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Why do people send their elderly parents to care home - Page 7 - Carers UK Forum

Why do people send their elderly parents to care home

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
87 posts
Seoc an Aonaidh wrote:I guess it depends on your point of view. I don't consider what I'm doing as a carer for my Mother as a sacrifice. An opportunity yes, as many things in life offer hitherto unknown opportunities - but as a sacrifice, definitely not. Life presents us with many challenges, it is up to us to face them, and learn from them, regardless of how insidious they seem.
Seoc, you asked Bowlingbun why she was irritated by your posts. I can't speak for others, but to me you come across as someone who takes a philosophical view towards his own caring role, and who tries to make the best out of a situation, which is laudable. However, sometimes when you talk about turning negatives into positives, it comes across as what I like to term psychobabble bull****. Sadly, some carers are in such dire circumstances, for so many years and with so little help, that there are no positive points to be found and no amount of psychobabble will be of any use to them. So, when things are that grim, maybe it's better not to tell people to look for the positives, when there are none. Maybe it's just better to show empathy and let people vent their frustrations here, rather than playing the amateur psychiatrist.
SheWolf, thanks for the lecture, as that's the way your post comes across to me, I don't see any of the empathy you suggest I should use. However, I will bear in mind what you say, and I'd be grateful if you and others would do the same. I haven't personally attacked anyone, yet I've been the subject of several attacks against me.

I fully accept that others may not have the same outlook as me, and, being a man, I may not express things in the way that those of the opposite sex may like, but that's life. Don't hang me out to dry for that alone.

As I've already said, I'm not a punch bag, so pray tell me, why am I being used like one? If you don't like what I'm saying, say so. Don't attack me, and get personal, just because you disagree with me.

All I will say at this point is, it's time we got back to the subject of the thread, instead of turning this into something personal.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and anyone with an opinion should respect the others whether they agree with it or not.... In my opinion (sorry :blush: ) opinions should not be used as a tool to fuel bad feeling between folk who are doing, in most cases a very demanding job.....I have far too much other stuff to worry about than whether I choose to care or not.....I care for my Mum because I love her and on good days feel like Seoc and on bad days feel like Dr Crippin it just goes with our territory.......Just to make you all smile we've had a bad few weeks with Mum (I use the royal we) but yesterday she seemed a little bit more with it until the Gas Man came to service the fire. We have known this Gas Man years (I went to school with him in the 60's) and she very proudly told I'm going to be a Nan again Jayne is having a baby. Poor Man looked at me and said that must be some kind of miracle. I laughed and said to Mum "I wish" she then retorted without any care in the world "well your tummy looks big enough" Any ego I might have had was very quickly deflated :D :D :D
Everyone is entitled to express a view here. There is no elite, everyone is equal.

Over the years I've cared for a total of nine carees from new born to very elderly. At one stage I had five family members entitled to highest DLA care living either with me or nearby.

At the time, my husband and I were self employed. The stress was enormous, so much so that my husband died suddenly of a massive heart attack, and I developed an extremely serious life threatening illness requiring major surgery. My consultant told me that caring without a break for over 25 years was probably a major factor. I should never care again. I've now been caring for 37 years.

Carers need to feel valued and supported. An elderly person reaching the end of life needs more and more help as they get older. Many will have a period at the end of their lives when they NEED round the clock care, which is simply more than one person can provide for a long period.

A carer may be juggling work and caring, may have other family members, may have their own health problems, may not be living with the caree, may be running both their home, and the carees home. At one stage I managed three homes. All these affect the ability to care for a parent.

The maximum amount of care at home which Social Services in my area will provide is 4 visits a day, about 2 hours. That leaves 22 hours unsupported.

In my own mum's situation, after a series of hospital admissions, she became increasingly disabled. Ultimately unable to walk, bed bound, needing two nurses to hoist her in and out of bed. After a period in hospital of five months, the hospital were proposing to send her back to her own house, entirely bed bound, using a catheter and wearing incontinence products in case she needed the toilet between carer visits. The prospect of sitting in her own mess for hours was the critical factor.

I couldn't live with mum - I had a family including a son with severe learning difficulties to care for and a business to run. Mum had to go somewhere, neither of us wanted her to go into a nursing home, but she had to go somewhere. She had been housebound for 30 years, despite serious disability. I'm pleased that with my support she managed to live at home for so long.

Everyone's situation is different. In your posts, you seem to me, rightly or wrongly, to disapprove of carers whose parents moving into residential care. That is what has upset me. Many sons and daughters have given up an awful lot to care for mum or dad, but there are limits to what one person can provide.

Your caring journey is not over yet. If you get ill, or your parent develops severe aggressive behaviour, one day residential care may be the only option for you too!
SaA - it's not the 'quiet' times when looking after someone with dementia that are a problem - far from it! They are, as you have said, the times when we actually get a fraction of our own lives back, and can spend time doing something for ourselves, like studying.

Not, it's the exact opposite times that I found the most trying and unbearable - when we actually have to interact with the person with dementia!

In an earlier post you mentioned that even with dementia, the person can be stimulated, or prompted, to recall memories and talk about things and relate to the world and be interested and engaged more than if they are simply left to stare at the wall etc. And it's doing THAT with them that I find so unutterably tedious!!!

Being alone with my MIL for more than about ten minutes with 'nothing else going on' except what I'm talking about is hellish. It's why I constantly resist the care home manager's suggestion that I simply 'visit' her, rather than do what I like to do, which is take her out for a drive, and possibly a cream tea etc etc. It's not just because I think that getting her out and about is a lot more interesting for her - more visually stimulating looking out at the countryside and so on - but it also gives me something to talk about (oh, look, Granny, another of those horrid wind turbines! etc etc) but it also means that I have more time out from talking to her at all, as I know she is quite happy looking around at the countryside. But having to constantly 'chat away' to her is gruelling - when my son comes with me, it's loads and loads easier as we more or less chat to each other, even when it's about family things, or my late husband and so on.

I appreciate not everyone would find talking to a very elderly person with dementia tedious in the extreme, but I do! I sometimes wonder how it would be if it had been my own mother not my MIL I was caring for, simply in terms of her personality. My mother was a very engaging and lively person, and loved literature and the arts and so on, whereas MIL is a lot less 'arty' (though far more sensible than my mum, and I was fine spending time with her before she got dementia, even if our conversations were never 'intellectual' in any way). But I suppose dementia in my mum would have drained her of all the interesting side to her I suspect, as it drains the minds of all it latches upon with its cancerous and destructive grip.

As I say, in the end it depends on what we ourselves, as carers, find an interesting way to pass our time, that probably determines just how boring or not it is to spend time with someone with dementia. I found 'baby-caring' incredibly tedious, but as soon as my son became a toddler, and his mental faculties started to really engage, and language developed, it was far, far more interesting! I could become his teacher, and that was great! :)
SaA - please please don't think 'we' are getting at you (not the royal we this time!!!). I think it is the message not the messanger etc.

I agree with SW that your attitude is laudable, and 'virtuous' in the right sense of the word (ie, not the prissy!).

'Acceptance' is often a very, very difficult thing to achieve. One of my most unfavourite sayings is 'What can't be cured must be endured' because my mantra personally is 'Problems exist to be solved'.

BUT what if the problem is 'insoluble' by its very nature? When my husband died, I too read all the grief-counselling books (well, not all of them, obviously!), and picked up the standard message of moving through the stages - anger/denial/bargaining/acceptance (not sure of the order except the last one!) - and I could never, ever tolerate the final one. And I still don't. Because the word 'acceptance' seems to me to mean 'agreement' - as if we AGREE with what we ACCEPT.

So I mentally swap 'acceptance' for something like 'endurance' perhaps, though there really isn't a word that I've yet discovered that means 'not getting unduly upset any more about stuff we can't change even though we don't agree with it and it shouldn't be happening in a fair universe which this one clearly isn't dammit'!!!

So, in terms of caring, I suspect the main difference of opinion between yourself and (some of but not all) others here is that if I may put it this way (if I'm getting it correct at all!), is that many of us here 'care under protest', and 'rage against it', rather than take the (opposing?) attitude that is exemplified in the saying 'when life hands you lemons, learn to make lemonade'.
Also, just wanted to say....

I sort of smiled wryly, SaA when you said that there was an 'elite' here that had a particular, ie, negative view of caring for the elderly (in particular), because when I joined around two years ago now it was the exact opposite!

I ran into a lot of flack from members then because I was so openly 'anti-caring', saying how much I didn't want to get 'landed' with my MIL, that I had to force myself to do it, that I had to have my 'smiley face' on when I was with her because I had to hide my true feelings, but didn't want to hurt her, how enraged and furious I was as the full 'prison' of caring descended on me and I just COULD NOT PUT MY MIL DOWN anywhere to get my own life back. Even now, just remembering how furious I was, makes me shiver.

I think, ironically, the whole 'tone' of the forum has changed immensely since then, and maybe, yes, it's now predominantly 'anti-caring' which must sound intensely hurtful to those who are caring out of true love and compassion and dedication and devotion.

I know, again using the 'children' example to illustrate this - how hurtful I find it even when I see those Warner Holiday adverts of retired people openly rejoicing that there are no children there, as if they are GLAD to be 'rid of a burden'.....when people like me are 'empty nesting' and counting the days for the university holidays to arrive (!!!).

I think, for myself, the kernel of why caring for the elderly is a 'negative' experience is not simply because I would far rather my MIL were like the other 91 y/o mum I know, who is mentally all there, living independently, fully participating in her family etc etc, but because I am not 'in control' of the situation.

There is absolutely nothing I can do about my MIL's remaining length of life. I simply have to 'shape' my own life around her continuing one.

We live in a society where we are expected to 'take control of our own destiny' and not being able to by circumstances is 'against the rules' (!!!).
Seoc an Aonaidh wrote:SheWolf, thanks for the lecture, as that's the way your post comes across to me, I don't see any of the empathy you suggest I should use. However, I will bear in mind what you say, and I'd be grateful if you and others would do the same. I haven't personally attacked anyone, yet I've been the subject of several attacks against me.
Seoc, it wasn't a lecture, just my opinion as to why some people may not like it when you encourage them to see the positive side. By the way, whether you're male , female or transgender has no bearing on how people view your words, although it's true that sometimes men can have a less emotional response to situations just due to the way the masculine brain is wired.

I'm sure we can agree to disagree.
I'm trying to think if there's been any positive side to having 'inherited' my MIL's care, but I don't think there is.

Because I'm religious, I guess the most positive aspect is thinking that both she and I are getting shot of some of our due purgatory time that I supose we are both in for after death......

That apart, I'm glad I'm able to give MIL a little bit of 'enjoyable time' when she is with me (I think she enjoys it). And, in a way, taking her out gives me a sort of 'ghostly reminder' of how things used to be between us before her mind went, which I did genuinely enjoy. She wasn't my mother, so I've never loved her, fond as I am of her, but I had a good, easy relationship with her, and was perfectly happy spending time with her when she visited.

Maybe the 'moral lessons' I'm supposed to be learning are patience and endurance and passivity and sacrifice. But I don't think I'm learning them sigh.
If you look at the top left of this page, Carers UK is all about "making life better for carers". I believe that most people would like to help their parents as thy get older, as a "thank you" for the care they were given as they were brought up. However, our caring role needs to be balanced against the rest of our lives. It's a case of balancing our needs and those of our carees. The government has introduced various schemes to support carers in their caring role, and their right to continue working, if they can, and if they want to.

Lots of us on the forum have managed without much support for a long time. As, we get older we get tired more easily, and may have our own health issues. Our partners may be ill, or have died. Our parents get older, more self focussed and more frail.

I wouldn't say that those of us here are actually anti-caring, I would say that we are struggling to care, struggling to keep the care/life balance. When we do, finally, try to find out how we can get more help and support so that we can continue our caring role, it's incredibly difficult to find out what we and our carees are entitled to. Then there can be a battle with Social Services and or the medical profession to actually receive what we are entitled to. At some point, there is a crisis which ultimately leads to residential care.
87 posts