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Carers UK Forum • Strained Relationship
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Strained Relationship

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2022 11:55 pm
by Caro_2208
Hi there
I have been caring for my elderly mother since my father passed away 3 years ago. She is now very frail and in respite care as I have been unable to cope. I continue to visit her every day and she is trying her best to adapt to her situation. My husband is now completely fed up with the demands this is placing on my time and feels neglected. Our relationship is under a lot of pressure. I have made it clear I do not expect him to help but am of course very grateful for anything he is able to do and at the same time I try my best to minimise the impact on him. I try to divide my time as best I can to my job, my children and to him but it’s very hard and I am exhausted. I am if I am honest sad that he is not supporting me but at the same time also guilty about not being there enough for him. Any advice out there?

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 8:29 am
by bowlingbun
Welcome to the forum.

How old are you and your husband?

You might think you are both fit and well. At the age of 50 both my husband and I thought we were. 2 years later I had major cancer surgery, less than 2 years later my husband died of a massive heart attack, and I was nearly killed in a car accident. Your husband has to come first. Don't ever think that "one day when mum isn't here any more....." because one of you may die before she does.

Mum has to accept that she is now paying the price of living a long life.
Either she has a lot more care arranged at home, or moves into residential care permanently.
How to arrange this and fund it depends on a number of things.

Does she own or rent her home?
Have over £23,000 in savings?
Claim Attendance Allowance?
Do you have Power of Attorney?

Don't visit the home every day, because mum will spend her day looking forward to your visit, not finding out abut what is going on in the home. Make it alternate days.

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:47 am
by Caro_2208
Thank you bowlingbun lots of wisdom in your reply.

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 11:47 am
by bowlingbun
All four of our elderly parents were disabled for a long time before they died, and our son was brain damaged.
Feel proud of what you have done, not guilty about what you haven't.
The hardest thing of all is to realise that elderly parents become so self focussed that they just can't see how much others are doing for them.
My mum wanted me to do jobs for her, even saved jobs for me rather than get the carers to do them because I did them better, even when I was newly widowed, newly disabled, hobbling around with a walking stick!

The elderly are very resistant to change, because they are happiest where everything is familiar, change is scary.

Don't fight with your husband. Tell him you understand and it's time to turn over a new leaf.
You need his help to work out a future plan for your mum so that you can both enjoy your retirement. Starting with planning a much needed holiday!
Whist sorting out mum's situation, be sure to look at doing your own wills and Powers of Attorney too.

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 12:20 pm
by Melly1
Hi Caro,

Welcome to the forum.

You are juggling a lot - a family, working and caring.

Is your Mum in respite with a view to staying there permanently?
If it's just to give you a break - then visiting her everyday doesn't count as a break! The whole point of respite is to give you a total break.

If she is having a practice run to moving in, then I can understand you visiting to reassure her that you won't abandon her if she moves in. However, keeping up daily visits and working and caring for a family long term will wear your out. Think about how you could reduce visits and space them out.
I have made it clear I do not expect him to help but am of course very grateful for anything he is able to do and at the same time I try my best to minimise the impact on him
Do you mean with regards to your Mum or in terms of running the home and caring for the children?

If it's the first one, fair enough, no one should be forced to care but if its the second - it's my personal view that he lives in the house and the children are his too, so the more he does to help the more time you will have to spend with him and you shouldn't feel sad or guilty about this.

Melly1

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 1:36 pm
by Caro_2208
Thank you Melly very kind words. She is in respite and deciding whether to stay long term. She is very frail and not eating so I go to encourage her to eat and build up strength and try to settle her into the new environment. She would like to be home but knows she can’t cope alone so I do the next best thing by visiting as much as I can. I have considered having her move in with us but it would not be a good idea. You are right I know I shouldn’t feel guilty but I do all the time as I want the best for her and all the family too and so far just feel as though I am letting everyone down. You are right about the need for a team effort on the home front. Thank you for taking time to answer 😀

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:11 pm
by bowlingbun
On the verge of a breakdown some years ago, counselling was arranged for me, just like you, torn in all directions.
My counsellor told me I couldn't do everything, so it was up to me to set priorities. It really helped.
You say mum isn't eating much. How old is mum?

Towards the end of life, as the body slowly shuts down over a long period when organs aren't working as well as they used to, a body knows how much it can manage, in terms of food and drink. People aren't dying because they aren't eating their meat and veg., they can't manage the fruit and veg. because their organs are slowly failing.

I only learned of this when my mum was ill and I googled "Signs of Dying" with tears running down my face. There are some really good articles written by people who have worked in hospices. In fact, my mum lasted for another couple of years afterwards, increasingly frail, losing her eyesight and hearing, a terrible blow for both of us.

If you look at the articles, it might help you decide what to do next.

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:47 pm
by Caro_2208
Thank you bowlingbun these answers have been incredibly helpful today. I can not imagine how hard these experiences must have been for you, thank you so much for sharing to help me and hopefully others 🙏 I guess all our struggles are borne out of love and that is after all what life is about. I am glad I have found this forum it’s nice to hear from others who are or have been in a similar position.

Re: Strained Relationship

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:53 am
by Breezey
Same as all replies.

If your mother goes back home, how long will it be until she needs to go into a home and if she does return to her own home will she regret it and wish she was back in the home.

The indecision is unsettling and if she accepted that she can't manage on her own and is best off where she is that is half the battle done for her own self and maybe then she could settle in there.

Many people do not take it lightly seeing their parent(s) go into a home, you still love and care about your mum but they are doing the caring for her for you. (That is hypocritical of me being a live in carer for my mum but I am a lone agent, in your position it probably would be choosing a home).

You need to think about yourself, your life, work, marriage and family.