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Elderly parents

Worn down and at a loss ....

9 replies

ArghWhatDoIDoNow · 18/09/2012 22:14

Am regular MNer, with a name change.

I am at the end of my tether, no longer know what to do (or even what to feel) so am looking for views and opinions.

My parents are elderly. Both have health problems. They do manage to get out and about (with some difficulty) and my father still drives (although I'm beginning to think he shouldn't, but that's another thread). I do what I can to help - mainly practical stuff like gardening, driving and admin/letter writing.

What is really wearing me down is that whenever I go there, my mother takes me to one side to complain about how frail my father is, how little he does to help around the house and how she can't bear to look after him. It's horrible to hear.

My own health isn't very good and the stress and anxiety of worrying about them (and especially about the way my mother behaves towards my father) is taking its toll.

What can I do?

OP posts:
iliketea · 18/09/2012 22:33

Will they accept outside help if they need it? Could you get someone else to do cleaning / gardening etc to take the physical stress off you?

What does your mum do to look after your dad? If she is caring for hime, then she could be entitled to a carers assessment respite care etc.

If they are both independentish, could it be that they are fed up of each others company? Maybe they would benefit from a day centre type place to have a break from.each other during the day / having other people to talk to.

Although it's hard to do, the main thing you reallu need to do is look after yourself, talking to someone like age uk or a carers may give you some strategies for this.

ArghWhatDoIDoNow · 18/09/2012 22:43

Thank you. I will try to speak to Age UK. I'm sure, sadly, they have heard it all before.

They are quite resistant to buying in help, although I have suggested it. In part, they think that gardeners and the like are "too expensive" (they are in that state of mind where they forget that things don't cost seven shillings and sixpence any more) and in part they are in denial about needing help.

You hit the nail on the head when you say they are fed up with each other. Their relationship has always been volatile and my mother, frankly, is a very selfish person. She is not cut out to be a carer. I will investigate whether there is a local day centre but I doubt they would ever want to go.

Thank you again.

OP posts:
TeaDr1nker · 18/09/2012 22:52

Do they have any separate interests, eg play Bridge etc, could it be they need a new activity to do.

Could u insist on a gardener, afterall they don't come into the house. I can understand not wanting a cleaner, even though it would make sense.

Do u have any siblings close by who can also help with this?

whataboutbob · 19/09/2012 13:27

Have you look into applying for attendance allowance on their behalf- or they could apply themselves. It's not means tested. It's for persons above 65 who need help maintaining a standard of life in their own homes. I managed to get it for my Dad who has early Alzheimer's and he's agreed to spend the money on a cleaner. It's about £55 pw. Negociate in advance with them what the money would be good to spend on then remind them when they get it so it doesn't just sit in their account.

whataboutbob · 19/09/2012 13:32

Re the emotional aspect, I've been in counselling to cope with the stress of the situation (widowed Dad with Alzheimer's, main responsible adult in the picture, feeling I have to race over to his home whenever there's a problem, always anticipating a disaster). It's helped me to see why I feel certain things in relation to my father, why he can still bully me even though I'm 45, married with 2 kids and a job. It's help me to feel stronger and more assertive about getting in help from professionals where needed. And also occasionally to do nothing about one of Dad's problems/ demands

twentyten · 19/09/2012 21:45

I've found ss helpful with info- also think about support for you ie counselling/ Carers association? All you can control. Good luck

Bubblemoon · 25/09/2012 16:11

I do feel for you having been in an almost identical solution and know exactly what you mean when you say you "don't know how to feel" You want to love them and be a good daughter, but god above, where does the duty end and do they realise how much they're putting on you?
Just recently I've found some peace of mind as I've realised I'm not responsible for my parents happiness and I can't resolve their problems if they choose not to help themselves. They are adults, fiercely protecting their independence, who married for better or worse. Your Mum shouldn't be visiting her marital issues on you (would you ever do that to your own child?) and how selfish of them not to consider getting help in the home which they can easily afford and would make ALL of your lives easier.
They are living their life as they choose and leaning on you to the extent that it's stopping you living your own life. I'm going to say you need to stop letting the emotional blackmail control your life and step back, I know it's not easy, but I'm finding the benefits to my health, peace of mind and own family life far outweigh the guilt I feel.

Mayisout · 30/09/2012 16:44

where does the duty end and do they realise how much they're putting on you

This is so true. For some reason it's a taboo to be honest about any 'poor old soul's' utterly sefish behaviour.

Have just read this on another thread here I went to my GP in tears yesterday and she basically said I have to accept I can't do everything, people with mental illness and dementia can be very selfish, and basically I need to take a back seat and let them get on with it and "unless they're wading through rubble and faeces they are OK" (her words

A bit extreme but I'm glad GPs are giving some honest to goodness advice to poor guilt ridden adult children.

I feel that this generation of oldies are the first to live long into old age and are still holding the attitudes of the times when old meant 60 and 'the family' rallied round to care for them in their (few) latter years, nowadays their latter years can go on for decades and I feel we need some education for everyone as to what 'being old' is and what the expectations of our latter years should be. We wouldn't want to put our own DCs through years of stress and guilt.

Just wanted to have my say.

iseenodust · 30/09/2012 16:54

Off at a practical tangent. - If they don't already I would try to turn a downstairs room into a bedroom now. Better sleep and a feeling of somewhere to retreat too for both of them. Also when you get to the stage of carers going in the other's bedroom retains that feeling.

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