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.

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.

Not enough time or space

I asked for time to get the room ready for mum but even I underestimated what was involved.  It has been a real panic trying to getting new non-slip flooring measured, ordered and laid in just one week (my carpet was moth ridden I am ashamed to say), furniture delivered and all the supplies ordered.  But the room is I hope more or less ready.

The hospital agreed to provide mum with an adjustable hospital bed.  I couldn’t believe it – this would be such a great help.  Strangely she was not entitled to one before, despite the fact that she was not able to turn over in bed or sit up.  I had tried a grab bar but it made no difference. Clearly having a stroke ticks the right boxes.  They even offered to provide a small over the bed table and a pressure cushion for the chair.  The only problem was they needed to deliver straight away.  I did manage to delay it but only until the day after I returned home from visiting my brother, so the flooring now became critical and the thoughts I had of redecorating had to go out of the window. Probably just as well as it was a bit ambitious.

I had to buy an arm chair which had to be a certain height and obviously need to get that in before mum came or she would have nothing to sit in, so that took lots of research and phone calls to get it delivered in time and also new single bedding and a baby monitor for the nights.   I acquired my son’s bathroom stand (from uni) for her pads and toiletries and splashed out on a video doorbell so she didn’t become anxious if anyone knocked as I could answer remotely.

I was unable to get a wardrobe and chest of drawers in time, so she still had to live out of a suitcase for a few days but now they are here but there is still nowhere to put everything!

I can’t believe she needs so much stuff and we haven’t even brought her personal things from home yet!  She needs towels, flannels, soap free toiletries, a bowl, telephone, waste bin, commode, frame, footstool, doorstop, extra bedding, waterproof things plus old towels, tissues, incontinence pads and sheets, toilet rolls, wipes, medication, pill cutter, creams. disinfectant, air freshener, television, non slip bed socks plus somewhere for visitors to sit.  The room is fairly big but I really need to be better organised as everything is all over the place!