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Mum's mental health. Difficulties with housing benefit and DLA/PIP! - Carers UK Forum

Mum's mental health. Difficulties with housing benefit and DLA/PIP!

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I've posted a lot recently saying that I'm struggling but now I really do feel that I am at my wits end. I'm exhausted and I think I just need someone to tell me that how I'm feeling is ok.

I have had a really difficult year with my Mum. Everything about her mental health and disability is just controlling my life. Every Christmas is ruined by her drinking or her constant 'I'm coming/I'm not coming to yours for Christmas'. Last year mum was hospitalised over Christmas and new year so yet again, I had a less than normal day. I can't remember a single Christmas that wasn't dominated by her.

As Christmas 2016 approaches, I really have had enough. Mum has recently received letters threatening court action after ignoring letters and phone calls regarding her housing benefit. As well as going to uni full time, working part time, and buying a house I've had to visit mum multiple times to make long phone calls, fill her esa application in and start PIP application. I finally felt we were in a good place until Thursday she told me her DLA hadn't been paid. It's been 6 days now and instead of making 1 phone call to see why she has done absolutely nothing except wallow in self pity. My words may seem harsh but after 24 years I'm feeling very low.

I wouldn't mind marking the call for her if she had at least tried but she won't. I really don't know where I can turn to to get her help. I've called social services today as she has been on a waiting list since may, but they could only tell me what they have said before, she is still on a list. After my update they said they will notify someone but again, they cannot say when due to priority. They also advised me to phone her gp, which I have done. This has annoyed me further as they told me she was meant to attend an appointment yesterday.

What am I meant to do if she won't help herself?! Is it cruel of me to say that I won't speak to her until she has at least attempted to call the DLA offices? I've had enough and I am worried for my own health/sanity!
No, of course it's not cruel. In fact, it's probably essential. The grim truth is your mum will do nothing for herself while you do it for her!

That said, I think hyou do have to be prepared to look at the worst case scenario - IF you 'do nothing' and expect her to do it herself, and she doesn't, what is the eventual outcome likely to be, and are you prepared to face that?

Would it be possible to talk to a social worker about that? You simply say 'If I withdraw ALL 'care and contact', what will happen to my mother? Will she be evicted, will she be sectioned, will she be 'abandoned' or what?'

What DOES society do for people who are 'acopic' - ie, simply can't or won't look after themselves? (For whatever reason, whether it's alcoholism, or mental illness or dementia) I honestly don't know the answer!

It was something I had to think about with my own MIL, when she was developing dementia and living on her own 400 miles away. IF she hadn't agreed to go into a home, my 'ultimate position' was going to be to leave her in her flat, phone her GP and simply 'hand her over' in the sense of telling the GP 'She's 89, with dementia, won't accept care workers coming in, I'm 400 miles away, she wont go into a care home. Over to you - '

I'm 'assuming' the GP would have alerted SS, and SS would visit, try and get her to accept care workers coming in (she'd locked her door the second time the one I booked for her arrived!), and if not then would have simply effectively 'sectioned' her and taken her into a care home'??? Would they? I don't know, but all I knew was that I had HAD IT UP TO HERE with endless to and fro to Glasgow, and having her with me for five weeks at a time during which I was mentally screaming my head off (she's a lovely lady, but it was 24x7 care, and my life VANISHED!)

So, what WILL they do with your mum if you simply 'walk away'? They must do 'something' (other than try and nag you into going back to doing what you're doing now!). But there must be, sadly, plenty of folk who either have no family at all, or none that care - or, like you, are driven to distraction and beyond by your mum 'refusing' to look after herself.

Maybe the other way of looking at it is this - supposing you did 'take on' (or 'take over' perhaps) your mum's care. Not in terms of 'personal care' but for all the finance and admin. You simply 'do it all' for her and be done with it. Would taking it on completely actually be LESS stressful for you than constantly trying to jog and nag her into doing it?

I feel at the moment you are in the worst of both worlds - 'half caring' and constantly trying and hoping to get her to rise to the challenge and damn well stop being so helpless and incompetent and uncaring! But, as I said at the outset, part of her is probably WANTING to be 'helpless' IN ORDER to 'make' you look after her!

What do you feel she fundamentally wants you to do? My feeling is that what she REALLY REALLY wants from you is a 'listening ear'! She just wants to constantly moan and complain and list all the wrongs done to her, etc etc etc, and she wants your sympathy and your silence. She doesn't want your advice, or your 'solutions' etc etc etc. She just wants to moan. That's it. That's all.

If I said to you - what is the 'worst' aspect of what you do for your mum - is it the 'sorting out the paperwork/appointments and getting her to them on time'? Or is it the 'listening to her complaining about how rubbish her life is and how badly treated she is etc etc etc'? I'm suspecting it's the latter.......????
PS - Can you start planning a Christmas 'away'. Anywhere away......?
The only way to sort this out is for you to become mum's DWP appointee, or she gives you power of attorney. I am my son's appointee, it's a simple process, and I know all the forms are filled in properly. They are all sent to me at my address.
Natasha hi again - and also linking back to your post today on your original thread, plus what BB has just said....

It seems to me that in the end it might be 'easier' for you to become her DWP appointee, and simply 'take over' all the administration of her finances. If all the correspondence were able to come straight to you, you could sort it 'instantly', and then it wouldn't get into a mess and so on.

If your mum were you, and you her mum - ie, if the generations were reversed - I might not say that. I might say 'Look, your daughter HAS to learn to take responsibility for herself - you can't go on being her mum for ever and she can't go on being a child - she MUST grow up!'

BUT, this is not your daughter, it's your mum. Your mum with alcoholism and mental illness....and who will, sadly, only get older and worse.

I'm thinking that it may now be 'impossible' for her to become 'copic' (ie, independent) in terms of her finances, and that you are banging your head on a brick wall trying to 'insist' she does.

In a way, you are currently in the worst of both worlds - you aren't 'washing your hands of her' and nor are you 'taking over' ....you're limping along, trying to get her to 'grow up' (!) and be responsible (ie, for her to cope with all the paperwork etc)....and then when it (inevitably) goes bellyup and gets 'nasty' with officialdom, you STILL have to step in, and sort out the mess she's caused.

So, would it not be easier to 'bite the bullet', become her appointee, and run her financial affairs 'properly'. She basically loses both the responsibility for them and, CRUCIALLY any 'power' over them. You say to her 'Mum, I will be your DWP appointee, I will sort it all out, BUT you don't get any say in it any more!'

I would think she'd snap your hand off, given how much she seems to 'hate' facing all that officialdom, but if she doesn't, then you have to say to her, and mean it -'Mum, EITHER you put me in charge, OR I walk away from you and that is THAT!'

Once you have DWP appointeeship, then after that as far as your 'personal relationship' with your mum is concerned, that is for 'further negotiation'.

I'm trying to think through any 'motivations' she may have. Do you think that what she FUNDAMENTALLY wants is 'more time with you'.....???

Because, if that is so, then maybe, consciously or unconsciously, one of her 'motivations' for being so 'acopic' about her finances is that it is her way of 'sucking you back in' to spending time with her and on her. She is being 'deliberately helpless' so to speak......???

IF that is so, then, alas, even if you take over her DWP appointeeship, and think 'Phew, job done, I've got tha sorted! I can get on with more of my own life now!'....ALL that will happen is that your mum will 'move on' to find THE NEXT THING she can get you 'sucked back in' for.....
My mum always relied on dad to deal with all the family finances. I tried to get her to manage them after he died, but it was hopeless. I gave her a lever arch file which I thought would be much easier for her arthritic hands. She rang me to say that she just couldn't get it to open, no matter how hard she tried - mum had no idea what the lever was for! When she had an accident and was hospitalised, we sorted out the Power of Attorney whilst she was there - mum was hugely relieved never to have to deal with the paperwork ever again. The utility bills still went to her house, she would cut them open very carefully with a letter knife, peep inside, see it was a bill, and put it carefully on the tea trolley, without ever looking at it properly. After she went into residential care, I found a letter from the electricity company saying she had a credit of £1800, but not to worry, they'd carry it on to the next bill!!! Every so often she would ask if she had enough in the account to buy some more plants or some clothing from a catalogue. That was all she wanted to know.
It was easier with me handling everything, (I'd always managed the household accounts when I was married as my husband was working hard, and I was at home all day).
Sometimes it is just easier to accept how someone is, after a certain age they are very unlikely to change, however much we would like them to. Better to manage their inadequacy well than keep nagging someone who frankly, isn't going to respond anyhow.
Thanks to all of you for your feedback. I'm so glad I found this site because I feel like my partner just doesn't understand what I'm going through.

Whilst I agree with you all about taking control, I also feel a bit selfish and think why should I? I'm not certain she would agree to this anyway due to her being very paranoid but also I am starting to pity myself and think, why me? I have great resentment for her mother, and brother. How could they leave me to deal with all this alone? I was in foster care for 10 years and they made no effort to stay in touch. Then when Mum was hospitalised my grandmother kept visiting big as soon as she went home, cut off all contact again.

There's no one my circle of friends or family who truely understand how I feel, and for the first time I really do feel like giving up.

The main problem I'm having with Lancashire social services is that I can only speak to 'customer services' as she hasn't been appointed to a team. This is so frustrating. I'm not buying a product, this is someone life and wellbeing on the line! I've even phoned the crisis team recently and they were also of no use. Where are we meant to go?! I feel I have to justify why I need support, telling them I don't live in the same city. I don't feel they accept being burnt out as a good enough reason to ask for help. It's as though I'm family and even though my tie isn't through choice I should deal with it. I just feel I have nowhere to turn anymore.
Hi Natasha
There are plenty of stories on here of relatives who have walked away, usually on here it's siblings who have left one sibling to care and cope alone.
It's very difficult to cope with alcohol and mental health problems but before you make your decision either way can i suggest you contact the al-anon family support groups. There's several in Lancs.
http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/public/faqs ... d-meetings
They at least will understand your particular predicament
Good luck
I don't think you are being selfish. Self-protective maybe but that is good :)
It's just a matter of working out boundaries, but thats tough to do when the other party will constantly cross the lines. It's also ok to feel resentful and let down by the past but please don't let the past interfere too much with your present and your future. Sounds like you'd benefit from some counselling.
I just wanted to second Mrs Average's suggestion about Al-Anon family groups. They wont solve your problem. But - if you find them helpful - they will make life a bit more manageable. You will certainly be among people who understand. And the meetings are all about finding ways to cope.

You sound very busy already but it may be worth giving a local group a try for your own sake.