Advice / Support Appreciated

Good morning everyone,
Hope you’re well.
I’ve just joined this forum. Possibly out of desperation and needing some advice / thoughts on my situation with my Nan.
Let me start by saying that I do truly love my Nan. She brought me up and has an important place in my world. She is 99 years old and her mobility is utterly amazing. She looks / acts extremely young for her years.
She was born in Brussels, married Grandad just after the War. But nothing seems to have been happy for her and she always pined for everything Belgian. Nothing else compared and I’m not sure she’s actually been all that happy through the years.
She has lived with me and my husband in the past. Actually on our old boat. She also spent some time living recently in an assisted living house when I went to live in Australia for a couple of years, but she never seemed happy living there. Hated living with old people!!
When we got back from Oz we offered her the chance to live with us again.
Being 99 years old I just wanted to see her happy. To have her last bit of time spent happily.
My husband and I sold our old boat, bought a new one in Greece, she would find easier to live on. We thought she would love the lifestyle here.
My sister was pretty much happy to see her go from the ALH as her moods were becoming full on. In the three months Nan has been with us, my sister hasn’t asked about her once.
That’s the background.
So basically Nan it seems isn’t going to be happy anywhere she is. She is frustrated, bored and frankly miserable. (Yes she’s on antidepressants). We try to take her with us as much as possible but she finds fault with everything.
She wants us to wait on her hand and foot. My husband feels he’s a servant to her.
It ends in arguments and bad feelings. Moods and sulking. Not just regularly, but every single day.
My husband and I can’t do anything by ourselves anymore either as she sulks if she’s not invited too. Despite telling her we need a bit of time occasionally by ourselves.
It’s had a profound effect on my marriage, my anxiety levels (sorry to raise this but I’m menopausal and my anxiety levels high)
and my own personal happiness.
I know on balance I should have left her in the ALH but I thought I could make her happy here. I can’t.
There’s no talking to her either. She tells me I’m making it all up, and then it declines into bad feelings, ignoring each other and sulking. I’ve tried to reach out to my sister to talk about it but had no response on that.
Any thoughts, advice on how to handle this situation would be greatly appreciated. It’s a bit of a mess to be honest and I don’t know what to do for the best! TIA

Hi Nic,

It sounds like you have really tried to do what you thought best for your Nan.

However, I think you have summed it up when you said:

So basically Nan it seems isn’t going to be happy anywhere she is.

and with the best will in the world, you can’t make her happy.

Since none of you are happy with the current situation, I think you should find new accommodation for just your Nan. Involve her in the discussion about this - if she doesn’t know then give her choices.


I’m now 70. I tried for years to make my mum happy. Looking back, I can’t ever remember her laughing, being truly joyous. I know her life as a child was mucked up when her gran with early dementia moved in with her mum and dad, and she found being a teenager in WW2 very frustrating. Imagine being able to swim at Sandbanks every day in the summer, then they put barbed wire on the beach! i often think she must have had post natal depression after my brother was born. She and dad crammed her house full of Ercol furniture, after she died it took me and my sons (brother not interested) to empty the house. Over 60 dining chairs, 10 dining tables, when the floor was full up they put extra large cup hook shaped hooks to suspend couches from the ceiling!!
Then I had counselling. Now I believe that we are all responsible for our own happiness. No one can make anyone else happy, it comes from within. I have had some awful health problems, found my husband dead in bed when he was 58, and had a head on smash which nearly killed me, but left me disabled for years, but I REFUSE to be an unhappy person. On the other hand, I always have a feeling of loss in the background, having lost all four of our parents, husband, brother, and sister in law.
“Happiness” means something different as you get older, and the head wants to do one thing and the body says “no chance”!

You only have one life, as does nan. No one can force you do do things at the expense of your own life.
The only power Nan has over you is the power you let her have. Put simply, don’t give her any.
She is probably remembering the Belgium of her childhood?

At 99, her days are numbered. The best place for her now is a residential care home which can care for her at the end.
Are you still in Greece?
That makes what to do next really difficult.

Where are your parents in all this?

I may be slightly old fashioned, but in these circumstances, your husband and your relationship with him are far more important, long term. Don’t let Nan come between you. Don’t get to a “Nan or me” situation, act now.
Talk to your husband, discuss a joint plan, and get Nan back to the UK and into care. You have done enough.
Talk to your sister too, making it clear that you are NOT going to dump Nan on her.

How much money does mum have?
Does she have UK citizenship, and a UK passport?
I do hope so!

Hello bowlingbun and melly1.
I am so so grateful for your replies.
As you say, life is so short. Nan has outlived the majority of the family. My father, who is her son, died at 52, 22 years ago. Some friends recently passed away, within our age group too, do make you stop and ponder. In my 50s myself now I do wonder when I might start living again!
And especially as you say bowlingbun, my husband is everything to me. And he does come first. I can relate to what you say about happiness.
Yes, we are Greece based, making it a bit more complicated!!! But yes a UK citizen with a UK passport!

Hi Nic

First of all, as a forum ambassador I wanted to wish you a warm welcome to the forum.

There are a couple of different options for connecting with fellow carers and for getting support from Carers UK should you need it.

Carers UK run 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. I’m sure you’ll find many other carers are in a similar situation to yourself.

You can find information on how to register to our online meetups at the following pages:

Care for a Cuppa: Online meetups | Carers UK - the next online meet up is today (Monday 11 Oct), 15.00-16.00 with further sessions shown in that link. This social is a great way to have a little break if you are able to and spend some quality time talking to people who understand what you are going through right now.

Share and Learn:Share and Learn | Carers UK - these sessions range from creative writing activities to beginners Latin dance sessions.
I suggest you also get in touch with the Carers UK helpline to discussion your situation and what support is available

The Carers UK Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email ( They can help provide support and guidance on:

  • Benefits and financial support
  • Your rights as a carer in the workplace
  • 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.

Hi Rob_McC, thank you so much for your guidance. I will surely look at that. Thanks so much