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Juggling guilt - Carers UK Forum

Juggling guilt

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My partner has been caring for his mum full time for the last ten years and we've all been living together for the last three.

In the last three months, my dad has started to develop some quite big care needs of his own.
Up until recently he was managing well, living alone, dealing with his own life.
He is now showing worrying signs of dementia (still under investigation) and is slipping considerably, requiring more and more day-to-day general support.

And now I'm eaten up with guilt because I can't give him the same level of care my mum-in-law receives.

I can't leave my job to look after him, because I'm the only one in our household who works, therefore without my pay we would not be able to afford living expenses.

I can't have my dad to live with us, firstly because it's not my house and secondly because it would effectively mean my partner looking him AND his mum while I went out to work.
My dad can't go and live with my brother, because he lives at home with our mum and stepfather.

I can't go and stay with my dad, because he lives in a single bed studio flat.

My dad has never said anything, and I don't think it's ever even crossed his mind, but I feel awful that my mum-in-law basically has my partner 24/7, but I can't do that for my dad. I constantly feel like it's not fair on him and I'm letting him down.

How do you cope with the feelings of guilt when conflicting care needs feel like they're tearing you apart?
Hi PP,
Have you still got MIL under control? No more spending sprees?
The most convenient solution for dad would be for him to move in to the shared house. Don't see why MIL could really object seeing how much you contribute. Perhaps dad could pay rent. I agree it would be hard on your partner but how about getting extra help in during the day? I'm thinking a cleaner/ housekeeper/sitter/carer kind of person, although goodness knows where you would find such a creature without they have angel wings. Do dad and MIL get on?
The most obvious would be for dad to move into a Home. Preferably one which is both residential and nursing so he wouldn't have to move again should the dementia be confirmed. How does dad fell about that.
The easiest but probably short term and least satisfactory in the long run as dad gets worse and his needs increase, would be to get a care package in place so that people are calling throughout the day. Assessment by social services and all that working out how much savings and assets he has and whether he has to pay. The flat, supposing he owns it, won't count while he is living there.
Whatever you decide on at least get an urgent assessment from an Occupational Therapist who will provide equipment for dad to help with his balance and other mobility problems. There's loads of things they will provide 'on loan' like grab rails, shower seats, walking aids and so on. Does Dad have a personal alarm?
Does dad claim Attendance Allowance?
The most traumatic all round would be for you to set up home with dad on your own. I think that should be the last solution to consider.
No point in feeling guilty. The situation is as it is, and not of your creating. Take a deep breath and work out the best way forward for dad but for you too.
Good luck with this new problem.
Elaine
Hmm, remind us what the finances are in respect of you working, your partner not earning but caring for his mum, and what his mum's finances are, and what your 'expectations' are in respect of her property (I don't think you have any automatic right to it when she dies, do you)(Sorry, I've rather forgotten your set up!).

I'm saying all that because I think the first thing is to protect your OWN position financially, otherwise you are working to pay for your partner's keep, and his mum's keep. And that isn't fair in itself (or wise, on your part?). Now add the extra complication of your own father needing care, and the last thing you want is to be spending all your time, energy and money on 'someone else's parent' while your own 'goes without'. (What is your father's financial situation by the way.)

As the only person in all this who is bringing in any money, you DO have a strong hand to play! I agree that bringing your dad in to live with you/your partner/his mum, is the simplest solution. I don't see why you have to feel bad about 'imposing' your dad on the set up, since, as I say, you are funding a lot of it anyway!

(Apols if I'm getting hold of the wrong end of the stick here....)
Hi guys, thanks for the kind responses.
A reminder on the situation - my partner and his mum own the house 50/50 and have no mortgage (partner's stepdad left him his half of the house when he died in order that his mum would be protected).
MIL pays half of the expenses (utilities, council tax, food) out of her pension and DLA. I pay the other half. My partner keeps his CA. I find this an entirely fair arrangement in financial terms, because I've always been insistent on paying my own way, wherever I am. If my partner were in paid employment, then obviously he would be paying toward the household expenses too.

My dad's financial situation is basic - state pension, occupational pension, rented older person's accommodation (manager on duty during the day M-F, emergency pull cord at other times) partially paid for by housing benefit, negligible savings.

I don't think moving my dad in with us would be a viable option. Like I said - it's not my house, although I pay towards the general upkeep of it. Also, MIL's mental health (anxiety and BDD) issues mean she's very funny around men in her home - she hasn't seen my partner's old best mate in years, even though he used to visit the old house at least every week. He actually began to half believe that there was some kind of Bates Motel thing going on because every time he came round her bedroom door would be firmly shut (we turned it into a big joke in the end). One of my male friends has been to the old house and this house and has still not met her at all.

She's a bit funny with my dad because he's naturally pretty friendly - if he's over visiting me, he doesn't care if she's sitting in bed in her nightie, he'll wander into her room for a natter. But she does care - she doesn't like men seeing her in her bed in her nightie without her hair and face on and she certainly doesn't like them coming into her bedroom. It's just not proper in her eyes.

I've been talking to my bro a lot about things today, especially after the manager at my dad's housing place rang me expressing concern about his condition, and we've discussed whether it may be easier to consider moving Dad out of where he is into somewhere with a bit more active care. We do need to work out where would be the best option - my brother only lives a couple of miles away from Dad at the moment, whereas I am about an hour away (forty mins if the motorway is good). The flipside is that bro works 9-5, whereas I work a rotating 24/7 shift pattern with more days off.
It sounds like some sort of residential care is the only practical option,. Does dad get Attendance Allowance? Is dad aware that he needs more help?
I agree with BB. Suggest you go for residential care near your brother, so he can pop in and say hello after work or if emergencies happen. Taking him out for days or even overnight will give him a treat and provide time together for you.
As Elaine mentioned, make sure your choice is 'future proofed' as his needs are likely to increase with age.
Good luck!
Jx