French social care for elderly

This is an interesting summary article from The Local.fr

In the last paragraph there is a very helpful link to a very extensive web site. (Which can auto translate by using Goole chrome)
https://www.pour-les-personnes-agees.gouv.fr/

@toryroo , yes I was a bit surprised at that and it rather threw me off course and my French went downhill from that point. She was aware that it was M-P who had alerted them and set up the whole thing including the visit, so I tried to get her on the phone to talk to her direct and explain, but she was out on a minor emergency and didn’t answer. She called me later and said we could talk today but I think the AS was going to make contact anyway.

@cat Thank you, that is kind, and I will bear it in mind. We watched the 2nd instalment of a programme on dementia last night and the things that struck me were the different kinds with different causes and effects, but also every one of them had local family support. Something that never occurred to us when we immigrated here. The woman turning to gin for support who said she was always so tired struck a particular note for me. I wish I could have a gin. :laughing: But at least I am not up and down during the night to cope with Fran’s visits, she does not seem to have needs in that direction and she has been dry for some time now. I did wonder if the use of Tena pads encouraged dependence, but it seems not to be, maybe my forcing her to get up in the morning and going to bed at night, both accompanied by toilet as of prime importance, and I am impressed by her ability to ‘hold it’ now, as evidenced by her letting go the instant after I get her seated. She watched the programme and I glanced at her face from time to time but she showed no emotion and I have no idea what she thought or even if she knows, as all the participants did, if she has the same disease. After both programmes I asked her what she thought of it, ‘alright’ she said, just as last week, a standard response for her.

@Lily 5 lengths? :open_mouth: I think not. That would leave me marrooned for all eternity at the far end. A chilly prospect. :rofl:

@strudball That was very interesting indeed, and worth keeping in mind. I wonder if the difference of those who have not worked in France as opposed to those who have, extends favourably to spouses of those who have, which is our situation. Costs do not concern me, I have very little personal needs these days so am confident, if it ever came to it, that a fair means tested arrangement would be made. More importantly, I have my doubts that local vacancies would be available. However the language problem for Fran would be terrible. Definitely a last resort.

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I agree that a permanent care home would be the last resort because of language problems, but do have a look around or ask your friend Marie-Paule about respite day care. Even one day a month where you knew she was safe, and you could do what you wanted without worrying could be like having a massive holiday. Dealing with someone like your Fran is exhausting as you now, and it grinds you down in lots of little ways that you might be trying to ignore. Our local EHPAD has 12 day places each day for people with dementia which have a good reputation.

Hello David, thinking of you hang in there. My sister is a big cold swim fan. She wears gloves though. I’ve never worked that out!

How are you guys doing today David?

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Not good Tory. We went to the pharmacie to get our flu jabs today. All done, no problems. On our return I helped her from the car to the house, including up the 3 large concrete steps to the terrasse and front door. She lost her balance on the 2nd step and lurched sideways, desperate to stop her falling off the steps altogether, I held her hand tight but she swung round and her arm hit hard the edge of the concrete platform. It was a great struggle to get her up again, because she was stunned and unable to assist, also her arms just flopped up when I tried to lift her under the armpits.

Once inside I managed to get her into her easy chair but she was in great pain from the arm which I checked as best I could and found no break and no bruise, and she bruises easily and quickly. She spent several hours moaning in pain and I noticed later a deep purple bruise on her leg which she was unaware of. So, to check it more closely and to allow her to see it, I pulled back her skirt and revealed a bloody cut on her knee which had stained the skirt. She had no knowledge of that either, obviously masked by the pain of the arm. I have been urged to make an appointment with the doc in the morning, but what have we to show for it, a cut on the knee now treated by me and an invisible, and now at last several hours further on, apparently forgotten, damaged arm? Though now she says her hand is affected with limited finger movement, but she has spent the last few hours folding and unfolding a square of kitchen towel. This sort of obsession is not new. Yesterday it was her mask, she had it folded with 4 matches in it, 2 red and 2 spent, over and over. The AS noticed this the other day too. I curse the builder who refused to quote for a concrete ramp over those outside steps on the grounds that it would have to extend 9 metres, as far as the hedge. The AS noted the steps she fell on in the house last week so maybe there is some way I can get things moving there too.

She is not the only one, I have tripped and fallen 3 times in the last couple of days, once when I was skimming the pond. I was about to step onto the beam bridge but tripped on a fold in the liner. I had already reached for a tree which I use to swing onto it so held on with that hand and the other was holding the pole which crashed down partly onto the bridge and partly onto the bank. Very lucky it didn’t break, but my leg hit the beam with force resulting in a bloody graze and bruise 7x5 cms. All through sheer carelessness, but I am convinced fatigue played a part.

I will see how she is in the morning before phoning the surgery, no point in booking a rdv days away if her injuries are minor, and then it is just a case of waiting for any reply and suggestions from the results of the dossier.

Bon courage

Does your assistante sociale or your friend Marie-Paule know any “aide à la personne” services nearby that do small bits and pieces and maybe build you a wooden ramp to go over the steps? The ones you can buy tend to be for single steps…. And it sounds as if you may well need wheelchair access in the future.

Thanks to @JaneJones , @AdrianTB and @vero too.

I wear shoes when I swim, the rubber sabot type with holes in the top and a heel strap to keep them on, they protect me from anything sharp or unwelcome on the bottom but truth to tell I never put my feet down other than to turn at the ends which, because of the way I used the digger, are sloping and therefore clear. But gloves no, I suppose it stops whitening of the fingers.

Any ramp that was built would have to be professionally done with some kind of responsability for safety reasons. I had considered something in wood but discarded it for that reason and my concreting skills are minimal. I would ask other builders but the trouble is my experience of those does not inspire confidence. One, who did a big job on our kitchen some years ago (and awkwardly is married to a lovely lady who has given us some help recently) is out of the question for the mess he made, another agreed something quite simple, concreting either side of the gate, but disappeared without trace before the work started (and happily before any money was paid) and of course the 9 metre ramp merchant.

I have spoken to Fran this morning, still abed, and she seems a little better. Will know more when I get her up in an hour or so.

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Make sure someone, even just nurse or AS, sees the graze/bruise or whatever, asap. You want it in someone’s notebook as small things will add up to tge picture over time. Even show pharmacist if you cant get 5mins with a nurse ask “what should we put on this [bandage, salve]”. Make sure how it happened is noted. If you can mention your own fall too it might start them thinking

Also pro carers know who can build or bring stuff like ramps

Don’t forget your MT can prescribe various aids for you including a walking frame or wheelchair should you need them. Your pharmacy will have a brochure showing what is available.
Izzy x

A good idea @KarenLot and I will try and make an appointment with the doctor today or Monday. It will be a good opportunity to show her my own bruise.

She has had for quite some time 2 sticks and a walking frame @IzzyM but she only uses the one stick. I think that will have to change in future. The damage to her arm the other day (it is still very tender but still no bruise) was caused by her and I holding one hand very tightly which swung her round in a wide arc to hit the concrete edge. Not the walking frame, but certainly I think she would have been better with 2 sticks with me standing to one side, rather than in front trying to encourage forward movement.

Last night, as we have come to the end of the skin irritation treatment all I had to do was get her to the toilet for the last visit and then undressed and to bed. It should have been easier but for half an hour she refused to move from her chair, possibly because she couldn’t rise alone but also could not stand the pain of my necessary lifting of her by her armpits. We had a longish conversation about her condition and the dementia programmes we had recently seen together, but I am not sure whether she understands what is the problem. I did point out that almost all the sufferers in it were aware and talked about it freely.

A real worry is that she is eating less and less, she eats glacially slowly anyway so it is only by glancing at her plate frequently that I realise it. Last night for instance, despite having nothing more than one digestive biscuit and her Fortimel since rising, all she ate was 2 small slices of potato, 1 small slice of parsnip, and one small slice of leek, all steamed not boiled to nothing. 2 very small re-heated pieces of chicken thigh, that she left from the previous night’s chicken thigh were left untouched. They will be in the dogs later but won’t be enough addition to their croquettes. She is supposed to take 2 Fortimels a day but really only drinks one I think, difficult to tell as she drinks half of one and then starts on another which is also not finished.

She is always cold, a result of being so thin I suppose, and was the reason why we had to have separate beds years ago. She would always cuddle close to me but, as a result I was always overheated and used to have the quilt my side open to allow colder air in. Now she sleeps with 2 quilts and a blanket, though the reason for that is because of Jules’ habit of spending much time sleeping there, but it does on the one hand keep her warm, but on the other, prevents his warmth from reaching here. :rofl: This morning I notice that her shoulders are bare, above the quilts, but she insists that she is not cold, until that is I touched her. She thinks my hands are cold, and I haven’t been near the pond yet. :roll_eyes:

My mother has had difficulty with steps for about 5 years now, and now needs a wheelchair if going out. Because there are three steps from house level to street level, she has one of these

https://www.levellifts.co.uk/products/open-style-platform-lift/

She was lucky that the social put it in for her with no cost to her as they’re not cheap. They are however a godsend of you’re in a wheelchair.

Glad she’s had the help she needed.

However, certainly around here… they prefer to put in things which need no source of power… normally a ramp, either straight or gently curved.

In the next village, I’ve even seen a bridge from the gate… straight to the front door, thus avoiding 2 otherwise essential sets of steps.
It was fascinating watching that being put together and it’s made things easier not only for the occupant but for everyone else, all Carers etc and visitors (whoever)… can come and go so effortlessly.

Our neighbour (no longer with us) had quite a few modifications done to help her stay in her own house. It seems that there is a policy to try to keep people at home where possible. And the amount of money spend was probably a tiny fraction of what it would have cost to look after her in a care home.

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I recall when my wife was in the final few weeks of her life the local hospital offered to supply a hospital bed and other medical equipment for use at our house… She declined the offer fearing it might be difficult for me to look after her bearing in mind I was still working.

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Yes, as I said, I had foreseen this problem before it became so serious, and in the long term, some sort of ramp is essential. I will search around for a non-cowboy builder if the Social Services don’t come up with a recomendation beforehand. There is another way from the terrasse to the car at the other end it where it is at ground level, but I will have to do some work leveling the garden and cutting back some growth before we can use that.

How on earth do we not foresee such problems. The extension from which is our only exit these days also has a step from living room to terrasse, and also the 2 narrow steps (another cowboy-builder’s work) between the kitchen (also bathroom and her bedroom) and the rear veranda, itself with a step into the living room. That is 7 steps in all to get out of the house. There is a rear exit from the veranda but that entails a long walk on uneven ground round the house afterwards.

I have made one change though in the last day. That is to re-open a door from the kitchen directly to the living room thereby eliminating the 2 steps to the veranda which caused her fall last week. There is still a step, but only one and wider. I hate to criticise the local extension constructors because otherwise it is an excellent building, but why-oh-why did they make a building which is higher up a slope actually lower than the building it connected to? :roll_eyes:

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Sounds like you’re doing the very best you can, in difficult circumstances… good luck.

Thank you. Rang the doc this morning for a rdv, no answer. Rang again and a voice said I will speak to the doctor and ring you back. She rang back and told me to take her to Perigueux for an x-ray. That is a long round trip so I thought I would ring a place nearer. They said she can have an x-ray but they will need a prescription from the doctor. So looks like a long round trip to A&E tomorrow then. The bruise has just become visible on her arm, but on the inside, not the outside, perhaps she fell with her arm outstretched. She has less pain today but still can’t lift the arm or use the fingers to grip anything. On verra.

I am a bit puzzled though. A few years ago she fractured her thigh doing a (successful) emergency stop for a dog that ran out. We went to Perigueux for treatment including x-rays but it wasn’t the hospital. Can’t remember where now though. :roll_eyes: