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Mum won't accept Carers - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Mum won't accept Carers

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MrsAverage, I will do that. What a good idea. Best to be one step ahead.
Elizabeth, yes, - maybe, for now, the situation with your parents is 'containable', but, as has been said, and as the general saying goes 'they aren't getting any younger' (!), which means of course, that unlike an 'ordinary' illness, (eg, in us) we don't have just a period of 'invalidity' and then 'convalesce' and then 'get back to normal'.....your parents are ageing, and they are, sadly but inevitably, deterioriating. They won't be 'getting better' overall as time goes by.

So yes, do start looking ahead. As you know from your dad's hospitalisation, all too often things can 'grumble along' and then there is a health crisis, and things come to a head, and after that things are never the same again.

It took me a LONG time to realise that my MIL was NEVER going to be to live on her own again, even if I moved her 400 miles south into a rented flat near me. She just needed 'someone' to look after her, and that need was only increasing as her dementia increased. Now she needs 24x7 care, sits in a padded wheelchair all day, sleeps mostly, can't speak, can't walk, is doubly incontienent and barely recognises me. There is NO way she could be 'at home', so she is in residential care.

Not sure if anyone's said this here yet, but a saying on the forum is 'needs trumps wants'....ie, there will come a point when it is not alas what either of your parents want, it is what they need. ANd that may be outside carers, it may be residentiall care for your dad, time will tell.

It is, alas, as another member here reminds us, the price we pay for reaching extreme old age. My husband died in his fifties and so never faced the ordeals of old age - who knows what he was spared? His mother reached 89 'hale and hearty' (if grieving bitterly for her lost son), until dementia hit, and four years on she is in a pitiable state. Had she died at 90 how much 'better' it would have been for her.....but no, she went on living, and is in the dreadful condition she is now. That is the horrendous price she is paying for that extra period of staying alive....

It isn't fair, and it certainly isn't kind, but there it is.
I'm glad your mum is being 'nicer' to your dad now - it's always sad to see 'hard feelings' between elderly couples, for whatever reason, and yet I can see why your mum is taking her frustrations out on you.

In practical terms, have you identified the things she MOST struggles with? Sometimes applying the 80:20 rule is a good practical way forward - if she gets help (including from you) from the 20% of things she finds MOST difficult to do herself, then if she is prepared to 'stagger on' for the 80%, that might last a while?

Do bear in mind what I said about HER stress levels, and ensuring that SHE gets 'time out', with you, with friends, whatever, when say YOU take over 'completely' in respect of your dad's care, and she gets a weekend off to do something she totally wants to do that is 'time out' from caring responsibilities.

Don't forget, too, the possibility of respite breaks with your dad in a care home for a week. If he knows it's only temporary, and to give his wife a break, he really 'should' agree to it, even if it's not what he wants. And he might like it you know! A relative's elderly and very compos mentes robustly 'independent' mum had a fall, had to go into hospital, then got discharged for a week's stay in a residential home to 'recuptrate'....and she loved it! It was like being in a botel, with visitors, and nurses fussing, and cups of tea on demand etc etc. She'd have NEVER gone 'voluntarily' if you see what I mean!
Dear Jenny, Many thanks for your advice. It certainly has given me a lot to think about. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband at such a young age, what a terrible shock it must have been for you. It's also heartbreaking to hear about your MIL and her condition.
As for your advice - I like the idea of the 80:20 rule - I will talk to her about the things she finds most difficult and see what can be done to help her. As my mum is at home for so much of the time she constantly notices the things that need attention eg the windows need cleaning, the plants in the garden need watering, the table needs tidying etc. But I feel that I am there to tackle the more urgent chores such as helping her with the food shopping, washing the clothes, making them meals and drinks and reminding my dad to wash etc.
Also I will think about getting my mum some kind of a break, something she desperately needs. This will certainly help all of us.
Thank you for your kind words - I simply said that to point out that hard though it is, we have to think of the alternatives, and that although one can hardly say your parents' lives are 'blissful' yet they may well be getting far more out of simply having what they have left to them, than the 'alternative'. That said, sadly, yes, nursing a sick person is indeed 'hard work', and one of the things that is likely to happen to your mum if, as is likely, your dad pre-deceases her, is that HER life then becomes easier.....(sadder, but easier)

It IS frustrating as we age that we run out of time and energy etc, for such things we used to do as part of our lives (clean windows etc!), and it is a source of frustration. I wonder if, finances permitting, your parents could have a 'spring clean' with a company coming in and 'blitzing' the house, all the things that you have no time for and your mum has no energy for? If you were there to supervise (and pitch in), and get the house 'really nice' then would that not last for a couple of months, say, at the least?

As housewives, we all have our chores that we consider 'essential' (mine is clear surfaces, I'm fanatic about it - I HATE clutter!) (my SIL is oblivious to it, and gets irritated when I constantly put things away, or pile them all up on top of each other to free up surfaces - there is NEVER any room to put anything down!), and things we are 'blind' to (I'm blind to dirty windows - partly because the moment you clean them they seem streaky and blurry anyway, and it drives me bananas, so I just don't do them any more - I'm also blind to cobwebs, as I have hyperactive spiders living in the ceiling corners of all my rooms!) (!!!).

I'm saying this so you can discuss with your mum (if you don't know them already) what her 'essentials' are (and I hope it isn't everything!), and so, again, apply that 80:20 rule, whereby she/you/cleaners tackle the 'essentials' but let the 'inessentials' go hang.

Finally, and I'm sure she'll be here soon (!), another member is very hot on 'streamlining' and always advocates when caring comes into the frame, that we radically and ruthlessly adapt our homes and gardens to 'easy care' - eg, paving over the lawn so we dont' have to mow it, not having pot plants that need endless watering etc etc.
My mum also had a never ending list of jobs, the faster I did them, the faster they came.
All written in a notebook kept in the pocket of mum's recliner. How I hated that book.
As I walked in the door I'd get "Hello dear, before I forget can you....." as she reached for that book. Sometimes I would drive within half a mile of mum's house and not call in, because I just couldn't cope with the thought of more jobs. Especially when I was disabled myself, had a brain damaged son, running a physically demanding business when using walking sticks! Sometimes I didn't even get a "how are you".
Accept that you can never do everything she wants, and learn to manage mum's expectations. Counselling taught me how to do this. It's really easy.
YOU choose what is most important, and once you start, finish the job before you start the one YOU feel is next in line in importance. "You asked me to do this so let's get it finished first before starting something else..." Don't disagree with mum about the windows, acknowledge the task, "Yes, mine desperately need doing too. I'll do them when I get time..." If she asks "When" you say "It depends what else crops up..."
So no fixed commitments whatsoever in the conversations, deliberately vague and non committal. Think of it not as being a bad daughter, but as being a Survival Mechanism for you and your own life.
Windows - "Would you like me to arrange a window cleaner to call?" If she doesn't want to spend her money, she doesn't really want them cleaned that badly does she?