Terrified may end up caring for Mum - advice please(10 Posts)
This is such a tricky topic and I realise I'm in danger of being flamed but am very worried and could do with advice.
Firstly let me start by saying how much I admire and respect people who DO care for their ageing parents.
My mum chose to move 5 mins away from me a few years back. She has recently left her partner (the most recent one, she's had many) & is now incapable of doing much alone. She has a myriad of complex mental health issues and is on lithium. She is not really capable of keeping herself / her home clean and will not go out in public. This is the situation now...it is likely to become far worse as she gets older.
We have a tenuous relationship. I have been in years of therapy following emotional abuse by her throughout my childhood. I've had to restrict her to supervised contact with my children only due to inappropriate things she was saying to them, exploitative behaviour and dangerous supervision. She is also a compulsive liar and can be verbally aggressive.
I have a demanding fulltime job, small (toddler) children and am in process of working very hard to save my marriage - largely on basis of my own personal emotional issues (partly contributed to by my childhood) and the stress of our daily lives.
I am absolutely terrified that now she has left latest boyfriend she expects me to take on the responsibility of her well-being. She does have some social care but it is limited and she won't put me in contact with them. As she gets older, is it going to fall to me to provide sole care as she is on benefits so I can't see any way would afford a home (and I am not wealthy enough to afford this myself) and if her personal care / social interaction is this bad now it's only likely to get worse as she gets older.
I realise this isn't the done thing to say and it seems to be almost taboo not to be a foregone conclusion children will take on care for their parents. But surely not everybody is OK about this? Especially if you're an only child so will take the full burden and don't have a good relationship with the parent. Plus how do you feasibly make it work in your life without completely sacrificing your own family?
Has anyone experienced similar?
OP I have no experience of this but I think the answer is you can't default to her carer. She has not treated you well so should be grateful you have tried to have any form of relationship. Is that something you want to continue to spend energy on?
If not or even if you want to have some form of relationship make it clear what your limits are. Perhaps discuss with her finances and how she plans to afford expected care?
Sorry I hope that helps.
You have a lot on your plate at the moment so don't feel pressured to support her just because it might seem like the 'done thing'. It's not, lots of people don't care practically for their parents due to life pressures, estranged relationships, their own health problems etc. And there are services available to support her - domestic support, money management support, response teams for emergency alarms etc. As she has social care going in they will also be able to monitor and alert social services to any deterioration or any concerns. Just be clear on what you are and aren't willing to do and be firm on it.
You don't have to accept the responsibility for her, and you don't owe anyone an explanation.
That's so hard for you, you need to put yourself and your family
First, is there not supported living type place she'd consider?.
You sound lovely. You don't have to be her career. She's not your responsibility.
You need to put yourself and your children first - and you absolutely don't have to be her carer now, or in the future. If she already has social services involvement, then she is on their radar and being on benefits means that they will pay for care that she is assessed as needing
Caring for someone with dementia is relentless and often thankless. You absolutely do not have to do it for your DM if you can't or don't want to -- and it sounds as if it would be very difficult.
If people do it gladly and willingly that's one thing but if not it may be soul destroying for you and very possibly be to the detriment of your own marriage and family.
I didn't have a good relationship with my DM -- it wasn't terrible but she wasn't my favourite person nor I hers -- we didn't get on. But when she developed dementia in her late 70s it fell to me to organise her life, and later, due to other health issues, her move to a care home.
I asked my family (DH and DC) for their opinions and they agreed - she was very difficult by this stage as well as doubly incontinent. They didn't want her to live with us, it would have impacted massively on their lives too, and sadly not for the better.
I won't say I never felt guilty about it - I did, but it was the best thing for her; she got good care, we visited every other day and she was as happy there as she would have been anywhere. Certainly happier than she would have been living at my house.
We tried carers but she could not sustain a good relationship with them. I think she would have liked me to move in with her (and her 40-a-day fag habit.) Uh, no. One of us would have been dead within a couple of years and I had a strong suspicion it would have been me.
If your DM does go into care and people make digs (I experienced this) , well, they don't know the ins and outs of your relationship with her, nor of your own circumstances.
I'm sure you will do your best for everyone concerned. That's all anyone can do.
As she gets older, is it going to fall to me to provide sole care as she is on benefits so I can't see any way would afford a home (and I am not wealthy enough to afford this myself).
OP the state will pay for her home if her savings/income is below a certain threshold, and if she's on benefits then it sounds like she will be.
Can you ring social services as a concerned relative? They won't be able to discuss her care with you but if you explain that she is receiving care and you think she needs more then they will contact her sw and there will be an assessment. I do believe you can even ask for an assessment outright though of course she may be resistant to this.
Thank you so much everybody, I really wasn't expecting such supportive responses...It's a great reassurance.
I think I'm going to try and broach the very difficult subject with mum that we really do need some sort of plan in place for the future. It's so hard isn't it because it's just not something anyone likes to talk about and, because she's a bit (well, a lot) delusional when I've tried before she tends to just shut it down with comments like 'oh, I'll just kill myself when it gets to that point'. Not really helpful or realistic.
I think I may also take your advice to give social services a ring and just see if they can offer any general advice about things to consider and plan for.
Thank you again, so much.
Join the discussion
Please login first.