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New to group - Carers UK Forum

New to group

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Not sure if in right area . And what personal details I can use.
As an introduction I am the carer for wife with many physical and mental problems. On top of that we are guardians to two grandchildren aged 12 and 10 one of which has massive attachment issues and probably other medical needs. A lot of what I have read in another post on looking after wife and child applies to me. Basically I am at the end of my tether. A few things are starting to happen but painfully slowly. In the mean time I also just feel like running for the hills. I am 68. Social services children now doing assessment of need. I am still waiting for my local carers support to contact me for reassessment of my roll for wife. I have very little support from family or friends.
That's me
Hi Edward, that's a huge workload for one supposed to be retired man. I suspect the only bit that is true is "tired"?! I'm sure that there has been a lot of heartache surrounding your grandkids too.
Is your wife able to help you at all? Is she claiming DLA or Attendance Allowance? Do you have any outside help at all for her? Have Social Services done a Needs Assessment for her?
I've had huge problems in recent years, disabled myself but still a multiple carer. My top tip is always to reduce the amount of work that needs doing to an absolute minimum, starting with laundry - do you have a tumble dryer or washer dryer? and dishwashing - do you have a dishwasher? If you have a garden with borders, flatten them all so it's easier to mow. Put away all nick nacks/dust collectors. If you wife likes lots of clutter around, tough, it's going! If she can't look after her stuff, the decision about what stays or goes is yours alone. My mum was a dreadful hoarder, but stuff she didn't need in the house, and wouldn't get rid of, all went into large "Really Useful Boxes" and then into the garage. These are vermin proof and stack well, available from Staples, Homebase, B&Q or online. Avoid the 84 litre size though, unless for really light items like cushions. It's easy to fill them with stuff only to find you can't lift the box.

The children should be helping with some household tasks. Even my brain damaged son can give me some help by vacuuming up the carpet, when he comes home to me. In his own flat, he can do his own washing and use a simple tumble dryer.
Hi and welcome. Would I be right in thinking that 'everything lands on YOU'???!! That all three of them - your wife and two grandchildren, assume that 'good old Grandpa' (!) is going to 'cope with everything'.....?

It's reading that way, I have to say.

OK, the way to tackle a BIG problem (ie, the 'total situation') is to break it down into 'digestible chunks'. First simply by seeing what the chunks are, then working out what can be done about any of them, and whether there is more that can be done on some of them than others. With a view to reducing the 'total work and stress load' on you.

Very often we find that if we can simply START to reduce stress load 'somewhere/anywhere' then like a house of cards the whole stress-load starts to evaporate, or at least reduce to manageable levels.

Now, there are two aspects here - first is reducing the total 'family stress load' overall, so that the collective stress is less. But the second is to spread that stress load around, so that it is not all 'landing on top of YOU' - ie, you get the other three members of this family unit to take on more work, which reduces YOUR stress.

(Do remember that if you do 'head for the hill's - very understandably! - then the situation of the other three in your family is going to be dire, so they have a clear vested interest in keeping you from cracking and running!)

I would say that a good strategy would be to start with identifying, simply on your own, what it is that constitutes the 'stress load' (as outlined in your post, for example), and then trying to list where the most stress comes. (For example, I'm going to take a punt and say that it is not your wife's physical ailments that cause the most stress on you, but her mental ones!)(I say that because it usually turns out to be true in most cases - with MH issues we 'lose' the person who could help us, and they 'themselves' become the problem, rather than 'just' their physical ailments')

The idea is to end up with three lists - one, a list of ALL the sources of stress (from financial to daily nitty-gritty things like, for example, one of the children refusing to eat their greens!)(or whatever!)

Two, to take that list and order it roughly in terms of 'causing me most stress' to 'causing me least stress'

Third, to look at list one and think 'what can MOST EASILY be reduced' (ie, identify the low hanging fruit) and even if they are things that are causing little/least stress, tackling them can give you the essential feeling of 'psychological edge' ie, that you are getting control over what is currently an 'uncontrolled' situation (ie, it's been 'dumped' on you 'without your agreement' etc)(ie, not that you didn't want to rescue your grandchildren, just that you wish, very reasonably, they hadn't needed rescuing in the first place)(or that your wife didn't need any care).

The above exercises will give your starting point -
Next, I think it's a question of running a financial audit - what is the money coming in now, what is the money going out now, and is that likely to change (eg, if you get more support for your wife/children etc). That gives the framework for 'possibilities'.

(By the way, you won't need me to tell you that if you and your wife are looking after your grandchildren you are saving the state a HUGE amount of money - having children in care costs a FORTUNE - so never, for a single moment, feel 'bad' about taking every damn penny you can off the state for raising your grandchildren!) (I do appreciate however that, for example, even if it is financially advantageous for you to be, officially, their foster carers, rather than, say, their adoptive parents, as foster carers are paid more than adoptive parents!, still for good emotional/legal-security reasons, adoption/guardianship etc may be 'safer' for both the children and yourselves.)

You say you get no help from the rest of your family - does that include the children's birth parents? If so, are they actually 'part of the problem' even more than just not being part of the solution? (Do forgive me if the children are orphans, that, of course is the grimmest possibility, although perhaps, if their birth parents are HIGHLY dysfunctional, it may not be the worst option alas......)

May I also ask how your wife's mental health problems are playing into the children's situation? As in, and this is a difficult question to ask, but IF the reason you are the children's guardians is because, say, your son/daughter had their own severe mental health problems, is this related to your wife's conditions? IF, that is so (and I'm only speculating wildly here, so do disavow this of course), then it could be that your wife's MH is actually 'contributing' to the difficulties your children are experiencing (ie, if her MH 'echoes' that of their mother/father??) (Are you/they/your wife getting ANY psychological counselling etc for MH/affects of MH? I do hope that is on the table!)

FInally, for now, I totally agree with BB's strong recommendation that the children are perfectly well old enough now to be given their share of household chores - they are PART of the family unit, not passengers! They, too, have to 'pull their weight' in this (as must your wife, within the limits of her physical abilities)(and the mental ones must be subordinate I'm afraid!)
PS - sorry, one more enquiry? Were you already your wife's carer when the children arrived, or has that developed since? (Were you ALWAYS your wife's carer, especially re MH??)
Hi a lot to absorb thanks. Plus trying to navigate this site. Will get back when I have time. Thanks
It took me ages to learn how to navigate the site.
If you go to the top of the page, left hand side, it says "Quick Links".
Click here and you get a drop down menu.

Click on "new posts" and you'll find any new posts since you visited the forum previously.

When you go to one of the messages, at the top it will say something like "Unread posts".
Click on "unread posts" and it will send you straight to the latest messages.
Hi Edward.
On top of that we are guardians to two grandchildren aged 12 and 10 one of which has massive attachment issues and probably other medical needs.

A Kinship carer ?

The following link will take you to the Kinship Carers site :


There are " Differences " in the System's approach to Kinship carers ... as opposed to Family carers ... some of the links available off the main page will prove invaluable.

There is also a separate thread on the whole issue of " Kindship " carers :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-and ... it=kinship