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Help for an elderly relative

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#1 MintyBiscuit

Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

I have an 88 year old grandmother who I'm starting to get quite concerned about, and I'm not sure where to start with getting some assistance for her. She lives alone about ten minutes away from me, and has done since my grandfather passed away almost six years ago. Both her sons passed away over ten years ago, so there's no parent/child relationship to deal with this sort of thing. My aunt and myself keep an eye on things and keep in regular touch with her, and we both see her about once every week or so.

Basically, she's starting to get extremely forgetful. Conversations with her involve her repeating herself almost constantly, and she seems to have no realisation that she's doing it. She's starting to lose track of dates a little bit as well. She is incredibly stubborn though, and fiercely independent. I don't really know where to start as far as working out if she needs assistance, what assistance she can get, and convincing her to take it.

Has anyone had experience in these sort of situations, or know where I can start? We're in Sydney.

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#2 9ferals

Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

Oh dear, it's so hard when someone is on their own and things start to change.
If she is willing to do something, I would start with her GP and see if he can refer to her local Aged Care Assessment Team (not sure if they've changed their name, but I'm pretty sure there should be someone who can come and visit her at home and look as how she is doing and what issues might affect her safety and ability to stay at home.
If she isn't willing to start that process herself, then I would call her GP (if you know who that is) or if you don't, then maybe call her local council and see what Senior's services they have available. Really, you need to get her into the system so she can get assistance if she needs it.

I've just read your post again and note that she's very stubborn, that can make it tricky!  
You might like to call the Alzheimer's association in her area - not that I'm saying she has Alzheimer's but they are likely to know what kind of services might help and may have some tips on how to approach her and get her linked in with some more support.

Good luck

#3 Therese

Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

I would start with her GP too.

Good luck, it's such a tricky thing to deal with.

#4 Froger

Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:40 PM

Yes, I agree with Rubybelle, she has good suggestions. In NSW the GP can organise an assessment team to come out and see what sort of services the elderly person is in need of. Also the GP can do stuff like organise with the council to have the garbage bin taken out and brought back in - sometimes even little things like this make a tremendous difference. It all helps.

Also Legacy have welfare services. They can organise for a welfare worker to come out and see how the person is doing, offer some suggestions and some practical help.

Edited by SarahM72, 18 February 2013 - 12:44 PM.

#5 qak

Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

Local councils sometimes have a community/senior welfare person.  My Dad has them to organise things for him.

#6 blenheim

Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

The very first step would be taking her to the GP to have a full health assessment done - including a dementia screen.  Memory changes are not a normal part of ageing - sometimes it can be as simple as a nutritional deficiency or it can also be the onset of dementia.  Many people live at home alone with memory changes, the key is to get in early to optimise safety and reduce risks.  

Once the dementia screening and health assessment has been done, a call to the local council for Home Services and perhaps a referral to ACAT (which can be made by anyone - but your grandmother has to consent) might be useful.

I often used to explain it as trying to make sure someone safely lives at home for as long as possible.

#7 MintyBiscuit

Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

Thanks all

I had a feeling the GP was the right place to start. Getting her consent is going to be the tricky part - she is either deeply in denial or genuinely doesn't think anything is wrong. Just last week she misplaced her credit card and couldn't understand why we were at her to call and report it. It was found safe in her house, but the what ifs are starting to scare me. She's in a pretty good financial position compared to many her age, and if it came to needing care it could be paid for, but I worry about her doing silly things with money and it not b ring there when she needs it.

Sorry, that got a  bit rambling. I'm also p*ssed off that its all on me and my aunt, but that's another story. I'll check into what council offers and find some info on the ACAT stuff, then talk to my aunt about our next step

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