Carer mum threatening suicide

Hi everyone,

I’m a 22-year-old woman and my dad has Alzheimer’s. He’s 77 and is in the moderate stages. He was diagnosed about 18 months ago. For context:

  • My mum is 56
    Their marriage has been a shambles for… years. My dad has done some nasty things (the specifics I’m not sure of, but my imagination doesn’t paint him in a great light)
    My mum had to work away from home for several years in order to make ends meet, starting when I was 2 months old - 5 years old, and again from 12-15 years.
    My dad was abusive when I was younger: physically and emotionally
    I have Borderline Personality Disorder so I struggle a lot with mental health. I’ve personally had three suicide attempts.
    My mum suffers a lot with depression

I managed to arrange for my dad to go into respite a few weeks ago as my mum was not coping. Every day she would call me (I work about 4 hours away from my parents) in tears, talking about ending her life. My dad was starting to do things like attempt to shave with a steak knife. My mum can’t handle it, given that she’s severely depressed and absolutely despises my dad for all of the horrid things he’s done over the years. She does not care about him and does not want to care for him. Anyway, we’ve been told that social services won’t fund him to stay in a home because he’s “too independent” (he can still go to the toilet and mostly get dressed by himself). So, he has to come home.

My mum is absolutely inconsolable; won’t stop crying and I’m legitimately concerned that she might try to end her life.

We might seem heartless but we both just feel trapped. He has abused us both over the years and now we are stuck in a position whereby one of us is going to be forced to care for him. He is belligerent, even more aggressive than he used to be, his personal hygiene is appalling, messy, stubborn, childish, even more selfish than he used to be. We don’t care enough about him - in fact I actively dislike him given what he did to me as a child & teenager - to be in this situation. There has been talk of one of us leaving our jobs and getting some kind of carer’s allowance to care full time. Given that I am 22 and have severe mental health problems, this really isn’t feasible. My mum can’t afford to give up work, mostly because my dad has taken out very large loans over the years without telling her and it’s coming to light now. She also doesn’t want to have to give up work for someone she despises. She would definitely kill herself if she had to give up work.

We’ve thought through options such as selling the house and my dad uses his half to self-fund a care home and my mum move away, but that money would quickly deplete given that our house is tiny and falling apart. My mum feels like she’s going to lose the house she’s worked so many years, and left her children, to buy and keep, when my dad was sat on his *** watching TV for most of those years.

I’ve told all of this to social services but they aren’t really budging.

We’ve been informed that he’s supposed to have a knee replacement on 15th May, but we have no idea how we are meant to care for him. I’ve already used all of my annual leave to visit and help look after him. So has my mum.

I’m just at a loss. I don’t know much about this sort of stuff - I am 22 and finished university in July. My mum is an absolute mess. I don’t know where to turn, who to talk to, what options there are, where to find at least someone who will take all of this context into account. Does anyone have any idea what I might be able to do?

Thank you for reading my incredibly long rant… :frowning:

Hi Karen,
Your family situation does sound dire. Neither you nor your Mum can be forced to give up your jobs and care for your Dad. Inevitably, his condition will get worse and he will need more care over time but that needn’t be from you or your Mum.

Have you ever reported the abuse to the police?

Shelter would be a good place to start, to seek advice re your Mum’s current housing situation: Get help from Shelter - Shelter England

Carers Uk helpline will be able to signpost you to tailored help:

There s a way through this, it’s not forever. If you need to talk the Samaritans are always available 24/7 tel:116-123

Others will be along to offer support, though the forum can be a little quieter over public holidays.


Sent from my iPad

Hi Karen, I’m sure someone else will be along with a more comprehensive and constructive answer later, but in the meantime, rest assured that no-one can be forced to care for someone if they don’t want to. It doesn’t matter what the relationship is, no-one is under any obligation to care for anyone else.

I’d suggest that your first course of action is to remind the Social Services people of this (they do know obviously, but they will try anything to save themselves the financial outlay) and just tell them that neither you or your Mum want to do it.


NO ONE can be forced to care. You and your mum can REFUSE to do anything whatsoever for him.


Social Services should do an URGENT Carers Assessment for mum, and give her a copy of it. She needs to enrol the help of her GP too. I’d suggest that if at all possible, you go with her too. Maybe mum should have a psychiatric assessment to show that her mental health is in tatters.

Meanwhile, you need to write down everything possible about what has happened. One of the advantages of doing a degree is that this sort of thing should be relatively easy!
Write to the Complaints Department at the HQ of Social Services, NOT the local office.
Find out the name of the social worker who said that dad had to come home. Complain about her to the Director of Social Services. They have a “duty of care” towards vulnerable adults, and there are TWO here, dad AND MUM.
Look the social worker up on the HCPC webiste to see if she is qualified. If so, complain to them about her behaviour too.
Then tell mum to change the locks, and keep the house locked, so that it is physically impossible for him to come home. I know that sounds drastic, but when SSD were going to send my mum home from hospital, bed bound with no one else living in the house, I too had to take drastic action. It’s just horrible to go through.

Firstly when anyone is thinking suicide they should contact the Samaritans 116 123

Secondly what about you and/or mum reporting him to the police for the past abuse. Or she can find and contact the local domestic abuse charity who may even find her a place to stay

Thirdly, what about her considering formal separation leading to divorce? She needs to contact a solicitor to see what her rights are, but she doesn’t have to stay in the house to still have rights to half of it.

In any case I think she needs legal advice

Are either of you visiting him in respite? If so, then take your mobile phone in case he is nasty to you there, and record whatever he says. This is increasingly becoming the way difficult carers can be proved!

Your Mum needs to see a solicitor even though she will have to pay for assistance.
I know for a fact Social Services have emergency care beds,She needs to refuse to have him home from respite and say that she’s putting the house on the market, getting a divorce etc and hes not her concern anymore. The house can be sold the equity split in half and Social Services can sort out the care costs. When his money runs out the state will start paying.His debts can also come out of the equity
As your Mum is working she will be able to privately rent. It will be able to be sorted out but she will have to be very firm and not get bullied into having him back.

I understand its very scary and worrying. There is something called judicial separation, for someone who doesn’t want to remain with a partner suffering with dementia. Legal advice is definitely needed. You both deserve and are entitled to peace, especially as the relationships have not been anywhere near happy or even bearable. Dementia declines, sadly, and it takes strong love to remain.

If dad took out loans that mum knew nothing of, then take legal advice about those too, whether mum is legally responsible for paying them off. Is the value of the loans more than half the value of the house?

How long would Dad last at home without any help from yourself or your wonderful Mum?

Let Social Services know that neither of you are willing to lift a finger to help him, they are sending him home on his own and if anything happens, they are responsible. If at this point they try to put together a carers package to get him home, lets see how long the carers tolerate his abuse.

It sounds like you two brave Women have put up with a lot and now it’s time to wipe your hands of the monster responsible for creating your own mental problems and driving Mum to near on suicide…

Wow, thank you all for your amazing show of support and advice. My mum and I are very overwhelmed - thank you; nice to know there are some empathetic people out there, because the rest of our family aren’t! :slight_smile:

Hi there, thank you so much for your comprehensive reply! This was what I needed to hear! I am going to call and refuse on my mum’s behalf, because she is an emotional wreck who cannot bear the thought of a phone call.

If we refuse, do you think they’ll at least keep him in there whilst we sort things out? Long term my mum is thinking of selling the house, separating from my dad, and moving away with her share.

We also had a much nicer social worker who saw my mum previous to this one who has made this assessment. The first worker was of the opinion that my mum and dad needed to be separated imminently, and that he could not come home. She also didn’t think increased care packages at home were good enough as it would cause distress for my mum. She is on holiday until 1st May, so I can’t speak to her for a couple of weeks. Do you think we can easily hold off until then?

Hi Elizabeth, thanks for your message. I don’t think my mum has enough money to seek legal counsel (she’s up to her eyes in debt and earns very little for what she does), but she does actually work in law so she knows enough about it when she’s in the right frame of mind. Long term she thinks divorcing and selling the house would be best. Do you happen to know if, should my mum divorce him, she’d be liable for his debts? They are in his name and it stands to reason to me that she wouldn’t be responsible.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Thank you Pet :slight_smile: I’ve looked into judicial separation; definitely looks like a better option than a straight-up divorce right now. Thanks for your support.

Hi Stephen, thanks for your kind words and very helpful message. It’s good to hear that refusing is not only an option but one that many people seem to be advising, so it seems like we may get somewhere with it. Thank you :slight_smile:

If “mum works in law” but is not “in the right frame of mind” then that speaks volumes for her current mental state.

Under these circumstances, I’m sure that she probably knows the right people who can help. Is there anyone she knows who could vouch for the stress she is under and how it’s affecting her, for example?

Home should always be where you can happily chill out and do nothing. (I’m sure this is why my grandson likes my place!)

The goal for you and mum is for mum to stay where she is and for dad to be accommodated somewhere else, where his NEEDS are met.

Hi There, Stepchange and the CAB will be able to tell you about whos liable for the debts if your Mum and Dad got divorced. I’m not a solicitor so I don’t want to give you the wrong advise. Also has your Mum considered ringing Womens Aid for advice?

Also if your Mum works in law is there someone at work who could offer her some free advise? If shes well liked some employers will bend over backwards to help their staff. Otherwise I think she should try the CAB. Its quite complicated all this and your Mum needs someone who’s qualified to advise her properly.

I just wanted to thank our moderator Melly1 and all other members who posted such supportive messages to Karen_190412 over the long weekend when Carers UK staff were unavailable. This was really appreciated and was another great example of the Forum being such a supportive community of carers and former carers.

We have also sent a private message to Karen_190412 with some further suggestions.