Home Care Packages

It’s Not All About You, Mum!

It’s not all about you mum!

I have huge amounts of patience. I will go over and over explaining things to mum. An example is when she finally started a Home Care Package.

I have stayed calm through all the accusations of taking money from her, taking and not returning a summer dress – mum is size 18 and I am size 12!!!, why have I taken out of the unit…whatever else she has actually misplaced. Look I could go on and on all the incredible frustrating conversations and actions of mum. And the regular criticisms.

However, for the first time, I lost it with mum.

After so many explanations about a package, verbal and due to not only her hearing issues, but also confusion, I have so many times typed in large font and dot point explanations about the benefits of the package. It helps mum stay at home. It helps me to help mum.

Mum rang the care provider.

Mum told the care provider not to send any more carers.

Mum cancelled the Home Care Package
Mum then postponed the Home Care Package for 12 months.
I picked mum up, took her to the doctors. Took her to the hearing aid specialist.

Mum didn’t tell me. Not a word.

The Care Provider rang me and told me.

My brother is away for 4 weeks. Mum refused to go into respite care whilst he was away. I have no back up support – and anyway he is often not well to assist. I had carers for an hour one day and an hour and half another day booked.

A week before mum had a fall. She injured her left hand and it was heavily bandaged. Mum is left handed.

I had make a wide variety of meals, veggies, desserts. I cut everything up, separated froze…all to make it easy for mum to eat.

Mum cancelled everything, the carers booked to support me. The Home Care low level package – we are still awaiting approval of her ACAT assessed High level Package.

Mum even wrote letters and cancelled, then another saying to postpone.

I was so angry and upset.

I lost it. I know there is such as thing as elderly abuse. I am not a shouter. I don’t lose my temper. I am patient. I do so much for mum. But I need some support.
I swore. I used the F word a few times. I was so upset. I told her it’s not all about you mum! I have a husband. I have adult children I support. I care for my little grand children 3 times a week. I am trying where I can grab some me time, do something for me.

It’s not all about you mum.

No, I can’t be here 24/7. No I can’t be here everyday.

You ring me, and demand I come around immediately. I recall there was a message she couldn’t understand on her answering machine. She thought it was urgent. I went around. She had deleted the message and in her mind decided what it was about – it wasn’t.

You ring me mum – the latest with another fall, crying and saying Oh there is blood everywhere, I need you to come now, and I need you to get my breakfast and do my washing and dishes. Clean your false teeth! I go around. That day fortunately the carer was also coming. I left her to do the washing and dishes.

I am exhausted mum. For the first time ever my blood pressure is elevated. Never had a blood pressure issue before. Ever!

I walked out. Angry.

The next day I saw her doctor and explained the latest incident. An aged care professional recommended to me a couple of years ago, to have one on one appointments with mum’s doctor to keep him informed about her behaviours. Her behaviour, decision making, short term memory of truths and untruths that she makes up and then believes.  I finally got through to her to keep the package active or she would also lose the cleaner who she really likes, that comes once a fortnight.  So thankfully the package remains active. I explained the Care Provider would be taking $’s for Administration/Case Management from her govt subsidy account every time she rings and makes such changes. That means less $’s for her when we really really need it.

I feel emotionally and physically spent at the moment.

For the first time, due to mum’s behaviour and on the doctor’s recommendation, I have booked a carer and a car on Monday to pick mum up and take her to the doctor for her wound bandage change. I would normally do this. Instead I will go to the gym and do a Pilates class.
Mum needs to go back to the hearing aid specialist for a new mould. I will again ring for a carer and car.

And I will go to they gym.

I have put on so much weight as I have put carer duties before my fitness and health level. Or have a massage.

Mum’s it’s not all about you. And one of the positive result of you cancelling and postponing, is that I am now going to take care of myself better.

The doctor has told you a number of ties, that it is time. Time to look at going into aged care. I agree. Especially after a few weeks ago, burning a chop, not knowing even though the unit alarm was screaming. The neighbours were they ones who rushed in. Mum doesn’t wear her hearing aids when at home and not expecting anyone.

I agree. I know you want to stay at home in your unit mum. I know you have told me and the doctor that you will commit suicide and take your sleeping tablets. I know you expect me to be the on tap carer. I feel guilty every time a woman tells me how long she cared for her parent – even at their own home for years and years. I feel I don’t do enough compared to others – I have it easy.

I need a life. I have felt so isolated.

I will continue to love, help, care and support you as much as I can.
But it is time. Time for you to enjoy the safety and care of an aged care home. Time for me to be free of feeling on call 24/7.

I am glad you did what you did mum. Because finally I stopped and realised. It has been all about you. I put so many of my own needs on hold. I closed down my celebrant business. I come when you call.

Now mum, it’s about me too.

Coping with caring for an elderly mother

1926732_10151982545828034_1906963688_nCoping with caring for an elderly mother

Mum has hearing aids.  She is very happy with them. Her last test before paying for them provided results of 50% hearing when she was turned away from the specialist and 75% hearing when facing him and able to watch his lips. So she says.

He must have been YELLING for mum to have achieved those results.  No way, absolutely no way does she have that level of hearing.  Even though she only wears one hearing aid. Yes just the one. She can hear better she said with just one hearing aid!  Whatcha say?  Oh dear, is it wine o’clock yet?

Her hearing has been noticeably worse over the past few months and I have encouraged, reasoned, pleaded, asked her to wear both because she can’t hear. She answers with “if people would just look at me when they talk to me I can hear them.” to “I can hear fine – it’s when people start mumbling I can’t hear.”

Her hearing got worse very quickly and although it seems to have stabilised now,  holding a conversation is very difficult. I  say something. Mum replies, whatcha say?  I didn’t hear you” and me repeating it. This goes on all the time. I feel sorry for the people that she plays cards with each week, but then again, many of them are hard of hearing. If mum doesn’t hear everything someone says she will simply fill in her own blanks or she has a way of pretending that she has heard.  Oh, hmmmm she will nod!!!

So let’s give some examples you may identify or one day you too might face a similar situation.  So here are some daily examples of daily chats with mum.  The tips, oh where are the tips for Coping with caring for an elderly mother.  Or read as – virtually deaf elderly mother!  Especially when you only wear one ruddy hearing aid.

Is it wine o’clock yet?

Situations

Driving

Mum is in the back seat of the car and we are taking mum for a drive out for lunch.  Hubby and I chat in the front. Mum just starts a long conversation on top of our chat.  OR, she hears some chatting noise, and then makes statements on a completely different topic to what we are talking about. Mum asks me questions, I turn my body and head towards the back and yell the answers back to her. Mum repeats my answers. Except what she repeats is nothing like what I have said. Hubby wonders if it is wine o’clock yet. FARK!  I often think. Other times, I just giggle – oh dear!  I do hope I don’t go deaf.

“Where are we going?” mum asks.  “We are going to the Marina Market’s first, then for lunch”, I reply.  “Oh, where did you have brunch? Mum asks – “why did you have brunch first, you won’t be hungry for your lunch”.  Smile!!!

Why are we going this way, mum asks noticing we are going a different direction.  I have to drop something off to Dave, I reply?  Who?  Who let off? Says mum?  I can’t smell anything? Did you let off?  Hmmmmm, is it wine o’clock yet?

Restaurant

I don’t like that table, it’s too cold, too breezy, too loud, too sunny”.  We usually end up at the 3rd or 4th table that we sit at. Yes, move the glasses of water etc each time. Waitress comes over to ask our orders. Would you like to order your drinks?  Whatch she say?  SHE SAID ARE WE READY TO ORDER out drinks!  “, I want some fresh oysters”, mum replies.  I’ll have a wine I say to hubby!  I’m not hungry says mum, what are you going to eat, when can share it.  Do they have any lamb’s brains? I’m not eating lamb’s brains I say. Why not they are good for you.  Hmmm I wonder, maybe they might help with my hearing.

Items Lost

Mum rings. You have my disabled sticker.  No I don’t, I reply. Yes, you have it. The last time I saw it, was in your car. Go and have a look it must have fallen down the side of the car door.  OK, I will go and look. No mum I don’t have your disabled sticker. Yes, she replies, you do. I used it last when I was with you on Sunday (it is now Friday).  No, you have been out with my brother since then. No we couldn’t find it. You have it.  I will look for it tomorrow when I come around, I reply. Hey? Whatcha say?   I WILL LOOK FOR IT TOMORROW WHEN I COME AROUND.  You found it in a round thing?  NO MUM!! I WILL SEE YOU TOMORROW. BYE FOR NOW.  Is it wine o’clock yet? And the next day, I find the disabled sticker, just like I do, every time mum says that I definitely have it. Usually caught up between her calendar or between loose paper on her breakfast bench.

Stolen

Phone rings, or I walk into mum’s unit.  Mum is crying. The cleaners (or somebody!!) have stolen….my disabled sticker – yep, that disabled sticker again, money, her pastel art work she was going to have framed, a top, etc etc.  No mum, they wouldn’t steal anything. Oh yes they would.  They get in her and talk and don’t clean very well. Tears, they have stolen….item…..!  Mum, calm down, remember every time you think something is stolen, I find it.  So calm down. Whatcha say?  IT’S OK MUM. SIT DOWN AND I WILL HAVE A LOOK!  But I didn’t lose a book.. I told you the cleaners have taken  (insert item here) ….!!! Hmmmmm. Is it wine o’clock yet?

Money

I’m going out with a friend and I have no money. Why mum?  We took $400 out yesterday. Well you must have kept it. You have it. I can’t find the money. Why did you keep it.  I didn’t keep it mum. I put in in the drawer with your cheque book.  Whatcha say? You coming her to look for it? Why, you have it. Bring it back.  No mum, I don’t have it. Move your cheque book, it will be under that. Sick? Are you sick? Why are you sick?  NO MUM I’M NOT SICK. What?  Oh can you bring the money back!  Lorna is coming to get me to take me out in a few hours. Hmmmmm  Is it wine o’clock yet?

So mum talks over us, on top of our conversation. Interrupts and starts her own conversation. Takes a conversation on a completely different area to topic that we are discussing. Sometimes, it is very funny. Other tines completely frustrating.

I feel so sorry for mum. She misses out on so much of what is been talked about and happening.  I hope that I never go deaf, or have such hard of hearing issues.

Love mum.  Is it wine o’clock yet?

Home Care Packages

Signed mum up for a Home Care Package and I feel guilty

I have arranged and had mum sign for a Home Care Package.  I feel guilty.  Mum questions why she needs it.

After 5 weeks of been on call 24/7, running to and from mum, taking her to numerous specialists and doctor appointments, doing her banking, taking her to social activities, doing her washing, shopping, having scripts filled out for her, cooking, buying and doing anything she has suddenly needed – and needed immediately – I finally started to research for support.  For me!

As a result, Mum starts with Glendale Care providing care support this morning! I am praying that Glendale Care have women who are friendly, caring, trustworthy with a happy disposition. And then I pray that mum will actually stay with using the package.

I understand she questions, as currently she only pays for a taxi or community car on a Thursday with total cost of I think about 8 or 10 dollars. The Home Support cleaner once a fortnight costs nothing. However as of 1 July, all costs will go up. If you need a community car you will be charged the same for 2 kms as going 10 kms.

But they don’t yet know what the charges will actually be.

The cleaner who costs nothing  there will be a charge, but they don’t know what the charge will be….

So with everyone advising me to get mum on a package that she had been approved of receiving, and with the thought of costs going up, and extra support for me, I did. But mum in her head cannot see why she needs it – some days she is good for a few hours, others, barely leaves her chair or unit. So fingers crossed.

But if she doesn’t want to be in it, we can cancel. I hope she gives it at least a month though, to settle in. any of the 5 hours she doesn’t use, she can bank….so they are accessible, if I as her carer am sick, or away, or she suddenly needs extra support. Bloody exhausting!

Within a short space of time I have become physically, emotionally mentally exhausted. Now add to that a feeling of guilt. A niggling feeling that I have sold mum out.

A feeling that I have handed her over to someone else. A feeling of not giving her enough time. A feeling of deserting mum. A feeling of being selfish.  A feeling of having her spend $136 un necessarily per fortnight.

I also have a feeling of pending relief.

And also as mum keeps questioning me – a feeling that this care package might be short lived.

I only became aware of the packages, when she was in hospital two weeks ago, when one of the nurses took me aside and suggested I look into getting one, as she had looked at mum’s record and saw she had been approved

The lovely nurse spoke to mum – well yelled – as this was before I had finally had mum’s hearing issues greatly improved/fixed.  She suggested mum have the Level 1 and 2 package.

Mum’s response was that she wasn’t ready for the support help yet. That she had a cleaner one a fortnight and she had me!  The nurse responded that she felt that ‘your daughter is ready for it!”  I could have hugged her.  Mum of course was dismissive – she had me – at her beck and call whenever she wanted.

The lovely nurse, took me aside and said – here is a pamphlet – I happen to know that this small care provider has a spare package available – they are hard to get – most have waiting lists. The reason – the new Aged Care charges and process to come into place from 1st July 2015.

So over two days I had a massive learning curve.  Every care provider I called – even those who provided mum with the cleaner, or a car to take her when I was not available to doctor or social activity as well as other current carers…everyone without fail said – if you find an available care provider with a package, take it…they are rare…even if she is not 100% ready….if you can get her signed up before all the changes take it!

OMG………Home Care Packages – these are fantastic!

A Home Care Package is an assistance package designed to allow elderly people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The most common types of supports are: assistance with bathing, dressing, mobility, preparing meals, continence management, cleaning, laundry services, gardening, home maintenance, transport to attend medical appointments or social activities, nursing, allied health and therapy services.

So mum wrote out two pages of questions today – when I dropped in to help my son set up a new TV for her room that we had gone out and bought, to deliver her bread she requested as well as socks she needed – and of course they are the wrong socks – ARGH!

So here are two pages – of reasons why she could do without the package. I sat and wrote the answers – as it is easier to do that than talk.

I have explained that after a month, we can review and if she decides it is not helpful we can cancel or go to another provider if she is not happy.

At this stage the support is:

Tuesday – strip bed, put all washing on, clean unit, hang out washing, get mum’s lunch, or do some preparation/cooking for an evening meal, extras depending on need include clean fridge/freezer, panty, sweep courtyard, spray weeks in courtyard, wash window…just whatever needs doing, and then drive mum to her cards.  I then get the whole day, and will pick mum up at 3.45 from cards. OMG…I LOVE this!  But I feel guilty!

Wednesday – bring washing in and fold it. Drive mum to cards.  Woo Hoo. This gives me the whole day for me. I will pick mum up from cards again at 3.45pm and take her shopping.

Thursday – Drive mum to cards and also pick her up and bring her home.  Well I just can’t do Thursday as I care for my little grand daughters.

I pray she loves the women who come and that she settles down to accepting them and their support. Any of the 5 hours – she wont’ use them all – that she does not use each week, get ‘banked’. This means if her needs for any reason escalate – or I am sick and unable to help, she can then use these banked hours.

I am still there for her 24/7.  I still do heaps of running around. See her, make contact each day. Take mum out, do all the extras…but this will give me some time……for me. To do somethings for myself and also with the hubby.

Why do I feel terrible?  But I pray and hope that this all works out!

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