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Elderly mum - need opinions: including being shot down in flames if appropriate

(57 Posts)
trefusis Tue 24-May-05 08:49:06

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Lizzylou Tue 24-May-05 08:55:45

Trefusis, in my honest opinion I think some sort of sheltered accommodation would be best for your mother and your family, she will get the care she needs and your daughters and family won't be disrupted, you can still have the contact you have with her now. I don't think this would be being selfish at all, you have your daughters' to consider.

Satine Tue 24-May-05 08:55:54

I saw this situation with my paternal grandmother - and the emotional pressure on my dad was immense. But he had seen his parents struggle to cope with an elderly parent living with them, ironically, when dad was growing up so he knew he had to be strong for the sake of his own marriage (wy brother and I had left home by then). My parents decided to find a home for my grandmother - it was so hard when she used to cry and beg to go home with them but she would have taken over their whole lives (severe mental problems by this stage) and they just knew that they had to be selfish. Awful, awful decision to have to make but I would say don't give up your life - you may grow to resent her and I really don't think you should expect your kids to look after you when you're old. I think a suitable sheltered home would be best. And don't feel guilty!

desperatehousewife Tue 24-May-05 08:56:05

God that is such a tough one. I would feel exactly the same and wouldn't want her living with me, however much I loved her. If your home life is going to be so disrupted I just think it could in the long run be best for all of you if she didn't live with you. Does she have any friends in sheltered housing? Could she go and live in a sheltered home with someone she knows? Would she understand if you were honest with her our house isn't big enough, I don't think it would work.

You cannot let your own guilt ruin yours and your immediate families lives. Even if your sister has been amazing and done her bit. You must do what you feel is right and will work for you. YOu are not your sister after all.

Sorry, not very helpful, but I would seriously do what is right for YOUR family. Good luck

Satine Tue 24-May-05 08:58:05

Just look at how your sister's relationship with your mother has been affected.

almostanangel Tue 24-May-05 08:59:31

ooh sticky one this,sheltered accom go have a look at a few, if your mum likes people this would be great,they have bingo,days out etc.my mum is in a bungalow but can pull an alarm if needed and a warden visits everyday ,i think you need to realise she is her own person and although her habits are odd to you and your sis they make her happy,...i would not in any way say yes or no to her moving in with you as i dont know you or her well enough ,all i can say is my mum aged 84 is still in her own home with her own habits,that would drive me insane if i lived with her i tske her shopping and do her washing,and we get on well but if we were in the same house i would be over the edge ,has anyone asked her what she would like to do?

almostanangel Tue 24-May-05 09:01:40

god luck [[hugs]].also you have to think ,,i dont know what your mum is like at mo but in the future she may need personal care ..help with washing etc,

milward Tue 24-May-05 09:02:44

Go for the sheltered housing option. As she gets older and her needs increase it will be easier for her to get the help she needs. Don't feel guilty - your first responsibility is the well being of your children & husband. You think it wouldn't do your kids any good so therefore she shouldn't come and take over your house. Can you find a place in housing for her quickly so that she doesn't have to come and stay with you.

almostanangel Tue 24-May-05 09:04:40

also when you visit her and take her out you will be able to enjoy it more ,but when you add up all the options ,no one on here can TELL you what to do you have to weigh up the dis and advantages,and talk togeather ,but dont if you can help it make her feel like a problem.xx

SleepyJess Tue 24-May-05 09:18:31

trefusis, I identify with your situation. I am going through something slightly similar with my dad although not the housing issue yet.. I can't and won't have him live with us it's a simple as that, even thought that may make me sound a right cow. (moo!)

He is physically disabled, always has been and has got more frail as he has got older (he is now 74) and now has health issues too (slow growing prostate cancer which is being 'left' being as it is unlikely to do him any harm in his natural lifetime.) He gets very down and fed up and he too behaves quite child-like (on a practical/ even cognitive level sometimes) although not like your mum I dont think. I just think he has
'given up' on himself and cant be bothered to remember the things I tell him or handle any of his own affairs so I do more and more for him.. and then he gets upset and emotional and says that he is such a nuisance to me (he isn't.. I dont mind doing the stuff.. but I mind the psychological stuff that comes with it .)

Anyway, to get to the point, he lives in sheltered accomodation but it isn't a 'home' per se; it has visiting wardens.. a call button etc and is a bungalow set back far off the road amidst some lovely gardens. I was wondering whether something like this might be appropriate for your mum as it doesn't sound like she was getting anything like 24 hour supervision living at your sister's anyway. My dad also has a care package with an agency (arranged and reviwed via social servces, but orchestrated painstakingly by me in order for him to have the care I think he needs.) Somebody calls at lunch time to make him some lunch and at tea time to make him a sandwich, chesk up on him. He has a domestic call once a week and another call for shopping/bill paying. This makes it sound like I have to do nothing.. but I do because Dh or I are round there at least every other say sorting out his paper work, attempting to cheer him up, trying to get him to come out with us (he will rarely leave the house despite having a new wheelchair which I hoped would give him some freedom, with out help(, arranging and taking him to medical appointments etc, sorting out his money.

Recently his mobility got a lot worse and he has had several falls and I started to worry that he wasn't safe where he is so broached the subject with him of actual residentila care (I am worried that he will fall on his head and do some serious damage to himself.) Dad seemed ok discussing the possiblity of this but when I arranged for someone from soc. services to call for a new assessment he said that there is no way he wants this.. so I ended up feeling like an Evil Daughter who is Trying To Poke Her Elderly Father Off Into Care! But this thing is, I can't have him here.. my home situation is already mad.. 3 kids.. disabled DH, both Ds's with conditions requiring a lot of care esp. DS2 who is very high maintenance.

In the end wed ecided to make more changes to his bungalow.. get a lot of grab rails etc.

What I am getting to (whilst banging on about my situation, sorry!) is that maybe a situation like this could work with your mum. She sounds very sociable, bless her, and the neighbours in my dad's sheltered housing all rally around and visit each other. They also have opportunites to get out and about and do things, via age concern, who pick them up etc. Dad won't do this.. but yout mum sounds as if she might. She might also then be less inclined to take off on her bike if she had a structured routine. (Can't you sabatage the bike or something... find some reason to take it away?) You could have an assessment with social services and decide on a care pacakge which can be as little or as much as you need. It is unlikely that you mum would have to pay the full amount for this.. my dad pays a contribution from his attendance allowance.

I know dealing with her wishes may be the hardest thing, but trefusis, you have to put your own little family first. Yes your mum is your mum.. and you love her and she is still your family.. and close at that.. but I for one don't think that having her live with you would be the right step. It sounds as if it would put you all onder unbearable stress long time which would not be good for your mum either. She actually sounds like she could be independent to a point.. with plenty of input.

Anway, this is an epic so I will stop here!! Thinking of you.. I know, to a degree, what you are going through. Just remember you have to balance the needs of you, Dh and the kids against your mums needs. It seems feasible that your mum could be happy elsewhere with a lot of forethought and planning admitedly. Whereas I'm not any of you would be happy if she moved in.

SJ x

handlemecarefully Tue 24-May-05 09:19:17

It has to be sheltered housing. Don't torment yourself with a moment of guilt. Your greater responsibility is to your two young children. The tension in the household would have serious repercussions on them.

You will have done your bit if you ensure that you visit regularly, have her over for dinner etc and include her in some family outings.

Obviously you do feel guilty because you are caring, a loving daughter and totally human - but just rationalise for a moment. If you think about this in a detached and unemotional way it is best for your family for your mum to go into sheltered housing.

almostanangel Tue 24-May-05 09:20:10

[sj hugs to you]

SoupDragon Tue 24-May-05 09:20:13

Sheltered housing, without a doubt.

My parents had my mother's mother living with them for 35 years - she was mentally and physically well for the most part though. On the one hand, they had a babysitter on site when we were little but on the other, they could not go away without sorting out a "sitter" or respite care for my gran once she became increasingly frail physically. It was a huge burden and 2 years ago they had to put her in a home as she needed more care than they could give her. I honestly think it would have been better for her to have been in some sort of sheltered accomodation fron the outset since there would not have been such an upheaval when she was well into her 90s.

Find a local home, one where you can visit frequently, she can visit you and she can live some sort of independant life, with help. There will be other people there for her to socialise with (different set up but my gran now has a friend to regularly play scrabble with and gossip with!).

Yes, your sister has had it hard but does she honestly want you to go through the same thing with a smaller house, partner and children?

trefusis Tue 24-May-05 09:24:46

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trefusis Tue 24-May-05 09:26:32

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stitch Tue 24-May-05 09:32:40

i am going to be the odd one out here.
i think you should take your mother into your own home.
she looked after you when you were a baby. now its your turn. sure your home life will be disrupted, but think of what your daughters will gain in life experience. it will be hard, but you will get a lot of positive points with the big guy up in the sky as well. and your dh has said he will support you.

stitch Tue 24-May-05 09:33:14

maybe your sis can you help you out with her big house? i mean financially....

assumedname Tue 24-May-05 09:36:12

Sheltered housing sounds like the best option for you and your mum.

moondog Tue 24-May-05 09:36:44

I don't think you're selfish at all, trefusis. Objectively speaking, she already consumes a lot of your time and energy,so would it be practical to allow even more of it to be used up?
The effect on your children and dh would be detrimental.Obviously your sister has done her bit and is now off (good for her!) but why should you suffer similarly?
The 'caged bird' thing is emotional blackmail and patent nonsense.In the right setting she could have the support and company she craves as well as the freedom she needs. You could have her over once a week for the day/Sunday lunch and/or drop in on her. In this way you will still enjoy her company,not resent her as you are bound to end up doing.

May I add that even having a relative in care is a draining process? My senile and completely incapacitated fil has been in a home for 5 years. The effect on mil has been enormous. She is a broken woman,who still talks of caring for him at home (ffs) and who needs to spend a lot of time with her three sons and dils crying and talking on each and every visit to her/our homes.

Ideally we would all care for each other from cradle to grave but it is no longer realistic or of any obvious advantage to anyone.

Give yourself a break and concentrate on your own family.

SleepyJess Tue 24-May-05 09:38:40

Trefusis don't feel guilty for considering you in all of this. Your wishes/feelings are very valid too.. if you go under, a lot of people will suffer. You need to think long term.

Does you mum get any kind of benefits? She should do surely, due to her learning/congitive disabilty? My dad doesn't have any assets either (this is perhaps a good thing when he comes to considering sheltered housing or residentia care, actually!). You mum sounds like she is entitled to attendance allowance.. (I'd be willing to bet on it, and I know about these things unfortunately!) And if she qualifies for Severe Disablement Allowance (it doesnt have to be physical) then she would be elgible for at least some to degree of Income Support (or Pension credit as they are now calling it) which would mean that her 'rent' wherever would be completely covered by housing benefit.

The 'caged bird' thing.. I can see what your sister is saying.. but in a place like my dad's, they are not caged birds at all. They can come and go as they please but not to the point where they could just disappear for hours and nobody would know. If she had a bungalow like my dad's she would have her own little place (perhaps this would be an enticing novelty for her?) where she would do as she liked.. have the lights off as she wished and handwash to her hearts content!

Also, I can see that a lot of the way you feel re what your sister says is tied up with how you feel about her which is obviously love, respect and genuine gratitude for your childhood stuff from the past as well as the more negative aspects that all sisters have! But you need to be able to say to yourself.. and to her.. 'yes I can see waht you are saying.. but I need a solution that works for everyone, yes, including me, and I am not willing to disregard other options until we have looked into them/tried them out.'

Good luck

SJ x

Blu Tue 24-May-05 09:38:55

Sheltered accommodation...
Company during the day, increased chances of remaining on good terms with your Mum.
I don't envy your position, here Trefusis, but I thiink the answer is to learn from the situation your sister was in and choose a more satisfactory route rather than 'guilting' yourself into a matching unhappiness.

SoupDragon Tue 24-May-05 09:39:18

Sheltered accommodation does not cage them - that's certainly not my experience of the sheltered accomodation my paternal grandmother was in.

trefusis Tue 24-May-05 09:39:43

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trefusis Tue 24-May-05 09:46:49

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tatt Tue 24-May-05 09:58:01

contact your local council and ask for a list of sheltered housing. Then go and see some. They don't "cage up " residents but its whether your mum will be OK with the amount of supervision they get or whether she needs a care home. Even in a care home good ones arrange trips out for residents who can manage them. Several of my relatives have been in homes and some have lived with relatives first. In one case I suspected granny abuse - not physical but mental. Some hated being in a home, others hated the idea but where happy when they got there. Sheltered housing is not a home and your mother can probably stay there longer than she could stay at home with you.

Only you can decide which will make you happiest - but be aware that having your mother live with you may mean your relationship deteriorates.

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