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Feeling guilty - Carers UK Forum

Feeling guilty

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi all

I’m new to this forum today.

I lost my lovely dad just over a year ago and I’m an only child.

I now, willingly look after my 81 year old mum.
She’s knows I’m there for her whatever, love her and will always be there for her.
I give up my time to help her around the house, cook some meals, bathe and keep her company. All this is fine.

The trouble I’m having is when I’m not with her and doing my own thing she makes me feel so guilty and passes nasty remarks and comments. She rings me about 6 times a day if I’m at home or even if I’m out.
I have two grown up children and a granddaughter who both myself and hubby love spending time with but she doesn’t like us doing this either. I’m afraid to tell her we’ve booked holidays until the last minute because of the guilt she puts on us.
We have both retired early and give her lots of time and support but in mums eyes it’s never enough.
She has other visitors to her home and loves chatting on the phones but she’s always telling me she’s lonely and fed up. She won’t join in with the social events her and my dad enjoyed through the local church and won’t even go back to church or even go out. All she wants is for us to sit with her, meet her needs and do jobs around the house.
I know it’s difficult for her as they were married for 48 years and she’s grieving, so am I but she doesn’t get that I have a life as well.
How do people cope in this situation?
Hi Sharon

Sorry for the loss of your dad.

You have nothing to feel guilty about.
It is understandable your mum is maybe being clingy, maybe some loss of confidence and as you say, the loneliness, but you can't be a shoe-in for her husband, you cannot replace your dad as her constant companion. Has your mum had grief counselling? If not, ask about it for her.

Do you need to answer your phone every time she rings you? Easy for me to say not to answer it, but you could try not answering a few times because as long as you are answering it just for a chat she will be ringing you.
It is odd that she has cut out the social circle, grief? jealousy? can't face being there without your dad? Feels guilty socialising with them without your dad in a loyalty way? Could you try getting the vicar round to have a coffee and chat? or the social group to surprise visit her?

It isn't an easy situation but if you can find some baby steps forward to getting your mum back into circulation it could be a big help for both of you.
I was suddenly widowed at 54, my husband had died in his sleep at the age of 58.
Mum was widowed when she was 74, and thought she was hard done by!
It's really tough and difficult, a period of huge adjustment. Mum either has to get used to living alone, and it's really weird after so long married (34 years in my case, married at 19, never lived alone) but you MUST let mum go through this period, although she doesn't want to.
It's either she learns to live alone, or residential care, or you care for her until she dies. A friend cared for his mum until she died at 104, by which time he was too old to realise his own dreams.
How much care does mum NEED (not want). Is she fit, and well, or disabled?
Is she claiming all teh benefits she is entitled to?
Does she have a Lifeline pendant?

You need to put your answerphone on, and leave it on. Listen to the messages, but don't ring back immediately. Gradually take control.
If mum chooses not to join social clubs, that's her choice.
It doesn't mean she gets you instead.
Hello Sharon,
I’m in a very similar situation with my mother in law.
She wants us there all the time .
Her husband died 14 years ago and things have not really changed, she simply expects everyone to be there.
Like you, we hate telling her we are going anywhere as we know something will happen, for example, she’ll feel giddy or have some ailment that means we can’t go. We haven’t been on holiday for eight years now.
We have just arranged some care to go in 4 times a week alongside everything we do ( which is considerable) and she’s already told her neighbour she doesn’t know what they’re going to do because she does everything!
We actually provide meals, shopping, order and do medication, washing - you name it we probably do it! She also has a cleaner and gardener.
Please take heed of some of the wise words on this forum. You are at the start of your care journey with your mum, put in the boundaries and expectations NOW, or end up totally stressed out and at your wits end!
Good luck
She’s 95 and going strong, so you could have many years of this ahead
Just remember, that if you love mum enough to care for her 50 weeks a year, she should love you enough to give you 2 weeks off, even if it means residential care.

Soon after my mum went into residential care I went to Crete for the first time, in May. I slept most of the first week.
Mum saw how much good it had done me, and said that I should take the money out of her account for it.
As a result I could afford to go again in September, and again, when I got home, mum said she would pay.

Everyone needs a break. After all, it's in mum's interest. She needs you to be well to keep looking after her!
If your mothers calls are mostly to chat, would she try the Silverline? it is free
Set up by Esther Rantzen who did Childline

https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/
What is The Silver Line Helpline?
The Silver Line Helpline is a free, 24-hour telephone service for older people across the UK.

We offer friendship, conversation, and support for older people, especially those who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Also Age UK have telephone befrienders who can phone once a week
Telephone friendship
Get a free weekly friendship call. We'll match you with one of our volunteers. Our service is flexible to suit the different needs of everyone who takes part.


No guarantees that my suggestions are the solution. Just mentioning them in case your mum is open to and ready now for any of them and they help to get her back into circulation and independence.
Jane_22031234567 wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 3:35 pm
Hello Sharon,
I’m in a very similar situation with my mother in law.
She wants us there all the time .
Her husband died 14 years ago and things have not really changed, she simply expects everyone to be there.
Like you, we hate telling her we are going anywhere as we know something will happen, for example, she’ll feel giddy or have some ailment that means we can’t go. We haven’t been on holiday for eight years now.
We have just arranged some care to go in 4 times a week alongside everything we do ( which is considerable) and she’s already told her neighbour she doesn’t know what they’re going to do because she does everything!
We actually provide meals, shopping, order and do medication, washing - you name it we probably do it! She also has a cleaner and gardener.
Please take heed of some of the wise words on this forum. You are at the start of your care journey with your mum, put in the boundaries and expectations NOW, or end up totally stressed out and at your wits end!
Good luck
Good luck