My Caring Dilemma

Hi @ontheverge not ignoring you - just a busy day. Get back to you with a full reply in a bit.

We went to the GP on Monday. We thought it was a physio appointment as that’s what we were told but it was just a referral. I was very annoyed because it took Mum 15 minutes to shuffle to the end of the street, 5 minutes to get into the taxi etc. She was in so much pain by the time we got home. It took us 25 minutes to walk back. What a farce. We could have just done the referral over the phone.

We had a lady from the NHS come on Wednesday offering her a variety of walking aids, a trolley and a commode. She gave us some exercises to do and said she will be back next week. She was so lovely and it really cheered Mum up.

Mum won’t use a wheat bag or whatever they are called but she does take two hot hands hand warmers to her room at night. I’m unsure if this is because her hands are cold or if she puts them on her knee/hip where it hurts. They don’t get too hot so it’s OK.

I’m still giving her a foot and hand rub every day. We had a bit of a ding dong today. She always favours the useless brother who does nothing and I snapped today. I have to do everything and I’m always at the bottom of the pile! I’m still in a mood with her.

We’ve ordered the bidet/toilet and shower so that will all be in soon.

I’m going back to work next week even though I’ve still not had an OT referral. Wish me luck. I have decided if I get covid again, I will just hand my notice in. I don’t think the job is right for me with my long covid.

Ontheverge, maybe worth looking at vacancies now anyway - it’s easier to move jobs than it is to get a job when out of work.

I think not working would make you feel more trapped and it would mean you’d spend too much time at home - which isn’t relaxing for you.

If you could manage financially on less money, a part time role is worth considering.

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Melly1 I have a job in the pipeline. I did some work for a friend of mine last year (the one who I am going to see in London) - the job offer is there but I would be expected to go to London once a month for the team meetings and to Europe three times a year for seminars. I don’t know if I can agree to that just yet. It’s not just about caring for Mum but my own health. I remember the last time I went to London, I was in bed for a week after.

It’s pro’s and con’s. The social worker job I have worked my way up to but there is no empathy or compassion so realistically, long term the job is not for me.

Mum’s keen on me to jack the social work job in but when I mentioned going to London once a month, she changed her mind Bless her. Thanks for your reply.

Hi everyone,

Just thought I would pop by as I have been so busy with work.

We’ve still not heard from the incontinence clinic but we have an appointment with the arthritis clinic on Monday. Mum has good and bad days, some days she really struggles to walk and some days she’s almost running.

I bought her some new Skechers which came today and we are trying them on tomorrow. She’s so excited, bless her. Her left foot gets a bit swollen and her old shoes won’t fit anymore.

She had an accident a few nights ago and soaked her bed. She didn’t tell us and I only found out when I was hoovering. It had gone through all the sheets and even the waterproof protector thing. I had protectors but it went through both. I am going to have to look for something extra heavy duty. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading.

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Hi @ontheverge - oh the joys of continence issues!

I/we have been through the mill with Graham’s with bladder problems. Recently I bought some washable bed pads from the online Age UK Continence Shop and they are helping tremendously.

I have waterproof sheets at mattress level - we have some ‘non-crinkle’ ones and I also bought some Bamboo Fibre ones - both types from Amazon - I wondered if the bamboo ones would be soft but they are even softer than the ordinary non-crinkle type.

On top of these I put a standard disposable bed pad - then the bed sheet. Above the sheet I put the washable pad. You need to be careful with these as they state “single” bed size, but they are designed to be placed ACROSS the bed but G seems to need them following the line of his body, so I bought double size and that covers his side of the (King Size) bed. In order to try to minimise washing I usually add another disposable pad on top of that on which G lies. He does also wear pants and an extra pad at night. Yes this sounds like a nightmare but it is working. If he has a ‘major flood’ the pad copes with it all and I don’t have to strip the whole bed and wash everything. Such a relief.

I also put a waterproof cover on the duvet so if there is any damp transfer, it is only the outer cover which needs to be washed instead of the whole duvet - which takes at least a day to dry and air properly.

Hope this is of help!

Thanks Chris. Which ones did you buy from Age UK? The more expensive ones or the cheap ones? Will the more expensive ones be better quality? I got some SilentNight things in the past for top dollar but they were useless.

God knows how she did it but she went through two waterproof covers and loads of sheets and some mini bed pads (they are my brothers as he has to use catheters to wee and they send him them).

I have to do the launderette runs. As I am not driving, I have to walk with everything there. It’s normally three big black bin liners and they are bloody heavy. The others at home drive and have a car but say “it’s beneath them” doing these type of chores. Sigh.

Off for her arthritis appointment tomorrow. Wish us luck. We are both wearing our new Skechers tomorrow - yes, you guessed it, I bought them for her because the others were too tight and didn’t want to spend more than £10 on her!

Have you had a Carers Assessment recently? They might be able to help in some way as part of the help you need to support your caring role. Could you do it at her home if she had a large capacity washing machine and large capacity dryer?

Hi

This is the one I went for

not the cheap ones but this is effective - so far at least - I did get the double size and G lies on this on his side of the bed as they are designed to go across a bed, but I wanted more cover for him!

Washing is no problem as they are fine to 90 degrees but I usually do 40 degrees and add some laundry cleanser which destroys bacteria down to thirty degree wash. They take a bit to dry - tumble at low heat or so as i do and air dry them but they do drip for a while as they are designed to hold moisture of course !!!

Hope this helps. Your laundry trips sound a nightmare.

Thank you so much Chris. I’ve not got round to ordering them yet but will do next week.

We’ve had the appointment with the arthritis clinic and the follow up. She’s got one type of arthritis in her hands - they’ve given her a splint to use. They also gave her putty to strengthen her muscles with. Her right knee has the other arthritis and we have been given exercises to make it stronger. Follow up is in 4 weeks. She hated going to the appointments but it was nice to get her out and look at some flowers and birds whilst we were in the taxi. She loves her new Skechers too. She was a bit upset that her favourite physio has now retired. It was the first thing she asked the physio we went to see and her face just dropped. Oh and they no longer do those paraffin wax hand baths - too risky with catching infections they said!

No further accidents but still no appointment for the incontinence clinic. We phoned up and were told she’s 45th in the queue.

We’ve had a few quotes for the bidet and shower ranging between £2500 and £4500. We’ve not made a decision yet although I would wish my brother would hurry up. I am paying for it but I said I would not get involved in anything else. I can’t be greedy and do everything!

London has been cancelled. The days they are meeting up are not convenient. I was hoping it was going to be the end of April but it’s the second week so I can’t go. Oh well.

Oldest brother and his wife have been sending a lot of food over which has been a godsend. It’s that and takeaways at the moment as I have zero energy. I’m back at work and but wish I hadn’t bothered. I work 18.5 hours a week and have a case load of 40. The full timers have between 25 and 35. I knew this would happen. They won’t reason. They say “it will all average out in the end”. Hmmm!

Thank you for reading and for all your suggestions. I really appreciate it. It means a lot. I’ve been very up and down over the last year but if it wasn’t for your wealth of advice and suggestions, I would have really struggled. Blessings to you all.

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With regard to your caseload, it’s not acceptable. Are they trying to get rid of you? Are you familiar with “constructive dismissal”?

Possibly. I’ve had three cases of sickness in the last 2 years and I think they are punishing me for it. I don’t mind being given complicated cases - I’m only one rung under the team manager so that’s understandable. However, I don’t think I should have double the case load of the others in the team.

I’ve still not had the appointment with the OT at work which was promised to me months ago. I know if I go off sick again, it will be goodbye to me.

To be honest, they can pile on as much work as they want, I only work 18.5 hours and there is only so much I can do and they know it. It’s not even done discretely.

I’ve got a week off so I am not thinking about it.

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@ontheverge Your post makes me very sad. We need experienced Social Workers and you understand the challenges of caring. It seems so very wrong that you are being overloaded with cases. The Government pays ‘lip service’ to keeping Carers in work but where is the practical help? Juggling caring and working must be a total nightmare. But if you have been trained to do a mega difficult and demanding job, it is surely in the interests of the Department to keep you and offer support.

Your local authority has to have a policy supporting carers who work for them. Are your management following it?