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upset by family - Carers UK Forum

upset by family

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I care for my frail, forgetful mum but have a progressive neurological myself. I have help from a carer for four hours a day but otherwise, pretty much have to look after the house myself. I'm not obsessive about hygiene but do think it useful to wash your hands before touching food, especially if it's not going to be cooked. That is considered OCD by my family though. When they are here, they don't help in a practical way, e.g. cleaning ovens, but they check what I'm doing and comment about me doing unhygienic things.(Failure to keep to basics resulted in tension with one carer who left.) They blame me, and haven't even asked why I was unhappy with that carer. They just believe her side of the story. I feel that I'm being treated as a complete idiot and more than once, have had strange looks and comments about me driving my mother into an early grave (she's 91). I can't comprehend their change in behaviour towards me. Mum has symptoms of dementia but that's not because I asked a carer to wash her hands after being in busses, trains etc. It's really upsetting me. Don't know what to say to them when they insinuate I'm being unreasonable and OCD about cleanliness. Mum survived this winter without flu or norovirus. I think I did well.
I think you did well too. The whole of my family went down with flu this year and its not nice.
As for your relatives - there is a name for ones like that on this board - "helicopters"!
They suddenly descend upon you, make a load of noise, throw around a load of dirt, tell you what you are doing wrong and then take off into the clouds without having helped you at all. :blink:
Id be inclined to tell them that if they think they can do better, then they are welcome to look after your mum for a week - I bet that would shut them up :twisted:
Anyway, take no notice of them - just visualise water off a ducks back. B)
Many thanks, crocus. So glad I'm not the only one. To be fair, they did look after my mum after she came out of hospital, but if they continue to be so critical and suggest I move out to make mum happier, then I can ask them to look after mum again. They'll have to. As both work, they might not be so keen.
Hello Ellen,
I look after my Mum (89) and one of my sisters puts her 5pence worth in every so often. It annoyed me but I bit my lip. When talking to a friend, they suggested that her behaviour may be down to guilt. Guilt at what I am doing!
You are doing really well, but I agree with Crocus - just suggest that your family look after Mum for a while and I reckon they may well change their tune.
In the meantime, keep your pecker up!
Viv
Hello Ellen,

I havenever heard that word helicopters before but it is apt and rather comforting. I know exactly what you mean. None of my husband's family have helped me. Day in and day one one tries to cope but it is tiring and soul destroying. You are a kind kind person who is trying to help your Mom and you get no support. How soul destroying is that! I am only now trying to look after myself as I have got to the spot whereby I feel really destroyed and weak and over-tired.
Hopefully you can get some help so you can recharge. Look after yourself.
I had two helicopter brothers, one worked abroad, might only come home every two YEARS, and would then tell me what more I should be doing for mum - he was never there when I had calls in the middle of the night, or emergency admissions, etc. etc. The other brother lived only 60 miles away, but was always "too busy" to do anything practical. They never ever took mum out for a drive, for example. I had the last laugh though, mum changed her will in my favour!!!
I was always taught to wash my hands before touching any food, and in hospital nurses are really careful to wash their hands before touching a patient. This is absolutely basic hygiene as far as I'm concerned. If they think it's odd, then they are Dirty Grubs!!
Take pride in what you can do for mum, and ignore them. I know money is a thorny issue with families, but if mum has savings then she should be employing a cleaner, in addition to you. You are a daughter who cares for her. Employ someone else to care for the house, and be absolutely ruthless about doing away with anything which means additional work for you.
Hi Ellen,

It never ceases to amaze me how many carers have problems within their families. There seem to be so many situations where one person is doing all the work and everyone else stands around criticising so you are definitely not alone.

Of course people need to wash their hands properly, seems ridiculous to me for anyone to suggest insisting on this is anything but common sense. I definitely agree with the comment from Vivien's friend; I think a lot of people look at what someone is doing, feel, on some level that they ought to be doing it and feel guilty but for some reason instead of offering to help they nitpick and criticise instead. I can honestly count the number of people who've ever practically mucked in and given me a hand on the fingers of one hand, whilst I could write a book about the endless queue of people lining up to have a go about something. You sound as if you're doing a great job and, as has already been suggested, next time someone pipes up tell them you're more than happy for them to take over if they think they can do it any better.
It makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one with 'daft' families. I mentioned to one relative that the carer who had just left in disgust used to wash mum's soiled undies with the rest of the wash, including my face cloths (used to treat my dry eyes by heating it and holding it against eyelids for a few minutes). 'Only you'd be bothered about that' said relative. I don't think that's true. Would anyone want to use a face cloth, knowing that a 40 degree wash can't get rid of E-coli but just spreads it around other items its washed with? Face cloth can only be washed at 40. I've bought a replacement but will use cloth for other things. I think handwashing soiled undies is the best but have encountered resistance. Everything goes in the washing machine, unless I do the wash.

Sadly, my mum sides with relatives. She does not see the amount of work needed to keep her safe. She isn't concerned about people who don't wash their hands before they make her breakfast or supper. Doesn't care about my face cloths. Doesn't mind relatives who visit her when they have a cold. Thinks "it's human" for the carer to have been miffed when I ended up closing the kitchen door after all meals had been prepared and I'd washed up etc and was tired of seeing more deposited in a dirty basin. (We have a washing up bowl for the washing up and I'd asked for many times to put cutlery, plates etc there, not basin. I'm not a bleach every night person.) If the carer was 'human', what does that make me, in her eyes?

I have a cleaner but only for three hours a week. Trying to get more help. I've also asked for a carer's assessment.

Many thanks for all the empathy. Better than an anti-depressant.
I'm with you, every step of the way. With regard to soiled undies, I would be rinsing the worst off in a bucket to be tipped down the loo, then in the rinse cycle of the washing machine for 3 rinses, then in the hot wash!! When mum was in hospital I used the Dettol antibac laundry liquid, for all her washing. She kept getting UTI's and I didn't want them, especially as I only have one kidney.
With regard to dishwashing, you need a dishwasher if there is room, and mum's money, not yours, should be paying for it. Presumably mum is on Attendance Allowance?
Lots of us have discovered that very elderly parents have no concept of what is going into their care, it's a sign of being "very elderly". Increasingly, you will need to "parent" your own parent. Don't expect thanks very often, or at all, then you won't be disappointed. My own mum had a terrible habit of inventing jobs, as soon as I did one, or even before I'd done one, another would be dreamed up. Counselling taught me to control this, to choose a job that I thought needed doing, and take as long as it needed. When the next job was dished out, to say "I'll sort that out when I've done XXX" Comments like "I haven't forgotten that you want XXX" also helped. Counselling taught me that I couldn't change mum at her age and disability, but I could change my response to it, and from then on, life got a lot easier. I was also encouraged to remember that I was here, caring. I shouldn't beat myself up about what I couldn't do, but be proud of what I did. Next time your useless relatives make a comment, be ready with the calendar and ask them outright to look after mum on a particular day so you can go out/to the doctor (doesn't have to be the truth!) I bet it won't be convenient. Tell them straight, that if they won't do any of the caring they have no right whatsoever to keep knocking what you do. And consider changing the care company. They are not fit for purpose!!
EllenG wrote:It makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one with 'daft' families. I mentioned to one relative that the carer who had just left in disgust used to wash mum's soiled undies with the rest of the wash, including my face cloths (used to treat my dry eyes by heating it and holding it against eyelids for a few minutes). 'Only you'd be bothered about that' said relative. I don't think that's true. Would anyone want to use a face cloth, knowing that a 40 degree wash can't get rid of E-coli but just spreads it around other items its washed with? Face cloth can only be washed at 40. I've bought a replacement but will use cloth for other things. I think handwashing soiled undies is the best but have encountered resistance. Everything goes in the washing machine, unless I do the wash.

Sadly, my mum sides with relatives. She does not see the amount of work needed to keep her safe. She isn't concerned about people who don't wash their hands before they make her breakfast or supper. Doesn't care about my face cloths. Doesn't mind relatives who visit her when they have a cold. Thinks "it's human" for the carer to have been miffed when I ended up closing the kitchen door after all meals had been prepared and I'd washed up etc and was tired of seeing more deposited in a dirty basin. (We have a washing up bowl for the washing up and I'd asked for many times to put cutlery, plates etc there, not basin. I'm not a bleach every night person.) If the carer was 'human', what does that make me, in her eyes?

I have a cleaner but only for three hours a week. Trying to get more help. I've also asked for a carer's assessment.

Many thanks for all the empathy. Better than an anti-depressant.
Blimey, Ellen, I can't think of anything more revolting than washing soiled undies with face clothes - or anything else for that matter! Or making food without washing your hands, especially if it's for someone else! It sounds like your mum thinks it doesn't matter because she's not caught a nasty dose of something thanks to all of your efforts. People often seem to think these things don't matter because it seems the risk is small but it's only small because of the precautions. Madness!