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Elderly parents

How do others cope?

16 replies

PhilipLarkinwasright · 27/11/2012 13:07

My parents are in their 70s and in very bad health due most likely due to some questionable lifestyle choices including continuing to smoke heavily after removal of a lung due to cancer and a brain haemorragh. Mum is 30 stone and needs a wheel chair. These conditions are the tip of the iceberg but too many to mention here. They can't cope with their large house and garden and refuse my suggestion of a cleaner/gardener, preferring to lean on my brother and I. I've gone from hinting that they need help to very forcefully telling them they need help over a period of months. They ignore it saying they don't want help.

They don't get on and if you find yourself alone with one of them they will moan endlessly about how cruel, lazy and horrible the other is. The only time they unite is if you try to get them to accept they're not coping and need help, then they agree furiously that they can manage and won't have a stranger taking over their house.

My brother doesn't work due to ill health, his DP is also unwell and the burden DH is recovering from an accident at work, so ditto. The burden is just unbearable and ongoing. It gets harder to love them all the time. Mum's always been cold and hard and not someone you would turn to for love or understanding, but now it's much worse.

Four times in four years everal times in recent years DH and I have been called back from holiday as one or other of them is sick or in hospital. This happened last week on our wedding anniversary.

DH is incredibly supportive and feels I should withdraw and let them feel the pain a bit until they get proper help. I am trying to do this, but the guilt, including that of letting my brother take the burden tortures me.

Can anyone else tell me how they cope or offer any advice.

OP posts:
JammySplodger · 27/11/2012 13:31

That sounds really hard! I'm really not quite sure what to suggest other than you and your brother need to be united in what you think you both can reasonably manage, what you think they need to manage (that puts less pressure on you two and your own families), and what you're going to do about it.

So if you are withdrawing a bit, he should be happy to do the same / understand your reasoning and what you hope to collectively achieve.

I suspect if you think your parents need outside help, they are probably only going to accept it once they recognise that they need it. (I have a feeling I'm sounding heartless but you and your brother shouldn't feel such a massive burden and it's unfair of them to expect it all of you, plus it's likely going to get worse over time).

Could you maybe call AgeUK or someone and see what they suggest?

NatashaBee · 27/11/2012 13:38

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SecretSquirrels · 27/11/2012 13:38

Ouch. It sounds as though you have been a saint so far. Better to back off slowly than to let things reach a crisis. Sadly I think it's hard enough to get help put in place when people ask for it, if your parents refuse it then no one can force it on them.
I agree with jammy that you and your brother need to act together. Explore what help might be available through social services and tell your parents you won't be doing the cleaning or gardening any more.
1st prize for the most apt name change by the way.

PhilipLarkinwasright · 27/11/2012 14:14

Your kind words and support have already made me feel better about things and myself. I've spoken to my brother and we're going to get together on Sunday to try to make a plan.

I forgot to say that they have a (large, aggressive) dog which they want walked twice a day too and today their fence has blown down. It's never ending!

OP posts:
gingeroots · 27/11/2012 18:55

Love the name OP !

I agree with what's been said above , please don't beat yourself up .

Get together with your brother and agree strategies .
Come back here for moral support .

funnyperson · 30/11/2012 17:42

Getting a gardener is a good step- it isn't inside the house and gives them someone to moan about. It also keeps the outside of the house looking decent to passers by.
Getting a cleaner would be very useful. Good luck with it though.

twentyten · 30/11/2012 20:27

Good luck from me too!

MarianForrester · 01/12/2012 17:06

Oh, good luck. I too have very difficult elderly parents who are increasingly frail, but am completely unable to manage them Grin

So tips, but hope chat goes well and report back here? Especially if anything actually works!

PhilipLarkinwasright · 03/12/2012 13:58

Mum died on Thursday morning. She had another brain bleed and that was that. We were all with her and it was peaceful at the end.

Her succession of illnesses had reduced her so greatly it was like she went years ago.

Now we just have Dad.

Thank you again for your kindness and support.

OP posts:
MarianForrester · 03/12/2012 14:49

Oh, sorry to hear that, it must be a very difficult time. Sad

gingeroots · 04/12/2012 09:10

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum PhilipLarkin ,what a shock .
And it must make everything even more complicated now .
Do hope you're managing somehow .

OneLittleToddlingTerror · 04/12/2012 09:47

I'm so sorry to hear that too. Hope you are doing well. It's very difficult when they get old isn't it? They are like being back to little children. Remember how toddlers refuse help when they clearly can't do it themselves?

funnyperson · 04/12/2012 17:16

I'm sorry. It must have been nice that you were with her. I wonder what your dad will moan about now?

twentyten · 04/12/2012 20:58

I am so sorry.Sending hugs.

PhilipLarkinwasright · 05/12/2012 17:20

Funnyperson you really are a funny person. Dad's already moaning about me to my brother and about my brother to me.

Thank you for making me laugh when I just didn't think it was possible.

OP posts:
funnyperson · 05/12/2012 21:56
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