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break needed-any ideas? - Carers UK Forum

break needed-any ideas?

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I care for my 91 year old mother who is very demanding and cantankerous as well as having high expectations of everyone and everything. 100% is only good enough! Her health is good and she is ok walking with a stick. She is driving me mad about a break somewhere and is wearing me down. I have my own health issues, home and husband. I have searched for respite care (by visiting and phoning) but it seems impossible and it tires me out driving to visit places, taking her to check it out and then she doesn't like it.
So I'm thinking that maybe it would be easier for me to go somewhere with her as well? Has anyone any ideas/had experience of somewhere where it would be suitable for a 91 year old that has good food, good rooms, good accommodation and it is warm. I don't have a lot of money and would pay for myself as she would. I live in Teignmouth, Devon and don't want to have to drive too far, an hour at the most.
Hi Carol
I went to Sidmouth for a day on the way back from my holiday. There are lovely views and gardens plus a nice little town. Maybe that is too near for you to "get away"?
There were a lot of hotels along the front so maybe worth a look?
Lots of flat walking/wheelchair access along the front.
Going out the other way I had a holiday in Dartmouth many years ago and there are beautiful views there across the river.
DON'T expect her approval, it won't happen. You need to tackle this differently. Tell her YOU are going on holiday and won't be available between x and y. Either she has carers in or she goes somewhere.
Could she manage a weekend in a hotel on her own? From what you say, she might be better off in a hotel, unless she needs hands on caring? Wouls she be paying for her break?
I'm afraid I agree with BB - even if you do take her away, she will find fault with wherever you take her! That said, if she does find fault, then you can use that afterwards as a reason not to go away again with her 'Well, you didn't like it last time, did you?'

Does she actually want to stay for nights away, or would a day trip out satisfy her do you think? Or do you do that already?

I do think that the time has come simply to 'blank' her complaints and criticism - give her three possibilities for respite care, and then don't look for any more if she doesn't like those. She will never be pleased, whatever you find for her! She probably enjoys criticising (my MIL, even when younger and no dementia, used to enjoy being taken to expensive restaurants, and then saying how awful they were!!!! :) )

Meantime, you and your husband organise a much needed break for YOURSELVES, and organise carers to take your place while you are away. Your mum will kick up, but don't worry about it - whatever you do it will be 'wrong', and so what!!)

All best, Jenny
Remember she only has the control over you that you give her. It takes a while to get to this way of thinking if you were taught to be compliant as a child, as I was. It's OK to say no, I'm not doing that, going there etc. On the other hand, if you just deflect the demands, it's better,as it avoids confrontation, by using phrases like in a while, presently, let's do this first....
I nearly forgot the most important thing. Sit down with your husband, agree a plan with him, starting with the fact that your marriage and time together comes first. Agree a joint plan, it will be difficult, resisting mum's continual demands and moans about imperfection, but she'll moan anyhow. Put your answerphone on 24/7, listen, but don't always pick up if it's trivial. And have one dedicated mum free day off a week. When my dad died of prostate cancer mum rang me many times a day, but I couldn't just replace dad in her life. She had to learn to share me, accepting that others in my family had a right to my time too. I told her that M, my son with learning difficulties, had to take priority over everyone, as he couldn't do some things which she could. This was accepted, reluctantly.
Well. I didn't realise that there are others out there that really do understand the problems I have with my mother. So thank you all for that alone.
You are right of course - nothing will ever be good enough no matter how hard I try. I must adjust to that, take the advice given and harden up. Maybe I just needed someone to tell me that.
Mother doesn't need care she is frail but fit and has all her 'marbles'. She lives in her own home. Over time I have organised volunteers to visit Monday a.m. and Sunday p.m. and using the Age UK voucher scheme a lady visits and takes her out on a Tuesday and a Thursday. A neighbour pops in on a Saturday for a chat and 2 other neighbours are around. There is the occasional gardener, cleaner and a weekly mobile hairdresser. Then there is me! Obviously I organise all the finances - like insurance and utility bills etc. etc and shop for meals which go in the freezer, sort any maintenance issues and the usual day to day problems that we all get.
Yes Mother would pay her way on any break/holiday.
Anyway yes I will chat with hubbie and we will have a break.
Thanks for the advice which I will heed and work on.
Cheers everyone. Carol
Carol, there are thousands upon thousands of people like you and me and so many of us here who understand, I promise you!

The very elderly don't 'mean' to be selfish and self-regarding and 'pernickety', and their younger selves would probably be shocked if they could see how they've 'ended up' (and who knows, maybe we will too!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but as people age it does seem to be that they start to lose the ability to recognise that anyone else has any purpose to their existence other than to look after them!!!! Also, too, they probably get frustrated with their own increasing limitations, and maybe, too, there is a kind of 'Darwinian ruthlessness' about them, because from their point of view they are very old and getting closer to death, while we are younger and less close to death (though not always....see below!), and so they sort of feel entitled to 'feed' off us, as we are less worse off than they are, so why shouldn't we bend over backwards to make their remaining time alive a little less onerous than it is???!

What, however, the very elderly so often fail to recognise is that actually, their 'rights' if one puts it that way, are actually less than ours, simply because they have HAD those extra years which we haven't had yet (and may never have - again, see below), and, unless they spent the same amount of time that we are spending on them on their OWN parents, that means that actually we are more 'entitled' to our own time, than they are to commandeer it from us for their benefit.

I think, too, never forget that the infirmities that the very elderly endure are BECAUSE they've lived so long, and had so much life! I know it can sound odd, but after all, so many people don't get the opportunity to live to be 91 and frail......my husband didn't, BB's didn't, and all too many don't.

Because of that brutal fact, that my husband died at 55 while his mother is still going strong at 91, it really does limit my sympathy for her (I'm not completely unsympathetic, but not as much as I would be if my husband were still alive!). Obviously it's not her 'fault' she outlived her own son (and her husband too, he died at 63), but it does, for me, put things in perspective, and limits just how much I'll (now) put myself out for her.....

That said, there are, of course, some very selfless and self-effacing and undemanding elderly parents out there, who are extremely appreciative of what their children do for them, and also some who have not 'changed with age' at all because they were ALWAYS demanding and difficult towards their own children!!!

It does take a kind of 'distancing' or 'toughening up' to stand back a bit, and agree with your husband what you will do for your mum, and what you won't, and then do it, not expecting appreciation or gratitude, but also not minding the criticism because, in the end, you just shrug it off, and not let it affect you.

So, I hope you get a good break sorted with your husband, and arrange some degree of outings or 'treats' for you mum, that don't cost you too much in time and hair-tugging frustration!

All the best, Jenny
If you can't manage a long break, would a number of little breaks do? Why not put aside an entire week or even two and go on days out every day (or every other day)instead? Would you be able to manage that or wouldn't you feel you've had a rest doing that?
Hello, don't know if I am to late with some input. I am looking after my 91 year old mum and dad. My mum also kept going on about a holiday. She has no interests and she dosent like the things that my dad and I like. Anyway I took them both on a Warners break. It was only for four nights. The room they had was wonderful, I had a very basic chalet to keep costs down. She slept a lot of the day, but we had a relaxing time and both my mum and dad enjoyed the evening entertainment. They couldnt join in the daytime activities because it was too much walking or exertion. Dad enjoyed a couple of films. All in all it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and my mum enjoyed it just to say she went away. Hope this helps.