Tuesday, 27 November 2007

another verdict

Well, the Social Worker spoke to me this evening about her meeting with Mum yesterday.

She told me that she was VERY concerned about Mum: that she had appeared extremely disoriented and was obviously not managing on her own. Mum had made many claims about being able to cope, but these had been pretty easy to see through as confabulations. The Warden had sat in on the conversation and had gently corrected Mum whenever necessary, bringing up such incidents as Mum's wandering out onto the by-pass.

When the subject of frozen meals came up, Mum at first claimed that she managed to cook them fine, and then shortly afterwards expressed distrust of her microwave oven (the only functioning cooking device in her kitchen). She was unaware that her built-in oven had been disconnected and claimed that she cooked the frozen meals in there. It's possible that she hasn't been eating anything BUT her one delivered meal per day, and the Social Worker guessed that Mum was probably giving half of THAT to the dog.

I had organised a visit to the Doctor yesterday after Mum had told me that her ankles were swollen on Sunday. This hadn't resulted in any diagnosis, but the Social Worker pointed out that the swelling is most likely due to the fact that Mum is not making it to her bed at night and sleeping, instead, sitting up in her chair. Her fluids are naturally pooling at her feet because she's not elevating them. The Social Worker told me that Mum had somehow managed to turn off the heating to her bedroom and had consequently stopped using the room at night.

When the Social Worker expressed concern about Mum being financially exploited, I took the opportunity to let rip about several incidents that I had noted over the past 7 years: the helpful 'handy man' who befriended Mum just when she was selling up our family home and who made off with most of our stuff; the Spanish property company who flew Mum out to a resort and pressured her into a deal for a building that had no planning permission and which wasn't built 2 years later (she lost about £50,000 on that one); the catalogue firms that prey on her; the £70,000 I think she's donated to charity in the past 7 years; the £300 she still spends on miracle pills each month because she believes every whacky thing in print.

The Social Worker said that she felt the Consultant's diagnosis of 'mild to moderate dementia' was perhaps generous and that from what she'd seen Mum was 'moderate to severe' in her view. We discussed the sort of Care Homes I should be looking at, and also more immediate arrangements for twice-daily visits from someone to make Mum's breakfast and dinner, and maybe help her plan her shopping.

I've pretty much decided to travel down South this weekend and visit a couple of homes close to Mum, perhaps with a view to getting Mum to try one for a month or so around Christmas. I may even bring her up here to stay with me for a week, so that we can visit the two I looked at last Sunday. The thought of coping with her here, though, is frightening. I'm not sure she'll do well with the stairs in my house, or be able to use my bath. I'm barely feeding myself right these days so the thought of caring for someone very needy already overwhelms me.


LSL said...

Don't take on more than you can handle, if you can help it. You're dealing with so much. Glad to get updates and to hear you're making it. And more soon!

Greg said...

Thanks as always. I don't feel I have much of a choice right now except to continue what I'm doing. If I could find a place for Mum and if that was working out, I think I might finally find time to breathe out/sort my own life out/fall apart...

Doing what I can cope with wouldn't get me out from under the covers today, but I really appreciate your concern for me.