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Carers UK Forum • Stressed and anxious
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Stressed and anxious

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:02 pm
by Maryanne
Hello

I've just registered to join the forum, but have been reading posts over the past few years and found them so helpful. I am 66, recently retired and have for the past few years had low-level caring responsibilities for my Mum, who is now approaching 91 and for my 75 year old husband, who has MH issues. I also suffer from anxiety, which has intensified over the past 2 years.

Mum was has lived independently in a bungalow for 13 years following the death of my Dad. We live nearby and see her often. Until about 3 years ago she was driving her car, doing her own shopping, cooking and cleaning, seeing friends, going to church. Over the past 3 years and particularly since the first lockdown, she has become increasingly frail, has lost confidence, is reluctant to see people and has stopped driving. We live locally and are there when she needs us, but we are getting increasingly concerned at her lack of mobility, wanting to stay in bed, struggling to wash herself and not eating properly. Things came to a head one evening earlier this week when we found her sitting on the kitchen floor after losing her balance and unable to get up by herself. We called 111 and the paramedics checked her over and said, apart from a bruise where her glasses caught her face, she was uninjured. She is reluctant to consider carers or any help and I think we have got to the point where she needs someone around 24-hours a day to keep an eye on her. I am in a constant state of anxiety about her and have pretty much cut myself off from family and friends for fear of catching Covid and passing it on to her. I have contacted a couple of local care homes that we have heard are good and I have called one to ask about respite care, which I think Mum may accept. She would be self-funding and this is not a problem How do we broach this without upsetting Mum? I feel so guilty and that I have failed.

My husband is also a concern for me. I did actually join this forum 5 years or so ago, as I needed advice about how to cope. I have been advised, following counselling, that he is possibly on the autistic spectrum. He is happy in his own company, pursuing his hobby and on the internet, but has no empathy whatsoever and is entirely self-centred. He has no friends and has estranged himself from most of his own family. I have coped with this in the past by accepting that this is how things are and by spending time at weekends with family, particularly my grandchildren, being at work in a job I enjoyed and with people I got on with and seeing friends in the evening and by joining a choir. Since the first lockdown, all this has gone. I worked from home for the first year and then retired last April. My husband is very scared of catching Covid and is reluctant to go anywhere where there are other people (unless it's something he wants to do) and I only meet up with friends and family outside for walks and sitting outside for coffee. I rarely see my children and grandchildren now and feel my whole life has been taken over by older people and their needs.

Sorry for the rant, but I am finding things difficult at the moment.

Re: Stressed and anxious

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:42 pm
by bowlingbun
You only get what you are prepared to put up with, so stop being so obliging and understanding and start putting yourself first.

Lets start with mum. She probably doesn't need residential care yet, just needs a lot more help at home.
Start by insisting that she has a Lifeline pendant, and to get that, she needs to contact Social Services.
Then she can call for help 24/7.
Does she own or rent her home?
Have over £23,000 in savings?
Do you have Power of Attorney sorted?
Are you an only child?

Are the family all jabbed and boosted?

You are never going to change husband or mum, but you can change your feelings. I would recommend counselling, private if possible then you can develop a long term relationship with your counsellor, as clearly your husband isn't any good at supporting you with family issues.

If you want to see your family, then see them. Don't let his attitude spoil your own life.

Re: Stressed and anxious

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 3:48 pm
by Maryanne
Thank you for your reply Bowlingbun. When I posted on the forum a few years ago regarding my husband, you provided a great response and recommended a place for a sunshine holiday, which sounded idyllic.

You are right, I do need to put myself first sometimes, but find it difficult. It's easier to be compliant and I tend to feel the need to put things right for people.

We have considered a lifeline pendant for Mum in the past, so maybe now is the time to sort it out. She carries her mobile phone around with her in a purse that she hangs around her neck, but when she slipped to the floor the other night, we found it on the table. She had the landline handset with her, but couldn't see properly to ring my number. Having a pendant alarm with just a button to press would be easier. Also, if we were unavailable, ill or away, we would be sure that someone would attend to her. I will look into this asap.

In answer to your questions:

She owns her home
Has more than £23,000 in savings
We are in the process of getting POA for finance - forms were completed and send off in November
I have one brother, who lives over 100 miles away. He comes when he can, but with Covid, has not come as regularly as before (we have discouraged him at times, as he sees his school age grandson regularly and his partner works in a school). He manages all Mum's bills and paperwork, which I appreciate enormously.

Mum, myself, husband, brother and one daughter are fully jabbed and boosted. Grandchildren are not, as they are primary school age. Other daughter has had two jabs, but not booster yet as she has recently had Covid.

Regarding counselling, I was seeing a very good counsellor in the 5 years leading up to lockdown, so have not seen her for almost 2 years. I prefer face to face appointments, but this has not been possible. I have considered contacting her again to book a session on Zoom or just over the phone.

With regard to visiting family, I have said I will go and see my daughters and grandchildren tomorrow at one of their homes, rather than meeting outside. I just feel nervous about the whole issue of Covid and my Mum and husband being elderly. They don't have any underlying conditions and are not particularly at risk, apart from their ages.

Re: Stressed and anxious

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 5:50 pm
by bowlingbun
My brain damaged son has something called an "Oysta" arranged by Social Services.

It has a tracker, and if he fell, it automatically sends a message to a call centre. I accidentally dropped it, within 3 seconds a voice said "M, are you OK?"
I'm equally cautious, I only have one kidney, and ever since I heard Long Covid can seriously affect kidney function, I'm very careful indeed!
However, at 70 I'm very conscious that time is slipping by and I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a recluse.
Going to see family at their homes is a relatively low risk.
My grandson aged 9 lives with me part time, that's a risk I cannot avoid.

Every so often I escape with my sewing machine and overlocker, and do lots of dressmaking for my Greek Holidays.
I haven't been to Crete for 2 years and am desperate to see my friends again.
I always go self catering so I won't be disturbed at all, and choosing where to stay is part of the fun. My top priorities are always
the largest possible piece of worktop for cutting out, and a large solid table for my machines. I found the latest one, called "The Cart Barn" near Chichester, through Last Minute Cottages. 4 nights Monday to Friday are always cheaper than weekend bookings. Surely everyone could survive without you for 4 nights?

It might make them all appreciate what you do for them. I know my eldest son is so pleased when I get home again. He's an engineer for the local council, works long hours, and likes my home cooking rather than frozen pizza!

Re: Stressed and anxious

Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:58 am
by Lucy_21021
Hi Maryanne,

Wishing you a warm welcome to the forum.

Caring can be very lonely and the pandemic has made caring responsibilities challenging as many carers have been socially restricted and unable to attend social groups etc.

Carers UK are running online weekly meet ups for carers to take some time for themselves and chat to other carers. Feel free to join if you'd like to and there's no pressure to share anything you don't want to.

You can find information on how to register to our online meetups at the following pages:
Care for a Cuppa: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advic ... ne-meetups
Share and Learn: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advic ... e-sessions

I hope that you find some of the activities Carers UK has to offer helpful and a way for you to socialise with others in similar situations.

Our Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email]advice@carersuk.org

They also provide information and guidance to unpaid carers. This covers a range of subjects including:

Carers' assessments and how to get support in your caring role
Services available to carers and the people you care for
How to complain effectively and challenge decisions


Best Wishes,

Lucy.

Re: Stressed and anxious

Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:02 pm
by Maryanne
Many thanks Lucy

I have Signed up to join Monday's Care for a Cuppa and look forward to chatting to others on a caring role.

Re: Stressed and anxious

Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:12 pm
by Maryanne
Thank you again Bowlingbun

Just discovered that our local borough council don't offer a pendant alarm system, but I will do some research and discuss with Mum. I think it will give her reassurance.