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New to the forum need advice - Carers UK Forum

New to the forum need advice

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Hi there. I don't know if anyone has this problem but I am at my wits end trying to keep everyone happy. Right now there is major hostility between my sister and her husband with my partner. I care for our dad who has been living at our house for 4 weeks. They are all really strong characters and right now I feel I have made the biggest mistake when all I wanted to do was the best by my dad. I could go in for hours about this. Thank you
Hi Paula and welcome to the forum :)

Could you be a little more specific abut the cause of the hostility ?

Is it because you've moved Dad in with you and your partner feels that your sister and bro-in-law should be doing more ? Or is it that your sister and bro-in-law feel that Dad should be in a care home and your partner is supporting your decision to have him with you ?

Whatever the reason you need a family conference to discuss Dad's long term needs and where you go from here. It might be useful to have a family friend who knows the situation and whom you can trust to act as 'chairperson' of the meeting ! It would also be a good idea to have it on 'neutral' ground - i.e. a local restaurant or the pub.

It would also be useful to have a Needs Assessment for Dad from Social Services so that you are aware of what level of care he needs now and what level he is likely to need in the future.
right now I feel I have made the biggest mistake when all I wanted to do was the best by my dad.
lots of members here will identify with that comment ! Unfortunately what is sustainable in the short term is not always so in the long term. What you and Dad 'want' is not necessarily what you both 'need'.
Hi Paula
Welcome to the forum. You will be amazed at the depth and wealth of knowledge here.
Is the problem about how you are caring for you dad or something else? As you have only been caring in your own home for four weeks nothing is set in stone. Maybe you could have a clear the air meeting, somewhere neutral and public ish so that things are kept civilised and you aren't rushing back and forwards making tea, checking on things, etc.
Without knowing the problem I would say that it is almost impossible to keep everyone happy and so you need to concentrate on you, your partner and your dad. If your sister has a problem with any of it she can share or take over responsibility herself. That maybe harsh but you are the one making the sacrifices here.
I have cared for my mum, who has dementia, in my home for eighteen months and couldn't do it without my husband's support but my sister lives in Australia so is of no help and I do understand a little of your problem.
If you want to share a little more I am sure I, or others, will be able to help some more.
Again welcome and I hope I haven't overstepped the mark with my comments.
Take care
Paula, hi and welcome

Sadly, it's all to common for families to fall out, and tensions to explode all over the place, when elderly parents need care, so you are not alone in finding yourself in the middle of a storm!

Can you give a little more explanation of what the hostility is about? Are you all 'disaggreeing' about the best way to care for your dad?

Siblings (and their partners!) having different ideas about what sort of care their parents should have crops up all the time, and can be tricky to resolve sometimes.

I've got a friend, for example, who wants her dad cared for between them, at their respective homes, taking him 'turn and turn about'....but her sister doesn't want to, and would rather he went into a home outright.....

Or, if the mum/dad has medical needs, there can be strong differences about how, or even if, these should be treated or managed.

Sometimes, and this can be 'nasty' (!), the conflict is about money.....one sibling will want the mum/dad in a home, the other deplores the cost of it! Or one sibling things the other is trying to 'get mum/dad's money' by looking after them. Etc etc etc!

Sometimes, one sibling does clearly 'more' caring than another, and then their partner gets angry at the other sibling who is 'welshing' on care, and then the other sibling's partner weighs in to defend their wife/husband etc etc et again!

Whatever the details of your particular situation, however, one thing I would say - absolutely and totally!

It's this -

However 'strong' their characters are (and sometimes 'strong' is code for 'highly opinionated, vocal, self-willed and pig-headed!!!!'), it is NOT YOUR JOB to keep anyone happy at all!

Finally, in all of this, what does your dad think about how he would like his care to be?

All best - this is a great forum for getting things off one's chest, and also coming to decisions that originally seem hard to find.

Kind regards, Jenny
What is wrong with dad? Why couldn't he live where he was any more? Why did he move to YOUR house, not anyone else's? Don't answer if you don't want to, but it might give us more relevant answers to your current problems. Many of us have an even worse problem, with one of us providing care, and the rest of the family carrying on with their own lives regardless of how much we are struggling!!
Thank you all for your replies. My dad has a number of illnesses..... The most recent being that he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia in February... Prognosis poor. However, the chemo worked far better than anticipated and for all intents and purposes is in remission but for how long as it will return, just a matter of time. He also had a severe stroke in May which has left him paralysed down the left side and at times confused. He was unable to return home as my mum passed away 8 years ago and liveson his own and when the discharge team discussed a nursing home he cried like a baby. There is myself and an older sister and I admit we have always said we couldn't look after him. However when Andy and I sat down and thought a talked we put it to her that he comes here. I had already left work as they were unable to support any form of reduced or flexi hours. We have never had children and our home could support my dad. My sister was floored at my suggestion and I cannot begin to tell you how she reacted for a number of days, she couldn't speak to me she was so angry. I know even now she still would prefer him in a nursing home. The issue between her and her husband and Andy is that he struggles with the fact the don't even ring our doorbell, just come in with no announcement, they do text when they are coming over. They don't like it when he goes upstairs to watch TV or have a nap. He says its to give them privacy but I know some of it's to get out of their way. They came and sat for our dad he other night while we went out for a meal and they had brought food over and cooked themselves a meal which I found bizarre... They didn't ask. They helped themselves to a bottle of soft drink. I know it sounds petty but I am always in the middle and they won't say anything to Andy coz they know he will retaliate big style. This is just a taster..... I think none of them really care for one another. I absolutely cannot handle confrontations and my sister and her husband are so clever with words I never have and never will be able to stand my own ground.
Paula, I wouldn't like folk just turning up at my house and walking in. I even knock on S's bedroom door before entering to check it's ok. Do they have a key? I would change the locks and request they ring the bell like everyone else has to.

The meal thing. Did they wash up after ? When my friend looks after S, she cooks them both dinner, but rings her own stuff. I always offer to have in what she wants, but she is on a diet and prefers to bring her own.

Your OH has every right to make pleasantries and then disappear upstairs. I think a lot of men do that!

Good Lord, your sister sounds a right bossy boots! As the older sister is sounds likes she's been used to bossing you around all your lives, and calling the shots on what happens and goes on.


I completely agree with Melly it's outrageous that she just walks into your house like she owns it and makes herself at home, and doesn't ask for anything! (That said, at least she DID bring her own food, rather than help herself totally to yours!)

I'm suspecting that the reason she's kicked up so badly about your dad coming to live with you is that YOU made the decision, not her! As simple as that. If SHE'D made the decision 'Dad is going to go and live with you' she'd be happy with it!

Why does she think he should be in a nursing home by the way? Does she think he'll be better looked after there medically, or what?

Does she think you too 'incompetant' to look after him? After all, you are the 'baby sister' who has to be bossed about all the time, aren't you?!!!!!

Her husband sounds cut from the same cloth, and both of them seem set on simply bossing you and Andy about. Andy, very reasonably, 'escapes' and as Melly says, loads of hubbies do that when their inlaws arrive!!!!

I agree with changing the locks straight away. BUT, and I think this is the key to it, I'm afraid it does sound like you are going to have to get tougher with your sister.

As you say, you've always been in the middle, you're the 'pleaser' the 'appeaser' the 'apologiser' the 'anything for a quiet life' one....you hate confrontation, and constantly feel out-argued by your sister with her 'clever way with words'.

So, I feel this is the root problem - standing up to your bossy-boots sister!

(Maybe, to be fair to her, she is actually bossy because she wants the best for everyone, you included, but that isn't an excuse for being bossy and 'always right'!!!!)

Remember, and this is important!, someone can only be bossy if the person they are bossing lets themselves be bossed.

There's a saying that's always irritated me, but is grimly true: We get the behaviour we put up with.

You are putting up with your sister's bossiness because she's 'trained' you to do that for years and years and years.....

Standing up to her will take courage, but it can be done.

Why not sit down with Andy, have a good pow wow, get it all off your chest, and ask him to be honest as well (He's probably been quite polite about your sister, compared with his true feelings )(and by the way, yes, they do NOT like each other!)(but that isn't a crime, just a clash of personality.....).

Then talk through what your dad needs and wants now. How that's going to be provided. (At some point, but not now, you'll need to speak to his GP/oncologist about what will happen if and when he relapses, but that's for later, hopefully a lot later!)

Then, between you and Andy, work out how much time you want your sister and her husband to have with your dad, and when that time should be. I would say that establishing a routine is key, so that, say, three times a week (or whatever) on set agreed days, Monday Wed, Fri for example, the two of them come over to see him, at a particular time slot, eg 7 to 9, or whatever.

The key thing is that this is PLANNED, and they stick to it, and if they try and turn up any other time you do not let them in!!!!

You will need to be steeled against your sister kicking off! When you say she outargues you the simple solution is 'Don't argue with her back'....don't justify your decisions to her.

You and Andy come up with a set reply: 'Well, that's what we want' (whatever it is). You dont' have to justify it, or explain it - the justification, the explanation is simply THAT YOU WANT IT. (with the emphasis on YOU!) (ie, not HER!). Just keep repeating that.

There's a member here who strongly advocates getting some counselling in becoming assertive, and I think that might be ideal for you and Andy! A lot of 'browbeaten' people (and it sounds like your sister has spent her life browbeating you!) feel that 'confrontation' means 'getting angry' - that it's unpleasant and hostile and shouty and 'nasty' etc etc.

But assertiveness is not that - it is simply stating your desires (eg, I don't want you walking in and out of my house like you own it, because that's the way it makes me feel), and sticking by them, through thick and thin, IRRESPECTIVE of what your sister does or says!

YOUR wishes, YOUR feelings are YOURS, not hers - there is no 'right or wrong' simply in this case what you want - you don't want your sister making herself at home in your home - whether she says she doesn't, or you're being stupid, or petty, blah blah blah, doesn't matter - 'the fact remains, I don't want you walking in and out any more'.

I do wish you all the best, but would most definitely recommend some assertiveness training, perhaps for both you and Andy together, so you can plan your 'defence' against your bossy boots sister. Her reactions don't matter by the way - she can get as cross as she likes but so what? She's responsible for her own feelings, you aren't responsible for them, and if she wants to kick off, let her - water off a ducks back. HER ANGER CANNOT HURT YOU. It's HER problem, NOT YOURS!

Cheers for now, and it's great you feel you want to have your dad with you. Jenny.
Hi Paula,
Wow, locks changed today no discussion and no spare key. As for your OH going off upstairs it's his house, maybe they would prefer he sent them up instead? I go for a nap most days to have time away from mum but like I said it's his house, he doesn't need a reason.
I am so sorry your dad is so poorly. My mum doesn't want to be in a home either and although, as many on here, myself included, will tell you there is no obligation for you to care for him sometimes it's not that easy. If his needs get too much that option is still there and you will have known you were a star along the way.
Have you had a needs assessment (that could be the wrong name, I'm no expert) or got in touch with social services? Your dad should claim attendance allowance (you can claim it for him) and then you can get carer's allowance too.
Why is your sister angry with you looking after dad? I would be thrilled if I had another family member to share the load and you've taken on the responsibility completely.
You can get people to come in and care for your dad while you go out so that your sister doesn't come and rummage. As for her being better with words - actions speak louder, so just stand your ground.
Also consider, if you haven't done so, getting power of attorney for your dad while he can still agree to it. It's much easier to arrange that way. You can do finance and health which will make things a bit easier.
I wish you luck, it will be a difficult time for you but getting things off your chest here will hopefully help and pretty much any query you have will be answered.
Take care
Tracy - BRILLIANT IDEA! Let Paula get Power of Atorney! Yes yes yes!


Paula could sell tickets for that show!

:) :) :)

Paula - more seriously, it is a very sensible and prudent suggestion, and even if you feel it would be just (a tad!) er, inflammatory to your sister, at least insist you have JOINT PoA, to stop her hogging it.

Another thought - is it ever possible for your dad to sometimes go over and stay at your sister's?

We haven't talked through this yet, but at some point you and Andy will want to have a break away, a holiday, whatever, so arranging care for your dad in those times will be necessary (if he can't come with you - perhaps he can sometimes??).

I would suggest you do NOT offer that your sister can come and live in your house to look after him (or you'll just have to change your locks after she's gone again!), but rather that your dad goes to stay with her.

In fact, could you set up a routine whereby, say, every other weekend, he's over at your sister's? (not sure of the distances involved, but if they keep turning up unnanoucned, except by a text graciously informing you beforehand!!, they must live close by?). Again, the key thing here is ROUTINE.

Bossy people often like to keep their 'slaves' on their toes and backfooted by behaving themselves in a very 'capricious' manner, as your sister seems to do, just turning up whenever.

Also, by the way, you say Andy deliberately 'buttons his lip' when she's around, presumably because you get so upset if she kicks off (that's one of the ways she controls you, by the way, threatening to upset you with her anger, which she knows you hate and fear!)....but what if Andy did in fact 'let rip' a few times, and told her where to get off?

It might really clear the air all round (after the 'eruption' from her)(though the shock of being stood up to might silence her!)

Clearing the air might really help, you know - I'm sure your sister loves you, and you her, but it isn't a healthy relationship. You're not a little girl any more, youre a grown woman - and she has no right to boss you, however 'well intentioned' she thinks it is!!!

All best again, Jenny