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Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 19:32
For some reason I was looking back over my blog entries for this time last year. We were full of hope for the new baby (wonderfully fulfilled by the arrival of Lovely Grandson)and relief at getting MiL into flat with no stairs and various aids to living in place. A year later and it's almost painful to read how happy we were to be 'getting it sorted'. It isn't sorted at all of course.

I'm waiting at home while the Spouse and the Baby Bro visit MiL in hospital. We all know now that the flat was a good move, for a short time, but is now inadequate. She has someone to come in and help with housework twice a week but she usually says 'not much needs doing' or does it vefore they arrive. Mostly, she forgets about hygiene in the kitchen and we live in terror of her giving herself food-poisoning. Whenever I'm there I try to do a surreptitious clean and I find that Sis in Law does the same. Her sons tend not to notice, or think it matters, until it's pointed out to them. Forcefully.

We think the next stage may have to be assisted living, if not straight-out care in a home. I hate the idea of doing that; especially with the reports of abuses and neglect we've seen recently. but I don't want her falling and killing herself all on her own either.
None of us have a house without stairs, which she can't manage, and we don't have the money to move. BB has small children and he and Sis in Law work. Spouse works and I'm at home but physically I'm next to useless. I can drive her places - as long as my arthritis doesn't make it impossible. I can check up on her - as long as the asthma is under control. I'm pretty good at forms and letters and official documents, but if she falls over, or even is just having a bad day and can't get off the sofa, I can't lift her, raise her at all.And more than once she's fallen on me, so that I ended up more damaged than she did.

The scary thing is how easily she forgets things. She forgets that the reason she forgets is the series of mini-strokes. She forgets who spoke to her on the phone, and what they wanted. She can't remember what she's agreed to, and will happily allow herself to be persuaded of anything by someone with enough confidence - or fraudulent intent. There are days when she is bright and happy and can chat away nicely. She's still a lot slower and often loses track of her thoughts but she's generally ok. And then there are days when she cannot make the connection from the words the woman at the checkout say, to the purse in her hand, to the notes she pulls out. she, who was always so on-the-ball with money, sometimes can't identify a ten pound note. We have found her v. upset by a demand for money from, say, the gas company, but when we look it's not a demand, it's a refund and it's dated a year ago. I could go on but it's clear, I think, that she needs help. We can pop in and out as often as we can, and that is quite often all things considered, but she can fall in the blink of an eye, from a safe standing po9ition, and still hit her head or break her neck, or her arm. She has now fallen so badly, and so often on her right arm that it doesn't work any more. She cannot lift it at all, it's painful, and dreadfully difficult to dress/undress or get up and down out of beds and chairs.

I know there are thousands of families going through this at any one time. Hundreds of thousands probably, yet no one really talks about it when it happens. You don't get details and have no idea what to expect. So I'm trying to put down as much as I can here, in the hope that someone else will find it useful. Even if it's only to say - oh that happens to other people too.
Friday, November 23rd, 2012 13:34 (UTC)
Firstly, <Hugs>

It's hard for you to watch her sink deeper and deeper into dependency. You've tried to make independent lliving work for her; and now it's time for her to take the next step, which is bitter and painful, but necessary. and you need to make those plans *now* while you can pick a place and she can have input rather than when it becomes a medical emergency (rather than simply 'necessity' as it is now) and you need to take the next place that opens.

And she should talk with her children about power of attourney, because it sounds as if this might be needed soon, so that all her bills get paid. (Also, it made my life so much easier when my power died and I could handle her financial affairs without needing to jump through extra hoops.)

Whatever you do, you've got a hard and painful road ahead. I wish I could do something to make it better, and neither can you solve *her* problems - you can stand by her side, but please look after yourself, too, because you cannot be a support if you're worn out and hurting yourself.

<hugs> again.