My Mum is in safe hands as it has been decided she will stay in the Care Home permanently. Sis sent me a text on Tuesday.
I am glad and I am relieved.
Although the text said to ‘let you all know’, I contacted my brothers anyway, expecting they had heard nothing, so forwarded her message to both of them. The three of us agree that this is the best outcome.
We all knew my sister hadn’t been coping. No-one expected her to work miracles, but there is assistance available to carers such as herself, and moaning at family members and neighbours was not the way to get it.
Neither was leaving Mum on her own during the day, in the evenings or if she wanted to go away for a few days relying on said neighbours and her daughters to check in during the day.
None of us were saying she didn’t deserve a life, was entitled to a break, have friends or needed to socialise outside the home. Again, there was help available to allow her to do that (my MIL had carers attend to my FIL every day), and arrangements could be made for someone to sit with her sometimes if necessary.
Mum went into respite a few months ago and enjoyed it, but once home, her stubbornness set in and she wouldn’t go again.
Bro is in NZ, OB has over 300 miles on a round trip, and we are now 260 miles away. On the boat we had a 4 hour journey each way to visit which we tried to do once a month.
We sat with Mum for a weekend to help out some time ago and would’ve done it again had Sis’s attitude been different. She told her neighbours we wouldn’t help when she wanted to go away on holiday for a week last year (it was the first we knew about dates as she’d already gone, leaving Mum on her own), and I later found out that OB had offered to have Mum that week. It meant that Sis would’ve had to take her there as neither he or his wife could drive at the time due to health issues. She never got back to him, but then she has always expected other people to do the running.
I sound a right bitch don’t I, and you’re probably right. After all, I only visited once in a while, usually unannounced, but our reception wasn’t always welcoming.
Besides, I went to see Mum, not anyone else, but that didn’t make me unaware of the problems that arose in later years.
Mum’s well-being has always been foremost in my mind, so as she was happy to stay with my sister, we never pushed the point about independent living or moving away as she felt needed. For years she ran the family home, cooked meals and looked after the kids while their parents were at work. Mum has always cared for everyone. It’s her way.
Apart from having the bath replaced for a walk in shower, seat and handrail therein, there were no disabled aids in my sister’s house. Her stairs were steep, narrow and dark, with a rail on one side and wall on the other. At the bottom was furniture that could have caused serious damage should Mum have had a fall. Mum had no panic button system set up (even MSM has one on her wrist) and the last time we visited there was an almighty BANG upstairs but nobody moved to investigate. I did though and it turned out Mum had dropped her hairspray, one of those large cans that stands about a foot tall!
I’m not saying things would have been any different had Mum come to live with us all those years ago. Dementia would still have taken hold, but we would have included Mum in outings, taken her shopping with us, encouraged her to help around the house and shared the load of care. We were lucky in that we lived in a single storey dwelling, weren’t working and so could have applied our time accordingly, but Mum didn’t want to come.
Quite rightly, it meant she would’ve left her circle of friends, family and familiarity.
Sis officially retired four years ago, shortly after Mum’s dementia became apparent but not because of it, more a case of personality clashes in the workplace.
We’ve been concerned about Mum’s communication, or lack of it, on our visits for some considerable time. So has OB. She would seem to shut down, and on the occasions we got her out for a ride or lunch, we encouraged conversations, however repetitive, out of sinc, or dated. It has been nice that OB has contacted us following his visits to the Home to say how animated and chipper Mum is now in comparison.
Mum now being a permanent resident is a good thing. She will have the 24 hour care my sister could not provide on her own, be included in social activities and well looked after. I hope she is allowed to have some of her personal things in her room and we’ll be in a position to visit in a few weeks.
Sis will now have her house, and her time, to herself, so can do all the things she said she had been unable to do. When SIL was over from NZ in February, she’d mentioned she was planning a holiday down under as a gentleman friend has a daughter there.
Needless to say I will not be visiting her when I go down, as I intend to spend as long as I can with Mum and enjoy the conversation and company.
Photo: Mum and me on Sis’s patio Feb 2017.