis. - Decartes
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » July 27th, 2018, 7:47 pm

That all sounds very positive.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby WWordsworth » August 2nd, 2018, 3:58 pm

So, the pharmacy telephoned Bro today just to let him know that they are making up Mum's next blister pack and tramadol has not been prescribed.
Bro telephoned the surgery who said they rang Mum and she said she didn't need the extra ones she had been given (for an infection which has now cleared up) so they stopped all of them.
She has been taking 4 per day for 8 years, they seem to expect her to go cold turkey at 91.

Bro now waiting for a call back from the doctor.
Tramadol needs to be in the blister pack with everything else or she will forget to take it.

Why is everything so complicated?
Why didn't the surgery telephone Bro instead of Mum? All the appropriate permissions are in place and they ring him about everything else.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby Herbidacious » August 2nd, 2018, 4:14 pm

My mother's chemist keeps f***ing up her prescriptions and she was without morphine for a couple of days a couple of months back. And then there was the time that some morphine seemed to missing. It turned out to be a miscommunication between the GPO and the chemist (Maybe. I do get this from my mother, after all...) It beggars belief. Sometimes it feels like she doesn't matter, but then at other times, NHS services seem to go the extra mile. I suppose it's down to individuals to some extent.

It's good that your brother is in the equation. I am not...

I hope they sort out your mother's prescription, WW.
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Re: Looking after our parents (part 2)

Postby WWordsworth » August 7th, 2018, 4:38 pm

The search for a care home has begun.
She doesn't have dementia or any illness other than age-related poor mobility plus bad hearing and eyesight.
However she is becoming increasingly anxious about being alone and has hinted at residential care.
She would never say it directly.
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