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HELP! - Carers UK Forum


For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
My 73yr old mum has just spent the last 3 months in a mental health hospital. This is not the first time as she has been in and out of mental health wards and hospitals since i was in my early 20s ( i am now 52). In the past my mum has battled with depression and alcohol and i have picked up the pieces time and time again. She has been under the care of various social service's care , and has numerous times had care packages put in place as she has been deemed unfit to live at home without help as, when she does , she descends into a spiral of self neglect when left to her own devices. She insists that she can care for herself even though it is evident that she does not look after her personal health and cleanliness. She no longer has full control of her bodily functions and she does not seem to care? She no longer seems to have any compassion or understanding of any stress or worry that she causes myself or my brother any more. She thinks nothing of calling out ambulances saying she has taken pills, she calls me and leaves messages on my phone saying she feels suicidal!
Even in the past when my mum has had periods of functional normality , she has always been demanding but there has generally been some sense of ' sorry to ask.... but do you mind?'...as we all do when asking family to do things for us... but in the last few years there has been none of that...only demand after demand with no capacity for waiting , everything has to be done immediately! Even though i have brought up 4 children and worked full time and studied for numerous qualifications and a degree my mum and her problems have still taken precedent through out my entire life even more than my own children sometimes. But now things are at the worst they have ever been. This year alone she has been in and out of dementia wards numerous times, i think this is the only category she gets put under because of her age and behaviour, the doctors cannot say that she definitely has dementia, but they do say she definitely has personality and behaviour problems possibly brought on by years of drinking and a benign brain tumour she had in her thirties . At this present moment she is in a care home being assessed as to see if she can live independently with a care package in place. I have been asked to be a Deputy/appointee by social services as they think she is no longer capable of managing her money safely and in time it will be come more difficult to take control as her condition deteriorates further. But tonight i had a phone call from my mum saying she is getting a solicitor to get her out of the care home. I have no idea what to do next. I know that if she manages to convince the social workers she can manage on her own, she will get back to her housing association bungalow and the whole downward spiral will start again. For the umpteenth time! I do not think i am capable mentally or physically to go through all this again! ( oh. And i must mention that whilst my mum was in hospital this time i contracted sepsis...my mums reaction after being told why i hadn't visited for 3 weeks was 'oh'...and that's it...no concern or emotion of any kind. She was more concerned with who was going to bring her cigarettes, sweets and cakes! i also have two pregnant daughters both of which have been really poorly throughout their pregnancies ( one not so much now) and my mum has no thought or understanding of my commitment and worry towards them!
I am at the end of my tether...and i feel at the last chance saloon for my mum..i do not know what my next move is??
Have you thought about having counselling? It helped me hugely to work out my priorities when I was newly widowed, newly disable, a son with learning diddiculties and a disabled mum. Sadly, I don't think mum can live at home ever again. Either you go round on the merry go round yet again, or get off, refuse to have anything to do with either her care or money management. Spend your time with those you love, your children and grandchildren.
Hi Tracy
I have no experience and therefore don't know how you have hung on and 'been there' for so long. My personal thoughts are that you cannot 'cure' Mum, you cannot 'rescue' her from herself or her condition and you really deserve a life and your family deserve to have you to themselves when they need you.
As for looking after her money, that rather depends on how much money there is. If it's not very much then I'm sure an 'official' can be appointed to oversee that. If there's a substantial amount then you might want to look after it yourself.
I don't know you or your Mum and nothing about your relationship. From just reading your post I wold say 'walk away', let SS look after her and be free to live your own life. Visit, but ditch the responsibility. No-one can be forced to care and sometimes, even often, it's not worth the sacrifice of one person's health and life to be dedicated to someone who really needs full time professional care. My own opinion from what you have written is that you have sacrificed enough already.
My own next step would be to tell them that you can no longer have any responsibility for her. If they want to send her home, then so be it but it's up to them to make sure she is OK at all times.
As for the solicitor threat, I, personally, doubt that a solicitor would take it on.
I may be wrong on all counts Tracy. Just my own thoughts.
Social Services should have a department called Client Affairs, for managing the money of vulnerable adults without anyone else to help with money.
Only a short comment for now - apols. but I feel strongly that you are indeed at the end of your tether, so please, I would say, my own merely personal opinion, tell her social workers (write a letter as well, so it's in writing and they can't deny you told them) that from here on you are NOT having any more involvement with her, or her care. If she stays in her care home you'll visit, but that's that. (You 'might' agree to have management of her finances, but that's all)

And if you know which solicitor she's going to hire, write to him as well.

it's pretty obvius the only 'safe place' now for your mum is residential care, she's gone beyond anything else, and you have DONE YOUR BIT for her (by miles!).

As you will see on this forum, so often it's only when relatives 'put their foot down' and make it clear to SS and NHS that they will NOT be 'on hand' any longer to pick up pieces etc etc, and that you are 'out of it' (and staying out) that decisive action is taken.

It will be hard, but for the sake of your children and your self, it has to be done. Your mum is in the best place for her, that's it.

Wishing you all the best, and the strength of mind to 'keep away' from the horrendous 'quicksand' that is your mum, sucking you down with her.

Kindest wishes at such a stressful time - Jenny
Thankyou very much for your replies (sorry I have not posted back a little earlier)

You have all given me some useful advice that I am going to be looking into, and hopefully will be help me. I have to say that I have felt a little better knowing that people who I have never met and know nothing about me or my life have only echoed things already said to me by friends and family that know everything...I am not going mad!
My mum is still in the home and every visit still ends in tears of anger frustration...( for me not my mum). Anyway, I will try some of the suggestions you have all posted. And, hopefully I will at least get myself heading in the right direction. Thank you all again for your very kind,sympathetic and helpful words. Please post anything else that you think may help...I will keep checking in ..and of course I will keep posting on here for more advice as I come across more things I may need help with :)