Monday, 31 August 2020

Together at Last!

 Jonathan lives in Lancashire. His grandmother lives in Merseyside. His parents live in Devon. With the Covid-19 restrictions Jonathan and his wife Lyndsey have not been able to introduce their son born at the end of February to his grandparents and great grandparents.

At last, the day arrived yesterday. Marjorie drove from Merseyside aged 89 via Marks and Spencers and arrived complete with food for all the family gifts for the baby and also for his older brother. Photographs were taken to record the three generations together and also the baby boy and his Great Grandmother. Jonathan has had to adapt during the social distance restrictions to working from home. He has also had hours with his 3 year old son and more time than he could have imagined with his new baby son.

He has also had to adapt to the absence of family support and the engaging and entertaining visits to and from his Grandmother. For Jonathan being with older family is important and the gap has been enormous. For him and Lyndsey, the bank holiday reunion suggested that life was becoming more normal. He and the family happy for Marjorie to continue driving. She is off to Devon at the end of the month!

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Post Covid Carry on!

Jo was able to visit Caroline for the first time since February. Her dementia has progressed during the lockdown period and conversation has been via Face time. During that time Jo has had her daughter, husband and baby born last Autumn staying with her so the baby has been the focus of the face time calls. Over and over again they have had to confirm who is the mother, who is the grandmother and whose baby it is as well as reminding Caroline that this is her Great Grandaughter. 

The baby's expressions and early stages of crawling and walking have resulted in squeals of delight and genuine joy. Thank Goodness for the baby Jo remarked. " I'm not sure what we would have talked about otherwise as we haven't been anywhere". Jo so appreciated the weekly call timetabled with the care home.

Great excitement at the end of July to attend for the appointed face to face session. Strict instructions that it was a 30 minute visit although an indication that she could stay for about 40 minutes.

Unlike the regular visits to Caroline's room this time they were to meet in the garden at the home. The carer arrived with Caroline to sit in a lovely spot. Jo found it strange to have no physical contact and to wear a face mask to visit her own mother. The care home staff had their own PPE equipment and they sat to chat.
Again the i-pad came into it's own. Caroline greeted Jo with " Hello Mum" and Jo reminded her that she was her daughter. The once again repeated the who's who and moved onto more entertaining photos and film of the baby.
Caroline was cold in the shade and too hot in the sun, so the carer kept relocating within the garden and the time flew by. Jo noticed that her appointment time had come to an end, but the carer assured her she could stay longer and after 40 minutes Jo said she would depart now. It had been reassuring to see her mother so content and well cared for.
On departure the person on reception reprimanded her for staying longer than her allocated slot! So she advised them that it had been the person who booked the appointment who had said 40 minutes and also that the carer had indicated this was acceptable. " They have no right to do that" He responded grumpily" I manage the appointments. 
Such a disappointing end to a landmark occasion. Jo confirmed she will stick to the 30 minutes next time!

Monday, 25 February 2019

Nettie has an Adventure

“She has locked herself out AGAIN”.  Anne is glad she has Liz to talk to about Aunt Nettie.   Nettie’s short term memory is getting worse and there are constant problems with lost keys, forgotten pin numbers, missed appointments and burnt food.  “She left her key behind and then couldn’t remember the code to the outside key safe.   She went to the shop who tried to phone friend Rosie who has a spare key but she was out.   I was in a meeting all afternoon with my phone off and didn’t pickup the messages until on the train home so I came straight over to sort things out .  Its now 9pm, I’ve just got home and I’m knackered”.  “Poor old you.  How was she?” asked Liz. “Oh fine. Fortunately she hadn’t left anything cooking which was my great fear. She said she was glad to see me but I think she had had a great time. Spent all afternoon in the shop drinking cups of tea and gossiping with all her chums who came in to shop.  When the shop closed, she was taken to a neighbour who cooked her tea and when I arrived she was teaching their teenage boy to play gin rummy.”  “Wow what a great day – if she has any sense she will lock herself out again soon” says Liz.   “That’s what I am afraid of” replied Anne.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

You may have already heard the story of Josephine, aged 86. Prince Philip has brought it to mind. So her daughter Carol receives a call from the police about her mother ( Josephine) who has been in a road traffic accident. Although this is 2 weeks earlier Carol has heard nothing about it.
She duly rings her mother living 150 miles away and broaches the subject.
As far as Josephine is concerned it was a minor incident because her new shoes slipped off the pedal. As far as Carol is concerned the fact that her car was written off and damage to 3 others because of the shunt suggest it is time to stop driving. Josephine did not agree!

So calls to the DVLA confirmed that nothing could be done. 3 months use of taxis did not persuade Josephine that this is a better form of transport and without warning ( because she can!) Josephine purchased a new car. Her mobility continues to decline. She is talking about moving into a retirement home. So why is the accommodation issue more acceptable than the transport one.
Carol continues to be baffled, continues to be frustrated and awaits the next call.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Did I have my hair done?

Susan's mother made the move to her new home - the care home. She repeated throughout the arrival how kind everyone was and with the family photos displayed and a familiar painting on the wall the room looked like home. A brand new TV provided the home comforts ready to watch the news programmes.
As she had been a hairdresser a highlight was planning the Monday hair appointments. Week one would just be a shampoo and set to test the perm solution with a perm the following Monday. Repeatedly Carol said how she MUST get her hair done. " It is such a mess". On week 2 Susan arrived and admired the perm. " No" said Carol " I don't think I have had it done yet". Susan reminded her that she had on the previous Monday. The urgency on her arrival had clearly diminished with the passing of time.
Susan asked the staff if they would discuss with her mother what she would like to do each day. They advised her that they would find out about her interests, but they found that with memory loss Carol was unlikely to remember what she had told them in the morning. Or even what she would like to do. Susan giggled. To have the advice from the staff at the home was proving to be a real comfort as well as entertainment.

Susan remains confident in the care for her mother but also appreciates a full night's sleep. A device in the home means the office know when Carol is out of bed and they go and put her back. It means she sleeps less in the day as she has had a full night's sleep.

Carol continues to repeat her praise for the staff and is delighted that a bottle of sherry is stored to enable her to have an early evening glass.
Mid January she did ask Susan to take her back to her home for Christmas. Susan replied - "But we've only just had Christmas."  "Have we?" asked Carol. Confirmation that the passing of time is no longer measured in quite the same way. The 4 weeks Carol said she will be there for looks like being longer without too much trouble.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

You've Got a Friend!

January got off to a flying Caring4Elders start when Susan contacted her two friends for a coffee. They had not met for 6 months since the wedding of Susan's daughter. Since then Susan's 60 something husband has continues with various drug trials for the cancer in his spine. Clare, her 92 year old mother has deteriorated. The dementia diagnosed at the end of 2016 has got worse and then there was a dramatic decline with the bowel in December meaning she spent Christmas in hospital.
So here we are in January and Susan is exhausted! Both her husband and mother in need of constant care. She's not feeling great and riddled with guilt at the prospect that a care home is the next step.
She had visited one, but not sure and Monday was the day to visit the second. When Liz offered to go with her on the visit her face lit up.

4 days later - they visited the care home and with Liz's support Susan felt confident the move is the right thing for Clare. The care home booked to assess her with plans to move her next week.
Liz reflected on how hard it is for Susan ( also in her 60s) to take the decisions that will not only benefit Clare but also Susan and her husband.  With a plan in place Liz and Susan celebrated with a cup of tea and a small glass of leftover Cava. The New Year didn't seem so bad after all...........but how will the move go? Next week..............

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

5 Caring4Elders Top Tips for all our friends this Festive Season

Be prepared to care this Christmas by following "Betty & Liz" 5  x top tips when considering your elderly relatives and friends

Informal caring can be difficult at any time and even more so at busy holiday times when there are so many calls on care givers’ time and energy.  Our 5 top tips are designed to help you check for any changes that suggest more care is needed to help your loved ones be safe, happy and keep independent.  So, as well as reconnecting and enjoying precious family times together, work your way through our Christmas Prepared to Care top tips: 

1.  Take time to listen.   Older people can often be left out of family chat, they may be hard of hearing or the conversation may go too quickly for them.  Many people also find it difficult to talk about their worries and fears.  Sometimes people feel more able to talk about personal issues when they are not making eye contact, for example when walking together or carrying out joint tasks.  So, involve elderly people in present wrapping, sprout peeling and washing up and take the opportunity to have some quality talk.
2. Check for change.   Put on your Sherlock hat and check for any signs that may show your relative has health or other issues that are not being addressed.  Is medication organised, up-to-date and being taken? When was the last dental or opticians’ check?  Age related macular degeneration is treatable when caught early but otherwise can lead to blindness.   How is your relative’s balance/memory/weight/hygiene?  Are there letters from the GP, hospital, or other service which indicates that all is not well?   Are there any new ‘friends’ on the scene who might be taking advantage of your relative/?
3. Do a house audit.  While you are there check that your relatives home is being maintained.  How is security – door locks and window catch in good order and being used?  Would an outside security light be helpful?   Are there ‘lights on timers’ for when your loved ones are out of the house?  Are there trip hazards, loose mats, frayed carpets, dodgy slippers?  Are everyday items in easy reach?   Are mobility aids working correctly?  Are there any adjustments, for example walk in showers, easy turn taps that would make everyday life easier?  Is the house warm? Do any of the jobs that you have been asked to do suggest that regular extra help with everyday chores is needed?
4. Finances. Are there unopened bills? Check bank statements to ensure no unusual transactions. Is money left around the house?  Do unauthorised people have access to cards/pin numbers?  Is your loved one at risk from identity theft?
5. Connect with neighbours.  Take the opportunity to go and see neighbours. They are on the spot and many ‘keep an eye out’ for elderly local people.  It’s a good moment to thank them for their help and make sure they have up to date contact details for you in case of emergencies.  A small gift is a nice way of showing your appreciation.  Make sure too that you have up to date contact details for your relative’s GP, neighbours and friends. Do look into Personal Alarms as a reliable method for elderly people to contact others . Most Councils offer a system as well as the  large range of models available through charities and private providers. Wearing a pendant round the wrist or neck means that the elderly person can make contact from anywhere in the house and garden.
 Season's Greetings 🎅