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New - Carers UK Forum

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Tell us a bit about yourself here.

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Hello

I have been a carer for my son, now 34, since he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17. It has been a long and difficult road but he is currently fairly stable (not 'well', but 'stable'). He is on ESA and lowest-rate DLA and has a council flat but spends a lot of time at my house. He is in good physical shape but cannot cope with any kind of stress and I am dreading the changeover to Universal Credit.

Meanwhile my mum, now 91, has been becoming gradually less mobile and more isolated and last year decided she wanted to move from her warden-assisted flat to be nearer me. I found her a self-contained apartment with residential care support that I thought would be ideal, but for all sorts of reasons mum didn't like it.

So she asked me to sell her flat and buy another, smaller one in another warden-assisted development, with all the same problems of limited mobility and social isolation, only now she looks to me to solve all her needs.

Her short-term memory is not so good and she doesn't cope well with finances and technology, but she cooks, cleans and washes for herself, so I have it easier than many people on the forum. However she is very 'clingy' and constantly asks me to come and see her and take her out shopping. She declares she's lonely if I don't go for couple of days. I retired from my part-time job last year but I haven't told her yet, because I know she will expect my free days to become 'hers'. So much for retirement! :D

Ah well, just wanted to introduce myself. I've been reading the forums for a few months and found them very helpful; thankyou all.
Hi Starfish, welcome :)

Glad your boy is stable at the moment, must be very difficult to deal with the situation when he's unwell. Can't offer any advice re your mum as it's not a situation I've been in but wanted to say welcome and I'm sure others will have some wise words for you :)
Dear Starfish,

A warm welcome to you! :)

You certainly did the right thing in joining up - I feel really down having read what you posted.

There will be many here that will know the solutions to the problems you are facing but alas I am not one of them.

I would like to ask you;
"How are you coping?"
"Is there anything you need?"

Consider this;
Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. :lol:

Hugs,
Amumu.
Dear Starfish

Welcome to the forum - it is, indeed, a very supportive place, and I've found it very helpful myself.

I'm sorry to hear of your 'twin problems' but it is good that your son is stable and, to an extent 'sorted and settled', so no immediate problems on that front for the time being, which must be a relief.

As to your mum, it does sound like you are 'running around' her quite a lot! I had to sell my MIL's Glasgow flat last summer and it was a LOT of work (especially clearing it of 30 years of her stuff!), so I really, really don't envy you doing as many moves for your mum as she has wanted.

I'm afraid, speaking from my own MIL, that yes, they do become 'clingy'. I think the problem is that they simply get very bored on their own now, and want entertainment and attention, and maybe reassurance as well? My MIL had to move into a home, as she was beyond looking after herself (can just about make herself a cup of tea - if no one else does it for her!), but she still utterly depends on me 'emotionally' (I am widowed, and her other son is in the USA, so there is only 'little old me'!) (I take it you have no siblings or none near by to share the 'entertainment' of your mum??).

I'm afraid all I can strongly recommend is to 'hold the line' when it comes to spending time with her and on her. I know it sounds rotten, but you MUST get some time to yourself, enough to make your own life worth while. I do ration my time on my MIL - twice a week is the most I will do now, and sometimes only once a week.

What I do - and this may work for you, or it may be the very worst idea! - is to have my MIL to stay on Sunday nights. We watch 'nice' TV (Countryfile, Call the Midwife, Mr Selfridge), and it is 'cosy', and she likes it, and it's not too stressful for me, and then I take her back the next day for lunch at her home (which she hates - sigh)(but they look after her well - she just doesn't want to be there). If I can, I do Thursday nights as well (Death in Paradise - hurrah!).

BUT, I 'pace' myself all the time, and steel myself to 'smile and walk away' when I take her back, however 'sad' she is at being left.

It is hard, no doubt about it, but unless we say 'right, she only has maybe three years of life left, so I'll dedicate them entirely to her' we have to 'ration' our time with them.

Staying over with you might be disastrous, though, as it might give her a 'taste' of what, I suspect, ideally your mum would love - ie, living with you???????

One thing, I suspect, you will have to accept - that your mum will think from now on, less and less about 'anyone else's needs and wants' and only about herself (apols if this is to misjudge her completely!). You may have to accept that she won't be mentally capable any longer of thinking 'oh, I must not be too clingy, my daughter has a lot on on her plate and I don't want to add to her problems'.....

One final thought for now, is it possible for you, your son and his grandmother to spend 'quality time' together, from time to time, so that your mum has the reassurance of seeing her grandson, and your son his gran?
Hi Starfish, you have a lot on your plate.
Home care agencies also do shopping trips on behalf of, or with their clients. Would your mum accept this? She could have her shopping done and have some company at the same time, might make it easier for you. Would your mum go to any activity groups? (I know her mobility isn't as good)
Welcome to the forum
I have bipolar and am now just getting into the same situation as you where i am supporting emotionally dad in law who is 86. At the moment he looks after himself physically and he has slowed down mentally. Though he has fallen once and hurt himself. He is married but his wife my step mother in law spends the majority of the time away from him with her family . She deems their needs more important than her husband. :blink: but dont get me on a rant about that one im trying to be more spiritually enlightened :lol: :lol:
He does not demand our time at all but he is more anxious and worried about things. Also because he is more vulnerable he has been ripped off a few times with scammers at the door. So me and sis in law have stepped up our visits and keeping an eye on him. And i have told him to run things past my husband when hes not sure about things. Hubby Now goes round and does practical things to help him such as fixing things in the house. I know realistically if dad in law became unwell it would be me looking after him as sis in law has a career and hubby at work. Though luckily financially he would be able to afford carers to come in i would just have to supervise that as with my bipolar i get unwell myself and hubby looks after me! I think they do get more needy as they are older i think probably it is frightening to think of dying and that is not something that is talked about in our society and people are not supported emotionally by health professional to have their emotional/ spiritual needs met to meet that challenge.
These are indeed words of wisdom and I am very grateful for your support. I love the calories joke. I must have lost several hundred by now.....

No, I have no siblings to share the fun. It's not really feasible to have mum to stay as I have no spare room - my younger son also lives with me, fulltime - and anyway she's less than a mile away. I do have her here for a meal occasionally but she has to struggle up the stairs to my bathroom.

I do understand the need to pace myself - that was impressed on me when I started to care for my son - but it's very hard to think of her sitting all alone with just the telly. I aim to take her out twice a week and to drop in to hers for a cuppa once or twice on other days. Both her grandsons help willingly with practical stuff. The residents hold a coffee morning weekly that she goes to, and one or two other social events as well. She is quite deaf, which is isolating, and won't wear a hearing aid. (Why is that so often the case?) Very occasionally her nieces and nephew ask her out.

I've broached the subject of mum going out with an agency but no luck; the subject is immediately and mysteriously changed. The one time I got AgeUK befrienders to ring her up she said (you've guessed it) 'O my daughter does all that for me' ! I think she is frightened of falling, or having some embarrassing personal thing happen.

At least with a warden guarding the door no scammers can get in, but I can't imagine I would have the determination to care for her if I wasn't well myself.

Thankyou all for being so welcoming.
StarFish_1502 wrote:I've broached the subject of mum going out with an agency but no luck; the subject is immediately and mysteriously changed. The one time I got AgeUK befrienders to ring her up she said (you've guessed it) 'O my daughter does all that for me' ! I think she is frightened of falling, or having some embarrassing personal thing happen.
A lot of posters around the forum will tell you about the stealth that is necessary to introduce these kinds of changes. A good theme to use (and it's actually quite truthful) is that the agency is to help you, not your mum. So the agency is helping you to bring her out shopping, etc. This probably means that both you and the agency are there the first few times, then you should hopefully be able to withdraw and leave it to them. Obviously you need to make this clear to the agency, that you are transferring care to them but working through your mum's resistance in the meantime.
If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work, but at least you gave yourself a chance?