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Hi all although I haven't posted for 2 yrs I have been lurking and getting moral support through reading other posts and replys. I will try not to go on but like others having bad days. Here goes 2 yrs ago I started looking after my mum in our home she is 91, her mind is fine but she has separation anxiety, even when I try to have any time in the garden. My hubby and I took early retirement due to redundancy and moving to a different area, which is why distance caring would not have worked. I am in remission from cancer ( treatments finished just before mum came!) Other people go to Disneyland I get to be a carer! What me resentful no, there is so much I can say, can't go out for more than a couple of hours, no holidays etc. We did have companion carers in the morning, but more trouble as she was worried who was coming,no shows I could go on. I do have a sibling abroad, but doesn't want to know basically phone calls weekly that's it. But I feel so very very angry that it's me that has been left to do it all. Oh and she wouldn't even consider respite. I feel we are servants in our own home. I know that sounds harsh but have a little cry on my own more times than I know is healthy. Even writing this the TV needs turning over! This is a rant but writing it down helps. I know it won't be forever etc but having had the cancer and not great health time is precious, thanks for reading. Phew!
Hi Littlewren
I feel for you and your situation. Yes, it's important to have time for you and your husband and if direct methods don't work then perhaps indirect ones are called for, even to give you an hour's respite to start with.
Although my situation was different, two things that worked for me were to get a befriender in to visit my dad and look to day care. Age UK and WRVS are good sources. Someone who can sit and chat to your mum for an hour with a genuine interest in her life would also give you a break. I used to suggest to Dad that he showed his befriender some photo albums and they soon got on like a house on fire. I also contacted Age UK re their day centre and took Dad along just to have a look'. They made a big fuss of him as soon as he was over the threshold, showed him lots of photos of the things they did and encouraged him to come back. He went begrudgingly, but also enjoyed being able to have a moan about some of the 'old folk' there (he as in his 90s!).
Most importantly for me, I had people from the two organisations on side, and as they say, a problem shared...
Hope this helps
Thank you for your reply, I will look into that, we did have paid carers to sit for a hour each morning but most didn't have anything in common which mum didn't like, your idea sounds better thanks
Hmm, you say separation anxiety, but what actually happens if you are out of the house for longer than your mother 'allows' you to be?

Does she remain physically safe, or would she, perhaps, try and leave the house to find you?Or is it just that she 'kicks off' (tears, fretful, palpitations, being upset, acrimony, recriminations - a whole shed load of 'Oh you left me and I hated it I hated it don't leave me don't leave me' (etc etc)

I ask because the bottom line is that her 'distress' doesn't actually matter you know? I know that sounds cruel, but then she is being cruel to you, isn't she, demanding your constant presence and attetnion.

I think Juggler's advice is excellent, and if your mother doesn't want to go, then tough. You have to make other arrangemetns for yourself for that time slot, and then go out. eg, you say to her 'You're at day care this morning Mum, and my husband and I are going out for lunch/shopping/visiting friends/whatever'. Then, she has a choice - she agrees for you to drop her at day care....OR....she gets left 'home alone'.' That's her choice -her choice is NOT 'Day care or stay home with my daughter in attendance'.

This policy will call for resolution and 'nerves' on your part, but it has to be done if you want ANY of your own life back!

Once you've achieved this (and it can be achieved - my guess is she'll prefer day care to being home alone, once you 'call her bluff' and go out all the same, whether she stays home or goes to day care)....then the next goal is to get yourself a holiday booked, and your mum booked into respite.

It's understandable that respite initially can be 'scary', but one way of presenting it is as a 'holiday' for her. After all, you and your husband are going on holiday - well, the respite home is a 'hotel' for her, isn't it?! She gets her 'holiday' and you get yours!

Also, emphasising that the respite home is a 'hotel' for her also helps to allay again very undrestandable fears she may have, that it's thing end of the wedge - today a respite home, tomorrow 'dumped in care'......once she's learnt that she does 'come home' again after a stay in respite, then she will, hopefully, be less anxious about it next time.

And, ofr course, you and your husband don't actually ahve to 'go away' during her respite, you can stay home and get 'useful things done' (or even jsut relax).

You will have to be firm. Maybe this is a time for your husband to be upfront with his MIL and say 'I want Littlewren to have a break, and I know you'll support me in this' - get her 'onside' maybe.

Bottom line, you are entitled to your life, end of. Your mother is fortunate to be with you, and that's lovely, but you do need regular breaks, both in the normal everyday routine, and for the 'holidays' as well. Your mother does NOT need to 'consent' to this!!!

All the best, and stay resolute. Kind regards, Jenny
The organisations I mentioned provide lots of different types of support and know how to 'encourage' the elderly to take the support offered. They will have an understanding of your circumstances.
It took a couple of goes to get the 'right' person as my dad's befriender. He didn't like the chap who 'talked about football all the time' so I told them this. He really liked the woman who was interested enough in his stories to take him to the cathedral to see the book of remembrance he'd instigated...and then on for a cup of tea. She came to his funeral too and told me what a lovely man he was. My dad always liked the ladies! ;)
Thanks jenny, she isn't mobile on her own, refuses to use a frame ( we have two!) So I have to escourt her to thetoilet, she has a stick! When I go out she makes a big deal where are yiugoing? How long on and on, which as you've guessed puts such a strain on us, I will have to get tough. Although she knows her other child is not helping she doesn't want to understand how frustrated I feel, many thanks again
Thanks juggler that's very useful to know
Hi Littlewren
You situation has a lot of parallels with my own but thank goodness, my mum does not suffer from ASADS, nor does she actually live with me. So when she can't turn the TV onto the right channel I have to get in the car and drive the 5 mins to her place. Doesn't happen that often though.
I don't know anyone with your Mum's condition and from what I have read, it has only been acknowledged as a mental condition for adults relatively recently as it was presumed it was children who suffered. It is possibly caused by some childhood trauma. Anything you know of?
This is not your Mum's 'fault', she is ill, BUT it's not yours either and it is very hard on you and your husband. I admire you both for coping so far. There is some limited help out there I believe but not a lot. Is your Mum getting and help at all?
As I understand it, and my understanding is very limited and could well be wrong,, your Mum is terrified that if you leave her at all, you will never come back. Does she have panic attacks?
How does Mum feel if one of you, either yourself or your husband, goes out of sight for a short time? Does she tolerate the absence of one if the other is present? If so, for the sake of your mutual 'sanity'. maybe for the time being you and your husband could 'escape' on your own. An afternoon, an evening etc?
A sitter. Is it worth employing a sitter, or a volunteer from a local be-frienders' group and remaining in the house while Mum gets used to her.? Gradually increase the time you are absent from the room, visit by visit, 'in the garden' or 'popping out to the newsagents', so that Mum gets used to the person sitting and you being absent for a while and returning. I think it should be the same person every time, even if it's not every week and someone Mum likes while you are there. She won't like anyone if you immediately disappear when they arrive. It might take a few tries before you find someone who Mum really gets on with. It could build into a real time out for you and your husband. Slow process though.
You need to do some planning. Get some advice and help from the experts if you haven't already. It could be years. My Mum is 99.
Oh dear, call me a cynical, callous witch, or call me just pig ignorant, but I'm not convinced about the 'reality' of separation anxiety as an actual real live full on full blown mental disorder! (now shoot me down in flames!)

I think it could simply be a habit that can be exacerbated by 'indulging' or diminished by (careful and compassionate!) weaning off with 'firm love'. But there you go, who am I to know the difference? Loads more people here than I have far, far more experience of MH issues (and my own is severely influenced by having grown up with an emotionally volatile probably-bp, definitely paranoid schizophrenic - spies were a permanent feature of our childhood! - mother, and doubltess that has made me very 'anti-MH' alas!).

Probably best, really, to get advice from MH psychs via your mum's GP as how best to manage this condition so it doesn't worsen, or continue to stifle your attempts to have any life of your own.

That said, I completely agree with Elain'es suggested strategy of 'little by little' and overlapping handover. Seems eminently sensible!

There does seem to be an 'impasse' when it comes to toileting and mobility. Do you think your mum sees this as her 'trump card' ('You can't leave me, as I can't get to the loo on my own'!)???

The bottom line, however, is that you simply CANNOT live out the rest of her life 'hand-cuffed' to her. You can't. You must be able to 'break the chains' sufficiently to stop you going insane with it all. This doesn't mean abandoning her, it means training her to be sufficiently reassured that even if you 'go away' you always 'come back'.
Thanks Elaine and jenny, yes the sep anxiety is prob is not exactly over doing it, but its the nearest thing that I can explain what happens if you know what I mean, she knows she is like it and says she will try,for about 5 mins! Basically she is frightened that if anything happens to us, who would look after her,( nice!)if I say how confined we feel she says but I don't go out either! It's all about her, I do understand but she's had quite a few years weekends, holidays here and abroad, we can't even go out for the day. But again I know I have to be firmer but sometimes in a rut makes me feel fed up of trying. Thanks again to you all, and jenny I really would like to say you are brilliant with all the time ayou give and responses, even when you have been a lurker lol it really does help, much appreciated.