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Help with caring for mum while I'm away - Carers UK Forum

Help with caring for mum while I'm away

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Hi I have I have been caring for my mum since Sep 16 ( not long really ) my question is I want to book a family holiday with my husband & children so will need to arrange cares to care for mum where do I go about getting cares ? and do I have to pay for this out of my cares allowance ? Thanks for any advice Annette
Hello Annette and welcome to the forum.
Annettec_1701 wrote:Hi I have I have been caring for my mum since Sep 16 ( not long really ) my question is I want to book a family holiday with my husband & children so will need to arrange cares to care for mum where do I go about getting cares ? and do I have to pay for this out of my cares allowance ? Thanks for any advice Annette
Partly depends on what's wrong with your Mum - have you had a Carer's Assessment and has Mum has a Needs Assessment from your local Adult Social Services Team ? You can find out more about both by going to the red 'Help and Advice' tab at the top of the page and then clicking on 'Practical Support' where you'll find the Carers UK fact sheets on both.

How much 'respite' care will cost depends on how much savings Mum has and what kind of care, how many care assistants are required etc - if she has over £23,500 then she will have to pay in full, under that and the LA will make a contribution (if well below the threshold then they might pay the cost in full) - but in any case the cost doesn't come out of your Carers Allowance. Before Social Services agree they will do a financial assessment based on Mum's savings and income.
Depending on circumstances, both practical and financial, you may wish to consider what my friend does when she wants a break from her dad (who lives with her). She basically hires a 'replacement' for herself from her local care agency, to come and live in during her holiday, and do for her dad what she does for him. She finds it easier than trying to get him to move into a respite home, less unsettling for him, and it also means the house is 'looked after' while she's away. Her dad 'notices' (he has dementia) that it's not her doing the looking after, but is fairly 'placid' about it, though she says he will be a bit more 'unsettled' after she returns for a few days.

The cost she says is no worse just about than booking him into a (self-funded) respite home. Care homes cost a hundred pounds a day (this is for elderly, with dementia, but no real nursing needs other than 'being looked after 24x7) at least, if not more, and this is the same roughly for a live-in carer. She has to provide food, and some 'pocket money' I think. The carer has to have some time off as well (or she'd probably go insane!)

You may feel this is not appropriate, or affordable, but I wanted to point it out to you as an option.

Hope you have a lovely holiday!
Definitely get in touch with Social Services and ask for a Needs Assessment for mum and a Carers Assessment for you. Can I ask what is the matter with mum? Does she needs lots of physical help, or more watching over and supporting? Your own family must come first.
Hi sorry for the delay in responding having a nightmare with mum cannot do anything right what ever I do is not enough I go at 8.30 Monday/Friday after school run do what ever mum needs personal care house work sit and have a chat I then go home and do my own things pick the kids up at 3.30!and go back while 5.30/6pm with the kids when it comes to me leaving she doesn't want me to go says I haven't stayed long and I should as am getting paid for looking after her it makes me so cross it's not about the money am greatful for the cares allowance as I could not possibly get a job with mum at the min she ringing me at all hrs of the night telling me she not well she lonley she needs me am struggling this wk with it all x any back to ur question mum as spinal stenosis which affects her mobility also an irregular heart beat and a none cancerous tumour in her ear which affects her hearing and Balance x I haven't even told her we have booked a holiday yet she will never let me hear the end of it sorry for the rant
Annette, what happened last September? Was mum managing on her own? It sounds like she's got very "needy" in the last few months, and sadly, is bound to just get worse and worse from here on, barring miracles. From now on, try to think of your role not as care provider, but care manager.

What does mum need to be done? What does she want you to do - very different!

As to saying you are getting paid to care for her, does she realise what a pittance CA is? You can still qualify for CA and have other help!
Sit down with your husband and work out the amount of time (if any) you want to spend caring for mum, and when that will be. I would suggest that after school time should be entirely devoted to your children, they need you more than mum does.
Then, during the course of a few days, write down absolutely everything you do for mum and the jobs you hate the most or wind you up most. These are the things to tackle first. Why do YOU have to do them.
If she needs housework done, she can have a cleaner.
If she needs someone to help her get up dressed, etc. it doesn't have to be you.
If she needs shopping done, she can do it online.
If mum is ringing you all hours of the day and night, put your answerphone on, and leave it on. (Does mum have a Lifeline pendant to call for help if she needs it?)

Assuming mum was able to care for herself until September, but now needs you to do lots for her, how much longer, realistically, will she be able to live at home. My mum steadfastly refused to have other carers in the house when I was well. However, when I was too ill after major surgery, it suddenly dawned on her, either she had carers in or went into residential care. Carers were then accepted!

Many of our carees become very self focussed, so don't expect thanks or understanding or support for you to go on holiday, because it won't happen (or if it does, you are very lucky). The only power mum has over you is the power you let her have.
You have every right to go on holiday, don't cancel it. Make it clear that it's time your children came first and you all need a break. If you love her enough to care 50 weeks a year, she should love you enough to let you have 2 weeks off. Yes, there will be a power struggle, she will try everything to get you to do what she wants. This is where your husband can really help. He needs to support you and tell her that there are limits to what you can do when she has a young family of her own.
Make sure you arrange your Carers Assessment as soon as possible now.
Hi thanks for your advice mum is 87 and up to Sep was very indipendant never really asked much of me other than take her shopping n out for lunch etc I think she thinks because I receive CA that I should be at her beck n call but even when I go after school for two hrs it's not enough soon as I say right shall I get u setteld in bed mum she like well your not going are you ? You haven't stayed long I don't want to go to bed so I say ok shall I leave you down here then then she will say no I don't want to go up on my own and I don't want to go to bed now I cannot win by 6pm my kids are climbing the walls don't get me wrong there not baby's there 16 and 13 but they go with me every day mon/Friday at the wkend a I go once a day because my daughter plays football and I want to be with my family my mum sees that as a major insult and we don't care about her and once again I do get paid for it .. I have contact someone about my mum having an assessment but still waiting to here from them ? Will they be able to help me with getting help at wkend sand while am away thanks so much for your listening ear x
Er, does your mum realise that Carers Allowance is £62.10 a week, and you only get it if you put in 35 hours of care?

That's LESS than TWO POUNDS AN HOUR!!!!!!

Obviously your mum does NOT realise that.

But then, she isn't going to, alas.

I'm glad that she was so robustly independent up until so recently, as at least you have that to compare her current behaviour with. BUT, what happened in September? Why has she gone from 'independent' to 'totally clingy'?

I ask because although it seems like a drastic change in her attitude/behaviour, changes may have been building up for some time, and only because 'visible' in September. If so, this is exactly what happened to my MIL. Up until three years ago (in September ironically!), she was totally independent and self-reliant, living perfectly competently in her flat in Glasgow, etc etc. She would visit regularly, and although was getting 'older' was still pretty damn good. Then, suddenly, it seemed to me, I got a phone call telling me she couldn't face another winter....

Well, that seemed not 'unreasonable' - getting to the shops in wintry Glasgow isn't much fun at any age!, even with buses and taxis etc. BUT, I 'rushed' up to her, and realised that actually, her 'getting older' was really more than that. She was 'giving up' so to speak. So I went into 'let's move you down south' project....trying to find a flat near me for her to rent, etc etc. While she just about moved in with me.... (I'm widowed)

It was only then that I realised that what was happening was that dementia had been setting in, and was now accelerating. She became increasingly 'emotionally dependent' on me. I managed to 'take her home' a few times, for a bare fortnight at a time, but that was when I realised I'd become her carer....she simply could not operate without me. She 'collapsed' on me. She became less and less able to do anything for herself, not because she was physically incapable, but because she was mentally incapable. She 'wouldn't' make herself a cup of tea, 'wouldn't' fix her own G and T, that kind of thing. I had to 'wait on her' hand and foot.

And she wanted to be with me just about all the time.....

I suspect, you know, that this might be what is happening to your mum. He mind may be starting to go. My MIL had absolutely NO idea of how much stress this put on me. Just driving 400 miles up and down to Glasgow (and up and down and up and down), and never a word of thanks or appreciation. She could say 'thank you' as she always did when I gave her a cup of tea, but realising the 'bigger picture' of what I was doing for her just never occurred to her.

It sounds, you know, very similar to your mum. She just 'hasn't a clue' of what you do, how much of your life you are sacrificing and dedicating and devoting to you. She's become, as yes, so often happens, even sometimes without dementia in the mix, entirely 'self-focussed'. In the end, 'no one else' exists in her mind except herself.....

I call this 'elderly toddler' - it's like it's just 'me me me' all the time! They can't 'help it' any more than a toddler can. BUT, you can't tolerate it. That's the point I'm making. No matter what they want (and she will want ALL of you - in the end, her 'ideal' I suspect would be for you to move in with her and look after her totally, abandoning everyone else because they 'dont' matter' in comparison with her - they don't even exist.....)

So, the 'moral of this message' (!!!) is that in the end, you have to decide what YOU will do for her (a decision taken with your husband) and then ONLY do that. Please do understand, hard though it is, that the person who was once your mum is 'disappearing' - she's becoming this 'elderly toddler' who only wants what they want.

She'll never appreciate you, never say thank you, never say 'Darling, you're doing far too much for me! Off you go and have a lovely time with your children, and do book that holiday, you SO deserve it!'.....any more than a toddler would say 'Mummy, you do SO much for me, and play with me SO nicely, and so now it's time for you t have some time to yourself and go out for the evening and have fun!'.....

It's sad, it's depressing (ie, that they have become like that), but it has to be managed, and, as the others are warning here, alas, it will only get worse.

From now on, it's YOU that has to 'call the shots', and accept that from now on, your mum will never say 'thank you'.....because she no longer can.
I know it's difficult, but try to think of this latest development as being the penalty mum is paying for living too long, she is showing the classic symptoms of the "very elderly" defined as those over 85. My husband died when he was 58.
This year's holiday may be the last you ever have with all your family. Very soon your kids will have flown the nest so it's really important that this year you go away together. Either mum has someone else caring for her or she has respite care in a nursing home.
This would be a good time to think about mum's finances. Does she own her own home? Does she have more than about £23,000 in savings? Where you go from here will depend largely on these two issues. Perhaps a third might be if you would like to keep mum's home and have it for yourselves one day?
I agree with BB - family holidays are precious always, and especially as the children get closer to flying the nest. So go ahead and book, if you haven't already. How far ahead is it? eg, upcoming half term, or Easter, summer half term or summer hols (not much other choice!!!!)

You will, alas, have to brace yourself for your mum's 'displeasure'! BUT, that is all part of the 'New Deal' you are now going to have to come up with in respect of her care and her future.

You will have to accept - even if you hate it, alas, and are hurt by it! - that for the rest of her life now she will have only one priority, which is to get you to herself, all the time.

Some of this, you know, may (in addition to 'elderly toddler syndrome'!) be fear. Fear not only that she is getting older and more infirm herself, but that she will see less and less of you. Fear of 'abandonment'.

If you read the posts here in general, you'll lfind that it is all too common for parents to 'kick off' when their carer-children try and 'bunk off' (!) for any reason at all. BUT, also pretty common, thankfully, is that often carers report that 'actually, Mum enjoyed that respite break in the care home while we went on holiday!' or 'Dad actually enjoys the day centre now'....etc etc. One member says her mum got quite chummy with her care-workers and looked forward to them coming in.

Also, if you 'go and come back' it reassures them that any 'loss' of you doesn't mean 'for ever' - that yes, you do go home/off, but then yes, you do come back to them. (That's definitely something toddlers learn eventually!)

But, that lesson isn't always learnt, and there are some parents who either mentally cannot (because dementia takes away their sense of time and 'reality') or will not (because they are selfish inherently!), be anything other than hideously grudging and uncooperative about any 'dereliction of duty' as they see it (bunking off!).

That's where you have to toughen up. You must not, alas, expect any 'blessing' from your mum I that case. Expect accusations and complaints before hand, and 'reprisals' and 'sulking' afterwards - oh, an expect 'sudden emergencies' just before you leave for the airport....that's very common. It's to stop you going....