Advice needed dont know what to do

Hi all

I am a long distance carer for my Dad who is 79, firecely independent and very very stubbon. He has Mild Congniative Impairment also.

There is alot of history here - he was the sole carer for my mother who had a number of mental health issues and rhumatoid arthritis and needed 24 hour care for twenty years. During this time both parents refused any help at all from anyone including me and my sister, social services, and health care workers.

During this time they refused to discuss any plans for future care and would not allow us to make any changes to their home to make it possible for anyone else to stay there comfortably. The only option was sleeping on the lounge floor with access to a damp, mouldy toilet with no hot water, this is what we did.

My mother was abusive to me all of my life and would use violence and verbal abuse until the day she died.

When my mum deteriorated and ended up in hosital and then died I moved to the local area and rented a flat to help my dad through the situation.

The house is now even more challenging to be in - there are 2 gas leaks that he refuses to have seen to, there are boarded up windows where he has broken in because he has forgotten his keys, the boiler is broken and he wont have anyone come to fix that either.

The neglect is not a new thing related to his age, when we asked to fix broken showers etc in the past we were met with hostility and told not to come if we were fussy about wanting to have a shower. He is very comfortabe financially, but he prides himself on not spending any money.

He only has sight in one eye and it appears that he has a deached retina in the one good eye.

I am terrified that if he has an operation and is sent home that I will be expected to move in with him ( nowhere else to stay because of Covid-19) and he will refuse to let me deal with the gas leaks, windows, boiler etc.

, I feel guilty that I dont think I can move in with him and afraid that he wont agree to any other option .

I think I need someone to reassure me that it is not reasonable to expect me to stay at the house in the state that it is in, I dont seem able to make that judgement myself due to the hostility and attutude of my parents in the past.

and I dont know how to go about getting care for him if he does need an operation.

I find it very painful having to tell people about the conditions that me and my sister are expected to live in when we visit and few people understand that there is nothing we can do to get him to fix or change anything.

Any guidence or reassurance would be very very welcome.


Your dad is clearly being very unreasonable to you caring for him and the house sounds unsafe to anyone let alone someone elderly.
And I suspect Social Services etc would say the house is unfit to live in.

Which is why he doesn’t want any other official help, they would report the
unsafe state of the house.

You don’t have to care for him particulary the history your mum being abusive.

It is up to the Hospital to sort out care after the operation, if he refuses the offered care

then that is his choice.

You need decent living conditions for you to move in and look after him, hot water, heating, a good bed.

He just sounds very unreasonable and won’t change.

Hi Louise

First things first

What a difficult situation but not uncommon. The more some elderly parents refuse help it seems to get worse.

I would tackle the Gas leaks straight away. The gas board can be called and if necessary condemn the boiler. The police can access a property if there is evidence of potential danger and the fire brigade. This is one!!

I think you may have gone passed the point of trying to compromise. Has there ever been a needs assessment done.

As there every been a social worker involved.

Thanks for the replies they are sooooo welcome. It’s all a bit of a tangle because while I know what needs to be done, I’m not emotionally equipped to go there yet I can’t even imagine the rage and fallout from calling the gasboard or taking any action.

These are my first steps in getting myself sorted out, and I’m verty grateful.

I was worried that poeple were going to tell me that I’m makiing it all up and there is nothing wrong with the domestic arrangements.


Hi Louise_2006,

Welcome to the forum!

Thank you for sharing your experience, there are many people on here looking after their parents and this is a good place to share experiences (and frustrations!)

I don’t know if you’ve had a look around the rest of the website but there’s lots of information and resources which you may find useful. Our general help and advice page is a good place to start,and there is a link there to the latest Covid information and caring:

We are also hosting weekly webinars for our members to have a general chat and a quick tea break together, information is here:

Come along if you can

If you would like someone to talk to about some specific questions you have with your caring role you can contact our helpline on 0808 808 7777. We have just extended the helpline hours so it is now open 9am-6pm Mon-Fri with a higher capacity to answer calls. If you would prefer to email you can contact

Best wishes


You maybe able to get a home visit from the gas board. If you explain Dad’s situation. They could call and say a report of gas smells in the street/area etc.

You don’t have to try and please dad any more. The only control he has over you is the power you let him have! Your first duty is to yourself, especially to keep yourself safe. Call the gas
board tomorrow, for your sake, not his. So he doesn’t like it? Too bad. You don’t have to see him ever again. Do you think he is worse than he used to be? Is he getting dementia? Does he feed himself well? Or are you an unpaid slave?

Once again thanks all - I’ve taken steps to see a counsellor.

Good. Make it clear what it is you want to get from it most of all.
A good counsellor will deal with things bit by bit, so that you can go through things without getting too upset as you recount painful things. They won’t tell you what to do, but help you decide what you want to do.

For example, I was constantly pulled by disabled mum and son with severe learning difficulties. The counsellor told me to prioritise. That had to be my son first, as he could speak up for himself, not mum, because she could speak up for herself. This was really helpful, I explained to mum, she didn’t like not being “top dog” but couldn’t disagree.

From what you have said already, your biggest current source of stress that you want to escape is dad’s situation and the state of the house.

Next time you are at dad’s place, take some photos without him knowing.
One person’s idea of a house in a mess is a magazine out of place, for others it’s piles of papers on the floor (hopefully I’ll sort them out later today!) and another is broken glass, filthy kitchen and no hot water!
If you take pictures and show them to the counsellor, you can then have an independent view of whether or not action really needs to be taken.
When did the doctor or District Nurse last visit the house?

Agree with BB. It seems as if your father is becoming a danger to himself. Please do not be bullied into moving in with him. I had to call out someone recently as I could smell gas and my much older husband insisted I was making it up but he has little sense of smell. It can be mega dangerous to leave unattended and the whole place could go up.

He reminds me so much of my husband…thinking of you Louise and please do not let duty wreck your life. Trying to care for someone who is difficult and abusive is sheer hell - please escape whilst you still can.

A friend of mine cared for his mum until she was 104. By then, he was too old to realise many of his own dreams.

Please, please, don’t let this happen to you. Enjoy life, be happy, you don’t owe dad anything.