Thursday, 3 March 2011

I thought

it was about time I got back on here and gave an update on what has been happening since my last blog.  We ended up rushing off down to Essex because my Mum was starting to not know people, including me over the phone, and I wanted to see her before she forgot us altogether.  Initially when we saw her in hospital our worst fears were well founded as she didn't know me but slowly realisation came to her.  As a result of our arriving in Essex the hospital decided Mum was fit for discharge home!!  I could not believe that a lady of 85 with almost total confusion, not recognising her sister-in-law or her daughter, who had already taken an overdose of Warfarin was going to be sent back to the same situation that was making her increasingly confused and which was putting her at risk!  Fortunately my fears were acknowledged and the doctors decided that, with a low MMSE she needed 24 hour care after all.  The upshot is that Mum is now in a care home in Essex but will shortly be coming up to a care home near us.  I dread to think what would have to happen to someone without a family to stand up for them before they receive the appropriate care.

We stayed in Essex for a few days organising things for Mum's move and then came home to find somewhere for her to be cared for here. I had no idea how complicated this whole process is.  First, you have to find somewhere suitable and as Mum has dementia our town has less options able to deal with her particular needs so homes that I would have liked to choose are not available to us.  Fortunately Lincolnshire does have a good support service to help you find a suitable care solution which comes under the umbrella of Care Choices.  The most valuable piece of advice I have been given was from the hospital social worker who told us to take things one step at a time.  Don't rush, take your time.  Also, be sure to check out the Care Quality Commission report on each home and look out for any safeguards, which, despite the name, mean there may have been a problem. 

It feels as though it has taken months but in fact Mum has been in care less than 2 weeks and we have been successful in finding somewhere for her here, I just hope she likes it.  It is a home that I have known about for years and the atmosphere when you walk in is cosy and friendly.  The residents looked happy and relaxed and the manageress had plenty of time to answer all our questions.  We just need Mum to feel at home now when she arrives.    She will be able to have some of her own furniture in her room, which is surprisingly large and which overlooks the Parish Church.  She is telling everyone that she is looking forward to living near us so I hope that holds true when she gets here.   Perhaps unsurprisingly now that she is in a safe and stable environment her confusion has lessened but she still doesn't know who her sister in law is, she just knows she's a lovely lady.  I have had a couple of telephone conversations with her and she is calling me darling so hopefully that means she will know me when my brother and I go to fetch her in a few days.  

Once Mum is safely settled here the real work starts sorting out all the finances and that is going to take time.  Again I have found several organisations that offer help and guidance, most notably Care Aware who have information bulletins to download and offer help from local advisors which I am almost certainly going to take up.  I feel I am entering a minefield and am constantly having to remind myself to take my time.  I am sure that AgeUk will also be an invaluable source of advice.

The worst of all this, apart from the loss of the beautiful personality that has always been my Mum, is that crucial decisions have to be made at a time when you feel at your absolute lowest, exhausted from caring for a parent who has suddenly changed and is struggling themselves to understand what has happened to them.  The responsibility is huge and very frightening and eventually every small effort drains what little energy you have. I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband through all this.



Tomorrow we are going back to the care home to finalise the paper work and find out the arrangements for taking over the room.  Then we start a busy weekend of getting the room ready, naming Mum's clothes so they don't get lost in the laundry, making up photo frames with photos of people special to Mum and finally fetching her up to her new home.  Fortunately, although she is very confused, she does understand what is about to happen and although she will miss her friends she does want to see more of us so please keep positive thoughts for us and her in your minds.  Spring and a new awakening is happening all around us and I hope that some small awakening will come to Mum when she sees more of me and makes some new friends here.



 

21 comments:

DIAN said...

Your post reminded me of the last months of my mother-in-law's life. It was so sad when she did not remember my husband, her only son.
However her other health problems took over and in fact took her suddenly.

I hope you find peace with the new arrangements and that your mum enjoys her new room.

Remember to take care of yourself too.

freebird said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through all this. It is mighty scary. We only had one month to deal with my dad and he ended up staying at home with hospice coming in while all of us kids came to stay with him. But, his confusion came from brain cancer and so he had less than a month from diagnosis. It is soooo scary. I do hope your mom recognizes you for at least a while yet and adjusts well to her new home. My dad responded really well to his old music and I've heard that helps many people find some peace when the confusion gets to be too much. Will be thinking of you all in your new roles.
Timaree

jan said...

Your post brought a lump to my throat. Sending you a big hug. I hope your Mum settles in to the home. Take care of yourself too. Best wishes Jan

Amo said...

My goodness, what a lot to absorb for you all. Yes, one step at a time, one of my mantras. Sending good vibes up your way Julie!

pam said...

Oh my heart goes out to you - it is and will be harder on you than on your Mother as you will be struggling with being the one who has to look after her now. It will be nice to enjoy having her near you - there will be some really good days and they will be the ones to remember - take care and importantly look after yourself do not rush around and overdo it!

Ro Bruhn said...

This is like dejavu. We went through this last year with my dad, please be reassured it will get better. There are so many things to think about and do. We were so worried about my father's reaction to moving into a home, fortunately he too had spent some time in hospital and moving into the home was liberating for him. He's very settled now and calls it 'home'. The dementia can be a help as they forget about the things they had and seem to be more accepting of their current situation, good luck I'm sure it will all work out OK, it usually does. Thinking of you, hang in there.

Heather said...

Oh Julie - I know just how you feel and my thoughts are with you and your Mum. Don't worry too much if you Mum still gets confused - an aunt of mine didn't know her own son but was very happy in her Care Home. Heartbreaking for my cousin, but at least she wasn't distressed. It must be a relief for you knowing your Mum now has the round-the-clock care she needs. The new Home sounds lovely and I'm sure your Mum will be comfortable there. Peace of mind to you all and I'm glad you seem to be getting plenty of helpful advice. Look after yourself too.

Gina said...

What a tough time you are having lately Julie. I'm pleased you have found good care close to home though and I'm sure it will be good to have Mum nearby. Look after yourself too. x

Angela said...

This is such a difficult time for you Julie I hope things go as smooth as possible and I'm thinking of you. You must look after yourself as well.

dosfishes said...

Hi Julie, Good tohear from you even through trials and lack of sleep. We went through similar things with my Mother-in-law a couple years ago. My Father-in-law was just so exhausred taking care of her...It is hardest o those who csre. Glad you are able to find a soot close to your home, that way you can enjoy the time with Mum. Make sure you take care od yourself too! xox Corrine

Judy Alexander said...

It is so difficult to see this happen with your Mom. My mother-in-law did not know us for the last 8 years of her life. You just need to remember the good times and make your Mum as comfortable as possible. Also thanks for you comment on my blog. Judy

Fenwitters said...

So sorry to hear of your trouble. I do sympathise. My nan was very lucky in remaining lucid, but my great gran did not, and the comfort came when she lost all memory, it was too distressing for her to only recall some. One thing I did do, that helped, was to make a big blown up montage of all her old photos, she would look at them for a long time. You sound very strong about it all.

Sharne's Bit 'n' Bobs said...

What a tough time for you all. It will be lovely to have your mother near by, rather than dashing up and down to Essex

Sarah said...

what a lot of things you have to think about - just make sure you don't forget to think about yourself too. You need to look after you so you can look after your Mum. You are very brave and your Mum is lucky to have someone looking out for her. I am sure she will love being closer to you all. Sending you positive thoughts. Sarah

jan said...

Thanks Julie, enjoy your break xx

JP said...

thinkingof you Julie - you have had such ahard time over the last 6 months - take care

mrsnesbitt said...

Hi Julie - just catching up here and sending you a hug. When mum is settled you will have peace of mind - well to a degree anyway. When you settle into your new routine we'll have a get together shall we? York? A little bit of an occasion - we would make it happen, find a couple of hats and a couple of wines - you need a little break now and again. Love to Stuart Dxx

dianehobbit said...

A difficult time, my thoughts are with you all.

maggi said...

I am so glad that things are working out well at last Julie and hope that your mum settles in quickly. It will be a relief for you not to have to travel so far.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

It is a lot of hard werk an energy to carfter sumwun an to mayke big desizjuns at the sayme time. Yu hav dun very well.

Julie said...

Fan kyew Bob. I know that you have been doin lots of carfterin too and your Mummy has been very tired too.