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I can't do this!! - Carers UK Forum

I can't do this!!

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I brought my mother back to the UK in March this year. She had lived abroad for 25 years. She agreed to come home - financially she could no longer afford to live abroad - there was no access to social funding. Plus she is 87 years old and frail - deaf++ and her mobility is poor - she walks with a rollator.
It has been a disaster. She hates living here. She has made no effort to integrate or engage with anything. I have tried to get some care for her - to give me a break and for some socialisation but she has declined it all. I have got a Social Worker involved but my mother does not like her. I tried a befriending service but again my mother did not want to know. I am SO stressed with it all - I am signed off work and have been for the last 6 weeks. I don't like leaving her on her own as she does not know anyone but doesn't want to know anyone. I spend the majority of the day with her and take her out every afternoon to get her out of the house. She has no money and we are waiting for suitable social housing for her - but it is taking forever for something to become available.
Tonight was the worst time ever. All she wants to do is return to living abroad and she says if she can't she will kill herself and it will be on my head. (I have 2 siblings but they do not want to be involved with any of this). I have had enough and I cannot see how this situation will eventually work out - she has viewed supported living accommodation but flatly refuses to go anywhere like that. She needs support with shopping and laundry but can manage her personal care and dressing. She is still fiercely independent despite having physical limitations. Does anyone have any knowledge of what would happen if I said to the Social Worker that I can't do this anymore and hand her over to them - it feels alien for me to do this but for my own sanity I need to do something.
Hi Suzanne,
welcome to the forum.

what a difficult situation, Not uncommon for elderly people to be in denial re the help they need.

You are right, you can't be forced to care for your Mum. The complication will be that she currently lives with you and probably isn't a priority re social housing.

I think you need to accept that you can't be responsible for her happiness. Granted, you brought her back to the Uk, but she agreed to come. If she doesn't want to engage with the befriending service etc that is not your fault. Go back to work, and keep a semblance of order in your life (plus get a break from her.) If you are worried re leaving her, then employ a cleaner/ gardener etc to pop in and do jobs (and check on her.) It's your home, so you can give a key to who you like.

Others will be along with direct experience of care of the elderly.

You are doing too much for her, for all the right reasons, but it is enabling her to stay isolated and blaming you because you do everything.
Even if Social services do house her and arrange care, that would be her in a room somewhere with carers coming in 3 times a day for a few minutes just to feed her. She'd have no social interaction, no entertainment. Sadly there are thousands of isolated elderly in exactly these circumstances . Some 'choose' to live like this because they don't want to leave there homes, others are desperate to get into residential care but there are not enough spaces.
Some are bedridden and stuck in one room or in one chair 23 hours out of every 24.

In comparison your mum is lucky to have you but her age and stubbornness will never let her admit it, so YOU have to believe it for yourself. Step back a bit, go back to work.
If you think she is unsafe while you are out you arrange some kind of outside help, but she doesn't get a say in it. Sadly, because of her age, her money situation, she has no choice. It's not your fault. You now have to be the parent and rule the roost. You have to look after your well being as your life will go on longer than hers. Just a truth of life, no guilt involved.

Sorry if this sounds blunt, but you need to see that she not be happy, wouldn't have been where she lived either. Old age sucks.
Mrs. A is right, my mum also preferred to stay in her own room. Your job is NOT to make mum happy. We are all responsible for our own happiness, your mum, and you. How much happiness is there in your life right now, not a lot I suspect. Concentrate of yourself a bit more.
Mum has a choice, to stay in her room or move into residential care, although even that could be problematic as she has only moved back to the UK recently. Where was she living previously?


Thanks for all your replies. My mum was previously living in France. I understand she has had a massive upheaval in her life plus she has left her partner of 18 years behind and she misses him. She was living in a beautiful village in rural France now she is living on a busy main road in a town. She doesn't comprehend that there is no money available for her to continue living in France - she has always been provided for and just expects us (her children) to finance her life. My dad died 18 months ago (they had been divorced for 30 years but he had to financially maintain her as part of the divorce settlement).
This morning she is not speaking to me. I have just spoken to the social worker and she is coming round this afternoon to talk to mum - I cannot continue to offer the level of support that I have been giving for the last 4 months so alternatives need to be discussed. My brother thinks I have a problem with my relationship with mum - I feel overly responsible for her - he has urged me to get some counseling for this. Wish I could see a solution to all this.
Not a good record on relationships then?!
It's probably too late, unfortunately, for mum to change her attitude about money, so you must protect your own.
Does mum have any right to a pension of any sort either here in the UK, or France?
Can she claim Income Support here?
Hi Bowlingbun she has a UK pension and Attendance Allowance plus she gets housing benefit here in the UK. I am applying for pension credit for her - they are phoning me tomorrow about her application - she is financially better off in the UK - I was unable to get any financial help for her in France.
That's a relief. So if she can get Housing Benefit etc. she can have her OWN place?!

Her choice then becomes her own place, with Social Services support for what she NEEDS (can be very different from WANTS) or residential care.

Now there is a problem for you, letting go. Try to think of your new role as Care Arranger/Manager rather than Provider.
The longer she is with you the more dependent she will become. Unless you do something you have given yourself a life sentence I'm afraid. I have a friend whose mum died at 104. Is that really what you want for yourself. Of course not.

I think you and your brother should sit down and agree a plan of action, and HE should be the one to be very firm with mum, mainly because he is less emotionally involved, but also because mum's generation might take more notice of a man, rather than a good daughter who should be sacrificing everything.

As far as mum is concerned she is fine, whilst you are doing things for her!!