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    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 9th Oct 17, 8:49 AM
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    trailingspouse
    How do you know when 'it's time' - elderly parents
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:49 AM
    How do you know when 'it's time' - elderly parents 9th Oct 17 at 8:49 AM
    My parents are in their 80s, and generally fit and well. But the cracks are beginning to show - father is forgetting things on a regular basis, mother's conversational record is a bit stuck, we get the same stories over and over.

    Dad was in hospital yesterday, with chest pains (turned out to be nothing serious). They did a chest X-ray, then about an hour later a nurse asked if he'd had his X-ray and he said 'no'. They diagnosed a very minor chest infection, and gave him antibiotics - he was told 'one three times a day' but later that evening he was convinced it was one a day.

    They'd told me they have their flu jabs today (Monday), and (very sensibly) were wondering if Dad would be OK to have his in view of the chest infection - but I happened to see the flu invite letters, and the appointment was Saturday (two days ago), so they've missed it.

    But in general, they cope well - they eat healthily, Dad still drives, they get dressed up and go out for meals, they have opinions on world events, they can walk up the stairs without difficulty, the house is clean (well, to be honest, not as clean as it used to be, but still not bad), the garden is well kept.

    So at what point do you step in and start to give extra help? It seems the choice is to either wait until there is some sort of crisis which proves that they're not coping, or risk offending them by stepping in too soon (before they think they need it).

    I live about 2 hours' drive away, so I can be there reasonably quickly if I need to be, but I can't pop over every 5 minutes. I could however organise things so that I could go over, say, once a week - but I don't think they'd like the idea that I was 'checking up' on them.

    Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by trailingspouse; 09-10-2017 at 9:12 AM.
Page 1
    • Artytarty
    • By Artytarty 9th Oct 17, 9:17 AM
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    Artytarty
    • #2
    • 9th Oct 17, 9:17 AM
    • #2
    • 9th Oct 17, 9:17 AM
    It sounds like you maybe helps not them keep,on top,of appointments and engagements by writing on the calendar or making a weekly list of events might be a good idea.
    In practical terms regard she house and garden it sounds fine.
    Most folk don't manage quite the same standards thye used to as thye age a bit but that's no big deal.

    If you knew what thye were supposed to be doing then you could subtly check in conversation if it had taken place. Make sure theyshop for food regularly too.
    Norn Iron Club member 473
    • Judi
    • By Judi 9th Oct 17, 9:51 AM
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    Judi
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 17, 9:51 AM
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 17, 9:51 AM
    Ask...'do you want me to throw the vacuum round whilst I'm here?'.

    Take an 'interest' in their appointments and remind them. A calender is a good idea.

    See how you go from there.
    'Holy crap on a cracker!'
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 9th Oct 17, 10:00 AM
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    pmlindyloo
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 17, 10:00 AM
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 17, 10:00 AM
    Sounds like they are coping very well at the moment.

    How often do you visit them? Do you phone them on a regular basis?

    I think your concerns can be addressed over the phone or at your usual visit - unless you only visit once a year!

    If you are afraid they are missing appointments you could make a joke of it - 'I have to put everything on my calendar or I would miss loads of things I am so busy' and then take/send a calendar - that sort of thing.

    But only you know them so if you are generally concerned then up your visits/phone calls. AT lease that way you will be able to 'monitor' the situation before it turns into a crisis.
    • macman
    • By macman 9th Oct 17, 10:47 AM
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    macman
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 17, 10:47 AM
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 17, 10:47 AM
    Sort out the simple stuff for them first, if they agree. Utility bills: get yourself set up so you can manage them all online: gas/leccy/water/phone, council tax, home insurance. Put them all on DD (and make sure they are on the best deals at the same time). You can also deal with their GP online for appointments and prescriptions, and get them to sign a third party consent form.
    Get a POA set up now for their financial affairs, while they are still able to give informed consent.
    If you could arrange a cleaner even once a week, that would be someone else to keep an eye on them and let you know of any issues that arise.
    I did this with my late mother, and while there was some initial resistance, once it was all in place and she didn't have to worry about it, then she was quite happy for me to manage it.
    Your parents don't seem to have any difficulties with personal care or cooking/shopping, so deal with the other issues first, and that will give you more time later should their needs increase.
    Another thing worth doing is to get them on the Priority Register for gas/leccy/water and phone.
    None of these things will cost anything, other than a cleaner, and setting up the POA.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 9th Oct 17, 1:19 PM
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    onlyroz
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:19 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:19 PM
    Has your dad been assessed for Alzheimer's or any other forms of dementia?
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 9th Oct 17, 5:08 PM
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    trailingspouse
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 17, 5:08 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 17, 5:08 PM
    Thanks for the thoughts so far.

    We already have a POA in place.

    I ring them once a week, and see them every couple of months - and yes, I'm going to start making sure I see them more often. Start with once a month and build up from there. I don't want them to think that I don't think they can cope - but I do think they just need a bit more help now.

    He hasn't been assessed for Alzheimers, and I would like him to be. I suspect there's a bit of denial going on. I may have to ring their doctor's and have a chat.
    • Torry Quine
    • By Torry Quine 9th Oct 17, 5:16 PM
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    Torry Quine
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 17, 5:16 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 17, 5:16 PM
    Thanks for the thoughts so far.

    We already have a POA in place.

    I ring them once a week, and see them every couple of months - and yes, I'm going to start making sure I see them more often. Start with once a month and build up from there. I don't want them to think that I don't think they can cope - but I do think they just need a bit more help now.

    He hasn't been assessed for Alzheimers, and I would like him to be. I suspect there's a bit of denial going on. I may have to ring their doctor's and have a chat.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    You will need the permission of your parent for their GP to talk with you
    Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving . Albert Einstein.

    I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have -
    Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
    • sillygoose
    • By sillygoose 9th Oct 17, 5:29 PM
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    sillygoose
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 5:29 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 5:29 PM
    Sort out the simple stuff for them first, if they agree. Utility bills: get yourself set up so you can manage them all online: gas/leccy/water/phone, council tax, home insurance. Put them all on DD (and make sure they are on the best deals at the same time). You can also deal with their GP online for appointments and prescriptions, and get them to sign a third party consent form.
    Get a POA set up now for their financial affairs, while they are still able to give informed consent.
    If you could arrange a cleaner even once a week, that would be someone else to keep an eye on them and let you know of any issues that arise.
    I did this with my late mother, and while there was some initial resistance, once it was all in place and she didn't have to worry about it, then she was quite happy for me to manage it.
    Your parents don't seem to have any difficulties with personal care or cooking/shopping, so deal with the other issues first, and that will give you more time later should their needs increase.
    Another thing worth doing is to get them on the Priority Register for gas/leccy/water and phone.
    None of these things will cost anything, other than a cleaner, and setting up the POA.
    Originally posted by macman
    This is solid advice (been there!)
    Are they financially secure? is the house manageable?

    around this stage we took the opportunity to downsize my parents home to something more manageable than the big family home they no longer needed. This also released a lot of capital so they could enjoy life bit more, pay for a cleaner & tradesmen for things they could no longer do. It was also an opportunity to move nearer family which was handy later on.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 9th Oct 17, 5:32 PM
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    Mojisola
    You will need the permission of your parent for their GP to talk with you
    Originally posted by Torry Quine
    But most GPs will listen to a family member's concerns and can then make their own assessment when the patient is next seen.
    • Lioness Twinkletoes
    • By Lioness Twinkletoes 9th Oct 17, 5:46 PM
    • 1,078 Posts
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    Lioness Twinkletoes
    I thought this was a similar question to one that is asked on the pets board "Elderly cat....how do you know when it is time?"...
    • cjdavies
    • By cjdavies 9th Oct 17, 6:17 PM
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    cjdavies
    Dad still drives.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    Should he still be driving? I'm not having a go, I'm curious if they are allowed.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 9th Oct 17, 6:24 PM
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    theoretica
    It might be worth having a word with the receptionist at their doctors and anywhere else they have important appointments suggesting they could do with lots of reminder calls about appointments.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 9th Oct 17, 6:54 PM
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    Robisere
    Still in our early 70's, mentally healthy but physically disabled and fortunate to have a ds, dd and 4 smashing grandchildren within 5 miles. 3 grandchildren are over 18 and one helps quite a lot. I can appreciate your concern, having had 3 very good friends with Alzheimers and a neighbour who developed severe dementia and died at 87.

    I took a long hard look at our possible futures a few years ago and took steps to try to ameliorate any problems which might arise. Every important document is filed in labelled within A4 folders and box files, including medical, pension, insurance and financial records. Some is computerised or otherwise digitalised and backed-up within a schedule. 2 Calendars are used and we record details of appointments immediately we get them. As this has developed into a routine, we find it easier to follow: the older we get, the more important routine becomes!

    If you could possibly take a couple of days off to be with mum and dad, establishing some of this may be useful. As I have intimated above, an established routine is important to the elderly. Your parents might have friends of their own age that you can speak to regarding care and help that those friends trust. Age Concern also have sources of trusted help: check out their local office and speak with them.

    I think you have absolutely the right attitude in wanting to help your mum and dad in the best way: good luck!

    EDIT: Are all their utility bills, etc., paid by DD or standing order? That is something I made sure of along time ago.
    Last edited by Robisere; 09-10-2017 at 6:57 PM.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 9th Oct 17, 7:49 PM
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    onlyroz
    You will need the permission of your parent for their GP to talk with you
    Originally posted by Torry Quine
    Even with a PoA?
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 9th Oct 17, 7:50 PM
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    onlyroz
    Should he still be driving? I'm not having a go, I'm curious if they are allowed.
    Originally posted by cjdavies
    My dad is allowed to drive and he has Alzheimer’s. He only ever drives if my mum is with him, and it’s usually only to break up a long journey. I expect there will come a point where he shouldn’t be driving.
    • Brighton belle
    • By Brighton belle 9th Oct 17, 8:13 PM
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    Brighton belle
    How did they react when you told them they had missed their flu appointments? Could you use this as an opening to being a bit more proactive in finding out what their plans and appointments.
    I would definitely try and up you visits to monthly if you can. Although maybe go to 6 weekly first.
    It is not an easy transition to upping parental care, especially if they are in denial themselves. But they are both in their 80's so it is not unreasonable for you to suggest you just want to see more of them.
    Trying to up the care of your parents without them realising is as tricky as the practicing the dark arts, lol. You just have to creep forward, judging the moment to make suggestions, usually with the back up of saying to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Sometimes you'll find you have to wait for things to become a bit more of a struggle to come in with a timely suggestion of a cleaner etc for them to feel the relief at the idea. I wouldn't come in suggesting you take over there bill paying etc: too much too soon.


    Even with a PoA?
    Originally posted by onlyroz
    The health and welfare P of A needs to have been activated. Even if it has been,I would be hesitant to seek a private conversation at this stage without their express permission, but would definitely want to make the GP aware of your concerns.
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 9th Oct 17, 8:32 PM
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    Primrose
    My father was very resistant to my becoming involved in helping to manage their affairs but when I realised he was struggling to cope, rather than piling full in with the Power of Attorney I'd previously set up I phased it on the basis that they might appreciate some secretarial/administrative assistance, as I had a computer and could all the typing for them rather than my dad having to write all his domestic admin letters laboriously by hand and keep carbon copies of them (You can tell this dates back a little !). Put that way, he was very happy and relieved and I gradually took over everything. Once he saw that things were flowing happily and I still allowed him to think he was in control, he gradually stopped worrying about all the admin and financial stuff and let me take it all over so it was a fairly gradual transition. I kept my own files copies of all correspondence at my house, but duplicated copies of everything with them so they still felt in control and had access to all the records. That was quite important for my dad not to feel he was being sidelined.


    I certainly back the suggestion that you have an admin session with your parents if they will agree and get all their financial data, contact numbers, account numbers, addresses for utilities, pensions, bank and savings accounts etc listed in a central place that you have access to them so that if something suddenly happens you have all the information readily to hand.


    What sort of P of A do you have? The old Enduring type or the new ones? I recommend you update to the new ones if possible and get both the Finance and Health & Welfare ones to cover all eventualities. They don't negate the previous one.
    Last edited by Primrose; 09-10-2017 at 8:35 PM.
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 9th Oct 17, 8:37 PM
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    CRANKY40
    There's also the chance that whatever infection your dad was diagnosed with was adding to his confusion. We always know when my dad has something like that as he becomes extra scrambled.
    • Brighton belle
    • By Brighton belle 9th Oct 17, 8:51 PM
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    Brighton belle
    I think Primrose is spot on about what ever you do,ensuring your parents still feel in control. We would make suggestions to our parents, sometimes giving 3 or 4 ideas and then let them mull it over to see which one felt best to them (including of course, no change).
    Once they trust that you are not taking over/sidelining them, then like Primrose experienced, they will likely let you do more.
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
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