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New member - Carers UK Forum

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I live with my elderly mother, who had a stroke 28 months ago. I had to quit work to take care of her, I am unmarried and have no children. My emotional state has now reached such a dire state I am on medication for blood pressure and anxiety, I'm smoking and drinking way too much, and I am starting to alienate my friends. My brother and sister in law try to help out where they can, but they work full time and it's very difficult for them.

Remarkably my mother's speech and mobility were unaffected, but her cognitive abilities, memory and concentration were severely impaired, and she is no longer able to read (she was formerly an avid reader). I am suffering from severe carer burnout. Recently I called the Adult Social Care Team in my area and they are sending someone to see us within the next 3 weeks, hopefully with a view to putting her in daycare, but only once a week. Lately I have been indulging fantasies of either running away or committing suicide, neither of which is an option. Yesterday I had such a bad day I even told her I wanted to put her in a nursing home. I felt immediately guilty and apologised, but I am struggling so hard I really don't know what to do.

Thank you for listening. Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.
I should add that after she returned home from hospital after her stroke, carers were automatically put in place, but she hated them invading her home and was getting depressed, so I had to cancel them and take over myself. I tried to teach her how to read again, but she lost interest in doing that. I got her some audiobooks, but she also lost interest in them. She has severe depression at times and paranoia - I can spend all day trying to talk her out of it, but to no avail - she will listen to everyone but me. She has never been a social person and has no interest in getting together at coffee mornings for seniors, for example. In 28 months, I have had 2 days' break recently but it wasn't enough. I asked my brother to take her for a couple of days once a month and he readily agreed, but mother told me she "didn't want to have to go that often." All she has for entertainment is the tv, but she gets bored with that and subsequently depressed. Even if I take her out, she doesn't like to stay out for too long and still gets bored very quickly when she gets home. I need a decent break, for at least a week, but I'm not sure if that will be possible. I really am at my wits' end.

Thanks for listening.
I had carers for my elderly mother but they weren't very good. When she became quite illI tried to do it all myself as I didn't trust them but I could feel myself becoming stressed and depressed, so I had to have the carers back, even though I had to keep checking up on them. I don't know how people cope without help. I am having to place Mum in respite care now because her heart failure is unstable and she is going towards final stage. I haven't got a social worker yet even though she's been in hospital 3 weeks. I think the system is in crisis. Luckily my Mum is lovely but Dad was very difficult. He passed away last year aged 96 years. It's difficult if your Mum refuses your brother's help and carers, but if you burn out where will that leave her then. I'm sorry I'm not more help. Maybe someone else will be able to advise you better. Maybe counselling would help. I had some off the local carers group and it does help you see the wood from the trees. Maybe you need to be firm and tell your Mum that she has to have carers and go to your brothers, or you will become ill and unable to care for her at all. Take care.
mumofone, that's very good advice, thank you for your reply.

I've had a long, frank talk with mum and she is starting to recognise the toll this has all taken on me, and is more willing than before to go into respite care, thank goodness. I will talk to the Adult Social Care Team and see what help they are able to provide, likewise my brother is still willing to help out where he can.

I have also in the last half hour made an appointment with our solicitor to arrange power of attorney, I will get it arranged it next week.

Thanks again, and take care.
Mumofones advice is spot on - you cant keep going by yourself, even though thats what your mum wants. Take some respite soon, so that you feel better - then organise regular carers (and make sure you have a break when they are here), take advantage of your brothers offer and arrange regular respite for yourself.
Is there a local befriending service - in my area its called Crossroads? Perhaps they could "mumsit" for an hour of two to help you.
If she complains - take her hand and say "I know - its hard isnt it?", but dont back down. If you have problems with the carers - get new ones, but dont be left with no help.
crocus, thank you so much for your advice.

Unfortunately it's very difficult to have home carers as she hates strangers coming into her home - it makes her very depressed and then consequently it has a knock-on effect on me Image . But you are absolutely right about regular respite, preferably daycare or even a week in a nursing home if it's possible, and I am going to take advantage of every outlet I possibly can in that regard, whether she likes it or not. I have no choice, and neither does she. She knows that now. Image
If she objects to carers coming in could you start with a cleaner? That would help you with the housework and doesnt have the same sort of stigma. Many people on here say that someone like that becomes their carees friend after a while.
No, even a cleaner would be too much for her. It's not so much the manual tasks that need doing that bother me - it's the increasing emotional support that she needs that is proving the hardest for me to handle. I have suffered from depression my entire adult life and it is doubly hard for me to deal with hers as well. It wouldn't be so bad if she would listen to me, but no matter what I say it simply doesn't penetrate.

The more I think about it, the more I know that it's regular time away from her that I really need - regular time so I can focus on me, and me alone.
Then go for it Annie. You know your caree and what they can cope with better than anyone. Im just a bit concerned that if she wont tolerate anyone who is a stranger in, how will she make friends? She could become very lonely and I thought that someone who would be a friend to her and also help you could be a solution.
Bit at a time though eh?
I know exactly what you mean, crocus. I guess I'm just hoping that if she has no choice but to interact with others, she'll get used to it and actually come to like it. Fingers crossed! Image I've been indulging her for far too long, trying to keep her happy to the detriment of myself. Don't get me wrong, she's a loving mother and always has been, but since her stroke she has become very self-centred. It has taken some harsh home truths from me to open her eyes to how untenable the situation has become.

My goodness, simply the act of admitting to myself that I am not superwoman and I need all the support I can get has made such a huge difference to my mood already. I'm so happy to have found this site, this forum, and good people such as yourself. Thank you so much for your understanding, and for your advice. Image