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Hi - Carers UK Forum

Hi

Tell us a bit about yourself here.

Hi

Hello everyone,

I was caring for my mum and she died, now straight into caring for my dad. She needed care from me due to her illnesses but she was mentally all there so she was able to keep an eye on him and keep him relatively stable mentally. I claimed CA for her, but could just as well have claimed it for him.

I've not really grieved for my mum as I know that the buck stops with me in terms of my dad - I can't afford to think about the fact that my mum has died, in case it impacts on my ability to care for him, if that makes sense? He's taken my mum's death very hard. I've thrown myself into all the post-death admin regarding her and also the basic stuff like making sure he is eating enough and drinking enough water. Things are complicated by his mental health, but I do my best. He seems to be coping in some ways.

When my mum died I told the GP straight away and mentioned I am now caring for my dad, so that communication channel is open.

I'm aware my dad could be a lot worse than he is, so I'm thankful I'm not going through what so many carers are, but I'm concerned about what the future may bring. Looks like life suddenly got much more serious.
Hi Joe, welcome to the forum. It takes a long time to get over the death of a partner, or a parent. I've now lost all four parents and husband. It sounds like dad has dumped everything on you, so you become the "wife substitute". Not healthy for either of you.
Tell us a bit more about dad, age, disability/health issue. Do you have Power of Attorney? Live with dad?
most important of all, what is your own situation, are you able to work, married, kids?
If so, you will be feeling very torn by all the demands on you. We might be able to help, with a bit more info.
Thanks bowlingbun.

Financially I can just about scrape by. Emotionally is the harder part. It isn't going to be much fun going round three times a day and doing everything while he lies in bed staring at the wall. It will be getting the balance between having time for myself, having time for my responsibilities to him and having time for my other responsibilities I suppose. Some relatives might help a few hours a week or month, but I don't want him "backsliding" on those days - successfully pleading to stay in bed at mealtimes, or pleading not to have to eat dessert. I do need to find out about the Power of Attorney, I've already unearthed a couple of financial things he's neglected to do in the past couple of years. The Power of Attorney stuff I found is on some paperwork. Any advice or signposting is very welcome.
Is his GP aware that he is just "staring at the wall"? He needs professional help. The longer this goes on the longer it's going to take to get better.
How old is he?
Is it grief, or dementia? He can't give you power of attorney if he lacks mental capacity. Is he claiming any disability benefits?
Thanks bowlingbun. GP got psychiatric services outreach team involved. They agree his weight is very low and are getting a psychiatrist involved sometime this week. I rang up about an assessment for his needs by social services and the case was marked urgent by the lady on the phone, but she said there is no guarantee that it will stay at that status. I have got him to get out of bed and answer the door and actually have breakfast at the table for the last three days, instead of my using my key and taking it up to him in bed. He keeps saying he " won't be able to do it tomorrow " and I keep insisting he will. I have been putting cream into his soup and making him eat more cheese etc and giving him bigger portions than he wants - he makes a big fuss but always eats it all. Bit of a battle. Slowly he seems to have improved on last week but without me he would just fade away. When I ask him what he does all day in bed he says "I think". Very occasionally he will read a few pages of books I bring round. He is improving very marginally but same weight (very low). The doctor said weight gain lags the extra eating by a few days. He has a history of mental illness and delusions. Some of it is grieving, some of it is that he simply no longer has my mum there telling him to get out of bed and get on with living his life. He is very slightly better but I'm at breaking point. I haven't been round to get him out of bed this morning as I was too ill myself. I'm going round now to get him to answer the door and then give him lunch. I'm exhausted.
Then Social Services have a duty to care for him, and they MUST get on and do their assessment, and if necessary involve their Rapid Response Team or arrange emergency respite. YOU cannot be forced to care for him, although he's a relative.
Thinking need get him into respite ASAP for both your sakes?

Phone up SS first thing tom and say 'you can't cope' and 'need emergency respite'

Sad but true that who shouts loudest gets most...
This isn't all your responsibility. There is only so much you can take and YOU have lost your Mum too. You need some space to grieve as well.

I have been at breaking point myself caring for elderly parents. And a time has to come that you need outside help and a life of your own.

Keep putting pressure on social services for an assessment. And get some outside help in. Outside carers can help with the getting him up and making sure he eats and he might even be more compliant with them than he is for you. Ultimately sad as your Dad's current state is, it is not your fault and whatever you do you can't be responsible for his happiness. You can give whatever support you feel able to give and rely on outside help for the rest. His wellbeing can't be at the expense of your own.

Doesn't mean you stop caring, it just means you don't do it all. Now my Mum has outside help I do enjoy my time with her more, I used to absolutely dread & resent every moment.

Best of luck
As a bereaved parent, I have always felt it was my responsibility to teach my children to have a "healthy" attitude towards death, as part of life. Not the time to totally wallow in self pity. We still talk about my husband, much loved and sorely missed, but in a good way, sharing lots of happy memories. You are not failing dad, dad is failing you.
Copy of email sent to social services:

Thank you for the call just now.

My understanding is that you are now going to phone --GP Surgery-- and ask --GP name-- to visit my father. You will recommend to him, on the basis of our conversations today, that he invokes responsive services for two reasons:

1) based on the medical situation (underweight, not drinking enough water, tipping water down the sink due to fear of incontinence, not eating enough food, mobility issues, history of suicide attempt, previously being sectioned, previously being transferred from a psychiatric hospital to a general hospital when he stopped eating and drinking, delusions, etc)

and:

2) carer breakdown

My understanding is that either 

1) --GP name-- will have my father hospitalised immediately

or 

2) he will invoke the RAIT team, 

or 

3) nobody will do anything to ensure my father stays alive and well until I am contacted by the local social services team to discuss his case.

Please can you verify that I have understood correctly.