Sunday, 21 October 2012

Elderly woes

The FH has a friend in the village who is in his early 90s, and generally quite fit and well for his age.  He is a bit of a cantankerous old chap at times, but they get along and he is one of the mates that the FH takes out on trips.

Unfortunately, he has no close family, and his relatives (late wife's sister and her daughter) live about 50 miles away, and don't come to see him as often as they used to.  He has lately started to telephone us around 7am in the mornings, saying that he needs the FH and doesn't feel was 6.45am on Monday, and this morning it was much as I understand that he is an elderly chap, and might be ill, most of the time when the FH gets there, he just wants to sit and have a cup of tea and a chat.  He may have had a sleepless night, and has been lonely overnight and wants company.  I understand that - night times are always the worst if you are feeling rough, or lonely.

He has expressed a desire to go and live in a nearby residential home, so he asked the FH to take him there to have a look.  This was done, and he liked the look of it.  When he was due to go to spend a day there to see if it was what he imagined, he was ill.  He has since said that he wants to die in his own home, and then said again that the home is where he wants to go.  He can't seem to make his mind up, and I see that it would be an awfully big upheaval for him at his time of life, and perhaps quite overwhelming for him.

Can anyone offer us any advice if they have helped an elderly person in this sort of situation?

My concern is that the FH is not a young man himself and can't keep running to this chap's bidding in the early mornings two or three times a week; it would be different if he was really ill, but he hasn't been.  The FH has called the doctor out to him twice in order to have him checked out, and he is there again now, waiting for another doctor to come - it is a Sunday service, of course, so he will have to wait some time as it is not the village doctor.


Angela said...

Contact your local Age UK- they will be able to tell you what is on offer locally and make suggestions about how your friend can go on living in his own home. Things like carers who will just pop in briefly am and pm, and also their befriending service, where someone comes in regularly just for a cuppa and a chat. Age UK are impartial and a charity - but perhaps have a little more time to help sort you out than trying to get Social Services on board! Their local knowledge, and more importantly access to information etc is invaluable.
I applaud FHs generous spirit, and willingness to help - but it isn't always easy to drop everything and go at this chap's bidding. It is important that your friend can accept from other people [strangers at first - but then friends too] so that he doesn't feel bereft when you are away or inaccessible.

The GPs practice may be able to offer helpful advice too. Another possibility [eg if you are to be away for a weeks holiday or somethng] would be to suggest he had a week's respite care in a home "Because we would not be around to help if you needed us" That way he would experience care home life [and possibly realise it is the way forward for him]

This one needs bucketloads of patience, love and grace - but I am confident you and FH have that!!!

blessings xx

Sals View said...

We had a similar problem with an elderly widowed uncle. He spent some nights in a reclining chair because he couldn't summon up the energy to climb the stairs! After about 6 months of cajouling he let us set up a bedroom in the front room. He loved it. He always said he wanted to spend his final days at home but when his DOCTOR suggested he moved into a local home he agreed. I think he wanted to really, but just needed that medical opinion. He was very relieved in a way too, it worried him that even with our help he couldn't keep the place as my auntie had when she was alive. He wished he'd not been so stubborn and had done it years before.

Gill - That British Woman said...

it's hard when there are no close relatives near. I hope something is sorted out soon for him.


Morgan said...

Thanks, both of you - some kind and helpful advice there and I appreciate it. The FH is taking him to the doctor in the morning as the out of hours service didn't think he was serious enough to come out to this morning and advised attending his own surgery tomorrow for review.

The FH popped in on him this afternoon after church and he was OK, thank goodness.

Good night, and thank you, ladies x

SarahElisabeth said...

Sounds as though he is lonely but may well be ill too. Taking him to the GP must be a good step as he can arrange assessment to see whether he needs services to stay at home. May be a day centre might be a step between home and residential home although the waiting lists can be long.

I second Angela's suggestion about Age UK too.

It can be very time consuming looking after an elderly person. We have an elderly relative live with us and the "little things" can really rack up time. I often feel that I should provide more outings/entertainment but it isn't always easy alongside organising the medicines/appointments etc. Hopefully, your husband's friend can have care organised and then he can concentrate on being a friend.