Safe Haven

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.



About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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20 Responses to Safe Haven

  1. foguth says:

    I’m very glad to know this will be permanent.

    • So are we. Much as I love my Mum, I would not have been the answer to her care. Coming to live with us would have taken her away from everything and everyone she knew, especially now. The grandchildren and great grandchildren can continue to visit and OB and I will visit her when we can. I will continue to write and Bro will ring her from NZ as he has been, so basically things will remain the same but in different surroundings.

      • foguth says:

        You are very fortunate to find a place where she can ‘bloom’. My father was so cantankerous that he got expelled for 6 nursing homes (he was 50 when I came along)… no one else would take him, so despite the fact that I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old, I had to take him in… It wasn’t easy.

      • I was allowed no say in the choice of Home or anything to do with Mum’s care actually and believe it was the Social Services who found her this placement. I’m glad because I know Mum is safe and should she have another fall, someone will be there to help her.
        I can appreciate the difficulties of caring for an elderly parent.

      • foguth says:

        We had a small 2 bedroom cape cod bungalow, and I was an at-home mom doing freelance writing…. I was forced to give my father my home office, but the worst part was that the full bath was upstairs, so I had to hire someone to assist him upstairs to bathe and shave. It was a circus.

      • We said that if we ended up in a house, we would have to have a bathroom downstairs as well as up (or the means to have one on each level) as Hubby can’t climb stairs all day or down in the middle of the night.

      • foguth says:

        There was a nice half bath next to the office, but the tub/shower was upstairs.

      • Over here, there are grants for modifying bathrooms etc. or putting up grab rails or ramps for wheelchairs. One of the things about our bungalow is that light switches are set for wheelchair height, the doorways are three feet wide and the hallway plenty wide enough for a wheelchair or similar. Apparently all of the newer bungalows on this estate are so designed.

      • foguth says:

        Once I found a helper who would come in a couple times a week to help with personal hygiene and a place that would bring him a meal when we couldn’t be there, I didn’t look further.

      • We believe my sister could have had this kind of arrangement through the social as MIL had with my FIL but didn’t follow it up as suggested. Never mind. Mum;s in a better place and Sis can do her own thing.

  2. This is great news!

  3. I’m glad you hear your Mom has the permanent care she needs now. I’m sure it’s a relief to you, to know she has care all the time. And it sounds like it is good care, and she is thriving (as much as can be expected with her health).

  4. Good news, and I know you must be relieved. My MIL had very mixed feelings about leaving her home. She is settled into a senior independent living apartment…very nice digs with safety features, which makes us feel better since we are 4-5 hours away. She still owns the house, might not be sold until after she is gone. She just turned 88, and except for arthritis, is in good physical and mental shape.

    • I’m glad your MIL is still independent but has help on hand. This is what we had originally hoped Mum would go for. My parents moved in with my sister in 1995 out of necessity (Bro was moving to NZ, we were in one bed house and OB was also on the move). It was supposed to be temporary, then Dad died in 1996 and everything went on hold. When it was discussed, Mum said she didn’t want to live on her own and it suited Sis for her to stay, though we had her for weekends and the occasional week when we were local then for a month or so twice a year when we moved away.

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