In April, The Electrical Industries Charity is looking at caring for elderly parents. It’s a fact of life that we will all have to care for our parents in some capacity at some point. We often feel it is our duty to care for them in their twilight years as they took such care for us in our formative years.
While caring for a parent may seem a fact of life it can still be challenging, stressful and tiring to care for someone who may be increasingly frail and dependent on you. 72% of carers report to struggle with ill mental health and 61% have reported physical illness as a result of caring. Caring for elderly parents can be a huge source of strain on the individual and familial and/or romantic relationships. Annie, a consultant engineer, began to struggle caring for her mother after a deterioration in her mother’s health.
Annie’s mother had been living with her and her partner Mike for almost a decade after the sudden loss of Annie’s father. Annie’s mother lived in a self-contained annex and despite having some health difficulties including a heart murmur Annie’s mother lived independently with little help from Annie or Mike. Both Annie and Mike noticed changes in Annie’s mother’s behaviour, she experienced episodes of confusion, appeared disorientated and became prone to falling. With signs of worsening health Annie and Mike chose to move Annie’s mother into their home and support her more closely.
Unfortunately, Annie’s mother’s health continued to decline, and her behaviour became more challenging. She would regularly wander out of the property and on several occasions, police were called to help locate Annie’s mother. Annie’s mother would awake in the night and disorientated she would shout at Annie and Mike when they came to comfort or check on her. Mike worked long hours managing a team for an electrical distributor had respite during work and found he was finding excuses to not return home. Concerned about the impact Annie’s mother’s behaviour was having on both him and Annie he encouraged Annie to contact the Electrical Industries Charity for support using our Employee and Family Assistance Programme.
Annie contacted the Electrical Industries Charity welfare team and spoke of how she was becoming depressed and anxious. Annie was on edge worrying about her mother and when her next episode will be. The charity welfare team referred Annie for telephone counselling support to offer her an impartial party to confide in and vent to. Annie found speaking to an outside party extremely beneficial and found her weekly sessions a huge relief.
The Electrical Industries Charity also signposted Annie to the relevant social services who can help support her with caring for her mother. Involving social services also meant Annie knew of the additional support services available to both her and her mother.
Annie’s mother continued to live with Annie and Mike for a year. Unfortunately, Annie’s mother’s health continued to decline, and she moved into a permanent residential care. Since moving into residential care Annie’s mother’s health has stabilised and Annie visits her mother regularly. Annie’s mother enjoys life within the care home and has established good friendships with fellow residents as well as rekindled her love for bridge and crochet. Annie is in a much better place and her feelings of depression and anxiety have dissipated since telephone therapy. She has much more peace of mind with her mother receiving around the clock care and feels well supported by the care team within the home.
The Electrical Industries Charity have since closed Annie’s case, but Annie understands should she require any additional assistance the welfare team are available 365 days a year to support our industry.