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Coping with caring - Carers UK Forum

Coping with caring

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
So good to read these comments and realize I am not alone.

I had a successful career, home, partner and a happy life in the US, but with covid and my parents deteriorating health I decided to come back to the UK to try and support them

I have never been so miserable in my life. Totally overwhelmed and exhausted. Mum is very sweet - she has alzheimers level 2, but loves having me here - however she behaves like a five year old. Always needing attention and although we have good conversations she will forget everything the next day. She is also hard of hearing which makes it even more difficult. And cannot walk very far. Plus a need to check I am in the house every few hours in the night I don't get much rest.

My dad on the other hand is impossible. He is angry, nasty, swearing and cursing at me all day. He is extremely unwell - he will be having high risk surgery in a few weeks - but I cannot do anything right. He does not know the words please and thank you and I truly think he believes it is my duty to serve him. I have been sleeping on the floor for six months and living out of a suitcase. I have a brother in Yorkshire who says he is too busy working so he can't come down and help. And thinks I am exaggerating when I tell him I need help. I am also not receiving any support financially and rapidly getting into debt. I have applied for Attendance Allowance for my father but until that is cleared I cannot apply for carers allowance.

It's not the finances that are bothering me - it is mainly my health. I feel as though I am about to snap - there is so much anger and hurt in me. I have never experienced such anger. I am usually a positive, happy person, but having a dad who seems to take pleasure in criticizing every thing I do is destroying me. I am trying to ignore his comments but after 16 weeks of this I feel emotionally vulnerable. I don't have a support group or friends in this country as I have lived abroad for 20 years. So I have been isolating with just two people in their late 80's and 90's for months. I go for long walks when I can to clear my head - but coming from a sunny climate the continual rain and grey weather here is not helping my mental stability.

Just being able to vent here is helping. I can zoom with friends - but because of the time difference (8 hours) I am awake late at night trying to join zoom groups with my friends at 2 or 3am. No opportunity to meet people here due to covid. I am very careful as both parents have to shelter.

I am at a loss - and have to admit - am not proud of myself writing the above. Don't like that I am now also shouting (something I haven't done in over thirty years) but feel extremely on edge. I reached out to social care the other day and they are coming to speak with my father. When I told my father he was furious.

I don't really expect any answers - the situation is what it is and I choose and am still choosing to be here despite everything. I could leave tomorrow - especially as I have been offered the vaccine at home and would have the second one three weeks later. Here I don't seem to be able to even get that sorted though I have written to the doctor explaining my situation. Experiencing literal waves of exhaustion where my body feels dead.

Like I said - I don't need answers - this is my choosing, just needed to vent. And it may help someone else to hear my story.

Linda
Hi Linda,
I’m not surprised you are struggling, what a difficult situation. Caring isn’t easy at the best of times and lack of sleep makes everything feel worse.
Then factor in a change of country, your Dad’s behaviour and Covid!!

Good you are getting out for long walks - it’s nearly spring - so hopefully weather will improve soon!

Carers Uk run cuppa for carers sessions online weekly which would be a good way to talk to other cares. Will add link later.

Has your Dad always been awkward? Did your Mum always run around after him? I think it’s worth checking his pain meds are still working as pain affects mood. Also is your Mum disturbing him as well when she gets up to check on you? If he is anxious about his op, anxiety meds might help too. It’s worth asking his GP to review these things.

Also talk to the GP about your Mum waking up a lot. It might be worth giving her an item of your used clothing to take to bed. Smelling your scent may reassure her and remove the need for her to check on you.

Melly1
I really don't want to make matters worse for you, but have you checked that you are definitely eligible for carer's allowance? I believe that you have to have been resident in the UK for two out of the three previous years to claim (although would be more than happy to be corrected on this).

Full details can be found on the Government website at www.gov.uk.
Hi Linda

I really feel for you. I know exactly how you’re feeling - been there, doing that. You have cheered me up in fact as I’m luckier than you - I only have one parent to deal with although she’s somewhere between your mother and father. And, at least my sister came to help for a couple of weeks recently. It’s interesting how rarely brothers are prepared to help out in matters like this. Don’t worry he’ll soon be down when it comes to will reading time!

When I was reading about your father, my thoughts were that he’s railing against the fact he’s failing and it’s coming out as anger. This doesn’t help much but being aware of what’s behind all this aggression might make you feel slightly better about his behaviour.

Like you, I am suffering from extreme anger/irritability. I am also depressed as I have no life but caring for my mother. I’m 67, she’s 93. I had two dogs and would take them out walking every day but sadly both of them died (of old age) last month. I’m looking for another dog but fear that as mum deteriorates I won’t be able to look after a puppy as well. So I am trapped until mum passes and can’t see any future for myself after that.

We should both get ourselves on medication. I keep putting off talking to my doctor as I feel that she’ll try me on CBT online rather than give me antidepressants. I’ve tried CBT but frankly it does absolutely nothing for me and even less to resolve my situation. I need something to calm me down before I blow a fuse. I know antidepressants won’t cure anything either but at least I won’t be going around in a state of high agitation/anger.

I’ve also just ordered a book: The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring: How to Cope with the Emotional and Practical Aspects of Caring for Someone.
Hoping it might help. As you said, you feel like a selfish pig sometimes - getting annoyed at these poor people who can’t help it.

Anyway I hope this helps you - you are not alone!

Gx
Welcome Linda. Is your partner here with you?
LINDA - I'm so sorry for what you are going through. Carry on venting. It really does help. I've got my own thread on here and come on at random times and vent. I know no one can wave a magic wand and make it all good but it's nice to get it all out. I feel for you re: shouting and getting angry, it's not in my nature but constant running around after people turns you into a monster at times. I hate myself after I've blown a fuse but I can't help it!

PENNIE - you are right but I don't know if that applies to all benefits. Linda has come back to the UK to look after her parents so it may be allowed. There's certain benefits where you can piggy back off someone who is a British citizen and this might be one of them. Best to contact your closest Citizens Advice Bureau as they will either say yes or no and you know where you stand.

MRSGRUMPY - omg! I agree with a lot of what you are saying as I feel the same most of the time. I went for anti-depressants from the GP before lockdown but it was sort of embarrassing asking for them. It made me feel so awkward with the GP giving me a funny look as if to say get a bloody grip! Oh and I am a son and I do all the caring. My sister is completely useless, she's not even been to see Mum in like 4 years and she literally lives down the road. I bet that cow will be the first one to hunt for her share from the will when Mum eventually passes.

Wishing you all a peaceful Saturday evening.
Sorry ONTHEVERGE
I should not have generalised about men not being prepared to help with the caring. Although more often that not it is one sibling who gets landed with the job. Mother fixed that one by moving in with me 16 years ago! My sisters would help but one lives 500 miles away and the other lives in Tenerife.

And yes, a quick vent on here from time to time does help.

Gx
Linda, your situation just isn't acceptable, sleeping on the floor, no respect and no privacy! Why are you doing this? Has dad always treated you like dirt? He's never going to get better, only worse. Do they own or rent their home? Have over £46,000 in savings?