[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 585: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 641: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
Too stressed to go on - Carers UK Forum

Too stressed to go on

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi,
I posted about a month ago but couldn’t find the posts or reply’s.
The issues related to the increasing care needs of my 95 year old mother in law.
I think because we do so much and things run so smoothly, she thinks that she is coping ok.
We do meals, shopping, meds, health appointments, washing, most thing really.
However, my issue was that nothing is ever enough.
I had some good advice from various other members, so thanks for that.
My issue now is my own anxiety and how to deal with the situation.
My MIL has now taken to ringing up at any time for the most minor issue. For example, her tv remote didn’t work, she sorted her freezer out and couldn’t get the shelf back in or can’t get her washing ( which she doesn’t have to do) out of the machine.
She becomes irate if I say I’m in the middle of something or can come round later. She then says she will do it but feels dizzy and will likely fall over.
What do I do in such a situation?
Should I be at her immediate call or do I put in boundaries and risk her falling over over.
She has played the “illness card” for all the years I’ve known her, but at 95 it’s hard to make a call like that.
My own mood has deteriorated and I know I’m withdrawing from my family. I honestly don’t know what to do.
Hi Jane

Firstly, here's the link to your earlier posts: https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... -law-46016 - the "New to the Forum" board tends to get a lot of use, so when a post goes quiet it tends to sink a bit down the line - which was not helped by the hack on the page earlier this morning. Anyway, the easiest way to find your old posts is to click on your username at the top right of your screen, and click on profile. If you scroll down a bit it will tell you that you have posted x number of times and there's a tab next to it that says "search user's posts". You'll find your posts in reverse order on there. Hope that all makes sense.

Right. That's the sort of techy bit done.

Now for your Mum. It seems to me that she's using every possible manipulative trick to control you. At a guess, she's 95, and scared of being left alone. It's obvious she's becoming increasingly frail and that has two effects: fear and a need to be in control so as to compensate for the loss of independence. Hence wanting to do certain tasks "now." Two benefits: she controls the when and how, and it gives her company.

Which leaves an interesting question: what would happen if you were not available? Would she do what she threatens (and it is a threat)? Or does she know that will push your buttons so you turn up?

It sounds to me as if a "tough love" talk is required to lay out her actual options: if she doesn't want to be lonely, then there are care homes. If she wants you to do it, she has to fit in with you for the non-urgent stuff. If she wants quality time with people, maybe there are other options, too. But this is unsustainable for you.
Hi Jane

It's impossible to know and to prevent people from falling over. All we can do is put in place as much as possible to lesser such events. Even in care homes staff are not with residents or in every room 24 x 7. You have to be clear with Mum in law that everything is done for her and there are no expectations from the family for her to do jobs.

What ever you do now will never be enough for her. You know in your heart everything that can be done has be done. Her age is immaterial but just remind her. If the family had not taken such good care of her to date. It's quite likely she would be already in a care home. And if she is so unhappy a respite placement can be found to see if that would suit her needs better.

Does she have an alarm pendant.
All the above!

It is easier for us on the outside to give advice, but harder when you are involved and concerned about falls even if they might be a manipulative emotional blackmail threat you have that put into your mind and it is hard to shake off, however, you could be en route to her home and she could have a fall or during the night.

You cannot be responsible for another persons actions, if she takes it upon herself to do something she knows she shouldn't be doing or knows that you all do for her then that is on her, not you, she is the one that decided to do it, whether to prove a point against you or just had that bee in her bonnet to do it or thought 'Oh I will just...' and than fallen, she's then proven what you have all been telling her and also proved there is a need for her to be in a residential care home - backfired on her.

I suggest you don't answer your phone, that is her command tool for your undivided attention.
So far it is working to her advantage.

It is your phone, you are in control of whether you answer it or not.
There will be upsets, it might be unpleasant but needs to be done.
This is your opportunity for tough love and boundaries or care home discussions.
Thank you Charles and Sunnydisposition!
As I said at the end of my last set of posts, it’s just so good to get these feelings out and not be judged.
I really do feel at the end of my tether.
She does know how to press people’s buttons and I think it’s easy to overlook carers when very elderly relatives are in the mix. I don’t know if I’m overly sensitive, but I do worry about what people would think if she said that I refused to help with her washing etc… which is how she would spin it. She also gets “ tearful” and upset if I make the point that it is sometimes difficult for me to drop everything at very short notice. She starts saying I’m “ telling her off”, that she “ knows “ we want her in a home and that she’s a nuisance. I must add that none of that has ever been said and what we do is with good grace. However, she also knows that it shuts down the discussion as we don’t want her upset.
The bit that is scaring me is the lowness of my own mood and the dread of the phone ringing in case it’s her.
Have other people felt this bad?
How do you deal with it?
I never envisaged caring causing such levels of stress.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
PS: she has a personal alarm and every aid available.
Thank you too, Breezy
You are in a very difficult position Jane.
Be reassured by your own good deeds and that all see her the same way as she does the same to them.

My mother had similar kind of things with her elderly step mother saying such things and mother worrying about what she'd say about her to others and if she stood up for herself there were the crocodile tears to shut it down. We'd tell my mother to take no notice that she was a nasty ungrateful manipulator and playing her and to have the courage of her convictions.

She rejected most of my mothers help, however mother was wanting to give care to her father and as step mother was paralysed down one side from a stroke so had no choice!
So there weren't the telephone calls having mother at beck and call at all hours but she worried about her father being run into the ground for her demands.
Stop worrying what everyone thinks of you!! Your situation is unique to you and your family. Other people are not living your life. What you think others are saying or thinking will not stop what is happening. Only you can make these changes.

I do think you need to delegate more to others even if you need to employ someone. A cleaner someone to fetch the shopping etc. Someone to sit with mum in law befriend her.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/
Thanks again!
I do intend to address this, whether that be additional carers or ultimately a care home.
As with my previous posts, the advice I have been given is sound, but it also inspires me with a little confidence that things can change and what I’m experiencing isn’t unique ( I fully take on the point that every family is unique) but the care related stress seems more common than I thought.
Hi

Just coming in to add that it sounds incredibly stressful and it is having a profound and negative impact on you.

I have felt really broken by trying to help my own mother out, and I think we often try to juggle far more than is humanly possible.

Can you get some additional help in place, so it's not all you? I say this as someone who has never successfully managed to with my own mother.