Carers Group: 20/12/21

Our last meeting of 2021!

Saying “no”

Our first speaker has had a tough few weeks. Her son is away at the moment, so she has been caring for her mother in law too – organising everything and getting ready for Christmas. She feels like it’s ground hog day. Her Mum is ok and oblivious to everything. Janet said it’s easy to get wrapped up in what you are doing and she needs to say no to people and recognise boundaries and priorities her time. The carer feels like she needs a few days away. 

Chrismas care home visits

Our youngest carer saw her dad the day after her mum’s birthday celebration. She said he had no eye contact and wasn’t really present. She read to him about Russian missiles and he fell asleep. She has been told there will be visiting restrictions over Christmas period due to Covid and staffing problems. Janet said care homes can forget it is the person’s home. She advised working with the local council to explain the situation and work with the authority funding the placement. Tatiana suggested going via social services, ask if they have had a review and share her concerns. The carer feels like it a constant battle all the time to see her dad. She said it may help for requests for change to come from professionals rather than a family member

Confusion

A father-in law has become slow to respond and ‘woolly’. He takes time to come to. The carers were going to report that he was getting out of control with his meds. He has been “discombobulating” his phones. He didn’t respond when she called him a few weeks ago. He is chaotic at times. She is keeping an eye on him and will take him out for a Xmas meal. He is a hoarder and lives in chaos. Her resources are drained and she needs to have a conversation with his son. Janet said his safety is concerning (he is a member of the Friendship Group).

Plan for the future

A husband said his wife had been gently declining, but there is now a faster decline. She has less energy and difficulty standing and stepping. They go for short walks and she had been relatively stable. He said that she will look at the stairs and can’t work out what to do. She is sleeping more in the day and more at night when she used to be awake. Janet asked how do he gets her up the stairs? He said it’s getting harder and she risks falling. Janet advised thinking about planning ahead and how to manage at home. He said the consultant has been quite helpful. The nurse who comes round didn’t come back with ideas. He is taking each month at a time. He hasn’t got any respite time planned at the moment. His Mum is 97 and is in hospital at the moment. He is hoping to visit her in the New Year.

Dad ok, mum not so

A daughter said her Mum has mixed dementia. Progress was quite gentle until 4 months ago, then she began sleeping from 1 until 4 in the afternoon and it frightened her – she has now accepted it. The carers come to help with meds. Mum lives in a retirement close. She is having difficulty with cooking and has support with this. She now can’t use the phone, turn on the TV, the washing machine, or the cooker. They have a WhatsApp group to keep an eye on Mum. The 3 sisters are now struggling and need some calm – it’s chaotic. 2 weeks ago her Mum was suddenly confused. Subsequently this involved hospital visits and consultations with GP. The result was a diagnosis of Lewy Body symptoms and Parkinson’s. The medication now need to be reviewed. The carer is distressed because her Mum is distressed. The family are looking at private care as her Mum needs care through the night. Janet – mentioned Telecare to add a door sensor to the existing service (see the Greenwich Telecare information here). A family member can record  an appropriate message. It’s about managing risks. Mum likes to have a handbag, but the daughter is concerned about her carrying valuables. Janet suggested giving her the handbag, as it’s important to Mum, even if it is empty. 

A new habit

We heard about a dad. He has developed a new habit. He closes his eyes and won’t talk to you. He’s not doing the filing as much as he used to but latches onto things like bank statements. It was suggests that it could be ‘sun downing’ as dementia can be affected by lack of light and the shorter day light.

Are you ok?

Finally, we were told abut an old member of the Friendship Group. His memory is worse. He recognises his daughter but not her name. His wife said she has off days but she is ok. 

We hope you have a good Christmas and send best wishes for the New Year.

Next meeting 17th January 2022.

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