I was a psychologist so when I recognised that caring for my elderly mum was overwhelming me, I called my GP. In short, I have had contact with all relevant authorities and they have not offered me the help and support I needed to cope. I missed the summer as I was so busy keeping mum and the house going. Not surprisingly, I now have a serious vitamin D deficiency. The stress also led the roots of several molars to fracture and get infected. Soon, I’ll have to puree my food. Anxiety and depression affect me day and night. Can’t just escape as I’m disabled and can’t cope with the fragranced products used in hotels.

We have carers but I’ve been amazed how little they do and can do. None felt capable of finding a plumber.

It’s a nightmare. So, herewith a seriously burnt-out psych.


So sorry to hear this. Can you tell us a bit more to see if we can help?

Do you live with your Mum? Could she go into emergency respite to give you a break for a couple of weeks? You may need to say you are at breaking point to access this as an emergency, but sounds like to me that you are?

Ellen, welcome to our world, it’s a really tough place where you need to learn to fight, being nice, polite and pleasant, patiently waiting, gets you absolutely nowhere. It shouldn’t be like this, but it is.

Tell us more about mum. How old is she, where does she live, and what is wrong with her, to start with.
How old are you, and what is your health like at the moment? Maybe on a scale of 1 to 5?

Hi Ellen,
Sorry to hear that you are feeling so worn out and stressed. It’s a very familiar story as so many ‘Carers’ for their elderly parents suffer in the same way, to varying degrees.
Been through it myself, including the Vit D problem.
When you say you have contacted the relevant authorities, do you mean that Mum has had a needs assessment and no help was offered in the way of a suitable care package and that you have had a Carer’s assessment with the same result?
To be brutally honest even with the fullest available number of carer visits, as my Mum had, very competent and helpful carers, as my Mum had, loads of equipment provided by the OT and Continence Nurse as the only caring ‘child’ it is still very stressful and exhausting.
I didn’t live with my Mum, just nearby but when the time came that she couldn’t manage on her own at night I also realised that I couldn’t do any more and my Mum moved into a Home. This situation had its own problems and stresses but at least I knew that someone was around all day and night and I wasn’t on 24/7 duty.
People here will do their best to help with suggestions but, in the end, If you cannot find relief and time to look after yourself through lack of suitable support then you don’t have many choices.
You either carry on until you are in a state of utter collapse and both you and Mum will be in hospital or you find a suitable place where Mum will be cared for and you can rescue your own life and health. (Which will take some time).
I understand that there will be many factors which you haven’t mentioned and which will have an effect on such a decision but if one of those is ‘Mum doesn’t want to’, then that particular reason has to be crossed off the list. We have a saying here. Need trumps want. What is needed is far more important than what is wanted/preferred and sometimes the ‘last resort’ is truly the only option left.
Remember 2 things.
1 No-one can be forced to look after another adult, no matter what the relationship.
2. You and your own health and well being are very important too.

Hi Ellen.

As a psychologist … if a patient was referred to you with precisely the same symptoms , what would your diagnosis be ?

In short , the classic symptoms of " Burnout " … ?

I assume simply not a case of … " Stop caring ! " … ?

There is help out there … mostly at a price but … if you zero in on the main problems , we might be able to help.

Health / social / financial / housing … all relevant in various combinations.

In my days , financial … everything else followed from the simple lack of spare cash.

Hello Ellen.
It’s an honour having a Psychologist on our forum!
Welcome and I’m pleased you found us.
It’s sounds like you’ve been too good - trying to get everything done.
I was the same. I started caring for both my parents 4 years ago. They happily sat back and let me get on with it. Then after awhile I realised that at the beginning I was not aware of what I was taking on. My dad passed away last year (age 91) and now it’s just mum. I’ve found that her biggest need is having someone there to talk to. She has mobility problems but her mental health is fine. So I’ve found a compromise. I see her every day but now I make sure that I have a few hours ‘me:’ time each week. I get to do what I want eg shopping in town for me, yoga classes and time for reading etc. I also have 2 sisters who usually come over to help mum on a Sunday. The situation is not perfect - but now I feel I’m in charge - not my mum.
Please let us know if any of our posts help.

Have Social Services given you a WRITTEN copy of their Needs Assessment for mum, and Carers Assessment for you?
If you have asked them to do these, but you don’t have a copy, just write and ask them for copies. (I suspect they never did them!)
They can only decide not to provide any care or support AFTER the assessments have been done, not before!
What should and shouldn’t happen is laid out well in the 2014 Care Act, it’s a lengthy document but I printed it off and put it in a ring binder, then went through it with a highlighter pen and some Post it notes.
Now I know exactly what should be happening, and I know what hasn’t happened. (The Ombudsman is reopening my son’s case, he has SLD).

My family have left me to get on with it. I’m doctor, nurse, diy expert, financial guru etc. Have had virtually no help. I live with mum. Me upstairs, she’s downstairs. We can’t afford the private care we have now, social services have offered us virtually nothing. Brother against mum going into respite care. I have had to fight for everything. Hence no time for sunbathing.

I’m ill. Need own carer. A break. Somewhere perfume free.

Thanks to all for the empathy. Family doesn’t appreciate me. I feel no one significant does. That and appalling health makes life unbearable. And that is one of the key issues re burn-out. I’d advise a patient to get out and want to but not well enough to find place and decorate it. I’m truly imprisoned.

Love to all,


PS. Social services gave me nothing. No energy to chase anyone up.

I don’t understand why Social Services didn’t offer assistance, or do written assessments.

You sound very poorly, have you asked your GP to write to Social Services and tell them that you can’t care for mum any more for health reasons? No one can be forced to care.

You haven’t told us how old mum is, or what care she needs. It sounds very serious. Can you give us a few more details?
Are you aware of NHS Continuing Healthcare for the most seriously ill patients? It’s entirely free, mum’s GP needs to ask for an assessment.

Do you have Power of Attorney?

I’ve had a total of 10 carees, at one time five relatives, all four parents and our son with LD, were all entitled to highest DLA care, but one was too stubborn to apply, still maintaining he wasn’t disabled just weeks before he died of heart failure!

Can I just check that mum is claiming Attendance Allowance? This might then give her more pension money too, and if you are not claiming Carers Allowance already, would make that also possible.

If brother isn’t helping care for mum, then he is forfeiting any right to a say whether or not mum has respite.

Doc and practice nurse are aware. Won’t help. Hopeless.

I did get mum AA day and night care. But good carers are in short supply.

Hi! I’m new here, but I read your story. So sorry to hear… I’ve read multiple sad carer stories. I’ve not experienced it so bad myself. About the vitamin D deficiency, one of my friends just started taking supplements and it helped her. She maintains a healthy lifestyle too. So I guess this helps.

I have been a carer for a couple of years for my grandparents in junction with my family, but finally we came together and hired private carers. We’ve done extensive research for months on end until we found some services which really helpedd us, so maybe enlisting the services of private carers will be a good idea.

You MUST access respite for your Mum. You sound very unwell and need a break. Unless your brother is willing for your Mum to move in with him for 2 weeks, then he has no say over whether she has respite care.

I know you feel that you don’t have the energy to fight, and I am so sorry you have to. But you need to try and summon up the strength to do so for a little longer so you can have some time off to recover. You ARE important. Even if you don’t feel like it right now.

If you getting out of the situation feels easier than getting your Mum into respite how about a stay in an AirBnB or holiday let. Then you could explain to the owners the need for it to be perfume free and ask that they air the property and remove any air freshener etc. Might be easier than a hotel? Book the stay away and then tell your brother and social services you are going and they will need to step up for the time you are away?

I know it all sounds and feels so bloomin hard when you think about doing it. But I really think the initial pain and stress of taking a break will do you the world of good and help you assess what needs to happen longer term.

Sorry you are going through this.