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To insist Mum visits without stepdad?

(36 Posts)
FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 11:35:48

Step dad has dementia. We've never been close and I've never really liked him that much. He's not been awful to my mum, but he hasn't been particularly good either. He was diagnosed 3 yrs ago, and he's an alcoholic. My mum looks after him by herself, and she's a bit of a martyr about it, refusing most help.

We don't see each other often because of distance and I have a 10 month old DD. My mum and I both want her to move closer to us so she can see DD more often and benefit from having me nearby as moral support, but she won't move my Stepdad as she thinks he needs his familiar surroundings.

Recently they were both here and had a number of heated arguments, resulting in my stepdad grabbing my mum and raising his fist to her, pushing me as I got between them, slamming doors and therefore damaging walls.

The whole thing made me feel awful. I am devastated that this is my mum's life, day in, day out. She said she wants to die. I empathise with my stepdad and I understand how truly awful it must be for him, but I want my mum to have a life and a relationship with my DD. I've told her she needs to find somewhere she can take him for 1 weekend a month so she can have a life, visit us on her own, see friends etc..

I feel callous not wanting him here, but it's so miserable when he is here.

FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 12:29:47

Anyone? sad

ZorbaTheHoarder Sun 24-Sep-17 12:39:42

Hi OP, this sounds like a very difficult situation, but I think that you have to put yourself and your baby daughter first.

It is very sad if your step-dad is suffering from dementia, but he sounds aggressive and dangerous. Your mother needs to decide whether she can continue living like that, but you shouldn't have to put up with it.

It sounds as though he will have to go into some kind of sheltered housing at some point soon, as your mother will not be able to cope indefinitely and nor should she have to.

Perhaps the best support you could give her is to help her find somewhere more suitable for him to go to?

horriblehistorieswench Sun 24-Sep-17 13:00:00

I would talk to your mum & explain you need to put your family's safety first so can't have them both in your house. Then go on & explain that as part of your family you are also concerned about her safety. Offer to investigate what care would be available - daily visits, respite residential visits or full time residential. I get that she wants to provide his care herself but sometimes you have to be honest and say no one is benefiting from this set up any more

MissBabbs Sun 24-Sep-17 13:12:47

It's DM's choice to prioritise what she believes is his well being (by not moving him) but has she had advice from eg medical staff or SS on this? Perhaps if they moved nearer then she would be happpier but as long as she is using him as an excuse not to move I would leave it be.
Some people can't cope with change. It is up to her to make a decision to change her circumstances.

FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 13:42:05

Thank you for the responses. I guess I was just worried that it would be horrible of me to insist she comes to see us alone, but I think it's important for both of us.

52FestiveRoad Sun 24-Sep-17 13:46:09

What happens when he deteriorates further? She may not be able to cope with him at home anyway. Has she thought about what he will be like in the future? This is very difficult for her I am sure by it sounds as if you are at the point where you can't allow him at yours for the sake of your DD. If that means she does not come either then so be it.

Luckymummy22 Sun 24-Sep-17 13:50:00

it's a really difficult one as I can see both sides. And all I can say is it's a wicked wicked disease.
There may be help out there that they would be entitled too.
Respite care is one where she could visit whilst he's looked after.

She is right though about familiar surroundings. My parents can no longer visit as it's too distressing for my dad.

It's sad and upsetting that they can't come but it is best for my dad so I understand. Completely different situation though as it is my dad who I'm close too.

Sirzy Sun 24-Sep-17 13:50:02

I don’t think insisting she comes alone will do anything other than make her feel worse and make her less likely to come and visit at all.

You need to sit down with her and discuss how you can help her, offer to help her find local support services (sadly that may be easier said than done) and help.

Whatever you do though don’t try to guilt trip her.

paxillin Sun 24-Sep-17 13:52:06

An aggressive, violent drunkard is no company for you or your DD. I would insist on him staying away, it is dangerous. If he is this bad already he will probably be unmanageable soon enough and in some kind of institutional care. Until then, say it is too dangerous and upsetting for you and your baby. Your mum might be glad to have a break from him anyway.

paxillin Sun 24-Sep-17 14:04:35

That sounded a bit harsh. I know what a terrible disease dementia is. The alcohol will up his aggression. He could have chosen to stop drinking when there was something left of him. He clearly did not. I really feel for your mum. But as long as the inevitable hasn't happened (him put in residential care), he is a danger and best avoided.

FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 14:15:06

@paxillin you pretty much just summed up how I feel. I can empathise because it's a terrible disease, but that's as far as my feelings go towards him. He's been told countless times that he should stop drinking, but he drinks approx 3 bottles of wine a day. My mum is desperate for some time on her own. He won't even stay in a room without her. He follows her everywhere! I hate to say it, but I resent him.

Beamur Sun 24-Sep-17 14:46:27

Dementia can be really horrible.
Your stepdad probably doesn't even realise he is drinking that much, telling him won't make any difference if his short term memory is poor either.
My Mum would frequently drink a bottle of wine but think she had only had a glass or two.
Your Mum needs to engage with her doctor to get some support, although in my experience you won't get much and may have to pay for it depending on their circumstances. Certain types of dementia can make people more aggressive.
Your Mum probably feels she can't leave her husband alone for very long and she's probably right.

paxillin Sun 24-Sep-17 14:49:13

The thing I would suggest to your mum is stop buying the wine for him. Switch to online shopping, don't add wine. It is quite possible he won't go and buy it himself; this should hopefully reduce the aggression. If he does attack her, call the police. This way, it will be quickly clear she cannot cope anymore and more suitable accommodation might be found for him.

FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 16:49:44

@paxillin unfortunately it's not that simple. He kicks off if he doesn't get his wine, but she is facilitating him to a certain extent. It's such a shame as my mum's the only person in my DD's whole extended family who wants to bother with her and she can't.

paxillin Sun 24-Sep-17 16:53:02

Well, then no wine, and police for kicking off. Your mum will eventually have to do that anyway, the sooner she does it, the sooner she is free to move around again. I think she is probably fully aware of it as the wife of an alcoholic.

Sirzy Sun 24-Sep-17 16:57:57

I don’t think “forcing” an ill addict who at this point probably doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand to give up their addiction is going to do anything to help anyone.

What your mum needs is to seek professional help and support. But that can’t be forced either.

Miserylovescompany2 Sun 24-Sep-17 17:01:32

I'd try and talk with your DM again - unfortunately, she's being her own worst enemy if she won't accept outside assistance.

He requires an assessment from Adult services - your DM should also look into getting herself assessed as a carer.

The alcohol won't be helping - but, she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't because either way your DM will get the backlash if she supplies it or not?

Does he have any extended family that can help?

paxillin Sun 24-Sep-17 17:10:57

I don’t think “forcing” an ill addict who at this point probably doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand to give up their addiction is going to do anything to help anyone.

The ill addict will always destroy his own life. The family's only choice is to allow him to or prevent him from destroying several others, too.

Sirzy Sun 24-Sep-17 17:12:37

And you really think that will help anyone? How exactly?

Birdsgottafly Sun 24-Sep-17 17:15:45

My DH had a brain tumor ad we had to live apart, eventually, because he was no longer safe around the children. I took them to see him and I took him on days out etc.

We had relatives that couldn't cope with the change in him and the possibility of him becoming aggressive, so would only see him when he was on a ward.

I totally understood and accepted that.

However, I felt that they could have given me more support in other ways.

I felt devastated when my eldest DD (16) said that she wanted to live elsewhere if I tried to bring my DH home, but in hindsight it was for the best. There had been violence towards me.

It is important that your Mum gets a break from him and is protected.

She does need to get respite Care, if you don't insist on this, you are doing her no favours. Unfortunately he will only get worse, but that might mean he has to live elsewhere.

Is she in touch with any support groups? Could she give him alcohol free wine?

paxillin Sun 24-Sep-17 17:17:16

Yes. The only thing to do with a wet alcoholic is leave. Immediately. No other cure unfortunately.

The alcoholic will eventually destroy themselves whatever and destroy all others if allowed. He will spiral downwards with his dementia even faster if he is drinking. He will end up either dead or in residential, secure care. The only question is how well will his wife be at that point.

FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 17:17:39

@Miserylovescompany2 she has no family support at all. She's also in denial about how hard she's actually finding everything.

I've spoken to her today and told her she needs to be honest about everything and she needs help getting him sober. She thinks that the wine is the only pleasure he has and that's why she doesn't want to take it away from him.

Birdsgottafly Sun 24-Sep-17 17:19:41

I didn't realise that she didn't have outside intervention.

She needs to get that in place.

If you feel that your Mum is in danger, then don't hesitate to contact her GP, or Adult Services, or the Police, if there is a threat of her being attacked.

I had to phone the Police on my DH several times, as tough as it is and it resulted in him being sectioned, it gets the ball rolling for a package of Care.

FannyTheFlamingo Sun 24-Sep-17 17:24:34

@Birdsgottafly would I be able to contact Adult Services on her behalf or is it something she would have to do?

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