French social care for elderly

I had a friend in UK who was looking after her mother with early onset dementia, she even escaped from the unit where she went to give my friend some respite care.
In the end she had to be locked in her room, which had been thoroughly checked whilst my friend worked from home nad did the cooking etc.
She was allowed out when someone had the time to sit with her and for meals.
It sounds drastic, but it worked and she could watch the tv to her heart’s content.

@JaneJones Yes been there, she was a very slow driver so when she disappeared out of sight down a long hill (I was following in the car she had taken me to collect) I knew something was wrong. I normally went down that hill in low gear but would have to keep braking behind her, and sure enough round the last bend there was the Saxo nose down in the ditch with the rear left wheel in the air.

She said she was blinded by the sun, but there were no skid marks in the gravel and grass verge and I am convinced that she fainted. There was a funny side. She was more worried about the airbag suffocating her, the first man on the scene started panicking because he could smell the explosive charge from it, and the 2 dogs in the back, totally uninjured or distressed but poor little Sami, the Springer Spaniel, was jammed with his arse under the back of the front seat.

The car was written off and she has agreed, and has not, driven again since.

@Jane_Williamson That at least is something I think we don’t have to worry about. The speed at which she moves would preclude any escape. We can laugh about it, this morning I took Jules for a walk though forest and field, did the rounds of the garden with the bucket, retrieved my towel from the veranda, stripped off and walked up to the pond, did 6 lengths then skimmed the leaves before coming back down to dry off and replace the towel in the veranda. And she was still in the bathroom that she had entered before Jules and I had departed. Emerging from the bathroom door, which is between the kitchen sink and the electric kettle point, she did not hinder me at all. As I said to her at the time ‘others might think that you halted to allow me to pass back and forth, but as we both know, you were actually in motion the whole time and hadn’t noticed me at all’. We both collapsed in each others’ arms in helpless laughter. :rofl:

I call her Buster Keaton, The Great Stone Face because the funniest of jokes or situations completely pass her by, but now and again, something strikes a chord and hysteria ensues. :slightly_smiling_face: Only way to get through, innit?


I admire your caring, fortitude - and the retention of your sense of humour David.
Dementia does have it’s funny moments. I remember particularly a kitchen conversation between my Mum - who had dementia - and my Dad who was her main carer.
Mum set fire to some toast under the grill and we all rushed in to sort it out. In due course…
Dad: ‘Why didn’t you use the toaster?’
Mum: ‘We haven’t got a toaster.’
Dad: ‘We have, it’s just there.’
(We all look at the toaster, which is standing on the bench right next to the cooker).
Mum: ‘We haven’t used that for years!’
Dad: ‘You made the toast in it this morning…’

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Went with a friend (who understands quicker what is said in French) to the doctor this morning and got a very sympathetic hearing.

She understands now that Fran’s mental decline is accelerating and indeed is markedly worse than the last visit only a few weeks ago. Examples are, asking me if we are staying here (house? village? country? no idea), trying to light a cigarette from the bars in the electric oven with a cut off strip from a kitchen towel, this had the knock on effect of delaying our meal last night because I didn’t realise that she had turned the temperature knob to zero, and insisting on wearing her mask in the house long after our return.

But we came away with ordonnances for creams for the rash, Fortimel for food boost. anti depressants, treatment by the foot specialist and daily visits 7/7 from a nurse to supervise her ‘toilettage’ and medicine taking.

Our wonderful, non English speaking, French neighbour has been on the phone this afternoon talking to several people mentioned by the local cabinet in order to set several balls rolling. Not entirely clear but someone is coming round in the morning to assess the situation. There is a hint too that, despite her ‘longue duree’ 100% category, there may be something to pay on our part for some of it.

Maybe we’ll know more in the morning but in the meantime Marie-Paule has more phone calls to make on her behalf. Nothing is straight forward.

The value of good neighbours is without price, and to some extent we are reaping what we have sowed in the past, helping them both financially, at a very bad time, and emotionally, taking their dog for her final journey when they were so overcome with grief that they couldn’t drive. :slightly_smiling_face:

Of course this is personal for us, but I hope also of use in answering, as we go along, some of the questions posed in @strudball’s OP.


That is wonderful, so glad they are moving so quickly David. my thoughts are with you and your wife xx