New Member - fraudulent carer!

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Hi

I'm new to this forum, but feel something of a fraud, as my Mum moved into a care home in early February, and before that I was not giving full time care, only sorting out her finances, shopping, house adaptations and safety, etc... I am her only child, and my father passed away 20 years ago. I live with my wife and family, who help when they can, but even they feel the stress and emotional strain I am under at the moment.

Mum has undiagnosed dementure/severe memory problems and had a fall in November resulting in a broken ankle and a lengthy hospital stay. Mum was discharged in January, having failed to regain mobility (she could barely walk before the fall!) - to live at home with carers visiting 4 times a day. This was a disaster! There were "toilet issues", she would wake during the night, or early morning with a nightmare, and phone me, demanding that I went round (which I sometimes did, depending on what day it was and if I had work...) Mum hated being stuck in bed or in a chair, and being lonely (even though her neighbour popped in every day, and I visited her after work....She begged me to get her "back into hospital" or "into a care home". I looked into the care home option, and found it so stressful to organise, I had to take unpaid leave from work to handle all the issues involved.

Eventually I got her into a local care home with a good reputation, but it has not been easy! Despite begging me to get her in there, the first day she was there she wouldn't speak to me, and accused me of sending her there against her will, and without telling her (we had discusssed it for days, and spoke about it the night before she moved in)

She has good days and bad days (more bad than good!) she complains about being there, and keeps saying she "wants to go home to be with her cats". In a bad day, she blames me from preventing her from going home! In her mind, she thinks once she is home, she will be able to walk again somehow, and will be independent. Yet at the same time she realises that she cannot walk, and that she is unlikely to do so again. (Strange how they can hold two completely contradictory views at the same time!) I usually point out the things she is getting in the home which she wouldn't get at home - attendance to toiletry needs, care, good food, company, and the occasional outing.... this sometimes placates her, sometimes not!

I am planning to rent out her home. But she doesn't want me to get rid of the cats! At the moment my wife is feeding the cats every morning, and I every evening. It is a real nuisance, but I cannot bring myself to rehome them until I have her buy-in! (she was OK with the idea a few months ago, but now she expects us to look after them permanently!)

Apart from the emotional, logistics and financial aspects, the home is increasingly worried about her behaviour. She sometimes has sleepless nights, and sometimes nightmares, and on a couple of occasions she was abusive to staff, even throwing things at them (this is completely out of character, as she is a kind and gentle person...)

I am really bucking under the strain at the moment! I suffer from anxiety and panic disorder, but this past week I have seen a flare up of gastric problems from the past (I had a suspected duodenal ulcer in my early 30's and have occasional bouts of IBS. Both of these have flared up after a gap of seveal years. I am sure it is down to the stress, but don't know what to do about it!

So there we are - more of a rant than an introduction. I'm sure many of you caring for loved ones at home have it much worse (and I don't know how you cope) - but I am still suffereing from the stress and emotional impact of all this!
Hi David ... welcome to the canteen !

The situation as described is not unfamiliar to many reading your post.

Others will probably post their own experiences and recommendations , outside agencies providing support springs to mind.

No two experiences coupled with the emotional / logical reasoning needed are ever the same.

Text book answer ? In CarerLand there are no text books , just a collection of individuals experiences.

How we all wish that all those outside but coming into our world understood that !!!

I strongly advise you to take those into account before reaching a decision !

Bottom line ?

Only one person can make the decision which will either prolong or change the sitiuation.

The same face that stares / leers back at you from a mirror.

Once made and actioned , only you have to answer to yourself for that decision.
Chris From The Gulag wrote:Hi David ... welcome to the canteen !

The situation as described is not unfamiliar to many reading your post.

Others will probably post their own experiences and recommendations , outside agencies providing support springs to mind.

No two experiences coupled with the emotional / logical reasoning needed are ever the same.

I strongly advise you to take those into account before reaching a decision !

Bottom line ?

Only one person can make the decision which will either prolong or change the sitiuation.

The same face that stares / leers back at you from a mirror.

Once made and actioned , only you have to answer to yourself for that decision.

Hi Chris - thanks for the welcome and the thoughts.
I don't know what Decision you meant? As far as I can see there is little choice at the moment. Sending her home again is not an option. I forgot to mention that between being at home with carers and going to the care home, she tried to stand up on her own, fell and was on the floor for between 1 to 3 hours before the carers found her. She had an alarm pendant around her neck for circumstances like this, but forgot it was there, or what it was for!

I did think (if it was possible) to send her home for a week with carers to remind her that it is a worse option, but cannot do that for the following reasons:

1) Her safety would be compromised (and I would feel terrible if something happened!)
2) Social services would not sanction it, so the infrastructure would not be there
3) It would delay her acceptance of living in the care home
4) She wouldn't remember what it was like anyway, so would not be able to compare it with the care home

So I am stuck with the situation as it is - that's part of my frustration, and what causes me the most stress - she is not happy at times, and I cannot give her what she wants - which is to get back to her former health and live independently again....I just hopes with time, she will accept things and becomes more contented...
David ... even a decision to change something rests solely with you.

After 10 years as a lone , 24/7 , carer , and now 9 years on , I too looked into a mirror on many occasions.

Each time , the same answer ... continue caring ... there was no other plausible answer.

I trust that , when you do the same , you will see alternative answers.

They are always there , somewhere.

How one deals with a decision that turns out for the worst is something we all have to live with , in our own , unique , ways.

I too , cringe 9 years on from certain memories , par for the course for former carers.

Emotional scars from caring never heal , how to deal with them rests solely with the individual.

Welcome to the human race ... which for once , includes carers.
David, welcome to the forum. Not "fraudulent" at all. I'd put you in my Clapped Out Carer category. Read through some of the threads here and you will find that dealing with elderly frail stubborn determined parents is both common and incredibly frustrating.
Write down everything that's stressing you out right now, then shuffle them into priority order, and then share them with us, one at a time. There are others who have "walked the walk" including me. We don't have any magic wands but may have a few ideas to help defuse the stress.
PS Is it a care home, nursing home, or EMI home (~Elderly Mentally Infirm). Does she receive Attendance Allowance?
Thanks for the kind words and advice. Something to think about. And I see your point about "The Decision" Chris. The decision may need to be that there isn't one!

"Clapped out carer" - yes that feels about right!
Now your in our canteen , and feeling a little more at home , some bad news ?

Next rounds on you , squire !

Whilst every carer experiences a sense of loneliness , even when surrounded by friends and family , on this forum , that sense of loneliness will ease as each day , posting read , passes.

Carers are united through their caring , a bond that follows you for the rest of your life.

Even old ones occasionly reappear to check out how their former ship mates are doing , me included.

Trust me on that !
Hi David

Seems to me you've thought this all through carefully and you know you're doing the right thing for the right reasons. But it's hard, I know, when this person you care for is unhappy and there's nothing you can realistically do about that. My mum can no longer leave her home and is constantly lonely, bored or depressed. I feel exasperation and pity in equal measure!

Truly I've found the best thing you can do is look after yourself. All the things we get told to do - exercise, good diet, a night's sleep, a spot of mindfulness if that floats your boat. Even when - especially when - you don't feel like it.
Hi David
It's time to introduce to our technique of 'kind lies' where to save upsetting, or having to cope with repeated questions, you lie. Your mum won't know that you are fibbing and will forget what you've said anyway. It sounds cruel but it isn't, I think we have a husband on here who thinks his car ii in for a service- hes been told that and encouraged in that belief for over a year now as any other answer (such as 'you can't drive any more or its been sold) upsets him and he still asks daily about the car which was actually sold monthths ago. His wife finds this best all round as she was getting more upset than he was. Kind lies.

This also means a level of acceptance about the dementia and that the mum you have now is not the Mum she used to be, and won't be again. It's very difficult to let go after so many years of knowing a kind and gentle understanding person but it is best to adapt where ever possible to the new situation. That might help you relax and have less stress. It's a sad sad situation. No ones fault, just sad.

KR
MrsA
On the subject of feeling "sad", it's much kinder on yourself than feeling "guilty", because you have nothing to feel guilty about. It's not your fault mum is elderly and frail and forgetful, it's the price you pay for living a long life.