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I can't do this anymore - Carers UK Forum

I can't do this anymore

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I have been married 50 years, mostly unhappily, due to my husband's alcoholism and selfishness. I am now his full time carer and he treats me like a servant. I cannot take his abuse and cruelty anymore. He doesn't like outside help and ignores everything that is suggested by medical staff, and anything I try to do to make things easier for him makes him angry, he has always been a control freak. He is now in the early stages of vascular dementia and says his behaviour is due to his "condition" when he knows perfectly well what he is doing. I want him to go into a care home, although I think he is going to need a nursing home, because he cannot do anything for himself. He refuses to go into respite care. My own health is beginning to suffer and I am depressed. I find that social services are only interested how much money will be available. He has drunk and gambled all his money away. What savings I have are for me to live independently because I hate being at the mercy of the State, which only allows me £62 pw because I took time out to raise my children and paid the reduced married woman's contributions when I returned to employment, although I paid the full amount from the age of 15 to 22, when I gave birth to my first child. My "allowance" is based on his contributions. Most of my children are too far away and in any case my two daughters don't want to know. Can I refuse to be his carer and insist that the local authority take over his care?
Hi Susan
So sorry to read your circumstances, you sound like you have reached the end of the line. The answer I am sure will be yes, you can hold your hands up and say you have had enough and not prepared to continue. Contact Social Services and book a meeting with them. Be clear what you want before you talk to them.
From what you say savings and capital are likely to be below the threshold £23,000ish so Social Services will need to foot the entire care bill.
If there is a property involved I believe any care home charges can be charged against the property to be paid only upon probate.
I am not clear if there is a property but savings less than the threshold quite what the regulations are. I am sure someone can clarify.
Hi Susan,
I am not surprised you are at the end of your tether and agree with Henrietta that you need to arrange a meeting with social services to discuss what happens next. I would just add the suggestion that you have this meeting away from your home and your husband and if you have a friend who knows your situation then take them with you for moral support and in case your mind goes blank at the crucial moment.
I wish you luck and hope you can get some help soon.
Hi Susan, YES, you can refuse to care. Can I ask how old you are, and how old he is? If you are living in the family home, you cannot be forced to sell the house to pay for his care. I've learned a lot about charging during the last couple of years, as my mum spent the last year of her life in a nursing home. My main advice to you at the moment is to REFUSE TO SIGN ANYTHING Social Services give you, whatever they tell you. Very often, they give you lots of half truths, I actually saved my mum £8,000 because I knew the rules. They are sometimes referred to as CRAG - the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide. However, Social Services should not be charging anything at all until there has been a "NHS Continuing Healthcare Checklist Assessment". It would be well worth you reading up on this, as if your husband qualifies, all care would be entirely free, regardless of income or savings. Come back here whenever you want, for support or information. There are a number of us whose carees needs have been so great that they needed residential care. There comes a time when needs are too high and carers too worn out, mentally and physically, to keep going any more. Be proud of how long you cared for such a difficult man. Time to hand over now.
Dear Susan

Yes, of course you can refuse to be your husband's carer! There is NO legal obligation to look after him in the slightest!

To be blunt, given what you've put up with, I think you've every reason not to lift a finger to help him any more!

As well as involving social services as suggested here, personally, I would think about seeing a solicitor as well, on your own behalf. You could get in touch with the Citizen's Advice Bureau to start the ball rolling. It could be that you may be able to get some initial legal advice free.

This would be to explore whether you might like to not just not look after your husband any more, but actually cut all ties with him - ie, divorce him!

Divorce might give you more of your joint money and property etc, and make it very, very clear that you are not putting up with him any more, and are basically walking away from him (as you have every right to do.)

I wish you all the very best, and hope that once you have freed yourself from him you will have a much happier life.

Don't worry or concern yourself about what anyone else, your children included, say (let alone what he says!) - this is YOUR life, and you are entitled to a decent life, and not have to look after or have anything more to do with a man who has treated you so badly for so long.

He might like to think of you as his servant - but you're most definitely NOT!

All the best - Jenny
Thank you all for your kind support. I have made an appointment with the CAB to get some legal advice. Under normal circumstances I know I would be justified in seeking a separation at the very least, so maybe this will help my case. The irony is Jenny, that he told me when he dies I can have a good life! I am nearly 72 and he is 80.
Well, maybe you need to start your good life a bit before then! From what you've written it does sound like you deserve it to start straight away!

I know that alcoholism is a disease, and maybe there were terrible circumstances in his life, but he's had, as you've said, half a century to improve himself and be a nicer person, and he doesn't seem to have achieved it, does he?

I think getting some legal clarity on your situation would be sensible, even if you then choose not to go ahead.

If you don't, and you choose to stay married, you might like to think ahead to the question of his Will. Wives do, I believe, get an automatic right to (some of) their husband's estate, but he can leave it to other people as well. That might be something sensible to discuss with a lawyer, as well as the implications of getting divorced. I'm not sure what the situation will be if he has no will - and if he is developing dementia it may already be impossible for him to make a new will, or any will, as he is losing mental capacity (ie, no longer 'of sound mind' as it says in wills!). I found this with my 90 y/o MIL - she'd passed the stage where she could change her will, so her current will is really her 'last will and testament'!

All the very best to you, and it does sound like you are starting to get a grip on the situation - very often, posting here to the forum is the first step we take towards getting an unhappy situation under control finally!
To Susan I am also a carer for 20 years I have developed cfs and am constantly tired and unwell .sometimes I wish I don't wake up .I feel trapped but I think for yourself you must move on and be happy.otherwise you will be living an existence .you deserve more from life. my relation ship is a loving one nobody cares about carers.they say money dosnt bring happiness I think it does to hire full time cares good luck :D
David, hi - I see you've just joined the forum.

Do you want to tell us a little more about your own situation? If you repeated what you said on this thread, on one started by yourself on the Newbies section, you could have your own 'space' on the forum.

I always go by the mantra 'Caring is Wearing'....and it can wear you right down to the bone....no doubt about that.

Who is it you care for, and do you get ANY support at all???