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HELP - Carers UK Forum


Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi All,

Been to visit my mother-in-law,in North Wales,as she can't cope with her day to day living anymore. She thinks she can and wants to be left alone,doesnot want any help from anyone just to be alone.She has lived this way for many years. We having been doing her shopping on the internet,we order it here in W S M.and it goes to her.So without this system she would have had problems. Now she is not washing,cleaning the house. Her bedding was so dirty, I had to throw it all out and buy new. We have the doctor coming this afternoon,to see what she can do. Already had a chat to her,she said unless she can take blood etc from her she can't make her do anything about getting a home help in and a nurse to help with washing. She has been having attendance allowance,which really is to help with care to keep you in your home for as long as possible. She just will not allow anyone into the house to help,she got really anger and very nasty with us. We only want to do what is best for her. She can't stand,she won't get dressed sits in a dirty gown all day.

As we don't live here and there is no one else. Without the doctor doing something to help,we just don't know what we can do. She can't just be left like this can she.If she had the help offered then she could be left alone as she wants,but she would be clean etc. I just don't know what to do. My husband was very upset at the way his mother was so horrible to him,she is acting like a spoilt child,telling us to shut up and get out.
This is quite a common, and desperately sad problem. As I understand it, Social Services or the police can only intervene forcibly if the person is mentally ill or their lifestyle poses a public health hazard - rubbish and rats etc. But I dont know at what point on the slippery slope into neglect this can take place.
Does your mother-in-law have mental capacity do you think, her behaviour could be indicative of dementia or mental illness of such a degree that she no longer has the capacity to make decisions for herself? If she does lack capacity the MCA could be invoked to get her the help that she needs otherwise I think that there is really nothing that you can do, unless proven otherwise the law assumes capacity and she can live her life as she chooses. I would probably contact her local social services department and discuss the situation with them, perhaps not identifying her, they may be able to suggest something or be willing to try and persuade her to accept some help but their hands are also tied. I am so sorry you are both having to deal with this, there are no easy solutions as far as I am aware but someone else may know something which I do not.
Hello Sonia, Sorry that you're in this position - it's awfully worrying! My mother was just the same; wouldn't have anyone in to help. I suggested to her that it would actually help ME if she was to accept help as a) I couldn't do so much to help as I used to, and b) I was worried about what would happen to her. Very grudgingly, she accepted the help of a neighbour who she knew to do her housework - then she got to looking forward to the company. Then, of coures, she had leg ulcers, so the District Nurse HAD to be called in. Luckily, she now accepts the agency carers twice a day and the Nurse twice a day. She is still stroppy about seeing the Doctor, but it's a lot better than it was.
I can only hope that the time comes when your Mother gets to this stage, too xx
This afternoon,while waiting for thr doctor to call to try and give us some help. Mother-in-law,sneaked into her bedroom and rang the doctor and told them not to bother coming as she did'nt need any help. The doctor rang us on our moblie to tell us that she guessed what she was up to. She contacted Social services,they were round to see us within the hour.We let them in,they could see the problems we were facing. They got her to try and walk she could not. Then she went mad shouting ordering them out of the house,they had to go.
We had to go as well,as she wanted us out as well,we are back home now. Social services said they were going to ring us to talk to us about this. As you have all said in your mails,there is not much we or them can do. She is not mental,she just hates other people,she has been living where she is now for 10 years and never speaks to anyone. She has not been out the door for over 6 years.

We are at a loss at what can be done,we only wanted to keep her clean,fed,and left alone as she wants.It would seem to her now she has her way,and won the right to be left by herself.

I can't say anymore as we can't think anymore today.
can you not maybe start off with someone she knows popping in once a day or that? then sort of work up to it by introducing someone new, but she looks at them as a visitor and someone to chat to as opposed to taking things away from her life? just a thought
Could it be that she is simply fiercely independent, something which I can relate to, and sees accepting help as the beginning of the slippery slope towards loss of her independence, her home and the route to residential care? if so a strong argument could be made that by accepting help now she can remain in her home and as independent as possible for much longer, possibly for the rest of her life. Without knowing the cause of her behaviour it really is impossible to deal with it and it may well be that careful questioning, possibly not by you and your husband, could, by finding the cause, find a solution which is acceptable to her. There does come a point at which self-neglect is such a risk to health that intervention becomes necessary but this is very much a matter of professional judgement and interpretation of the law.

I think that as far as you and your husband are concerned you have to accept that you have done all that can reasonably be expected of you, you have more than fulfilled your duty to your mother-in-law, we cannot force people to do what is in their best interests if they choose not to however much we love them and/or feel responsible for their welfare, and, distressing as it is, it is probably time to hand the problem over to someone else and try to take a break from the situation to recuperate, we can only do our best, we should not expect more from ourselves neither should anyone else and you both clearly have both done your best.
As many of you have said,we can do no more. She doesnot have any friends and really doesnot like us to go and see her.She has made this quite clear to us ,we only go for two days at the most,it was mainly to see she was ok. Now she is not. The folks next door on either side had a chat with me in the garden while I was there,they have never seen her,one said she had lived there for 4 years and did'nt know her. She said she was not being nosey,just a little concerned for who ever was there.

She just doesnot like people,not even her own family. So differant to my Mum,who I have posted about,she has had her scan waiting for the results to decide on tablets to maybe help her short term memory. She has been offered a sheltered flat still in town where she lives now. We took her yesterday to have a look and she loved it,so we filled in the paperwork,and will wait for the date to move in. Not sure when she will be discharged from hospital,we may get her moved in to the flat before she comes out.

There we do have postive things to deal with,so will put all our efforts in to doing all for my Mum.

Has the Doctor or Social Services recommended that a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) becomes involved?

They have experience in many areas of mental health, and will be there to listen and help you and will be able to do a full assessment on your mother in law to identify any mental health issues. They usually work with the patient long term if issues are identified.

If your mother in law hasnt always been like this it is possible some kind of demetia may be present. I have worked with many clients who have become like this and more often than not the CPN is involved.

The Doctor should be able to arrange a CPN to visit.

Good Luck, hope things work out