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New and near breaking point - Carers UK Forum

New and near breaking point

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Hi I am Della . Oh where to start! My mum suffers from bad arthritis and cannot walk more than a few steps. She kept having falls. To cut a long story short she wanted care so we sold her house and our house ( mine & husbands) and bought a place in the country suitable for all our needs. This was a year ago. My husband works away and is only home weekends.
My mum has always had a quick temper and prone to sulking . Life with her has become unbearable. I have 6 dogs and can't even get out to walk them because mum starts going into one about me leaving her etc. I have no friends I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and don't feel great myself. All mum does is criticise complain demand and moan . I know this sounds mean but I can't help how I feel. My husband says just ignore it but I have got to the stage now where I resent having mum in my house, I feel like just getting in my car and leaving . I need help
Welcome to the forum.

Sadly, your predicament is not uncommon. With hindsight you now, grimly, know that you made a mistake, for the right reasons (!), about all living together......

Does your mum have her own granny annexe (separate from you and your husband's space - with a lockable door in between?!), or does she live 'en famille' ie, with you in your living space, having meals with you, etc etc etc?

If the former well and good - if the latter, not good.

Can you create a separate space for her so that YOU can get away from her? (Could you create a separate space for youself where you spend your days when your husband isn't there?).

What is your mum's health prognosis? Is it deteriorating, either physically or mentally, such that she will need to be in a care home (this would rescue you!)? If so, then maybe you could tough it out? In practical terms, though, you might well need to sell up, as she would need to pay for her own care until the value of her share of the house (ie, whatever she put in to from the sale of her own house) is down to £23k, when SS would step in (savings would have to be down to that as well.) You might be able to defer selling the house, since you live there too, until she dies, when you would have to 'settle up' the bill with SS.

The most important thing right now is to create some essential separation between you and your difficult mum - separation in space (granny annexe/your escape pod!), in time (don't spend the days with her) and emotionally (most important of all - to 'numb' yourself to her so she can't press your buttons!) (you may need counselling to achieve this - quite a few folk here have had that, so they can learn to say 'No' to their parent's endless demands and complaints!)

I'll leave it like that for the moment, but to get your life back (and your sanity) will mean quite a lot of physical and emotional adjustments on your part. Don't despair - it can be done, but you will need to be resolute (and act as a team with your husband.) Either your mother backs off, or you do! You don't have to put up with this, and you shouldn't!

Kind regards for now, Jenny

PS - does your mum need/accept outside help, or is she only wanting YOU to do everhythign for her, and with her, and generally entertain her, cosset her, and keep her company (and be her whipping girl!)??
She integrates with me but I do have a separate sitting room . I have tried to go in here twice, the last time being yesterday afternoon when I wanted to watch something different on tv. After about an hour the door flew open and mum stood at the door saying " if you don't want me in this house just say you don't need to leave me on my own in the other room" myself & Alan explained we just wanted to watch something different and she refused to speak to us for the rest of the evening. Whenever I try to get some time on my own this is what I get. My sister died 14 years ago so there is only me. Her feet are swollen but she can still walk, every time I leave the front room she opens the woodburner poking it filling the room with smoke. It's very difficult
Sorry forgot to say there is a great village day centre where they collect them once a week take them to lunch and bring them back- she refuses point blank to go
Dear Della, welcome to our forum, so sorry to hear if your predicament.
I too have my 91yr mum living with me (she suffers from dementia and osteoarthritis), with me as her carer for about five years She is a retired nurse used to giving orders and not fussed on me telling her what to do !
We have had our ups and downs, particularly the during the first year. We converted our dining room into a sitting room for her, with lots of her stuff around her so she can have her space and me mine when i need too. I also contacted social services to have a needs assessment for both mum and myself ( If you haven't had it done I suggest you do asap) They could do little for me directly, but were able to give me advice on benefits and recommend several agencies.
As a result I now have a carer who comes in once a week and gives me a few hours respite and again one saturday a month (so I can spend time with my husband) I also arrange for her to go into respite for a week twice a year so Hubs and I can have a proper break together to "recharge our batteries". Mum doesn't always like it but knows that the only alternative for her would be to go into a nursing home.
Perhaps you could arrange to have someone come in once a day so you can walk your dogs. Obviously you cannot continue with your current situation. There are lots of us who are or have been in similar situations and I provide advice. I hope you will be able to find a solution soon
Hi Della, welcome to the forum. Just because you and mum live together doesn't mean to say you have to do everything for her - what she wants isn't necessarily going to be what she gets. The only power over you is the power you let her have. That takes some time thinking about, but it's true. Take the dogs for a walk, whatever she says. At that time of day, the dogs are more important than mum. She cannot always be "top dog"!

Did you draw up any sort of informal "pre nup agreement" before you bought the house? Who does what, where, and when? Maybe it's time you thought about drawing up a new agreement, discussed first with your husband. For example, do you have any "off duty" hours?

Mum might refuse to attend day services, but that does NOT mean that you have to stay home and look after her on those days.
How old is mum? Does she have any sign of dementia? Does she have savings over £16,000?

After a car accident, I couldn't walk without being in agony (happily I now have two good knee replacements), so I know how difficult it can be with restricted mobility. Nevertheless, I was still caring for my son with learning difficulties and supporting an elderly disabled mum 6 miles away. It can be done.

My son converted my garage into a wonderful downstairs bedroom complete with en suite and Sky Plus. It's sound proof (nicknamed Mum's Padded Cell at times!!) but we can each be independent of each other. He looks after my garden and vehicles, I do the cooking. If you each have a sitting room, then mum needs to accept that when you are in yours, you are "off duty" and should not be disturbed.

It might help if you kept a diary for the next week of everything you have done for her, and every time she has interrupted your quiet time, and why. Have you and your husband ever thought about what you would like to happen to mum?

Have you asked Social Services for a Carers Assessment?
Have you ever had counselling aimed at solving the "mum" problem? I found it really helpful.
Incidentally, as your home is jointly owned, I'm fairly certain that it's value cannot be considered should mum move into a care home.
Thank you all SO much. What a lot of great points you have made . We haven't had a Carers assessment could someone point me in the direction of how to go about this. I am going to call hubby tonight to discuss some of these points. Mum is 85 .
I agree, do not agree to sell your house and return Mum's capital. If you all own it, as we do here, they have to take her value as it stands on the date of entry to care, if you also own shares in the house then that value is determined as nil or only nominal because you cannot sell a percentage with 2 other people legally and legitimately owning it!!

We are in the same position except we have been at this for 10 years and have both parents here. I am at breaking point and cannot do this any more and we have given Social Services a date from which we will no longer care for them.

Do not compromise your health and wellbeing, do not underestimate how much this can affect your sanity and happiness.
To arrange a Carers Assessment for yourself, and/or a Needs Assessment for mum, ring up your local Social Services Department.
You could always call her bluff and say 'Actually, Mum, I DON'T want you in this house as you are horrible to be with, and that's that. If you don't improve your behaviour and temper and manners, my husband and I will sell the house, give you back your share of the proceeds, and you can do whatever the hell you like as I've had it up to here with you!'

(You ARE entitled to sell without her consent, though it may take a court order for her to have to give in to that if she refuses to sell her share.)

I do think you and your husband (who is probably only surviving because he's out of the house all week!) do have to sit down privately (even if it's in your bedroom - presumably she doesn't try and barge in there???) and work out what to do next. There HAS to be separation from her enough of the time to give you back your sanity. That will need to be IMPOSED on her - probably by 'blackmail' in that she has to take on board that EITEHR she agrees to some degree of separation OR you sell the house and she can either do whatever she wants or she goes into a care home.

Is there an obvious way you can physically divide the house into two separate sections, with hers having a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen, and its own access, and, most important of all, a LOCKABLE door between the sections?

She won't get off your case while you let her get away with her bad and selfish behaviour. As BB says, the only power she really has is what you allow her to have. You say she kicked off when you wanted to take the dogs out - well, so what?

The hardest lesson to learn is to realise that other people's bad moods and bad temper are completely powerless if YOU don't let them be! You just have to not give a monkey's! So what if she kicks off. Walk out. So what if she goes on at you when you come back? Walk away (that's why you need a separate space.)

You say your mum has always been 'difficult' - that sounds like she's always treated you badly and been demanding and inconsiderate. She'll go on like that until you call time on it.

Have that conference with your husband, say to him how you are at the end of your tether, that your life is hellish and you can't bear it. Then get a builder in to work out how to divide the house. She agrees to it, or you put it on the market.

You DO have to 'toughen up'. She isn't going to become sweetness and light on her own, alas.

Don't feel sorry for her - she isn't feeling any pity for you, is she?!!!