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Panic! - Carers UK Forum


Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I know I've got it easy really...

My mum died suddenly last year. She had been very assertive and independent prior to her death and lived alone very much in the way she wanted to. She and my dad had been separated for many years but were still on amicable terms and she tolerated regular visits from him.

My brother and I both live about 120 miles from my dad, but in opposite directions. I'm the only member of the family who drives. Soon after her death, my dad went into mental health crisis. We managed to get through it and I took on the duties as executor for my mum's will, which ended up being a massive task. We tried to get him to stay with me for a while or consider retirement properties but he refused.

Recently things have gone downhill again. Dad has tried to hide things from us and as recently as last Sunday when I took him out for lunch he was trying to make out things were okay. When our more local relatives popped in unexpectedly this week, they found him in crisis again. My brother managed to get down and I drove up at the weekend when he agreed to come back with me. My brother has implied he should not now go back home, and the expectation is my dad is staying at my house for the foreseeable. I'm now facing the reality that my dad will be living with me until I've managed to get him accommodation in the area that he is happy with.

Although my brother is unemployed he has mental health issues, so generally most organisational tasks, phonecalls etc. fall on me. I work full time in education so am constantly tired and stressed anyway, and I'm not a naturally nurturing person (no kids!) - the idea that I can't just put a sachet of Whiskas out and leave my dad in a cat basket is terrifying! My partner has been an absolute star and has accepted the situation and been really supportive but he also has a stressful career.

I'm caught in the headlights of overwhelming dread at the moment. My dad is 82 and physically okay but has noticeably deteriorated in terms of e.g. stamina and balance in the past year. He suffers quite from serious hearing loss and is on a load of medication. But the most difficult problem is his mental health and anxiety. Although he has admitted feeling confused about things I think this is more to do with him becoming increasingly isolated and anxious rather than clear signs of dementia. I do think he needs to go back to the doctor for a proper assessment, but he is reluctant and I can't take time off work before the end of term to get him back up to the doctor.

Having read some posts on the forum, I can see that my situation is nowhere near as demanding as some people's. But crikey, it all looks formidable!
Janey - don't downplay your situation. You could, as you say, be 'landed' with your dad for the rest of his life, as his health - both physical and mental - continue to inexorably deterioriate until 'the end finally comes'.

BUT, as we all know (and many of us here have the t-shirts), at only 82 your dad could have ten-fifteen (more?) years of life left!

Are you really contemplating him 'moving in' for the next twenty years?

The time to move him is NOW. Before he gets 'too bad'. He will, I would surmise, at some point have to 'end up' in residential care as his care needs increase beyond even, say, sheltered accommodation.

Where actually is he at the moment? Still 'agreeing' to stay with you (??!!!!). Take him home. Get a care package sorted with his local authority/gp, and back right away.

Ignore your bro and what he is 'volunteering' you to do! Great for him to expect YOU to be the fifth cavalry, while he pleads his own MH issues to avoid any of the 'heavy lifting' in caring for his dad.

Address the thorny issue of your dad's finances. As you may well know already, while he has £23k in savings, he has to pay for his own home-care-visits, and if he moves into residential care then his home will also be taken into consideration (My 89 y/o MIL is currently spending the last tranche of her 'take' from her flat, on care home fees). Once they are down to £23k in total (ie, the assets liquidated into cash), the LA steps in, but there is still a 'part-pay' situation until they are down to £14k (by the way, out of that £14k you still have to pay their funeral costs - effectively you inherit a few thousand pounds, if that, if you're lucky!).

ONLY IF he goes into fully residential care should you consider having him near you, as otherwise you will be endlessly 'on call' (and more) expected to put your life on hold to look after him.

I know this sounds ruthless, and not one of us WANTS to 'put them in a home' but it really will boil down, a you are grimly already finding out that it will come down to 'them or us'. And if you choose 'them', then, as I warned, you could be looking at a ten-fifteen year 'gaol sentence'.

Be warned!
I am widowed, so is Jenny. It's a huge period of readjustment. He needs to be back in his home, with all the support he needs from Social Services or the NHS to adjust. Staying with you isn't really going to help this. Too many carers have taken their parents in on the death of the other parent, and regretted it bitterly for the rest of their lives. Don't let this happen to you. Has anyone contacted Social Services for a Needs Assessment?
For some reason my account stopped working last year and locked me out, but it appears to be working again now.

Leaving my dad in his home just wasn't an option. It's a word I've seen on here - acopia. He'd let things deteriorate to such an extent that it was dangerous and it needed so much work done on it. Although physically capable of getting out, mentally he was house-bound and he had no friends or social life up there. He was just rotting. I did contact his local council to ask about a care assessment, but as my dad is able to look after himself in the domestic sphere - he can cook for himself and wash, they weren't really interested. I think I got a phone call from them regarding doing a needs assessment about 3 months after he'd moved out.

I managed to find him a place in sheltered accommodation local to me very quickly. He's now got a nice little flat with a warden on site during the day and a 24 hour emergency call system. It's safe and warm and he doesn't have to worry about all the things he worried about in his own home. They also offer domiciliary care, extra care housing and residential care so hopefully he now has somewhere he can stay for the rest of his life.

So things are much better than they were last year. I know he's safe and I never have to drive up that bloody motorway again! It's had an impact on my life, but it's manageable. I pop in each day for a cup of tea, I take him to his doctors' appointments and get his prescriptions, we order his shopping online and then go and collect it together. If I go away for a break my brother comes down and stays at mine whilst I'm away. There is the concern that beyond the sphere of the domestic my dad is absolutely reliant on me and it's sad that he's reduced to that level of dependency. I had hoped that once he had settled in he would begin to start venturing out again and having a bit of a life but he's never recovered from that absolute collapse after my mum's death. But on the plus side I'm much less worried and stressed about him now than I was. I'm really fortunate in that my dad is a lovely man. He's always been a good dad. He wants to be the least trouble possible and he's really grateful for the support he's got. Reading about the situation some people are in here with the demands put on them is awful.