Playing up

I suppose it was a bit ambitious thinking I could go away for 5 weeks and not have any problems, but I had planned this trip before mum had her stroke and I thought it would have been more of a nightmare trying to change it.  My 23 year old son amazingly offered to oversee her care while I was away, give her an evening meal and help her to bed.  The carers were still coming in 4 times during the day, so it should run smoothly, or so I thought.

What did mum do?  She rang a bell (for night time emergencies) literally every 5 minutes, and was constantly demanding.  I think she thought my son was there to cater for her every need, with 24 hours constant care!  She would put the tv on really loudly to get attention, throw everything on the floor, deliberately wet herself and even wrote on the wall!!!  Not once did she say thank you to him and would just point to what she wanted.  She was also rude to a friend who was staying with us, who was kindly popping in to chat and take her cups of tea or the occasional meal if mum was hungry.  She told her she was fat 4 times and that she had never had a ‘real’ job (she was a PhD student!). Mum couldn’t understand why they stopped going in to talk to her.  I could say she was overly anxious and didn’t know what she was doing, but she has admitted to me in the past that she does know.

This isn’t dementia or a consequence of growing old, it is her personality sadly.  She can be very nice to others who are not close, although she has admitted to saying unkind things to friends on occasion.  Every few years my brother goes through a period of refusing to talk to her, but I try to convince myself that it is because of her own background/childhood and her general bitterness about life.  Her life wasn’t horrendous but it was tough and experiences can effect how we develop as a person.  Or is there really no excuse for being rude?

It was also a lesson in who will actually help when they say they will.  One day my son needed to see a friend which involved an overnight stay, but people who said they would help now wouldn’t, so it cost me £200 for an agency carer.  I felt he deserved the night off, bearing in mind if he had managed to go out in the evening, he would get a cab back at 10.00pm to help her to bed, as she wouldn’t go to bed any earlier.

Either way, I did get away and I will be forever grateful to my son and our friend who made this possible, but I don’t think I will ever go away for so long again – and I don’t think they would be so quick to offer if they had any sense….

Selling up

I am actually dreading putting mum’s house on the market.

One it means there is no turning back and two it will be upsetting for mum.

It’s also one more problem to have to deal with – getting the right price, clearing out the furniture, sorting out all the paperwork, old photos, ornaments, cleaning materials, crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, clothing and all the other stuff she has collected over the years.  I have done this before for my grandmother and I know that their whole life is just going to end up in a small shoebox!

Plus I have to arrange energy certificates etc and cope with all the viewings, assuming there are some.  Housing market is really quiet now after Brexit and the election apparently and prices have fallen – typical!

Fresh start

Well we finally have a new Agency and they have been fantastic.  The carers have all been much younger and enthusiastic.  They all say they love their job and they all turn up.  The office even answer the phone when you ring them.  All a bit too good to be true, you must be thinking – yes well you are right in a way.

The first few days were perfect, but then it all started falling apart.  One carer tried to clean my mother’s personal areas with a multi surface disinfectant wipe!!  No carer seems to come twice (though that should change) so I have to repeatedly tell them where things are.  Most don’t have the key safe number and now the timekeeping is deteriorating.  Twice this week they have arrived too late in the morning and I have had to do the strip wash etc, otherwise she would have missed her day centre.  Then one day we had 3 carers in 4.5 hours!

But on the positive side, they do at least turn up, they are all very sweet and caring and the office staff actually answer the phone, so we can’t have everything.  I have hope though that they will sort it out eventually but mum is not so confident.  She rang them 4 times yesterday to complain and I bet they were regretting ever giving her their number!

Broken promises

Well another day off work as I waited for mum to arrive.  The transport was booked for 11.00am, but instead she didn’t arrive home until just past 4.00pm!   By which time the driver couldn’t park and I had to collect her from down the road and push her in the wheelchair back to the house with her bag and a walking frame precariously balanced over the arms.  Not quite the welcome I had planned.

But just as well as the lunchtime carer didn’t turn up anyway.  In fact no carers turned up as they had all apparently been sent to the wrong door number!

In fact the whole week has been a disaster.  Despite ringing the Agency and making sure they had the correct details, we never once had the four visits a day which were promised.  At best we had two calls and mostly only one and no evening calls at all.  Thank goodness she didn’t go home on her own!

Eventually the Agency said they didn’t want to cover mum any more on the excuse that it was too for the carers to travel – yet my house was much closer to the transport links than my mum’s had been!  The carers said they were fine but blamed the management!  So the poor social worker was now left having to find a new Agency.  I did have to direct him away from one Agency in particular as they used to come, sign in, disappear to a private client or do their shopping and then return to sign out.

So it has been a nightmare having to do the caring myself alongside all the other stuff, like finding a new doctor, notifying everyone of change of address, arranging physio and OT appointments etc etc as well as being called out in the night and trying not to get the sack in the process. But I suppose at least she seems comfortable and is out of that care home.

A glimpse of the future

It occurred to me that we all know that we will go through various stages in our lives, but we never seem to be prepared for them!   At 7 years of age we feel grown up and by 14 years of age we clearly know it all.  But in a flash we are in our 20’s and we have to actually start being grown up.

Continue reading “A glimpse of the future”