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to be annoyed that MIL wont get a cleaner

(32 Posts)
audreyroberts Sun 07-Aug-11 21:35:08


just wanted to canvas opinion really. My Mil is in her 70s and has a few health issues is also only carer (through own choice) for FIL who has dementia. Anyway I have spent my holiday from work last week helping her get her house sorted. She has not been coping and it had got into a real state, v smelly and dirty and clutter piled uo everywhere. Anyway to cut a long story short now all clean and decluttered (my whole week off spent on it). she is grateful and full of praise. I have suggested that now it is in a reasonable state we get a cleaner to come in once week tokeep on top of theing - but she point blank refused.

It is not that she does not have strangers in her house - she will let repairmen ,gardeners, carpet fitters etc. in with no probs.

I am i being unreasonable for be be annoyed that she will just let the house go to rack and ruin again - until next year when I will have to spend another week cleaning.

You might think - well i dont have to - and true i dont - but how can i talke my kids round every week to a house that stinks and is dangerously unclean.

TrillianAstra Sun 07-Aug-11 21:38:29

You don't have to take your children there every week.

Assuming that she is in sound mind, and assuming that she wants you and children to visit, why can't you say that you can only visit if the house is cleaned regularly?

Have you asked her why she sees a cleaner as different to a repairman? It's simply paying someone else to do a job that you either cannot do or do not choose to do yourself.

MissPenteuth Sun 07-Aug-11 21:44:48

I'd guess that she has been quite houseproud in her younger years? It can be hard for people to admit when they're struggling because of old age. It sounds like it's a point of principle for her.

Mutt Sun 07-Aug-11 21:44:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

griphook Sun 07-Aug-11 21:48:01

yanbu but go easy on her, as Miss said it must be very hard to admit you need help

audreyroberts Sun 07-Aug-11 21:58:38

I know and i do 'go easy'. She has 5 sons and 4 other daughters in law but always seem to be the one that has to do eveything. 3 live out the area and she does not get on with the other local one (for reasons i understand). but no one but my dh and i will now visit her house it had got so bad. When her other sons come up from down south with their kids they either stay at our sor a hotel and only see PIL at ours or in a restaurant.

I know it is hard to admit you need help - but she really, really does and she has just recently come into lots of money (not that she was short before) so she can very easily afford a cleaner.

hormonalmum Sun 07-Aug-11 22:02:52

Does she know someone who may go in and clean for her? This may make it easier for her to cope with.
Would you be able to be there for the first few times the cleaner was there?

Mitmoo Sun 07-Aug-11 22:05:06

My mother is very independant, she will let me shop, clean decorate sort out her bills etc. but when she let someone else do it she will feel like she has given up her independence.

I think how you sell the idea to her will be key.

gallicgirl Sun 07-Aug-11 22:05:14

I lived abroad for a short while and my landlord offered to get me a cleaner but I refused because I was offended. I felt like he was saying I was incapable of cleaning to his standard. In reality, it was the norm there. People have better things to do than clean. My friend also suggested I saw it as employing a person who really needed the work.

Maybe you could try a different tack? Getting a cleaner would free up some time to look after FIL and give him a better quality of life. Maybe you could persuade her that you have a friend who really needs the extra money from cleaning PIL's house.

Mitmoo Sun 07-Aug-11 22:05:51

I have 4 siblings but it is always me too.

Tortington Sun 07-Aug-11 22:06:16

is she entitled to any help? like homehelp or anything? i would give age concern a ring, or CAB ..if you still hae one open neaar you. perhaps you could start a thread sking if anyone kows what she might be entitled to in her own home.

might be worth asking social services - give them a ring

redexpat Sun 07-Aug-11 22:07:37

Perhaps suggesting that the cleaner do one bit of the housework, like kitchen and bathroom, or all the floors may be a way into this?

Alternatively, guilt trip? I would feel much happier knowing that someone was doing this for you, to give you a break, because really Mum, you've got enough on your plate and you're doing a wonderful job.

audreyroberts Sun 07-Aug-11 22:08:25

Being there in the day is v difficult as we both work. My own parents have serios health issues, plus son has lots of hospital appointments so we really cant take more time off .

No she does not know anyone, To be honest we are in a ridicoulous situation, where she does jobs for other people. So mil with serious heart condition, can barely walk and looking after fil with dementia is doing shopping for woman fr m church who has had hystoractomy. Woman who usually is fit and able and has 2 daughter who live close. I feel exasperated!!!

worraliberty Sun 07-Aug-11 22:09:15

Why doesn't your DH do it?

Also, it would have to get into a real state to be dangerously unclean for your kids to visit.

joric Sun 07-Aug-11 22:16:08

My mum was in this situation with her parents- they wouldn't let anyone help other than mum shop, cook, clean, run errands for them. That included other members of the family. Mum was working and found this very stressful. It was unfair of them.
Could you suggest arranging a cleaner to come whilst you are there for the first few times? Is she afraid that they will go in her cupboards, drawers etc. I agree that maybe a family friend ( or friend of friend... Or trusted neighbour's cleaner) maybe the best way to go? Have another conversation with her and be blunt about the house putting you off visiting.

bellavita Sun 07-Aug-11 22:20:29

We have the same problem with my 86 year old Grandad.

My parents are retired but have their own health issues.

It isn't like he cannot afford it either... He is just too bloody stubborn.

joric Sun 07-Aug-11 22:20:54

Just read your last post, I would get DH to be quite blunt about situation, offering solutions and sympathy at the same time of course.

In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. Some psychologists cite such behavior as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.

Nowtspecial Sun 07-Aug-11 22:22:05

As a former carer of an elderly relative I can totally sympathise and have to say that it really doesn't take much neglect to make a house a health hazard - seriously. Yanbu. Is her eyesight ok ?

audreyroberts Sun 07-Aug-11 22:26:18

Dh does do stuff for her too but has more pressured job - longer hours and does a lot at home too. I dont think he is shirking.

It was a 'real' state before I cleaned it. For example there is not even a tiny space on the work tops on the kitchen and eveything is coated in a film of grease. And i mean everything - cups, glasses - it is dusgusting - i dont understand howe it gets so filthy.

unpa1dcar3r Sun 07-Aug-11 22:27:31

She may be a little overwhelmed with her caring tasks whilst also being ill herself to even think about the state of her house! Maybe she's so worn down with caring that she hasn't the energy left to cope with other things. I mean it can't be easy coping with someone who has dementia can it.
I admit it's unfair that her children don't help but this if often the case and I don't think it should be purely your responsibility either.

Has she had her carers assessment of need? Would she be willing to have one? Also her caree is entitled to one in his own right. Contact social services if they've not had this done, if she is willing, check with her first. She is probably a bit scared of things like this or proud and doens't want to admit defeat. She may not even see herself as a carer, just following the in sickness and in health rules of marriage. A lot of older people have this attitude.

I would suggest Crossroads. They would help but she may be asked to pay something if she's well off- her carers assessment would address this issue as to what she can and is willing to pay. She may even get some respite from caring which would help her state of mind a lot more than some stranger coming in to do her hoovering!

These issues are not cut and dried, she has her pride and her individualism, although most of that goes out the window once you're a carer believe me- you become suddenly invisible!
I dare say she's depressed too?

As for saying you don't want your children to visit, well to be honest I think that's plain mean. She has surely got enough other shit to deal with! And kids won't die from a few dirty things (take some antiseptic hand stuff!)

audreyroberts Sun 07-Aug-11 22:29:02

she wears reading glasses but other than that her eyesight is ok. But she cant move without getting out of breathe.

audreyroberts Sun 07-Aug-11 22:34:11

She wont have any sort of carers assement but i admit she is overwhelmed. she actually used to be a health visitor and she has 2 sons that are doctors so she and they know what is what.

I dont think she is depressed but i suppose she maybe a little. who wouldn't be in her situation. I thin kshe is just terribly proud and stubborn and i need to find a way to get her to accept help.

unpa1dcar3r Sun 07-Aug-11 22:48:50

Well then I'm afraid you will most likely be flogging the proverbial dead horse Audrey and there's nothing you can do except help as much as you can or are willing, and make sure she knows you love her and are there for her if and when she does cry out for help.
Hopefully it will be before she ends up in a wooden box through stress!

To reiterate I don't think refusing to let your kids go round there will help her feel any better about her situation or herself. It's just adding even more pressure onto what is clearly a very pressurised life for her.

Trying to play devils advocate but I'm afraid my sympathies lie at her door and not yours (although I completely understand your points about you being the only one willing to help and give up your prescious time too)
but see my poster name and you'll probably understand why! I am also sure it is stressful for you to see this happening but imagine it from where she's sat; poor health, and a husband who I can imagine is incredibly hard work morning noon and night, and I dare say she's getting on a bit herself too.
It must be frustrating for you but you will have to respect her wishes I'm afraid. At least for now anyway. If the situation gets worse maybe you could get her GP to have a word.

zipzap Sun 07-Aug-11 22:50:14

It's a shame you've just done a big clean - you could have told her you didn't have enough time to spend a whole week cleaning and taken somebody around with you to do the job in half the time. And then go again in a months time with the same person just for a morning to keep it under control. And again another month later until one month you can't go but the other person can do and hopefully you've snuck a cleaner in there...

Scuttlebutter Sun 07-Aug-11 22:59:32

Does she have the tools to do the job? A dishwasher? A decent, lightweight vacuum cleaner? A working washing machine and dryer? Sometimes it can be as simple as things like that - perhaps you could encourage her by offering to take her shopping for a new vacuum. Could it be that a few extra sets of bedding/towels would make a difference? Could you offer to do the washing/ironing for her? Maybe help her with the food shopping? Caring for someone with dementia is absolutely shattering, and she's probably stressed, exhausted and miserable. Sending you best wishes, we went through something very similar with my GPs.

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