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Mum won't accept Carers - Carers UK Forum

Mum won't accept Carers

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I look after my 2 elderky parents who live up the road from me. My dad was recently very ill and had to go to hospital. He is getting better and is home now. The problem is my Mum won't accept carers into her home. Oh no, she expects the two of us to do everything even the personal care for my dad. I have found this very stressful, so much that it has made me ill. I suddenly realised that I had gone a whole month without a single day off! No wonder I was ill. I had cancelled my routine dance classes and cancelled the new carpets I had ordered. Mum was happy with this - me taking all the stress and responsibility while she made all the decisions. Then one day when I was rushing around to help her I fell over and hurt myself. That was the turning point, I knew that I couldn't go on like this. I told her that I had great respectt for her and if she didn't want carers then that was ok. BUT from now on things had to change - I am entitled to 2 days off each week and annual leave. Mum did not like this. My sisters are going to come over occasionally but one turns up at 4pm one day per week and the other one has a 2 hour train journey.
Elizabeth, hi

If we each got a fiver every time a forum member posted that an elderly parent 'won't accept strangers in the house'(!) we'd all be rich! It's VERY common - in fact, a deafening chorus!


Well done for having reached your tipping point (literally, alas!). It's made you see that what starts off as a temporary, instinctive and 'knee-jerk' reaction to a crisis (your dad's hospitalisation) is OK for a short time but CANNOT and indeed SHOULD NOT turn into a long term 'solution'. ie, a solution to the fact that your dad is now very frail, and your mum can't cope with him on her own any longer.

Adult children therefore become their parents' 'prosthetic'. You are the alter-ego able-bodied 'android' so to speak, that now does the work your mum can't do, but, as you point out so cogently, still likes to make the decisions about.

BUT, the point is, no, sorry eldery mum, yuou DON'T get it both ways! Your adult daughter is NOT your 'prosthetic', your 'able bodied android'. If you want to take the decisions yourself about your husband's care, YOU do the work. If you don't - or can't - do the work, you DON'T get to make decisions on how that work is in fact then delivered to your husband!

I would say you've set out the essential point - that YOU have a right to life of your own, and that you are NOT your mum's 'servant/slave' etc etc. From now on, YOU get to call shots in this situation.

What was your mum like before she and your dad needed care? Was she always 'bossy' with her children, expecting them to do what she wanted? Or has this attitude just arisen out of her frustration that she can't look after your dad single-handed any longer?

If the former, less 'slack' cut to her (why should there be!), and if the latter, then more 'slack'....but not to the extend that she wants.

Or, in fact, I would say, what you have now offered (ie, days off and annual leave!)

I think the KEY point now is to insist she DOES accept 'strangers' into the house.

You need to tell her the following: 'Mum, yes, I WILL help you with Dad, but ONLY if, in exchange, you accept that he has to have outside carers coming in AS WELL. Otherwise I am going to walk away and leave you to it'.

The 'deal' for her is not 'Have my children do all the work or have strangers do it' (because of course she'll choose to have her children do it!), but 'Have my children AND strangers do the work, or I have to do it all myself'

You WILL have to be firm on this. She won't like it (even less than she likes the notion that hey, you deserve time off!!!!!), but, I'm afraid, tough.

The blunt truth is that BOTH your parents are getting older, and therefore frailer. Outside help IS going to be 'inevitable' and the time to start is now.

I would suggest you have a conflab with your siblings, check out carers (if your dad has more than £23k in cash savings - HIS, not your mum's her savings are irrelevantm ie, they aren't counted, only the savings of the person needing care- and if he does then he has to pay for his own carers (you can book them via any private agency to suit), and if he doesn't then SS pays. Your dad will probably require a needs assessement and you/your mum a carer's assessment)

Then with a unified front, tell your mum that from now on she has to accept strangers AS WELL as you, or she gets nothing from you at all.
There are various 'strategems' recommended on this forum for 'sneaking in' professional carers.

For example, you can start with a cleaner - that can be presented as 'Mum, you're an OAP, you don't have to clean your own house at your age!'

Second, with carers themselves, you book them for when YOU are there as well. That way you 'organise' them, and 'train' them in what your dad likes, the way your mum likes things done. You are there as a buffer between the care-worker and your mum/dad.

At first you are there 'simultaneously', then, after a couple or so of visits, you leave the room to go off and do 'something useful', eg, clean the bathroom, cook tea, whatever. Then next time you pop out to 'post a letter' or 'nip to the shops'.

The idea is to slowly get your mum and dad to become familiar with the care-worker (who may, for example, initially come in to do a specific item, such as help your dad with a shower/bath for example). With you there 'as well' to begin with, that makes it easier all round, and then gradually you 'disappear' and 'fade away' so that then the care-workers are turning up without you having to be there at all.

Finally you get to a point where you only go round on 'set days' and on the other days the care-worker is in doing whatever it is you do.

Do 'keep busy' in your own life - for example, you mentioned I think dance classes, so you make sure your mum knows that 'Thursday mornings is my dance class mum' etc. You don't cancel things for her.

She will almost inevitably object, and she will also complain and criticise the carer-workers and how they do their work, and she may indeed refuse them entry (that's what my MIL did!)(she's ended up in home, sigh). She may also kick off at you and phone you 'in a crisis' that is 'all because' of the care-worker! It will be focussed on 'getting you back in line' (in your 'chains'!). You do have to 'resist'.

As I say, the deal is not having you OR careowrkers, it is having you PLUS careworkers - or nothing at all!
Make a list of all the things you do, that your mum doesn't or can't do any more, and rank them in importance, in length and in frequency (eg, shower twice a week, or whatever!).

Does your mum simply like you there 'hovering' like a 'handmaiden'? Someone to call upon?

Also, consider the other reasons she wants you there? Is it, for example, for companionship?

If so,then maybe you can get to ta point where, say, you and your mum go out for the day TOGETHER because either a sibling is looking after your dad then, or a care-worker.

Your mum will be getting stressed too, and probably fearful as well. She may be relying on your psychologically and emotionally, as well as practically, so do take that all into account as well.
Hi Jenny, Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post. I didn't realise that lots of elderly people don't like having carers in their home. My Dad has been assessed recently and it was agreed he would have a Carer in the morning and a Carer in the evening. The evening one said the latest she could come was 8pm, which did not meet my Dad's needs. The idea was the Carer would put Dad to bed but Dad wanted to watch the football (the World cup on the tv) he didn't want to go to bed at 8pm. So Mum happily cancelled that Carer. The morning Carer was someone different each day and at different times. Mum had a panic attack -she got stressed out about the Carers and the fees. Then she used this opportunity to cancel all the Carers. Now she is adament that she doesn't want Carers.
I think what has changed here is the relationship between my mum and dad. Since his illness Mum has been much more caring and kinder to my Dad (which is lovely to see) but I feel she has been taking out her frustration on me. Obviously I am not going to allow this 'bullying' to happen.
Also I've decided to rrturn to my dance classes twice each week and tell her when I want some annual leave. My mum is quite capable and can do most things. The problem is she does get tired out quickly (she suffers from angina as well as osteoarthritis) .But Mum can prepare meals and do her own personal care independently. She says that she can look after herself ok but finds it difficult having to look after Dad too.

As Jenny says a lot of older people don't want care workers, they'd rather have help from family. Are your parents' self funding? If they are, they could choose to employ carer workers directly i.e. not through an agency. If they receive funded support, they could ask for direct payments instead and use the money to employ care workers of their choice. Not going through an agency means more hassle ( unless you use a payroll company,) but does give more flexibility re who and when.
I too would hate to go to bed at 8 pm but couldn't a care worker help your Dad get ready for bed, so when he is tired all that he needs is support to get into bed?

I was thinking that! Couldn't the care worker get him into his jimjams etc, showered, whatever is his pre-bed routine, then he can 'stay up late' (!!!!) like a kiddie in his dressing gown to watch 'late night telly', but when he does want to go to bed it's a lot easier once he's in his jimjams/dressing gown etc???
Hi Melly 1 and Jenny, thank you for taking the trouble to read my post snd for your kind advice. For now I'm not saying anymore to my mum about getting carers because it either upsets her or it starts an argument. No I've decided to wait and see what happens.
When my dad was ill he would refuse to go to bed and would refuse help with his personal care. This was a big problem because then he would get off his chair at about midnight, be disorientated, not know where he was and fall over. Then he wouldn't be able to get up on to his feet again. But he has improved since coming out of hospital - going to bed at a more reasonable time and going to the bathroom etc. So we he may be able to manage without carers for the time being. BUT considering their ages - 87 and 90 it is only a matter of time be the next crisis and then they will have to have carers. And, hey, I feel so much better about the whole situation now I've shared it with you.
Use this time to start checking out local agencies and Care Homes. Then when the emergency comes -and it will- you are at least armed and ready with information. Trouble is with emergencies no one thinks straight and its often a rushed discharge from hospital into something unsuitable, unsustainable or too far away.

Do lots of reading on here on funding, paid Carers, in fact everything.
You are by no means the first to be in this position, but there's no need to get in deeper.
Make no promises to them, other than to say you will do your best to make sure they get the care they NEED. (That may well be different to what they WANT, but you keep shtum on that aspect)
Start getting your head around the idea that the power balance has changed and you are now the one in charge. Yes that does mean undoing perhaps 60 or 70 years of conditioning to be the good daughter, but you are now in the parental role.

So don't do 'nothing' now, do research and practice new roles in your head