Has anyone stepped back from being involved with elderly parents as their condition deteriorates?
codandchipsandpeas · 30/01/2023 10:20
Sorry for the slightly odd title but I would value any opinions or advice on this. I'm going to keep it vague, there's a lot of back story I won't go in to.
Elderly FIL, been on his own for 2 years since MIL passed away. As the closest relative (geographically) I have always tried to pop over and help with little jobs, take him out to the shops, cook a meal, just go for a chat. I have also on numerous occasions helped when he has been in hospital with visiting, dropping stuff off etc. There are SILs but historically they have chosen not to be involved although this has improved recently.
FILs health is declining. He is refusing to accept any form of carer. This is of course his choice. Money is not an issue in any way whatsoever, he just doesn't want to spend it. He told us this recently.
I do not want to gradually fall in to the role of carer. It's too much expectation and I have my own job and responsibilities at home. It's half an hour to get there so not just down the road. I resent the assumption that I will do it just because I've always been the one to go. There have been a few emergency situations and I am expected to drop everything and pick up the pieces. It makes me cross because no one has asked me if I'm OK with this.
DH is fully supportive of me stepping back. He says FIL has made his choice and will have to live with it. He often works away so while he does what he can, this is limited. I feel a conflict of emotions, guilt for not doing more and anger for FILs refusal to help himself and take the pressure off me. There is a lot of emotional blackmail in the language he uses, a lot of barbed comments about what I haven't done and should be doing. He's not really coping with jobs like the laundry etc.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any words of advice about how to handle this, or whether I should just suck it up and do what's needed?
BeExcellent2EachOther · 30/01/2023 10:31
I echo the PP in saying that the only way he feels able to carry in without carers is because you are there when needed.
Stop being "on call" and he will realise he needs carers.
It seems harsh, but actually it's better for him (& you) in the long run.
DonatellaBella · 30/01/2023 10:32
Can you imagine a man taking on the care of his elderly mother in law, while his wife and her siblings do little to nothing? Why do so many women allow themselves to be treated as support humans?
Don't be a martyr. Step back, let your husband and his siblings deal with it.
NoMoreVisits · 30/01/2023 10:38
I think you have to work out what you're comfortable with, example if you really struggled would you be the one ending up feeling guilty because you feel that you should have been the one that sorted him out? Even though there are other family members are quite capable of doing it too?
as my mother got older all her bad quality seem to to grow exponentially and despite speaking to her about her nasty judgemental attitude towards absolutely anybody who came in her house she refused to listen.
It was so stressful I felt like my body was on fire the whole time because I was worried about what to do do.
One day I just thought this why am I spending My Life going to see an old lady every day who doesn't give a s* about me me and who just shouts at everybody, degrading disgraceful names. I stopped visiting. Sadly my sibling felt to guilty to to do the same. However since our mother has died my sister is the one that can't cope with it where is I made my peace years ago. I'm so pleased I took the decision to stand back, I just wish my sister had done the same.
My mother had carers who were very good would chat to her do a shopping do a cleaning anything she wanted and she's still bloody rude about them as well.
Everyone is different and you really have to decide for yourself what you can live with and what your Guilt levels are and what you prefer to do to make your life more bearable. I wish you well.
Isheabastard · 30/01/2023 10:39
Work out a plan with your DH on how to pull back.
Treat is like a military strategy. Have a plan in place for every contingency, what to say/do for emergencies, hospitals, day to day. Your Dh needs to be more proactive in messaging with his father and his sisters/brothers. Perhaps when you are asked for help, he can ring them to say, Nope! (even if he’s overseas).
The reason I make it sound like you have to get the white boards and klaxons out, is because you sound like someone who is unable to say no, and everyone else is deeply entrenched in using you.
You could try doing it in baby steps, but sometimes the quick way is better.
I would add that you could try and line some carers/help up behind the scenes.
Then when there’s the next emergency, you say no and the family panics, you can offer them this help.
But if you do this, it’s a one time thing and merely a way to lessen your ‘guilt’ before you stand back. Although I don’t think you should feel any guilt at all.
codandchipsandpeas · 30/01/2023 11:06
Thanks for all the replies. He is 86. I get what you're all saying and it is helpful to read but harder to do in practice. One of the SILs is encouraging him in being as frugal as possible (she questions everything he spends e.g. do you really need that?) and sadly I think this is to do with her future inheritance. So this just compounds the issue.
In terms of working out emergency scenarios there really isn't anyone. Both SILs live too far away to be of any help. And they are more likely to happen as he gets more and more unsteady. It just feels like an impossible situation and I feel coerced into it. The sad thing is, if he agreed to carers for the day to day stuff, I'd still be happy to visit as I have always done, just without the pressure of the expectation of caring duties.
DH is going to have another try but its like talking to a brick wall and then we get accused of making him spend his money. Sigh.
Ohshitx · 30/01/2023 11:07
The reality is though, that you will fall in to that role. Intentionally, or not.
For example, if he has a fall tomorrow. It will still be you they call, it will still be you that drops everything and goes. Visits in hospital, etc.
I think a family conversation with him and all involved needs to be had, where it’s explained to him, the reasons why carers will benefit not only him but will lessen the strain on you.
codandchipsandpeas · 30/01/2023 11:07
gogohmm · 30/01/2023 11:03
Yes I understand but I would try to take a different approach, try to get him to hire someone to help around the house, cheap, change bedding, washing, bit of shopping to introduce him to getting help, much easier then to get him to accept personal care
Yes this is what we are suggesting as well as helping with showering etc.
Allthegoodnamesarechosen · 30/01/2023 11:13
Your DH needs to discuss with his siblings who is going to have Power of Attorney, both financially and socially. You need to get this in place asap. Otherwise the whole situation is insoluble, as DFIL becomes more irrational and infirm, his care needs will become more pressing, but his family will not have the power to meet them.
I really mean this. Otherwise you as the willing helper will end up responsible, but with no power. Do not allow this to happen.
peaceandpotato · 30/01/2023 11:14
MrsSkylerWhite · 30/01/2023 11:09
peaceandpotato · Today 10:27
I think his own children should be stepping up not you“
Why should anyone be “stepping up”? Care is not easy. He can afford a professional and should pay for one.
No way do we want our kids caring for us.
That's a fair enough point yes. If his own kids aren't worried about it then why should OP. By stepping up that could just be trying to help him see he could do with help around the house.
camelfinger · 30/01/2023 11:19
Sounds rough OP, don’t blame you for feeling the way you do.
I think as a society we need to get more used to the idea of care being something that you pay for, just like paying a cleaner, a mechanic or a gardener. (Actually gardener is probably a poor example as that tends to be one of the areas that people prefer to rope others into rather than paying for it). I don’t want to be a burden on my own children.
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