carer

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?

Life as a Carer – I feel like I am in Limbo

shutterstock_190955204Since taking over the care role of my elderly mother, my whole days have consisted of caring for mum. Taking her to all many medical appoints. Re visiting medical specialists. Going to the Chemist. Shopping for mum. Cooking. Researching and talking to care organisations. Huge learning curve. Supporting her. Cheering her up. Encouraging her to go out, to walk to the end of her little retirement street to keep her legs moving.

Visiting her in hospital – thankfully a short two day stay.

Each time you think that you are on top of things and might have some time for yourself – something else is needed.

One phone call. One fall – and life becomes even more busy.

So I have been advised to go with the flow.  That it is just a season in my life. But it is really difficult to feel I have any kind of life for me. I have to squeeze in anything I want to do. I try to get to stretching and Pilates classes twice a week for ¾ hour and enjoy the growing friendship from some of the other women.

But I cannot plan anything.

My little celebrant work has dried up as I had to turn away enquiries and with just one wedding left on my book. I simply don’t have the time.

When I do have time. I have no energy. Hard to prioritise my own list of to do’s.

I mind my two gorgeous little grand daughters. Tiring – yes. But they light up my week every time I see them. As fun and laughter are missing. Seeing my two little grand daughters gives me the lift I need. The smiles, laughter and love.

Although my brother had been carer of mum (in much easier circumstances and with me as always the back up and also providing support) Centrelink have deemed that I am not eligible. I have asked for a review as it is an anomaly that one day she has a paid carer and the next day as I take over (under the asset and income amount) supposedly she doesn’t need one. Yet the needs of support has increased dramatically.

I have now purchased bedding for the spare room, to make it warm and comfortable for me for over night stays.

Yes absolutely feel in limbo. Cannot plan. Feel like each day is so out of my control.

It is Sunday. Day of rest??? Umm. Will go around and check on mum. Do dishes. Take her some food. With hubby do a few repairs. Strip her bed. Turn mattress, take away bedding for washing, replace with some already washed mattress protector etc, make bed. Do any little jobs. See she is comfortable. Rub some essential oils onto her. Just stop and have a cuppa – give mum some sit down time, rather than just doing whatever needs doing.  On the list is also buy a TV for her bedroom and get an electrician, cancel her home assist cleaner (replaced with a new one from a Level 1 package this week), and make contact with her banks….how to I establish her account on line, to make it easier for me to manage (I have power of attorney).

Interested to know and learn from others who have been there and done that.

Exhausted Celena

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