My other sister, the one who has experience of caring for elderly relatives, has saved the day… and her in the middle of a disaster too (Her husband had just accidentally sawn through a radiator pipe in the upstairs bathroom and caused an inadvertant downpour through the kitchen ceiling and all over the new carpets!). She is going to ring J and talk the whole situation through with her to set up an ongoing long-term agreement. Either that she and J between them can guarantee me regular breaks including my holidays away and times at home without having to worry about Dad, and including cover for emergencies (such as, if they’ve arranged for Dad to go there while I’m away because they’re working that week, that they can guarantee to be able to come here to him if something happens that he is unable to travel) – this being a long term situation and not just for this year alone. If they are unable to agree this as a definite way of working – and their husbands have to agree to it too – then we will proceed with the respite at the retirement home and Dad will have to lump the fact of spending the money. Whichever the situation, it should be arranged so that I don’t have to make all the arrangements and do all the running about.
I am so lucky that we’re such a close family and we can work things out together. They’re brilliant, my siblings. And we’re getting the chance of another family reunion in August when my nephew gets married in Scotland (his wedding in their home in the Caribbean was washed out in the hurricane and they have decided to relocate the venue to bonnie Scotland and bring the bride’s family with them. Hooray!)
The moving of the stone was done by tea-tray. The stone was too heavy to lift, but we managed to rock it onto the tray. The steps were just wide enough to hold the stone, though not the whole tray, so we kept the stone right at the back of the tray. I balanced the front of the tray (which was empty) on my knee while we slid the tray forwards and lifted it down onto the next step. M, of course, was stuck behind it and had to climb over the top of it and me to get at the right angle to help when it came to manoevring the whole thing round the corners in the staircase, but bit by bit we got it there with only one awkward moment where the only way I could hold it was to put my arm through the bannister rail but then was unable to move it forwards or backwards! I just let go and prayed..and yes, we were able to take the strain of it for a moment or two while I relocated my arm!
I just hope the people who see the Easter Garden get a lot out of it. It’s a very effective source of contemplation
Dad has decided that he resents giving any money to the residential home, simply because others are funded. He appreciates that it is right for Social Services to make the service available to those who cannot afford it for themselves, but still he resents it. One way to deal with this might be to bite the bullet and say “Well, it doesn’t seem fair but I enjoy it so I’ll just grin and bear it as I part with the money” but that’s not Dad’s way.
He’s decided he resents the money he’ll be paying to go there for a break while I go away. He said to my sister that he’d rather give her the money and her look after him for the week. (I bit back the point that I look after him full time for next to nothing – no point muddying the waters with my own little resentments!) Trouble is, she is actually free that week.
She feels that she’ll do anything to make Dad’s life happier and that the cost of care would be better kept within the family if he doesn’t want to go. Her view is that he could die next week and she’d regret having let him go into the home when she knew she could have had him there. My view is that it is better that he gets used to going in the home for short stays when I go away. I feel dreadful asking my sisters to have him if I want a break away as it means them giving up their limited holiday time. It’s OK when they can take him to stay with them, but that’s not always going to be possible. He could die next week, yes, but he could be around for a whole lot longer than that and he’s not going to get any more fit or mobile. Will they want to give up all their time off work to come and stay with him or will they, by then, be wanting him to be well settled into going to respite care? Now I feel horrible for thinking like that – guilty and mean-minded and uncaring – and I came away from my conversation with my sister feeling like that too, although neither of us wanted to fall out over it.
Why couldn’t she just have been busy that weekend? And why does it have to be me that makes the decision?