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Elderly parents

No one else to talk to

21 replies

ffsonly46 · 09/03/2023 10:04

If there is a long running thread I've not found please do direct me to it, I need somewhere to talk about my thoughts with people who understand.

DF is late 80s, been on his own for a few years since DM died. Mostly house bound, I do shopping, washing, cleaning, call daily (not local, 1.5 hrs round trip). Working with local Health and Social care to keep him safe at home, we are extremely fortunate to have decent support.

Yesterday I ended up crying in front of DF as he was, yet again, trying to resist me helping him. I just want to take care of him, I feel increasingly upset at watching him decline. It is not a problem to care for him, I am fortunate enough to have the flexibility to do so, but the mental/emotional load is difficult to manage.

DSis lives on the other side of the world , has done for years, tries to be as supportive as possible. She understands that she only gets the good bits when she calls, knows he is frail, knows he can be stubborn. We have regular contact.

Brother lives 400 miles away, we've never been close, barely speak. Has his own mental load to deal with but never contacts me, has no concept of how DF actually is (called today seems fine), has only seen him physically twice in two years.
I feel/know he doesn't like me, fine, but stop giving lip service to caring about DF. I am (possibly/possibly not irrationally) furious with him for not giving a shit about the reality of caring for our DF.

As I said, just need somewhere to vent as DH is wonderful but just doesn't understand, oh, and I'm menopausal so sometimes overly emotional.

If you can empathise I'd love to chat x

OP posts:

REP22 · 09/03/2023 11:24

Hi, I'm so sorry for you in the situation in which you find yourself. It's incredibly hard. People who are lucky enough not to have problematic family member also can't sympathise. It's grim. I heartily recommend The Cockroach Cafe threads on here - they are so helpful, especially for those in your position. Link to the latest one here -, but the earlier ones are also on here. It's a friendly space, full of wise advice, solidarity and understanding.

Very best wishes to you. x


ffsonly46 · 09/03/2023 12:16

@REP22 thank you for replying.
You're right, it is grim.
I had seen The Cockroach Cafe thread but on the first page everyone seemed to be talking about how great their siblings were so thought it wasn't for me, RTHT I think applies here 😆

OP posts:

REP22 · 09/03/2023 12:24

ffsonly46 · 09/03/2023 12:16

@REP22 thank you for replying.
You're right, it is grim.
I had seen The Cockroach Cafe thread but on the first page everyone seemed to be talking about how great their siblings were so thought it wasn't for me, RTHT I think applies here 😆

Hehe, yes. Fear not - some of the Cockroach inhabitants have worthy and supportive siblings. But (sadly) many have useless, ineffective or downright awful and abusive ones (who are often also the golden sibling that can do no wrong in the eyes of the parent). My own sibling does little or nothing to help me with mine but is very much the favourite and, of course, is happy to issue orders and criticism from their lofty perch many miles away. They see my parent once a year.


DahliaMacNamara · 09/03/2023 13:05

Do pop back to the cockroach thread. It looks as if you called in at an unfortunate moment for you, and you went away with the wrong impression. Everyone there knows how overwhelming looking after an elderly parent can be.


ffsonly46 · 09/03/2023 13:09

My DF has never shown favouritism, my brother was certainly not the golden child.

Brother will sometimes comment in the family WhatsApp but only if I've felt the need to update, so significant health issues. If I posted everything that goes on I would be on there everyday and frankly he's not interested.

Thanks again, I have some wonderful women in my life but unless you're in this position it's difficult for them to understand.

OP posts:

ffsonly46 · 09/03/2023 13:12

**@DahliaMacNamara thank you, I'll pop in later, flexibility aside, I need to get on with some work 😀

OP posts:

IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere · 09/03/2023 13:31

Lots of sympathy for you OP. I think you might have been unlucky with the posts you have seen in the Cockroach thread. I am no longer involved in day to day care of my DM - she has been in a nursing home for the past 18 months - but tears of frustration were a regular feature of my life before that.


Knotaknitter · 09/03/2023 14:00

When I was looking after mum (and MIL and and and and) I would wake every morning with a headache and it was a good day where I wasn't crying before bedtime. I'm an only child so it was all on me but there again, I didn't have to consult with any wider family. At the time when I was being ground down by my inability to be in two places at once my friends didn't really want to know, their own parents are a fair bit younger than mine were and my situation had no interest for them. Now that some of them are starting to step into more of a caring role I'm hearing from them echoes of my former life.

My GP's surgery is now running a carer's group - it does help if you have someone to talk to because you find out that you are in a similar situation to other people, you may never otherwise meet them because they are busy trying to find more hours in the day.


thesandwich · 09/03/2023 21:44

You will be v welcome in the cockroach cafe…. We have seen it all, ceremonial siblings, golden tits, golden balls, high and mighty , interfering and useless siblings…
and it is bloody hard. Does your df have carers? Attendance allowance? Carers uk often have local groups etc. does he have a cleaner/ gardener? One hard learnt lesson in the caff is outsource whatever you can so you can do the company/ trips out etc,


PermanentTemporary · 09/03/2023 22:59

You've been brought to tears by your DF pushing back against your care - perhaps making life significantly harder for you by resisting a change or something that would help you.

Do you feel as if your df would listen to your brother and wish your brother would come in on your side?

It doesn't sound like that is going to happen 😕It is hard to say to your parents 'caring for you is really hard, I need you to cooperate' because you never want them to feel a burden, or to reject your care and then struggle. But blimey you are doing a lot. 💐


CMOTDibbler · 10/03/2023 07:54

Massive sympathy OP, I had incredible support in Elderly Parents in my long stay around here with two parents who needed care (and a father who fought care every step of the way) and a feckless brother who did bugger all (but was right there looking for every penny when they died but happy for me to do all the work).
All I can say is I felt much better when I accepted my brother would do nothing (including accepting dads calls) and decided I would only contact him in life and death level incidents and then only as a 'dad has been admitted with a heart issue, mum in respite care' text. Just like informing work.
And with dad I had to get firm and tell him that he had to accept care else they'd both be in a home, it was his choice. And buy in care - by the end they had a gardener, handyman, carer, cleaner and a lady who took mum out. The volunteer car service would take dad to his many hospital appointments, though I'd go and take mum to hers as she needed a wheelchair and dad couldn't manage her. You need to ration your time to do what absolutely has to be you, and what can be done remotely. So if you get a cleaner, you can book an online shop to arrive when they are there and they can do the washing. In fact your sister could organise a cleaner, research the car service, do online shops and so on.
Its a long haul, and if you are burnt out you can't keep going, so implementing things to take the burden off and involve more people in keeping your dad safe at home only increases the chance that he will


ffsonly46 · 10/03/2023 08:21

Thank you all. sorry I had issues with the app last night.
I am once again tearful but at all the kindness shown, I will definitely be cafe customer.

I try to outsource but DF is a really private person and doesn't want lots of people around him. I think (hope) I have made progress with a gardener as I just can't keep on top of it but he won't accept a cleaner.

He hates to think he's a burden, he isn't, but it is the emotional load that I struggle with most. I ring every day, I may be the only person he speaks to.

I know my brother will not do, or care, more. DF is aware that as siblings we are not close and we never discuss that. I need to let go of the idea that Brother will actually care at any point, heyho!

Thank you again for all you kindness, I've really needed it this week xx

OP posts:

Knotaknitter · 10/03/2023 09:17

If you broke your arm and couldn't do the cleaning for two months, what would happen? Would your dad accept a cleaner then because you couldn't do it? Well you can't do it now either. You are always going to be the best option from his point of view, you're a safe pair of hands and you were coming anyway so what's the problem? The problem is that by the time you've finished being the shopper, gardener and cleaner you have little visit time left for being a daughter. Other people can be hired to be cleaners, it's harder to outsource the daughter role. As long as you are doing it all the expectation is that you will continue to do it all. We often say that it takes a crisis for anything to change but it's possible that the crisis is yours.


CMOTDibbler · 10/03/2023 10:11

No one wants to admit that they can't cope and need help, but this is alas where you have to move to 'parenting your parent' and be firm with your dad that you know he'd rather you did everything, but you can't. And you can't do everything for him long term, so as @Knotaknitter says, you need the space to be his daughter and do the things only you can do and not spending hours cleaning/washing/gardening which others can do at the detriment of you being a wife, mother, daughter, and YOU. IME, he will rage a bit, be emotional, and you have to work through it as a done deal.
Ask locally to him to find a nice cleaner who works for themself (not an agency so he gets the same person every week) and who is flexible enough to empty the fridge of expired food, text your sister a shopping list, tell you he needs pants and so on. The first time or two they go, you can be there to make sure the door is opened and form a relationship with them yourself and get your dad settled with them coming. If you can find someone nice and chatty then it will also take the pressure off you being his only contact. My mum would potter round with their cleaner (getting in the way I'm sure, but it gave a feeling of her still being part of things) and it was 2 hours of companionship.


thesandwich · 10/03/2023 10:16

Excellent advice from @Knotaknitter and @CMOTDibbler . It hard to break that pattern, but please take heed from those of us who’ve been there and got the t shirt.


ffsonly46 · 10/03/2023 10:27

@CMOTDibbler @Knotaknitter

He categorically won't accept a cleaner. To be fair, I've never been a it has to be spotless kind of person so it's more about fighting him to let me run the hoover round. He just accepts the bathroom clean now. I'm very much a pick your battle/is this the hill to die on sort of person.

We are exceptionally lucky as we have alot of local Health and Social care support so, whilst he is resistant, god forbid something happens to me he shouldn't fall through the cracks.

I was upset this week as he was pushing back on me helping him with something and I was frustrated and pointed out all I wanted was to care for him, please would he let me. I love my Dad, I want him to be comfortable and safe.

None of this is helped by the fact I'm menopausal, I need my HRT to be uped and, as everyone knows, getting a GP consultation is a full time job in itself.

It is a comfort to know you are all here and don't mind me venting, as we know, if you're not in this position you really don't understand.

OP posts:

ffsonly46 · 10/03/2023 10:38

I'd like to think I still do the daughter role. I always make time to eat lunch with him, talk about things going on in my life.

I don't have a issue with doing stuff for him, if I can't I say so. We are very close. I have no need/desire to be a superhero.

Dsis will often try and persuade him to get people in to do stuff, will ask if I need her to back me up on something. I wouldn't even bother to ask the brother, the last time (2 years ago) I needed him to help out he was difficult and rude and I don't care to bother again.

OP posts:

Poochypaws · 12/03/2023 12:36

It's a difficult time watching your parent decline. It's exhausting physically and scary mentally. Throw in some totally shit siblings and watch your own health decline. I know how you feel. When I read about siblings who all support each other it makes me feel very sad. I have 3 siblings. 1 has no contact with anyone and has not visited parents for years (spoke to them once in last four years only because they were getting a large cheque given). Other two siblings both not speaking to me as I have stolen their inheritance apparantly. For four years while they have had their own jobs, holidays, lives I have been caring for our mother and getting paid. My choice but because I have been paid "well" (same as my last part time bookeeper job if you call that well) I have stolen their inheritance and thus they are now not speaking to me.

When I took the job on, the other siblings both had the same opportunity to care for mum and get paid. Brother is huge earner so he would never have done it and made it quite clear he had no time to help at all. He visits mum very rarely and calls very rarely. Sister worked part time in cafe and when she got made redundant I again offered to share care workload with her and share wages. She declined. However does not speak to me as I have "stolen all the money". You have to laugh or you would cry (well you will cry anyway and feel despair, desperate, trapped, suicidal at times).

Throw in a difficult personality disordered mother and it has been the most stressful years of my life. Siblings of course like to slag me off to anyone who will listen. If I miss anything it will be told over and over. So if I am ill or forget to do something they will use it to tell everyone how my poor mother has been abandoned and hasn't had her bathroom cleaned yet this week.

They don't see the constant doctors, optician, dentist, hospital, chiropodist, hairdresser appointments. The constant phone calls to the pharmacy. The hours of emotional support to my mother as well as dealing with house maintenance, housework, shopping. I'm just the evil sibling who stole the money and did practically nothing for it.

For me thankfully my relationship with my siblings was always polite but distant so I have not lost any close sibling relationships over it. Nothing makes you angrier though than knowing your name is mud when all you did was agree to care and get paid and they didn't want to. They don't have a clue what is involved.

My advice is to remember it will be over one day and as long as you and your conscience is clear then stuff the siblings who didn't help but thought you were fair game to bad mouth to everyone.

Support and good wishes to you. You are not alone.


determinedtomakethiswork · 12/03/2023 12:45

We are in a similar position with my mum and to be honest, it really pisses me off when siblings on the family chat clearly read the messages but don't contribute. I'd be very tempted to not put anything on your family WhatsApp at all. If your brother wants to know anything, then he can call you or message you to find out. Or he could try visiting his own father!


ffsonly46 · 13/03/2023 09:09

@Poochypaws sounds like a lot of guilt going on with your siblings. I think this is also true of brother.

@determinedtomakethiswork I don't want to be accused of him not knowing if he is ill (over and above his frailty). When I did update re his last chest infection brother commented, oh he did mention that. Nothing else. No what was going to happen. No thanks ffs for getting the GP on to it before it takes a hold, no thanks for anything, which is my main issue with him. I don't need a medal, an acknowledgement I do it all would go a long way but it isn't coming and I need to move on from this.

OP posts:

DaphneduM · 13/03/2023 09:31

@determinedtomakethiswork You're in a very difficult situation and I must say, coping magnificently. This isn't about me, but I have been there in pretty similar circumstances with my elderly father. I was absolutely like you, doing everything, both emotionally and to a certain extent practically. My two brothers lived away and would come a couple of times a year and interfere and upset my Dad.

Glad to hear you've got good social care - that's a load off you. And I absolutely understand about doing the daughter role, having lunch with him and chatting. My Dad was blindsided by my Mum's death - unexpected and she was 20 years younger than him - so was blindsided, so because he was keen to stay in his home, he did accept help, but was still difficult. I employed a housekeeper seperately from adult social care, and she was invaluable. She became another friend to Dad and me. The sad thing was he had a big garden which was my parents pride and joy - I couldn't manage it as well as working and everything else, but found a man very cheaply in the village who looked after it, and I allowed him to grow his own veg in it. My Dad never went out in the garden at all, completely lost interest as he couldn't do it himself.

I used to have meltdowns too - often over silly things - like I mislaid his pension book and found it under a cushion where I'd put it for self-keeping. I know and sympathise about the pressure you're under. I hope today is a better day for you - your Dad is a very fortunate man to have you.

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