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Hi everyone, nervous newbie - Carers UK Forum

Hi everyone, nervous newbie

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hi everyone,
My name is Paul, currently trying to juggle caring for my mum with a full time job. Just needing some advice, support and help... looking forward to being able to share my thoughts, offer some advice and support if I can.
Hi Paul, welcome to the forum. No need to be nervous. Lots of us here are caring for elderly parents. I supported all four of our elderly parents through a range of illnesses. My mum was the last to pass away, in a nursing home, a year ago. I also have a son with severe learning difficulties, now aged 36. Juggling work and caring can be tremendously challenging. Would you like to tell us a bit more about mum? Are you getting any help from Social Services?
Hi Paul and welcome to the forum,
Lots of people here in the same situation. I care for my Mum too. We're all willing and able to share experience, help, advice, whatever you need. Give us some more info. How old is Mum? What are her health problems? What help, if any, do you have in place? What do you need to know? What are you struggling with? There are some real experts on this site who will willingly give you the 'been there, bought the biscuits' advice, and many more willing to extend a helping, although virtual, hand. Ask and you shall receive!
Elaine
Thanks for the lovely responses, my mum is 61 and has complex mental health problems. They vary from ocd to agoraphobia and many more things. As a family we never asked for help and my mum has flown under the radar and never got any help, we have arranged stuff in the past but she refuses to go or have anyone in the house. My mum and dad split up recently after 40 years of being married which has set her back massively, i also care for my partner who has fibromyalgia, my issues at present are coming from my employer. They are fully aware of my circumstances but still mark me as being off when last minute things come up with my mum, i have used all my annual leave to try and reduce the impact on work. My frustration comes from the employer not being flexible with me, i have booked some time off as unpaid leave but recently made them aware that i need time of in June as my mum is going into hospital for an operation, the companies take on it is that it is longer than 5 weeks away so i have adequate time to arrange care for her. I thought i was doing the right thing trging tk make them aware, in hindsight i should have waited until the first week in June and informed them then. It just feels like they are being difficult on purpose and not understanding my situation.
Hmm, I'm wondering whether your frustration is actually with your mother???!!!

Looking after someone with MH is exhausting, frustrating and tiring - and can rapidly run our stock of sympathy right, right down!

Was that why your dad left, do you think? People with MH can be 'bottomless pits of need' to their family (and anyone else who goes near them.)

Why does she refuse outside help? Does she think that if she lets 'someone else' in, that you will scarper over the hills and abandon her? Or does it just suit her to have you dancing around her endlessly?

MH can make sufferers self-absorbed and utterly unappreciative of what is being done for them.

Now that your dad has 'escaped' she may well try to 'lasso you in tighter' and that will be even more stressful for you.

The only way forward for you sounds like the application of not 'tough love' (which can be too harsh!) but 'firm love'. You make it clear to her that the 'price' of having you pay as much attention to her as you do is ONLY if she accepts outside help, and goes to her appointments. Otherwise you 'withdraw' your presence and your support.

You will need to set those boundaries and KEEP them. She'll do everything in her box of tricks to put immense emotional pressure on your to get you back 'in line' which is why you have to discuss with your wife just what you are prepared to do for your mum, and what you are not, and what is the most essential for her to do.

Set out your stall - 'mum, I'm only coming in tomorrow IF it's to take you to your appointment' (or whatever!) - and then you MUST follow through on it.

please please please remember that just like when we have to be 'strict' with a weeping toddler who just doesn't want to eat their greens, yet still wants their after dinner sweets, we MUST 'stick to our guns' on the tradeoff.

In the end ,that will help your mum in real terms. Doing what she wants now only 'enables' her MH to manifest merrily away. Pandering to her MH fears is not helping her. The aim is for her to improve, not sink into torment and unhappiness.

She MUST make some degree of effort to address her problems, if she is to deserve your efforts to help and support her.
Quite honestly, I don't see why you have to take any time off because mum is going to have an operation. There are services available, free of charge, for anyone just out of hospital. As an outsider, it sounds like mum just expects everyone to dance round her to her tune, and the more you do this, the more she expects. I've had seven operations, including some pretty major ones.
With regard to your employer, they have a duty to make "reasonable adjustments" for you, as you are classed as being "disabled by association", and what they are doing could leave them open to a case of constructive dismissal, tribunal, and massive compensation!
Ring the Carers UK helpline for more information.
Thanks guys for your responses, I should have added that my job involves looking after people in residential care and my background is in Counselling. All the points raised I have reflected on in the past and can honestly say that my mum has structure, boundaries and I am very lucky to be aware of how carers can be manipulated. I think the reason why help wasn't sought over the years was partly in that my mums condition was hidden, maybe due to the fact my dad was embarrassed and the stigma that comes from having the crazy woman who lives in the house down the street, my apologies if that comes across as being offensive. I think another thing is my mums capacity, at times you wouldn't question it and others I scares you. At present I am accessing help and trying to get her assessed, I have explained this to my employer and asked that they try and support me and I will do my upmost to lesson the impact my mum I having on my work and taking time off. I have requested flexible working and used my annual leave to cover as much as possible. Its just like this morning I asked my manager why they had refused the unpaid leave i had requested, their answer was basically that I'm not special and why should I get more leave than other staff. As I explained in not special but I do care for my mum, they then just went on about only allowing me a reasonable amount of time off to deal with my mum, it is just a frustrating situation.
It is a very tough call. Good luck with it. In your line of work, a skilled and caring employee like you is a real asset, and one solution that occurs to me - may be unrealistic, maybe not - is to find a better, more sympathetic, employer.
I'm appalled that your employer is so unsympathetic, given your occupation.