Help!! Mum is 88, I am 68 and she only wants me!!

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
206 posts
Thank you for your comments bowlingbun. I think you made a very interesting point regarding having counseling in order to learn how to say NO to my nan. It is definitely the backbone of the problem - afterall if the people who needed our care were more 'agreeable' then we wouldn't all be on this forum in the first place!

Thank you too to Jenny for your last post. It made me 'well' a little! So is it really just as simple as 'tough'? I dont mean to be-little that, but rather if this is the case then with mine and my sisters help, I hope that my mum could weather the storm that would undoubtedly follow any action that my mum takes.

My nan lives in her own home, which she owns and rattles around in (a big 4 bed detatched, of which she now just uses 3 rooms), and so it is very interesting to read that there is such a thing a 'respite at home'. Although while this would be great short term, it does not serve our long term issues. And I have already started to look into care homes, just casually at the moment but I have already found that the one nearest to where I live with my family has a very good reputation and so I will be following that up some more. Our biggest concern is that we are powerless whilst she is of sound mind and refusing to co-operate.

Reading all of your stories, including yours a moment ago Elaine, goes to show just how many people are suffering like this, at the hands of their loved ones.

I will definitely be taking my mum to talk with the GP and organising another care assessment. Incidentally she does have POA, but that doesn't extend to rights over her health care - which after further research today I believe is possible with a Health and Welfare LPA?

And also, I will definitely be introducing my mum to this forum as I think it would provide her with so much 'virtual' support and reassurance that not only is she not alone, but also that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you xx
Power of Attorney changed in the last few years. The old type is still valid, but the newer ones have two parts, financial and/or Health and Welfare. After my own experiences as mum was nearing the end of her life, I would strongly recommend that everyone, whatever their ages, arranges both. So many times the medical and Social Services staff would only give me the information I need after I told them I had the H&W POA. Mum didn't have dementia, but was very ill and on very strong pain killers. She would tell everyone to deal with me (much to their annoyance at times because mum was generally mild and submissive, whilst I'm Attila the Hun!!) Finally, as mum was dying, I told the GP that pain relief must take priority over everything else. Mum passed away 48 hours after her pain relief was increased, quietly and peacefully, in her sleep.
Shelley, you and your sister are only 'powerless' in that you can't 'force' your mum and dad to withdraw their care from your nan! If it were, say, just you and your sister, with you mum and dad, say, retired to Spain (!!!!!), then your 'power' is that you simply 'walk away' from your nan....(like I've suggested to Elaine....).

SS may like to try and 'persuade' (!!!!) us that we HAVE to care for our relatives, but in fact we don't at all. There's not the least legal requirement to do so. SS want us to, obviously as it saves them from having to do so. However, if your nan has her own house, then the situation is simply - she has enough to pay for her own care (you have to be down to £23k in savings and assets to get 'free' council-paid care), so SS couldn't care less where she is, as they don't have to pay anything anyway.....

The other good thing about your nan still being in her own home is that it makes it much simpler for your mum and dad, as she isn't in their house, and she doesn't co-own a jointly-owned house.

So, really, all that has to happen is for your mum and dad to, effectively, 'go on strike' - they just STOP doing what they are doing! Then SS will step in, and sort out carers, or take your nan in to care, and then charge her against her pension, savings etc (her home may not need to be sold immediately, but only after she dies, and then the cost of the care she's had will be taken by SS and whatever is left will form her estate, according to her Will. (I think this is correct!)

Your main challenge though will probably be 'freeing' your mum from the guilt she's been trained by her own mother to feel if she 'dares' to stop looking after her, or at the least stop looking after her as much as she is currently doing.

it really is, you know, completely nonsense that your mother has to do everything, and instead the very least that should happen is that carers from a care agency (paid by your nan) should be doing a good lot of what your mum is doing. And yes, 'tough' if your nan doesn't like it! Why should she have everything her own way? Was she always this selfish, do you think? Sadly, selfish parents often have unselfish children, which seems to be what's happenend with your nan and her daughter, your mum. As I said, thank goodness your mum and dad have you and your sister to put your foot down finally!

All best, Jenny.
Dear all,

I felt I had to come on here to say a huge thank you for everyone's posts on this thread (old and new). I'm Shelley_1509's sister and I too have been sat here welling up reading everyone's stories. Anyone who's feeling cynical about the state of the world should come on here and hear about all the selfless acts people do each and every day!

Joan_1501 - you've no idea what an inspiration it is to see your original post in January and your update last month! It's amazing to read about other people's situations and realise that someone out there has already dealt with the exact same issues you're dealing with.

Bowlingbun - if it's not too impolite to ask, where have you sought counselling from? Was it a service recommended on here or someone you've sourced yourself? As my sister said, this really gets to the nub of the problem for us because our mum has put herself last for so long that I think she really has forgotten how to stand up for herself. We're going to do all we can to support her on this - we've both been blessed with a healthy intolerance for Nan's nonsense - but ultimately mum is the one on the frontline everyday so any advice or tips we can get for her in that regard will be invaluable. Everyone's comments on the psychological battles in these situations are so interesting - one of you really should do a PhD on this!!

The other issue that I still don't think we're quite sure on is how to make major decisions that are against our nan's stated wishes, particularly as she (supposedly) has full mental capacity. How do you put someone into respite care if they're refusing to go? How do we access the capital tied up in her house in order to pay for a nursing home? So we'll definitely look into exactly what mum can do under the new POA rules.

That said, I think we need to remind ourselves of the few times in the past where we have put our foot down and over-ruled nan - like when we had to force her to see a doctor after a bad fall, such is her fear of all health professionals - and realised that actually the hurdle wasn't quite as hard to get over as we'd first thought.

Anyway, there's a huge amount that we can take away from all the practical advice given here. I love the idea of mum and dad just booking a holiday for some point in the not too distant future and having that as a goal to work towards. Nothing like a deadline to give yourself a good kick up the bottom!

Thanks again,

Hayley
Hi Hayley, glad we have helped a bit. Many of us find dealing with "officialdom" far harder than the practical care giving. I don't think there is any way you can put mum in a residential care home against her wishes. You can only say you are going away on holiday or refusing to care, so that there is no other option but residential care or extra carers. Temporary residential care should be funded mainly by the local authority if the caree has a modest income, but this requires a full financial assessment.
I've had two counsellors, one was provided free by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, but it was a short course of about 6 sessions, but no one told me that, so just as I finally felt able to share my feelings, the course ended!! Now I see a private counsellor recommended by my GP at a cost of £25 per hour, but that means it's out of the question for many, and I could only afford it because I had POA for mum, and she paid for it, which really isn't right. As a widow, I have absolutely no one else to support me, so it was either counselling or a breakdown when I was at my lowest. I was disabled, recovering from major surgery, with a son with severe learning difficulties and a dying mum, and my brother had just died.
Wow, bowlingbun, that really puts things into perspective. That you so much for all your advice. I hope we can pay it forward for someone else one day too :) H.
Shelley, Hayley,

You hit the nail on the head. If someone is deemed to have "capacity", as my mum was, despite introducing me to the doctor as her nephew :shock: , you cannot oblige them to go into a home, either permanently or for respite. I was in precisely that situation for years. I had POA but could not act against her wishes.

The suggestion of withdrawing support (personally I could not have done that) MAY force SS hand or more likely, in times of budget cuts, SS will leave the person as well. In the end, I was so desperate when mum was last in hospital (4th time that year), I claimed that I would not allow mum home and that if they sent mum home from hospital, I would sue the Trust for a failed admission.

Incidentally, if the time comes for a care home, and it is self funding, you do not need to involve SS at all. If SS is involved, they will do a full financial assessment, Ie calculate all financial assets including cost of house. If over a certain amount, approx£23k, she will be determined to be self funding until her income drops below that amount. The selling of the house can be deferred until after death in which case the cOuncil will put a charge on the house.

It is a complex subject, and mum has since died, but this time last year, I was going through exactly this scenario

Good luck, anne
I think there are two key issues, aren't there?

- financial: is the caree 'rich enough' (!) to pay for their own care (ie, assets worth over £23k)?

- does the caree have mental/legal capacity?

If it's yes to the first question then indeed, SS in a way 'couldn't care less' as any care is not coming out of their budget, wherever it's provided and whoever is providing it! They are 'out of the loop' so to speak.

But, if it's 'no' to the latter, and there is no capacity, then surely 'someone' has to make decisions about the care of the caree, and presumably this is either 'family' with the appropriate POA etc powers, OR....SS/NHS? (ie, if 'family' is absent or uninvolved)

However, if the answer to the second question is 'yes', and they do have capacity, but refuse any external care, and refuse to leave home, then what actually happens if family withdraw care (or in some cases there just isn't any family)? I cannot believe that in the UK 'the state' (ie, SS and NHS) can actually leave someone in a house where the person simply cannot look after themselves? (Is it at this point that the caree becomes a 'vulnerable adult'?)

I do think it's this point that is at the nub of the problem - that is how 'selfish carees' continue to control, manipulate and exploit their put-upon families to go on looking after them!

I guess, though, that in Shelley and Hayley's case, if their own parents do 'go on strike' then if their nan has lost her 'servant' (!), she will, eventually, have to accept that she can only have other carers, or go into a home/sheltered accommodation. Because her dutiful daughter has finally stood up to her....
Hayley, only a thought, but as well as the option of your nan going into residential care, is the option of having the 'respite at home' turn permanent. It's not that uncommon for a permanent live-in carer to provide third party care.

The cost is I would think (???) more or less the same as residential care, and has of course the advantage of keeping the caree in their own familiar environment (which is very understandable), while freeing family from day to day care.

The tricky bit is finding the 'right' live in carer - I think some people here have asked this question previously, and I think the option is either going to an agency (expensive but reliable, in that there is a contract with the agency, not the carer, and all the insurance etc is in place, and if you don't like the carer you can change them and so on) or hiring directly (which may be cheaper, but employment laws may make it more complicated, eg 'sacking' an unsuitable carer may be harder etc).

But if your nan is living in a large house with lots of spare room for a live-in carer, that might be something you may want to explore, as an alternative to a care home.

Finally, it rather sounds as if you and your sister have (fortunately!) inherited some of your nan's feisty and determined character!!!!!! :)

PS - an all too familiar 'paradox' of caring for a parent is that often they want it both ways - they want to retain the 'power' of a parent over a child, yet they want the child to 'parent' them, ie, look after them the way a parent does!!!! They want to be both cossetted AND obeyed....!!!!!

PPS - can you and your sister plan a holiday for your mum and dad, and whisk them away somewhere, all of you, having booked respite care-at-home for your nan?!!! Give your parents a taste of freedom!!!!
Hello, I really sympathise with you and am going through exactly the same situation with my 89 year old mum. I am 67 and her sole carer and have been for the last 4 years since retiring. I have been going in to see her up to 4 times a day but following a fall at home recently and a stay in hospital I felt that I could not cope any longer looking after her on my own. I have recently managed to get a care package in place with them coming in morning and night, which is a big relief but I am still going in twice a day to prepare meals and do the shopping, cleaning etc. My mum has the onset of dementia, and gets very anxious and depressed over the slightest of things and is refusing to accept the help from the carers. I just can't seem to do anything right and when I try and explain I am doing everything in my power to help her I get it thrown back in my face and told I don't care any more and she just wants me to care for her. I am at the stage where I am seriously thinking of residential care for her but then I just feel so guilty and feel that perhaps I should be caring more for her at home than I am.
My husband had been a rock through all this but it does affect our relationship as we had planned to do so much together when we retired. I am hoping we will have a holiday next year and that my mum will agree to have respite care.

I just feel so stressed and exhausted and just worry if I become ill who will look after her. I am seeing her GP soon and will insist that mum gets the medical help that she needs.

I am sure there are many carers out there in a similar situation to mine and feel that just putting my worries down on paper helps.
206 posts