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Wanting to help ...
edited 11 September 2015 at 11:30PM in Over 50s MoneySaving
27 replies 4.6K views
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I outlined our scenario a few posts back. I am now speaking on behalf of my father - his words.
"X - you were so right when you said we should have moved before now. I wish I had listened to you. You were right when you said it would make our lives easier but I just didn't fully appreciate the problems and difficulties that lay ahead. You worked as a manager in that complex so you knew what was coming. I didn't and should have been guided by you. Maybe if I had listen we wouldn't be in this mess and your mum would be with me now and not in that nursing home. She hates it there and I feel so guilty. I have let her down. We could have had a nice bungalow, we could have managed that, we could have stayed together"
Wyndom - sorry I misunderstood - I thought you were the daughter in law, not the son in law........However.
When faced with the opposition you are faced with I too gave up and said "oh well we will just have to take a back seat and be there and do what we can......"
The "we will do what we can" was woefully inadequate when the time came.
Could things have been better if I had been more forceful - most definitely.
Their adorable cottage, with its multi levels, angled staircase, nooks and crannies, awkward bathroom was totally unsuited to Zimmer frames, wheelchairs etc.
Whilst pmlindyloo - has some excellent ideas they will be largely ineffective If the house is not suitable.
Getting the right accommodation is absolutely crucial - it's key to everything else that follows.,
You need -
flat level access - inside and out. You cannot push a wheelchair across gravel - so the area from the car to the door needs to be flat and smooth.
Easy entrance to the house, no steps, so if you have steps you will need a ramp.
Doors wide enough for a wheelchair or Zimmer frame
No narrow twisty bendy corridors
A bathroom large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or Zimmer frame plus carer
These are just the basics......
Stair - lifts are only of limited use, they are fine if the user can weight bear but not for wheelchair users, so better to have all accommodation on one level, although guest bedrooms could be upstairs.
There are lots of things that can be added to make life easier ie waist high sockets, kitchens can be adapted to the needs of the user, bathrooms can be converted to wet rooms etc but none of that is much use if the actual,design and layout if the house doesnt work and and if the access is not right.
Internal space can be altered easily enough, walls removed and rooms opened up if necessary but you have to get the basics right and easy access is the fundamental.
I speak from personal experience - my husband was a wheelchair user and I was his carer. I learned more about caring for the disabled the frail and the elderly than I ever wanted to know.
If we want to retain our freedom and independence as we get older and if we want to help our elderly parents then sorting out Our living spaces is crucial. The right accommodation will make the difference between a comfortable old age, and in some case it may even avoid or at least delay the necessity of having to go into a care home.
Today I will be seeing dad. He now lives in an apartment in sheltered accommodation - he hates it. He wants a bungalow. When he moved in it was part of an emergency strategy to tide us over a crisis. He is 89 and I now have to start looking for a bungalow for him.
I'm 64 and I'm still having to sort out my dad........at a time when I should be thinking about my own future.
Ive already wrecked my health caring for my husband and im still not done.
Wyndom - and to anyone else in a similar position - you need to act before it gets worse.
When it comes to preparing for old age, whether it's our own or our parents, forward planning is key. Take the time to get it right rather than having to react to a crisis, when you might have to just take what you can get.
This is where we struggle. I'm of the opinion we keep trying to resolve the housing issue as this is fundamental to everything else, whereas my wife is resigned to the fact they wont change. I do understand her view as she feels each time we bring this up (on my insistence) it damages her relationship with her parents. She has two sisters who live further away and don't bring up anything awkward and this does not help.
My FIL did spend money on a new shower room for my MIL, but this may have been wasted as she finds it hard to use and I don't think my FIL helps her. She currently strip washes herself and washers her hair only when my wife visits as my FIL refuses to help with this.
We'd love to get them into a bungalow near to us so we can all (both of us plus our two teenage sons) can be more involved in their day to day life. We both feel if they would move we could keep them independent and more 'engaged' for longer (at present they just have each other for company). We could walk the dog/sort meals/do washing and pop in to chat rather than be a 'visitor' - these are all the things my FIL has had to take over since the stroke which makes it all the more odd why he does not wish us to help him.
It would help my wife considerably as she can keep a closer eye on them - this is something completely overlooked by my FIL is the stress of his inaction causes to his daughter.
Don't get the wrong impression of my FIL - he's a great chap, but just has some very odd (and very old fashioned) views on things! I think his pride may be responsible for a lot of this...
They are living on a knife edge, and the smallest change in their circumstances can have a big impact on their way of life.
I'm not sure what the future holds...
But what they fail to grasp is that by acting sooner rather than later they will be I dependent for longer.....
It's a vicious circle.
As you say it's your poor wife who will bear the brunt of it all.
Over the last 25 years, gradually and bit by bit, we've modernised this 1930s bungalow. I actually wish now that we'd thought of doing a wet room, but a few years ago these were a bit clinical and institutional-ly (institution-like?) if that makes sense? However, some of the hotels we've stayed in on holiday in the past 2 or 3 years have had wet rooms and as unlike any institution as you could wish. So, we still have our bathroom with low step-in shower, wider doors and grab-rails everywhere, and at present it's fine. I would die if I didn't get my daily shower! It may, however, become impossible if DH ends up having an above-knee leg amputation, as is still on the cards. He wants to meet his Maker with the two legs he had to start with, but it's always there as a looming threat, every time there's a flare-up of infection in the 4 x replaced L knee. If it becomes necessary, a wet-room we shall have.
I remember once when I was in hospital after a revision of hip replacement, I was desperate for a shower and hair-wash and was not best pleased being told to 'manage with a bowl like everyone else'. A junior Sister eventually took pity on me. It felt wonderful. Comparing that with a strip-wash, no contest at all.
I wonder if it would be helpful if you got in an OT from the Adult Social Services Team, to look at that shower-room. Maybe there are not enough grab-handles and grab-rails - easy enough to install some. Feeling clean all over really has a lot to do with your general feeling of well-being. And has Mum had physio after her stroke - essential to maximise remaining strength and movement?
Before I found wisdom, I became old.
I'm on my way back from a weekend with a sibling whose partner has just died. Their house is a converted bungalow: they installed a wet room downstairs and converted one room to a bedroom, but the angles were awkward and narrow for a walking frame, even worse for a wheelchair.
But the stairs! Steep, narrow, scary! If I lived in that house, I'd never pack a suitcase upstairs and try to bring it down!!! I'd bring it downstairs and pack it there.
Well, my sibling knows a move is needed, but where to? Into what? Nearer family, or staying near friends? Sheltered (when no help is needed at present), or independent?
Time is on their side at the moment (and I've said absolutely not to rush anything at this stage), but for how long?
How about a vet check up and get the vet to explain about limiting their beloved dogs life by refusing him exercise ? Our vets do 6 monthly free nurse checkups for the elderly (the receptionist laughingly saying the offer referred to both elderly dogs and elderly owners)
You would think that as the dog is the centre of their life this would be possible, but FIL wont discuss this at all....
In a flippant comment moment MIL & FIL were discussing how to kill themselves when he was down waiting his prostate op. MIL mentioned hooking up a hose to the car and them all getting in, but FIL said he wouldn't do that to the dog..... says it all really..
Each way we turn we get a brick wall.....
Whatever for? Why even talk about killing themselves?
In a way, I shouldn't be surprised by their attitude to the dog. Not once, but more than once, I've heard older people say 'oh the dog is the most important person in the house'. I remember a woman who was addicted to smoking, couldn't see very well and used to drop bits of burning tobacco all down her clothes, nightwear and bed-sheets. When taken to task about this because there was a risk of the house going up complete with her resident carer, she used to riposte that she 'didn't mind about the house, her life, that of the carer or anything else as long as her cat survived'.
Before I found wisdom, I became old.
Reminds me of my late MIL who was completely daft about her poodle, to the extent of over-feeding and under-exercising him, giving him all the wrong things to eat, insisting on him being on her lap at table....
The vet, a forthright Scotsman, had a go at her, saying he'd never seen such a neglected and ill-treated dog. It had skin problems due to excess of chocolate, obesity, you name it. She still didn't take it on board. Result: she never took him to that vet ever again.
Before I found wisdom, I became old.