1. Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by kingmidas1962 at Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:49 pm

    My 84 year old mum cared for my dad (who is 85 and has Picks disease, a form of dementia) until about 7 weeks ago when he went into a care home - initially for respite, and now permanently. She is very lost, and lonely, and had a really bad 'breakdown' the weekend before last :( which resulted in her staying temporarily with me.

    I am trying to find help and companionship for her while she goes through this period of adjustment. She is worried about going back to her house but we cannot all live together in my house as its too small to be practical.

    Does anyone know of any facilities that offer companionship/friendship for older people in her kind of situation?

    This is my first post here , and I hope I meet some lovely people :P

  2. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by jaye2080 at Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:48 pm

    Hi kingmidas, and first of all welcome to the site. I'm sure you will get to know some really lovely people on here who will be able to give you some really good hints and tips.

    I would suggest that your best option to start with is a trip to the local council offices and library to enquire what they can offer. They normally keep lists of organisations etc.
    Is there an age concern shop in your area, they might have pamphlets of local clubs for the elderly, i know that some organisations do outings and all sorts of social activities.

    Let us know how you get on
    all the best

  3. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by swissmiss at Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:57 pm

    Hi there
    The thing is that your Mum is grieving because she has lost her husband. Firstly I would ask is it the only option that they live apart? There are some care homes which have double rooms so couples can stay together..if that is appropriate. I am unsure how much your father is affected..whether he recognises your Mum as his wife or not. My father was already into a period of terminal illness when my Mum's Dementia got so bad he couldnt care for her at home. He found a home 5 minutes from their home and initially visited every day for a couple of weeks so he could see she was OK. Then he reduced it to 3 times a week and found things to do on the other days to focus on. Then twice a week and this lasted for 5months in total until he passed. Could your Mum maybe do something similar so it isnt a sudden shock?
    I am grieving for my husband who took his own life suddenly and 21 months on I am still struggling badly...I think to be honest from what other widows tell me it doesnt get any less painful but you have to adapt. Until you go through it you have no idea how painful it is. Your Mum is 84 so she will find it very hard. She needs to feel connected and to be able to do little things at least I should think for her husband.
    Good advice from Jaye. A local church may offer an outreach person to befriend your Mum if she would like and some bigger churches offer coffee mornings and lunches even. The Salvation Army are particularly good..they have care homes as well. I would ask their advice. There are groups for carers who have stopped having to care called "after care" in some areas and some counselling might help? Depends on your Mum really.
    Dont forget she will need hugs to comfort the loss of her husband to hug. Also she will need to cry. Crying and laughter are good medicine. Talk about the good times and the funny moments in their shared life. They will be together in spirit though as nothing can separate a couple who love each other.
    How are you? How do you feel? It is a distressing experience for you as well.
    Take care.
    Karen x :)

  4. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by kingmidas1962 at Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:29 am

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. Its a very difficult situation - dad does know who mum is, and me too - the effects of Picks disease mostly impact on speech (virtually impossible for him) and mobility - he can't walk at all without help. His memory is affected but more in the short term - a good deal of his long term memory remains intact but he gets confused easily.

    Mum is very close to his care home, and initially she did visit every day but was trying so hard to keep herself busy that she neglected her health and got very low before she told anyone how she was feeling. They were never a 'close' couple - she has admitted this herself, but of course she is missing him being around. She is grieving - of course, and understands this. I have asked for counselling from the Carers Centre and I am waiting for them to call me back. We had an appointment with a psychiatric nurse at her doctors last week, which involved discussion about possible medication and therapy. I know what she needs, its just that everything takes so LONG and she isn't really feeling in the right place to start finding out these things for herself. Its really hard for older people as so much is internet-based these days.

    Its all down to me as my brother lives in Bedfordshire and there are no other siblings. I'm also working - full time, but luckily I can do a lot of it at home.

    And the other question - how do I feel?! Awful. :?

    Constantly tired, stressed, and if I'm perfectly honest desperate to have my house back to myself. I have a 14 year old daughter who is on school Summer holidays and I've been restricted in how much time I can spend with her, so she's getting neglected. My husband has suffered with depression for years and is also struggling with having 'the mother in law' in the house all the time. We only have one big family room downstairs, and we're all in it, all the time.

    Naturally she is worried about going back home alone, but if she stays here too long it will feel even worse, and she will get 'stuck' and not able to move on. I'm going to try going back home with her for a night, then leaving her for a night, and work up to her being at home a few nights at a time. Its just such hard work :(

  5. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by swissmiss at Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:34 pm

    If your Mum isnt comfortable in her home alone might she consider living in a sheltered complex where she would have her own flat but company of others around as well?? :-)

  6. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by kingmidas1962 at Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:01 pm

    you must be a mind reader ;) that's exactly what we were thinking - but she needs to make a balanced decision and not have a sudden reaction to the current situation. What's important now is to get her back at home (gently) and feeling better so she can make a balanced decision. Funnily enough as I was typing this a booklet arrived about Extra Care housing!

  7. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by jaye2080 at Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:24 pm

    there is so much going on in your post, no wonder you are feeling down.

    Ive just realised from reading it that since your mum was also a carer like us, my guess is that she is feeling the effects of caring. Now that her husband has gone into a care home she has not only lost a companion but a whole way of life. We do become isolated from friends and lose contact. I really can see how this situation has happened.

    Don't dismiss the idea of your mum having a computer. My old dad was 82 when he got his first comp and he loved it. Perhaps your daughter might agree to sit a while with your mum in her own home and show her how to use one.

  8. Re: Companionship for mum (Bristol area)

    Posted by swissmiss at Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:33 pm

    I think it might be a very good idea. It can be difficult for someone to leave their home but we have the very sad situation of a lady opposite who has severe Dementia who lives as a recluse with the only help being available when she is in crisis...mainly due to her paranoia which makes it impossible for anyone to get close. Much better to find a living situation which is sustainable and fulfilling for as long as possible. Loneliness is a terrible thing. You will find a solution so don't despair...the current situation is fresh and acute and painful but wont last indefinitely.
    Karen :-)
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