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Another Newbie - Carers UK Forum

Another Newbie

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Hello, I am 54 & caring for my 84 year old husband, we have been married for 32 years, but I have lived with him since I was 17. He has copd & very poor mobility. For the last 7 months I have also had my 81 year old Mum living with us in our home. mum has had two strokes & is confined to a wheelchair, she has no use of her right hand side. We have two carers , four times a day to wash and change mum, I do everything else for her and my husband. I made the mistake in not looking at this forum before having mum to live with us!! It was really my husband's decision to have mum live with us, although I did want to help her and she couldn't live alone anymore, She is a lovely lady and has had a very hard life with horrible husband and deserves better than she has had, she never moans. My husband moans constantly and is very hard work. Anyway I decided I would try & look after Mum for a year, but I think that will be enough, I want to have some life back. I really don't want to do anything until after Xmas, but the question is, how do I do it? My Mum has said if I get fed up with her to tell her, but I want to handle this right. Mum has to contribute to pay for carers but she doesn't own any property or have much in the way of savings. Any advice welcome, thank you
Welcome to the forum. Can I ask for a bit more information before making suggestions? Are they both receiving Attendance Allowance? Mentally OK? Do you have Power of Attorney for both of then? Do either of them recognise how hard you are working, or do you feel taken for granted? When did you last have time off? A holiday away from it all?
Hmm , sounds like it's your mum who deserves your care more than your husband (if you say he is moaning and difficult and she is good as gold and has had a wretched life....)

Just a thought!
Thank you both for reading & replying, Yes comment about Mum deserving care more than Husband is spot on but wouldn't he be more difficult to get rid of!!!! Seriously I have thought about divorcing him but I would never be able to leave him & he would be useless on his own. Both do get A.A & I get carers allowance for husband, but don't have POA for either, have forms for Mum but I manage her finances very well, she gives us a reasonable amount to cover her food,& she has no bills other than contribution to care. My Husband would never have a POA, he can be a bit odd about me wanting his money, as in he thinks I'm trying to get his money, then next day say how lovely I am & worth my weight in gold. He is fairly well off, has 3 children from 2 other marriages and apart from our house which is owned jointly and I get when he dies, he has split everything else 4 ways between me & his 3 kids, he has only done this recently after much argument because he thought 3 ways between his children was fair! Mum has no mental health probs, Husband gets confused & is odd sometimes but some of that is medication. I do still work 6am-9am 3 days a week, this is good as it gets me out, but means 4.15am start, other days 6am, but very little time for me, one night away this year, so much trouble to arrange. Obviously Husbands 3 kids no help whatsoever, told by husband its my job to look after him & my Mum, can't get him to understand that means his kids should help with him? I have 3 brothers, 1 did have Mum to stay for a week, which was great, he arranged all equipment etc & paid for carer for the week, other two useless. Thanks again
It's good that you've got some degree of handle on the financial aspects of your situation, but I do think you should see a solicitor yourself, on your OWN behalf, quite separate from any your husband uses (because of potential conflict of interests).

I think you need to map out clearly two possible scenarios (in fact ,sadly, three, see below).

1. What will happen to me financially if my husband predeceases me? PRECISELY how much money will I be left to live on? That has to include factors like, am I GUARENTEED to inherit the property I live in (is it mortgage free?), what happens to my husband's pension after he dies (NB - You really, really need to see the documentation of his divorce settlements from previous wives, to ensure THEY do not have any legal claim on either property or pension after he dies!). You also need to get legal advice on whether, if his remaining assets/savings are equally split four ways (ie, his three children and you) whether YOU, as his widow, are actually entitled legally to any more than a quarter (this MIGHT apply, as from what I understand, the Family Dependents Act of something like 1975 makes allowance that a wife left insufficient funds to live on can claim 'more' from the estate if money has been left 'elsewhere'. I'm afraid, scary as the thought is, you also have to bear in mind that until and unless your husband is deemed to have lost legal capacity (ie, if dementia gets a grip to a certain level), he is perfectly free to write another will, quite different from the one he currently has! You really need to safeguard your own position as much, much as is legally possible. Which might mean the following:

2. What would happen if you divorce him now? How much of his estate can you claim on, and can he counter-claim (eg, any work pension you may be paying into). Could he 'contest' say, by handing on 'his own' property to his children 'now' in order to take it out of estate subject to a divorce settlement.

3. What would happen if YOU predecease him (unlikely, but people, sadly, go under busses every day!). Would he inherit your estate outright (I take it you don't have children with him, or any other spouse?), including, say, a widower's share of your work pension. Although you'll be out of the picture, obviously, what would happen to your mum, if she outlives you? Where would she live, what funds would she have, etc etc. Does YOUR will reflect that you might well, say, prefer to have HER inherit from you, rather than your husband?

I know it's both depressing and scary to think along the lines of such disruption, whether by death or divorce, but in the end you MUST ensure you are as 'financially safe as the law allows' you to be. You do NOT want to be at the 'mercy' of your husband. Yes, it would be great if, say, you, as his widow (as demographically you are likely to be, given the generation age gap - it's quite unusual for a husband to be younger than his own mother-in-law after all!) had a financially secure future, but I would not 'trust' him to ensure that.....it is, sadly, one of the reasons divorce can at least ensure you get 'something now' rather than 'far less that I'd imagined later'....
Linda, when I was in a very diffitcult position some years ago, on the verge of cracking up under the weight of expectations when I was recently bereaved and disabled, I had counselling. For once, it looked at ME and what I needed - less work - and in the weeks that followed the counsellor gave me back my feeling of self worth and control over my situation.
On the forum, there are a few things which crop up regularly
    That NEEDS are more important than wants
      That the only power anyone has over you is the power that you let them have
        That we get the treatment we put up with.

        With this in mind, no one is in a position to do anything if you went away for the day, a weekend, or a week.
        Either they accept other care at home, or in residential care, or they go without.
        You CANNOT BE FORCED to care.

        So think about what you hate doing most, and get someone else to do it instead. Has your husband had a Needs Assessment from Social Services? If you have oer £46,000 between you, he would be "self funding" anyhow, so you can just organise care yourself. Ideally the same company that care for mum.
        Don't allow yourself to be trapped in a cage. For 30 years I helped my mum a lot, then the inlaws and dad became ill. For a while all four, plus our brain damaged son, were entitled to highest DLA Care!

        Now all the parents and my husband are dead. I'm 65 and widowed. I realised too late that I'd always been trying to help others have what they wanted, achieve their dreams. My very modest dreams (like going away to the West Country) were always dismissed by others "more important" things. I have many regrets.

        I learned too late that the best way of dealing with disabled relatives is to become a care "manager" rather than provider. Family always want another family member to provide care, they will never EVER willingly agree to outside carers.

        Introducing outside care is often easiest if the carer starts as a "domestic" then you can "just pop out to buy..." Gradually these popping out periods can get longer. In the meantime, do you have a tumble dryer or washer dryer? A dishwasher? A gardener? Look at every job and think if it could be avoided altogether, like filling in flower borders or changing a hedge that needs cutting for a fence. Can someone else do it? Things like cleaning.
        Does your husband give you an allowance for all the care you provide? You deserve recognition for the care you give him, his money should go in his lifetime to the people caring for him, if he needs it!
        I am financially independent of my husband, I have my own pension & am fortunate to own another property, so although I think my Husband's will to be a bit unfair, I have given up trying to reason with him. I will make sure that my will is up to date, that is something I keep putting off, so timely reminder. I wouldn't divorce my Husband even if it would make me better off, I would still look after him, if we weren't together, when we first were married we had some very happy years and although he is bad tempered, moody & very hard work I have been with him since I was 17, I will stick it out if possible. What I really need is advice about how to find Mum a nursing home, would it have to be in the same county that we live in? I'm wondering if possible to get her nearer my brothers so they would have more chance of visiting her, otherwise that will just be me. Do I just tell social worker I can't cope anymore or what? Also how long would it take to be sorted out?
        In response to questions about looking after house/garden, I enjoy doing those things, gives me a bit of time on my own, also I get really fed up with carers,( the ones we have are wonderful) district nurses, etc coming in all the time I really couldn't face anybody else. It doesn't really feel like a home to me here, just a select rest home for two.
        Really good to hear that there are lots of positive things too. So if mum is the one who needs to go, lets deal with a few basic things.
        Does she have over £23,000 or thereabouts in savings? If so, the local authority will class her as self funding and she will have to pay all her care fees until her savings fall below this amount. This is why it's vital that she pays you for any care you provide to reduce her savings, because realistically, if she goes into care you can wave goodbye to any inheritance above £23,000.
        However, as you are financially secure, that may not be a critical issue.
        Next, you need to work out what sort of care home she needs. It will have to be a NURSING home, which have a nurse on duty 24/7 and staff who can provide the level of care she needs. (Cheaper "care" homes won't normally care for someone who can't get themselves up and about, as a very rough guide).
        If mum's money is likely to run out,maybe fees will be £1,000 a week, before she dies, then make sure the home will take Social Services funded patients. This is vital.
        Where the home should be is up to mum if she is self funding. If not, then it will be a shortlist of LA funded patients. If she has under the limit, once a financial assessment has been done by an LA, once they say how much they will contribute towards her care, then that funding should go with her wherever she wants to live.
        This is a VERY rough guide to start you off, Carers UK has a brilliant but busy helpline who give the very best advice. Email them and they'll usually get back to you within a week.
        It's excellent you have your own property and pension, that makes your position a lot more secure. Checking your will is up to date and reflects what you want to happen to your estate, including, of course, the thought that if you predecease your mother, or, if she dies, and, say, your estate passes to your husband, and he then leaves it to his children, is that actually what you want to happen to it (ie, to add to your stepchildren's estates)?? No need, obviously, to say here what you want, only that you think through the implications. (Helped by a solicitor who can point out all the things we tend not to think about!) (They've usually seen it all before!)

        Your resolve to stick with your husband is admirable, though personaly I still think it's your mum who deserves more consideration (and I don't often say that). Linda, I'll be frank - (and the mods may well delete this because of it) - but because your married when you were 17, to a man a generation older than you, married before with children ,and he was already 47 when you married him, I would say, even just off the top of my head, that that is something a psychologist would find, well, let's just say 'interesting'!

        I know that there are those who are defenders of 'April December' marriages, and maybe, yes, they are defendible, and who am I to question what others think unremarkable, but I will simply say that it could be worth your while examining WHY you chose a man, at such a young age, who was SO much older than you, and whether that has had any bearing on your emotional state since, and still ongoing.

        OK, I've said my piece, and I'm sure, since you've spent thirty years with him, that I am not the first person to think 'gosh, that's unusual, I wonder what made that happen' (and yes, there are 'issues' to put it bluntly around a man of 47 marrying a young teenage girl - 'irresponsible' might be one word for it, I have to say!) (or possibly just 'selfish'?????)

        I can see there's an argument for saying I'm stepping WAY out of line here with even mentioning that, but since you have the rest of your life to consider how best to spend it, I would still say to you, as I would wish to say to anyone in your situation (and in fact, a friend of my mother's was married to a woman thirty years his junior - it happens - and he was a VERY nice man!), that the sheer age gap must surely indicate warranting a case for you to get counselling about the decision you made so long ago, that is still so strongly influencing you now, and the decisions you are making now.

        Wishing you well in an unusual situation, apols if I offend, but alas, I suspect I'm only saying what others have always 'wondered' about the choice you made, so long ago, when you were so, so, painfully young.....and about the man who let you make that choice....

        Kind regards ,and I'll probably bow out of this discussion now, since anything else I could contribute would be mere speculation anyway. Plus the mods will probably delete it as inappropriate, which arguably it is.

        PS - personally I think life is too short to 'waste' it on difficult people!!!! But there you go, that's me, not you. And we all choose what we want to do with our lives. Hope things get sorted for your mum, and she is happy with the decision you make about her future.
        Hi Linda
        I was at a legal session run by our local careers org the other day.
        One key bit of advice is that as soon as one main or sole beneficiary of another's will looks likely to need paid Care ( assuming your Will currently benefits your husband) then you need to remove or reduce what his left to him. The basis is that if by chance you should die first, if he inherits your property and money then that would go to pay his Care, ultimately being taken by the council. If you change your Will for it to go to other beneficiaries you choose, it can't be taken to pay his care. This isnt seen as purposeful by the councils, as its not his money, its yours. If he were to give away his money or property at this stage then they could argue it was done to deprive them.