Bridget's Blog: Looking After Mum

Posted on: 8/09/2021

Where do I start? Mum had always been prone to falls due to the fact she had 5 hip replacements. As she progressed into her 80s, they seemed to become more frequent, so long before I started working at Progress Lifeline, I suggested she get a pendant alarm. She listened to the lovely lady who came out to install it and 2 months later Mum rang up and asked for it to be taken away as ‘she didn’t need it’.

A few months later Mum had a fall and she only just managed to crawl to the phone to ring me. I insisted that we reinstall the pendant alarm, she reluctantly agreed. The ‘unexplained’ falls were becoming more frequent and, along with a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s with vascular dementia, the pendant became essential. Even Mum began to sing its praises to everyone - ‘her daughter was on-call with only a push of a button’, but the falls where becoming more frequent. You would think it would be easy to lift and 5 foot, size 10 lady but I can vouch that it is not, even with the help of a neighbour. I also dread to think what would of happened if my Mum had not managed to press her button after I had found her on the kitchen floor with a 4 inch gash on her head, and a pool of blood on the floor, with no recollection on how it happened. 

I admitted to myself that I needed more help to enable Mum to stay in her own home and sought extra care. The pendant alarm was still invaluable. Mum would forget she couldn’t jump out of bed, or the chair, and would slide to the floor.

During this time I started to work for Progress Lifeline, and soon realised we needed EHR after previously having had several 3 hour waits for an ambulance. It was a god send, especially when lockdown hit. Without EHR, I don’t doubt we would have found ourselves in a situation where Mum was in hospital alone (if you call an ambulance there’s a very high chance they take you into hospital just to be on the safe side) or in a home. Both outcomes would have resulted in me not being able to visit or go with her and, with her condition, this would have caused a rapid decline of her health. 

Mum’s condition has now deteriorated. Live-in carers and extra care are not sufficient so the difficult decision for her to go into a nursing home has been made. I am so grateful that, with the pendant alarm and EHR, we were able to delay this by several years and, in particular, at the start of lockdown.