Sunday, January 25, 2015

Greek Helen is on her way home, on the very same early-Sunday-morning EasyJet direct flight which C. and I will take at the end of March. She seems in good form, and we had a nice time.

She made attempts to think ahead on the subject of Care of the Elderly in the Home, without making much progress. All four of our distant children would like to formulate a plan for looking after my husband if I am temporarily or permanently disabled. He must stay here. But one of the troubles with unpleasantness is that however well one prepares, it can be guaranteed to arrive in an unexpected form.

I did at least show her where, in this untidy room, the files about the bank accounts are to be found.

She has much else to think about. Her husband David will have a major operation for diverticulitis this week. I thought it was just an inconvenient and occasionally painful chronic condition – my father had it; he lived into his 90's. But David is to have a length of bowel cut out and the ends reattached.

Not much knitting got done. I hope the balls of yarn attached to Archie's sweater will finally be finished today. We didn't get to see Archie himself. He woke up with a sore throat yesterday and stayed away.

We had some more water from the flat upstairs yesterday, this time a drip through our kitchen ceiling. I was there when it started and raced upstairs. The washing machine was leaking. The drip was quickly stopped. My husband is apoplectic with rage and wants to have the kitchen replastered at the neighbours' expense. These are the same people who ruined our dining room three years ago with an inundation from their bathroom. I don't think any damage was done this time, and I don't think there's anything we can do except fume.

The Little Boys from Loch Fyne have been in Glasgow this week, taking exams and being interviewed for various schools. The elder of the Little Boys will finish primary school this summer. The plan is to send both to a Glasgow school – the family will have to live in Glasgow during the week, and I don't know what will happen to the ducks. At one of the exams, a fellow candidate was discovered in tears. Thomas – the younger of the Little Boys – befriended him. “It'll be all right. You can copy my answers.”


  1. God bless Thomas the Younger! Grandchildren are such a delight.

  2. There is a lot I can relate to in your situation. Fortunately one of our sons lives nearby.

  3. What a worrying time for Helen! I know only too well how distance makes it very challenging to support elderly parents.
    Although you could wait for a crisis to occur, it would be possible to begin having some assistance for your husband, so that it does not all fall on you, and it also establishes the idea that it does not have to be you helping him with personal care.

    If you apply to your local adult social services, they will arrange an assessment of your care needs - and those of your husband. Because you live in Scotland, care is not means-tested. This is explained on the Age UK website.

    You can obtain a list of accredited care agencies from UKHCA. This would allow you to buy in care yourself, so you would not be limited to flying visits.

    A friend of mine did this for her mother and for her aunt. Her mother was wheelchair bound, but lived in her own home for some years with five visits each day from carers. There is a huge network of home carers up and down the country.

  4. My very physically frail father insisted that he did not want to have strangers coming in to do things to him. He also insisted that my mother could cope and wanted no strangers. When she collapsed with a life threatening haemorrhage, brought on by the strain of nursing him, it fell to me to get him out of the house and into a care home by devious means, since he was convinced that all that she needed was a couple of days rest and would be back at her duties 24/7. At this point he was in the beginnings of dementia - I could see it, but Mum and his GP were unsure - the GP wouldn't discuss it - or even listen.
    He was never fit to come home, and my mother never recovered fully.
    Don't let this happen in your house.

  5. Anonymous7:11 PM

    You should make sure they purchase and install an overflow pan under their washer like this:

    Strangely I cannot seem to find such a product on a hardware store website in the UK. Perhaps a plumber would know how to source one?

    Judith in Ottawa

  6. I do sympathise with your situation. What are your husband's thoughts on the matter? Does he accept that some help is required and a plan for unforeseen situations has to be made? If he would be willing to have some help with his personal care now there would be some continuity if "unpleasantness" occurred. I had the worst and best of carers over a four year period for my husband and it was undoubtedly stressful, but if it has to be done, it has to be done.

    I think your grandson must be a very special boy!