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Caring for Dad - Carers UK Forum

Caring for Dad

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I care for my elderly father.
Hello, Jane - lot's us here have elderly parents (or, in my case, MIL) to look after, so we know the stresses and strains that can be involved, sadly.

What is your situation with your dad? Do you live with him, or does he still have his own place? Does anyone help you with him, either family or hired care-workers? What are his health needs, eg physical or mental?

Hope we can give you some support here. Kind regards, Jenny
Hi Jane, welcome to the forum.
Hi Jane and welcome. I care for Dad to who is 89. I've found this site so helpful with all sorts of things.
I'm aged 52, divorced with no children.  I live with my dad who's 88 years old and my brother who's single so my brother and I share the care. We do shopping, cooking, washing, housework and even help Dad get into bed. Dad has oedema - swelling of ankles and fluid on the lung caused by heart problem and his age.  My brother is with Dad during the day because I work full time.

Dad is not an easy patient to care for and my brother gets frustrated with being unemployed and caring for Dad and this sometimes causes family rows with both Dad and my brother getting angry and shouting. Dad's state of health and both my brother and Dad getting angry during arguments makes me feel stressed, anxious and distressed. I feel very upset about the arguments and have had to walk out the house during rows to get some peace. I try to stay calm when they're angry but sometimes I feel I can't cope with looking after Dad and these family upsets. I've thought about moving out but I'm afraid to leave my dad at this time and my brother would feel I've left him to care for Dad on his own. I want a life of my own and my own space but I still want to be there for Dad when he needs me. Dad refuses to go to the doctor and doesn't want carers in to help him. My brother and I need help with Dad's personal hygiene care. Dad has been unable to bath or shower and has urinary incontinence.  We wash his clothes but have been unable to bathe him.

I hate confrontation and shouting and I'm peace loving. I do get very upset after the anger and shouting because they shout at me as well as each other. The arguments don't happen every day but happen every few weeks. Then it takes any time from a few hours and few days to calm down. Arguments are about anything from Dad's care and health, looking after the cat, Dad or brother having a bad day and me going out and seeing my friends in the evening.
Jane, just a very quick practical point to start with - I know your dad doesn't like having anyone else looking after him, and this is all too common with elderly people. They just want 'family', maybe because they're scared, or because they try to hide their dependence, or don't want to accept what they consider 'charity' or whatever. Anyway, whatever the reason, you just have to ignore their objections! Get in touch with a local care agency, and if you are self-pay (ie, your dad doesn't qualify for state help) (basically, if he has more than £23k in savings and assets like his house/flat, then he doesn't qualify) then it's easy just to hire someone yourself, and bring them in WITH YOU when you are there caring. Then, after a few visits by them, with them helping YOU, you then start to back off, and gradually they take over for that hour, and you can escape! Your dad will probably object, say he doesn't like the carer, etc etc, but you really will have to stand your ground, and say simply 'Dad, I need a break - bye!'. Stay cheerful, don't get into a discussion, and just do it. With the very elderly the carer-children have to become the parents! It's no longer a question of asking them what they want, you have to tell them what is happening.

I suspect once you have outside carers in, that a lot of the strain will leave the situation, both for your brother and yourself, and neither of you will be as stressed as you both so clearly are.
It sounds a serious situation. Go and see the doctor and explain the situation. Help should be available for many of the problems. Ask Social Services for a Carers Assessment. Is dad receiving Attendance Allowance?
Hi Jane
So many from your father's generation refuse to accept outside help, I suppose they grew up in very times, survived the war time etc etc and not many years before our fathers were born the stark choice was family or the work house so their perception of family doing it all needs to kept in perspective. Yes they moan and groan and complain when you arrange it, but by the time parents are nearly 90 the decisions are really in your hands and not theirs.
My father was just the same and I won't say that he accepts help willingly now but help does arrive and personally I just have half an hour a day at the moment but it does offer some support.
It is most important to get that initial needs assessment and then maybe a carer assessment for your brother as main carer. This might take the pressure off him and offer him some funded outings. Here in Dorset we get cinema tickets, massage tickets, beach hut hire etc. If the assessor is on the ball she/he will quickly get to see the true picture and see beyond your father saying he is fine and doesn't need help. Contact your local Council and ask for Adult Social Services and then request a Needs Assessment . They should pick up at that meeting that your brother needs a carers assessment.
Just another thought worth mentioning- does your brother claim Carers Allowance? I'm not sure how this sits along side other benefits but it may top up his income a little.
Also Dad should be getting Attendance Allowance regardless of income and savings.
Dad hates hospitals and doesn't want to go back in hospital. He was in hospital in 2012 and diagnosed with his condition. He seems to just want family to look after him and he sometimes says we're not caring for him in the way he'd like. My mum/his wife had cancer and died in hospital a few years ago. This may be why he avoids medical people. This year both my brother and I got a doctor to see him and my brother got prescription of medicine for Dad from doctor.  Dad had fallen several times and refused the doctor and was bruised and in pain so I called the doctor. He was taking a prescribed painkiller for pain. He often refuses to take his water tablets as they mean he has to keep going to the loo.

Now my brother tells me not to call a doctor for Dad and to leave it to him to call the doctor - my brother wants to take charge and tells me I'm not doing enough for Dad. I see friends socially about once a week but my brother wants me to restrict my social life and care for Dad more.

Because I'm not a nurse nor a doctor nor a professional carer, I feel unable to make decisions about Dad's health and this is why I find caring for him a struggle because I'm not medically trained.