Silent care

Having finally found a reliable Care Agency, I am still so dismayed at the actual care system.  They are all (well mostly) lovely ladies and come in smiling and actually turn up on time.  They are usually very efficient, speedy and do all they need to do, but they just don’t talk.  I can understand why my mum feels so isolated and lonely.

The carer arrives, says hello, goes about her business with a flurry, then departs.  Absolutely no communication in the meantime, unless they are talking to someone on their phone.  So the elderly person just sits there all day on their own virtually isolated from the rest of the world.  Yes their needs may be met, if they are lucky, but a few minutes talking about their day, the weather outside or even asking how they are would go such a long, long way.

Age UK provide a befriending service.  We did try it a couple of times and it was really good, but the people tend not to stay around.

Again, having mum come to live with me has brought home the harsh reality of actually living on your own when you are housebound – just sitting in front of the tv all day and having no friends still alive or anyone to chat to. The evenings are the worse.

My mum is lucky in that she does have one friend who pops in once a week and her sister visits, plus me now, but what about all those other people who don’t have this.  There was a ‘running group’ I heard about once, where runners would pop into an elderly neighbour on their route.  I don’t know whatever happened to that, and I can imagine there are privacy/security/safeguarding and all sorts of other issues to consider, but honestly if you live next to an elderly neighbour, I cant stress enough the importance of actually popping in if only once a week to just have a quick chat. Just do it.

Alive and kicking (almost)

Well mum survived the night and actually slept really well, but she has now got into the habit of calling me about 7am for a cup of tea!  She is also complaining that I am not a happy bunny when she calls me in the middle of the night!  Well that is probably because I am still half asleep!  She complained I am like the carers who were in the home as they would just come in and say ‘what do you want?’  It is completely different – they are paid to smile, I’m not!

I must admit I have been getting slightly ratty, but that was because I couldn’t help her.  Nothing I seemed to do reduced her sickness or pain, but apparently I should have just come in and given her a hug! As if that would have worked when she was writhing with pain.  Anyway, these things go two ways!

Everything is so one-sided.  She rarely says thank you, expects me to be there constantly at her beck and call, turning on the light, passing her glasses, picking up something she has dropped, getting her a drink or food – this is on top of the assistance in getting her on and off the commode or cooking her meals etc.  It is relentless and generally unappreciated.  I promised myself that I wouldn’t turn this blog into a complaint but…

 

Night out

Got invited to dinner tonight, but it meant leaving my mum on her own.  The last carer came at 6pm but had nothing to do.  Mum had come back from her club wet and having thrown up on the transport, so I had already changed her and got her ready for bed. As soon as the carer left and I had my coat on, mum then asked for a cup of tea, commode, fan etc clearly panicking that I was going to leave her for hours on end.  By the time I arrived at the restaurant, I was late and looked a mess.  Everyone else looked so calm and relaxed and, as it turned out, had far worse things going on in their lives than I had.

I was actually home by 9.30pm but managed to eat and drink far too much in that couple of hours, on the excuse of being stressed – why do I do that?  I go out determined to have a salad and end up having the most fattening dish on the menu plus a desert!  I seemed to be set on a downward spiral heading towards obesity and diabetes.  I really need to take some control and responsibility over my diet and actually exercise – I have one of those ‘pay and don’t go’ gym memberships!

Selective hearing

Mum had a fall last night. She tried to use the commode and slipped off.  It was only when my husband starting pushing me, that I realised that the loud ringing I could hear was her calling for help!

All the years I cared for my daughter, I seemed to sense in advance if she was ill.  Even though she no longer lives with us, I still know when she is unwell.  For some reason I just don’t hear my mum!!  I have a video camera in the room with 2 way audio as well as a doorbell and I still don’t hear her.

Tonight she had to press the watch alarm.  I just managed to get to the phone before they turned up.  I forgot to tell them that mum was sleeping in the front room, so they are likely to bound up the stairs into our bedroom one night! Think I had better get that one sorted out early on.

It was a real struggle to pick her up.  I didn’t want to ask my husband as he has been ill himself lately and also has a bad shoulder, but I thought I might have to.  Mum knew to cross her arms, but it was only after a few unsuccessful attempts that I realised she was keeping her legs straight! No wonder I was struggling.  I got her half up and we both fell on the bed.  Eventually, after a lot of struggling, she managed to get into bed properly but they really should provide the family with training on how to lift someone.

Anyway thank goodness she was okay, but we seem to be going backwards.  She was starting to manage in the night, but her leg has been playing up the last few days and she has been having trouble standing.  Painkillers are not helping so it may be connected with her stroke – I have been reading about post stroke pain – and if it is that there is apparently not much they can do about it!  Looks like we are back to some disturbed nights again.

Finding a routine

There is so much stuff to do and remember I have had to laminate a list:

Morning: empty commode, wash, dress, brush teeth, change pad, medication, help to chair, move commode to chair, breakfast then leave the following:

water and glass, mobile phone, landline, watch alarm, clock, tv remote controls, paracetamol, fan, tissues, toilet roll, spare pads, bin liners. And on club days – water, sickness tablets and money, more spare pads. Oh and a snack.

Evening:

Wash, put nightdress on, change pad, empty commode, evening meal, medication, senna, painkillers, move commode to side of bed and remember to put the following items on the bed table:

charge phone, charge landline, clock, bell to call me in the night, watch alarm, tv remote controls, water and glass, tissues, fan, paracetamol, toilet roll, spare pads, bin liners. Oh and a snack.

Order regular supplies of pads and pants, tena wipes, fragrance free shower gel, gloves, face wipes, bin liners, toilet rolls, tissues and medication.

And then clean the house, cook the meals, check appointments, pick up after falls in the night, liaise with carers, do the daily laundry and go to work….  I am sure I have forgotten something 😦

Honeymoon is over

I just get pointing now.  Get me this or that. Put that there.  Had my hair cut and got told I look like Camilla Parker Bowles!  I had to tell her she would be out on her ear if she continued and fortunately that brought a laugh.  Not quite killed each other yet.

Carers have been coming, but times are bad.  Late twice on the days mum goes to her club, so I have had to run back from work to wash and dress her and do all the other things that you need to do in the morning.  I am a wreck.  Carer turned up just as I had finished and just before the transport arrived.  Then lunch is getting later at 1.30pm, followed by tea at 4.00pm, then bed at 6.00pm – sounds familiar??  Have had a chat with the Agency and hopefully they will sort it out…..

 

Best buy ever

The battery ran out today and for the life of me I couldn’t get the screws out to recharge it!  Total panic and disaster!  What was this thing that I have become so dependent on?  – a video doorbell.  Honestly, it has transformed my life and I really can’t live without it.

In my stupidity I had thrown the box away which contained the screwdriver, thinking it was just any screwdriver – but of course it was not – it was a T6 torx screwdriver!!  What the fxxx was that?  I managed to contact the company that made the doorbell and to my relief and surprise they immediately offered to send me a replacement screwdriver from the USA free!!!  I never get anything free.  It is flying on its way to me now, but I couldn’t wait.  I really cannot survive without this bell.  Already I have missed two parcels because I couldn’t answer the door from work and mum was also ringing me at work, worrying that someone was knocking at the door and no one was in.

Honestly, everyone must get one of these.  It is truly amazing.  My husband was working in the front garden and having a very animated conversation with my son and daughter who were in Australia!! Imagine that!  I had sent them the link but didn’t imagine they could answer motion on the doorbell from the other side of the world.  I have been able to ask a delivery driver to wait, seen where parcels have been left and asked other callers to come back later.

The only downside is that it video’s you installing the thing.  I just hope the company do not keep this data to torment you with later!!  Apart from the practicality of the bell, you can have such a laugh with it too, believe me.  Some of the images it captures could earn someone a fortune on ‘You have been Framed’.