My immediate crisis is over now but I am asking this so I will be better prepared if/when it happens again.
My mum is 86, registered blind (no central vision), lives alone with help from me (shopping, banking etc) and twice-weekly visits from a cleaner whom she pays for herself. She has a variety of health conditions and is increasingly vague and forgetful, but she basically manages to survive through sheer force of will, being fiercely independent and determined to continue in her own home.
Last week we had a bit of a desperate situation as for the first time she became doubly incontinent. She is back to normal now owing to some amazing medical care but the situation is dynamic and could revert any time. So I want to be prepared.
Basically mum cannot manage incontinence at all as her visual impairment means she can’t see when things are soiled. To me this seems extremely dangerous. Last week I was going round every morning and finding her sheets, bathroom, toilets all soiled and she herself in need of constant cleaning and changing. I called Social Services and explained the situation and that it was (a) dangerous and (b) way beyond what I could cope with. I should add that I don’t claim Carers Allowance and am not formally caring for mum; I just help out a bit as far as I can but that doesn’t extend to changing her every hour or cleaning her house and bedding every morning. The response I got from Soc Services was that they ‘are not set up to respond quickly’ and basically mum would have to wait weeks just for an assessment! I can’t believe they are allowed to do this. What if mum had no one? What if it was not the dutiful daughter calling up but a concerned neighbour? Do they seriously expect a blind person to live in their own excrement for weeks? I know for a fact that they can and do respond quickly on occasion (having called them for someone else once and getting same-day response). But what is the magic word you have to say to get this door to open?
I should add that mum is entitled to help with her care as she has very little in the way of savings (well below the threshold) and receives Pension Credit Guarantee.
Thanks very much for any advice. I am terrified of this situation returning and not being prepared.