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I don't know what you do - Carers UK Forum

I don't know what you do

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I'm really struggling to know what to do for the best in order for my mum to be safe.
My mum is 79, I'm her only child, I've cared for her in varying degrees due to her having ill health all my life,this has increased over the last 8 years since my dad died.
She has always been very controlling and I suspect she has narcissistic personality disorder, I've read numerous books and it's like they have been written about her. Her manipulation has caused me much unhappiness which has filtered through to my lovely family over the last 27 years, we haven't had one family holiday whereby she hasn't been aggressive and nasty towards me before we've gone, this has meant I've been low and tearful during the holiday but still rang her several times to check she's ok. I regret deeply how I have let her actions impact my life and that of my children's.
I recently had a bit of a mental breakdown and made the decision to tell her that I would still continue to visit her twice a week to deliver her groceries, do housework etc but I needed to have the weekend at home to rest, I have been going every Saturday for the last 8 years, I also work part time and my daughter has long covid, terrible brain fog and fatigue. Mum exploded and said I should reduce my hours at work if I get so tired. She screamed at me that she shouldn't have put me down as power of attorney ( we aren't using it yet) as if I can't cope now then what's the point.
Since then her behaviour has got worse, she seems to have developed dementia (I think there have been slight signs for a while, night wanderings, accusing us of stealing etc) she's accusing me of hiding things, neighbours breaking in, garden full of bikes etc. She refuses to see a doctor, or have any more carers visit, she only has a carer for one hour twice a week. The care company contacted me to say she is confused and my daughter has noticed it too. She can be normal one minute and then confused the next.
I often feel fight or flight and tbh feel scared of her. Do I need to just grow a back bone and tell her I'm phoning the doctor and organising more carers or haven't I got any control at this stage?
Thank you so much for reading my lengthy post x
Welcome to the forum.

I couldn't cope with a mum like that! I'm not surprised you had a bit of a breakdown, that shows that something needs to change, you need to put your own needs first now.

It certainly sounds as if her personality was never good, but something else is now happening on top.

Has anyone told you that you CANNOT be forced to care for anyone, not even a partner?!
Have you ever had a Carers Assessment from Social Services, looking at the support you need for your caring role?
I have counselling funded as a result, it transformed my life, just for once someone concerned about me alone, not as a daughter, wife, or mother, but me.

I expect mum knows that she is ill, and very frightened underneath her hostility.
Write to her doctor, explain your concerns. Some are better than others.

One thing you can do immediately is keep your mobile phone near you and record any phone calls. Others have found this is the quickest and easiest way of making people realise how bad things are.

You don't have to do her shopping or her cleaning. She can shop online, maybe with support, and pay for a cleaner. Is she getting Attendance Allowance/DLA/PIP?

Counselling really helped me. I learned that I could never change mum, nearing the end of her life. I really loved her but left home at 19, when I married.
Whilst I couldn't change mum, I COULD change the way I responded to various things, I had to stop feeling guilty, I was doing more than my brothers, who did NOTHING!
Instead, I learned to feel proud of all the help I gave mum, espcially as I had a disabled son and was disabled myself.
Most of all I had a RIGHT to a life of my own.
I wasn't her little girl any more, who was bad if she ever said "No" to mum but a 60 year old adult!
Thank you, so much , lots of ideas that I haven't tried. I will get on and apply for an assessment and contact the doctor too.
Thanks again for your help 😊
The forum is here to help.

Some things will work, others won't, as everyone's situation is different.
Ultimately, I believe we are all responsible for our own happiness.
I've had 8 operations, some terrible experiences, but I'm grateful for living every day and enjoy my situation, as much as possible.
We CANNOT make other people happy by doing x,y, or z for them.
If we jumped over the moon, they'd then expect more.

Concentrate on being happy yourself.
Find a bit of "me" time every day. When my children were small, that was my bathtime.
I've been a widow for a long time. I try to do a bit of dressmaking or something sewing related every day.
Even if it's just a few rows of sewing. I sleep better afterwards.
Hi Cookie,

what a stressful situation.

I think you should write or speak to her GP and express your concerns about her mental health and confusion, giving actual examples and request that they either contact her and call her in for a 'health review' or do a home visit.

Stick to your guns re the weekends. When you are there, the minute she starts being horrible - leave.

It would be totally understandable if you stopped caring for her - increased paid carer visits and left her too it - but only you can decide if that's what you feel you need to do.

Hi Cookie

Welcome to the forum.
What a negative situation you are in with your mother.

Have you been on any dementia/alzheimers websites and forums? have a look in those as well for information and help.

Definitely contact social services for care needs assessment or review of care needs.
Tell them it is at crisis level because she gets aggressive and violent.

Contact her GP, if you are concerned she has got signs of dementia and tell them about her aggression etc.

Your POAs are eligible now if you feel that she is not of full capacity and is refusing medical help.

Please call the Carers UK helpline on Monday for guidance.
Carers UK information and support
Our telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email (advice@carersuk.org)
Thank you everyone for all your valuable advice 😊
I hope you can get things sorted easily.
Be kind to yourself Cookie and be your own best friend.
I currently care for Milo who is my beloved companion on my daily walks to the park but she does require quite a bit of legwork in return from me and my parents each week. No pain no gain however as the saying states. My first piece of sound advice is to see what type of extra care and support also can be arranged in advance for you in order. Please do a full care needs assessment now in addition to facilitate this entire process as it is a rather lengthy one at best.
Make some brief summary notes. Best of luck. A few years before Milo arrived I decided to see what else I was legally entitled to as a young female non working disabled citizen of Britain. So I then contacted my local council office early one Monday afternoon to start the entire process of applying directly to them and see what happens as a result. I even sat down and conducted some further guided research online. This was done in advance first to establish my needs.
Afterwards I called up and asked for a total evaluation to proceed along this road. This is so important. Always be fully aware of what is considered current best practice in the care sector though. Know of your basic human rights and pay very close and careful attention to your first observations and review findings. Request a first meeting to discuss things face to face then you can hopefully get to make a informed choice on your care options going forward.
Have your notes ready. Good communication skills are the key. I strongly and happily recommend interviewing all the potential candidates for a full hour or two first carefully to figure them out. Take your time to do so. In other words please never hire the first applicant which you happen to see. Meet up with at least five of the selected candidates to talk to you briefly at the initial private meeting and then invite luckier ones back for a final interview at a cafe etc.
At this interview later on have a contract ready for them to sign on the line. Discuss any care needs and so on. Make your own selection decision wisely. Base it all on what you have witnessed as this is crucial. Tread very lightly at first is my top tip. You want to be completely sure of the chosen care provider’s reputation and the like. Do a ton of preparation and carry out some sort of research online.

Read far beyond the lines of the reviews. Consider what is left unsaid online. You do not really want to use a unfit care agency. If you can, squeeze in a visit to a office of the care provider to see for yourself what happens and also look at information on the website of the care company in question. I still occasionally wish I did this but it all happily worked out for me in the end. Sort of. Find out as much as possible. If all fails use a live in carer. A much better choice overall.

Top tip, I use a cheap diary these days to manage everything. I write down all key details of hospital appointments in it and also record the crucial details of social events and my weekly French lessons. If a medical appointment letter suddenly comes from the hospital, I read it and try to make a quick helpful note of what time and day when I am expected to be there. Same thing applies to my social events and to my weekly French lessons. Try it. Much easier that way.
The Talking Point Forum is very good Cookie and is for people caring for relatives with Dementia or those of us who are having concerns and seeking a diagnosis. The whole website is very good too . I agree with writing to the GP expressing your concerns as they do have a 'duty of care ' to her as she is their patient. It is a very difficult situation for you and you MUST take care of yourself.