[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 585: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 641: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
Carer with cancer - Carers UK Forum

Carer with cancer

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hi , I really don't know where to begin. I've just been diagnosed with cancer. I've had 2 lots of surgery , and the prognosis is excellent. I'm 50 years old, with 2 school age children and recently re-married.
18 months ago my elderly father, 85 yrs , moved in with us as he wasn't coping well on his own. His house was dirty, out of date food in the fridge, Phone calls in the middle of the night to go and fetch him as he wasn't feeling well, regularly forgot hospital appointments. His health is now reasonable. We all muddle along. It's a big house so we all have our own space , and have family meals together. I'm trying to keep him as independent as possible. Dad is not claiming any benefits due to his occupational pension(??) I've arranged for a cleaner to come in once a week to do his part of the house, so he is used to the idea of receiving help.
My father has another daughter (my sister) living abroad who has been against him moving in with me, right from the start. She begrudges that he pays a contribution towards the bills, yet uses emotional blackmail to persuade him to send money over to her. He's sent thousands of pounds. I don't want/need his money.
My father doesn't have many friends and relied heavily on a lovely lady who has also been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He no longer has a companion to go out for lunch, concerts etc.
And now the guilt.
My father has told my sister he is not happy living here as "we don't talk to him or include him"
My father is not the easiest person to have around. He does not pay attention to his personal hygiene and will not change his stained ( and offensively smelling ) clothes. I have to be really firm when telling him, and he still doesn't see there is a problem. If I point out a 'not nice' habit - such as not washing hands, coughing all over people ( my husband is bald and regularly gets spittled on !! ) he says he will improve, then promptly reverts back to his old habits. I'm worried he will become depressed over his friend's illness. I've previously tried to arrange activities for him but he won't go. He won't put his hand in his pocket to pay for taxis. He still expects me to drive him around. Of course I want to help him where necessary. But now with my diagnosis I want to spend quality time with my children and husband, with no stress.

I think I just needed to RANT and hopefully will not be judged.
Definitely NOT judged! Firstly, welcome to the forum. I too have been an ill carer. Frankly, it's time your dad moved out, because he isn't respecting your home husband or family, and is only going to get worse and worse. Your children, your health and your husband and relationship need to take priority.
Can I ask whether dad has never taken proper care of himself? Is he suffering from dementia? Physical disability? Does he have over £23,000 in savings? It will be easier to tailor our replies with this basic information.
Hi - thanks for replying . He sold his house to move in with me. No dementia, or physical disability. He has been very well looked after ALL his life by women. He is what I would describe as an 'ineffective' person who has never stood up to others, avoids conflict at all costs to the point he will lie to people. He has savings .. about 40K now ( due to sending £££ to sister, none of which either party has documented. ) He has an enduring power of attorney drawn up but not registered. He has capacity.
Perhaps what I wrote was too harsh .....we don't want him move out.
Maybe we just need to sit down as a family and voice all this ?? I'm normally a tough cookie but my diagnosis has left me feeling vulnerable.
Why don't you want him moving out?

That's a blunt question, but it's to flush out what is important to you right now. Don't you want him to move out because you enjoy his company (but he says he's not included?), or because you feel guilty about moving him out, or maybe that it would cost too much money, or what?

The awful, awful thing is that if he doesn't die of something, he will simply 'get worse' - it's pretty inevitable. And he could well live for years and years. So this is a 'long-haul' situation you are having to prepare yourself for.

Many people here, myself included, report that when their elderly relative is in residential care of some sort, then their relationship improves significantly, as the 'care burden' is passed to others, and we are then free merely to 'enjoy the company' etc etc, without any of the work.

Another reason for residential care is that the staff are very skilled at getting stubborn, non-cooperative elderly folk to do what has to be done! not in a horrid way, but very skilled. Remember, to our parents we are still their children and we should do what they tell them - not the other way round! We know from our own children that they will do for others what they will not do for us without huge protest....

Personally, I would start to explore residential options in your area. When my MIL had to move south (just couldn't live on her own any more - couldn't get food in, cook it, do her laundry etc etc)(incipient dementia), I moved her into a nearby Abbeyfield home which provided a very good 'half way house'.

She had her own ensuite room (very nice, overlooking the garden) and the residents used a shared kitchen for their breakfast (had kettles and fridges in the room, but no toasters/cookers because of fire hazard), and then had a communal lunch and tea every day. There was a lounge if they wanted to be there, or in their 'bedsits'. It was a good blend of 'private and community'. There were some activities and outings laid on, but not that many, but many of the residents simply went to the local shops etc and were indepdendent in that respect.

There was a house manager who was resident there, which was very reassuring, and also my MIL had an 'extra' carer who came in in the mornings to help her get up, help her with showering, helped her make breakfast etc etc.

My MIL finally got too mentally infirm to cope ,and has since moved to a full time residential care home for dementia.

I most definitely think you should sit down with your husband and talk it through frankly and freely - and get your children's opinions as well. They may not be as keen to have 'grumpy granddad' in their house as you are???

Please do NOT let guilt drive your decisions. The guilt monster is a well known bad guy on this forum, but in the end, we have to make decisions that suit ALL in the family, not just the elderly person. Your diagnosis has very rightly focussed your mind on the 'essentials' of your life, and it's imperative you maximise the 'good stuff' now for yourselves (it will have frightened your children and husband as well as you), even if that means your father has to take a step back from your attentions. Remember, he's 'had his life' ....you haven't had yours yet! And, to be blunt, YOU are more important to your family than he is......

As for your (half?)sister, well, she can shove off quite frankly! If she doesn't want him to contribute to his living expenses with you (and he should be paying his ENTIRE living expenses, including share of council tax, utilities, etc etc!), then she can either house him herself, or pay for him to live elsewhere!