Caring for BOTH parents at the same time

Dear fellow stressed out people,

I’m in an odd situation. My father 67 has lymphoedema and many other things. He needs hoisting in and out of a chair. He is well otherwise, good appetite - he only likes good meals, no microwave things and of course his take aways. My mom, 69, has COPD. She was caring for my dad, even tho she could barely breathe, but now on constant oxygen, steroids, u name it. She has no appetite and I could probably lift her with a finger. One of the reasons, but not the full reason, is when she’s finished warming up a meal for my dad or preparing something for him She gets too tired to eat her own. Now - dad has carers that come in 4 times a day. Plus, I was going down every weekday morning to make them breakfast, hoover, mop, wash clothes, polish etc. I would also put their shopping away etc. Once it was safe to travel we booked a holiday. I told my brother (who had bee going down every weekend morning to give me a break and do all the things I mentioned) that we were going 6mths in advance. I said if you want to go away let me know and I can arrange for dad’s carers to help mom a bit more. Week before holiday my brother told me he was going to Spain. This was worrying, but because he wanted me to go away and his family to have a holiday his wife and kids went to Spain without him. My parents thought this was ok and my brother went around everyday. Every morning. I came back and service resumed. Every weekday morning, I’d go and prepare their meals and do household chores. I have missed alot of my kids school things (i am 39 with 3 children 15 13 and 5. My 15 yo has autism) because I felt like they needed me more, and I knew my mom wouldn’t eat if I didn’t make anything. I have done this for 2 yrs. Last few weeks my brother got a new job, one that could take him away on weekends sometimes. That would mean I would have to go on weekends too. I’d get no break and it would be ideal if someone could help. Mom mentioned about how hard it is to bend down to use the oven and to wash up. I spoke to my brothers who both agreed yes, get help. So I spoke to my mom about it who blew up in my face. She told me she was ashamed of me and I can’t wait to get out the door. I have cared for them both for years, always on the end of the phone and gone around when they needed me, only to be told these things. I phoned the care manager of my dad’s carers who said they would be more than happy to help, warming up food and washing up, In fact they’ve asked a few times and they’ve always said no. I just couldn’t believe it. They would rather us go down every day instead of asking carers to do it. I can’t look at them. The things I’ve sacrificed. Anyone who’s got this far, thank u for reading. Do u have any words of advice?

Hello & welcome

I can read how upset this has made you! Some people I was going to say older people but your parents aren’t that old. Soon get in to a routine and don’t like things to change. That’s why is better not to establish too much assistance my family members. But to use as much as possible by other care agencies.

Is there not a social services care plan in your parents home. Is there not a family care plan meeting held even by phone. Where you can have your say.

I’m sorry it’s upset you so much but certainly understand. Try to step back and look at it a different way. Your parents obviously like to see you and trust in you.

Now is the time to let go and put other plans in action. Don’t raise the issue with your parents just move things along. In a slow but sure way have another conversation with the care manager. Ask what is the maximum help your parents can have. Be upfront and honest as your have here.

Thank you for reading my lengthy story!
The frustrating part is that I spoke to the care manager who said they could have everything. The carers could do their breakfasts for them, wash up, they could warm up their meals for them and wash up at tea time - no problem. Me and my brothers could have all this time with our families and do things the carers can’t such as shopping, ironing etc. And we visit and appreciate what we have with our parents. BUT my parents are refusing it. Actually they only thing they want is someone to come and wash up the 2 plates they use. My sister in law offered to take meals around every night something I didn’t want her to do because it’s winter, she doesn’t drive and cost money in taxis. But, my parents are loving the fact she’s doing it. She’s told them it’s fine. But tells me, yes they need help. I don’t get it?! We all agreed that warming up meals And washing up are important. My husband has told me to let them get on with it, let them sort it. But I feel such a horrible daughter. All I wanted is for mom to eat comfortably. But my brothers did not tell mom they all agreed with me, and let me fall and pushed away

I was once on the verge of a breakdown, because the more I did, the more they wanted.
Counselling was arranged for me, and it was life changing. Made me realise that I was behaving like a good little girl trying to please her parents, as children do.
But I was a adult, and they had no right whatsoever to any of my time.
I could choose what I wanted to do, or nothing at all.

Someone, not you needs to have a forthright discussion with your mum and dad about the way they are behaving, especially towards you. Maybe your husband? If mum is so unappreciative of what you are doing, then don’t do it. Your parents need to have a “reality check” so that they realise how much support they need to live in their own home.
Do they own or rent their home?
Are they both claiming disability benefits, one of Attendance Allowance/PIP/DLA?

Have you had a Carers Assessment from Social Services?

Thank you for replying.

Unfortunately, social services will not conduct an assessment without moms consent. She is still adamant that she is ok, and only needs someone to wash up. This could be done by my dad’s already established carers, as they’ve offered many times and offered to warm up meals for them. They areboth in receipt of disability, which pays for dads 4x a day care visits. My dad’s carers are mostly angels, and the care manager says they have offered many times to do things.
My brothers needed to back up, they needed to have spoken to her that we all agreed she needed someone, just to warm up a meal for her and wash up, just so she won’t have to bend down , squash her lungs (copd) and blasted by the heat from the oven. She’s also been told my fire men that service their smoke alarms she shouldn’t be using oven. I was happy to make meals for them, all prepared, all the carer has to do it blast it in microwave and serve it. I don’t see what the big deal is, but me mentioning this was enough for her to say she’s ashamed of me and we are finished (her words).
This to me would relieve pressure, especially if some of us are on holiday or not well etc.
My husband won’t get involved, after she spoke to me like this he doesn’t want me in 10 feet of her. But my brothers could. I tried to help. Esp for my brother who went down every weekend, working full time and his wife and kids went on holiday without him because of my mom and dad.

You can still have a Carers Assessment even if mum won’t have a Needs Assessment.
Your brother should have gone with his family, he can never get that holiday time back again.

The more you write, the more I think counselling would help you to talk through the situation with someone outside the family - the counsellor shouldn’t tell you what to do, but help you reach the best outcome for you. Mine helped me see that I needed to sort out my priorities so I’m not constantly being pulled in all directions.

Have you raised your concerns about your parents with their doctor? Especially mum’s weight?

Thanks again

Yes, it would’ve been brilliant if my brothers agreed with me and told her that they agreed with me - but my older brothers solution is to send his wife (who cannot drive) every night at 4.30 to warm up meals for them. This, to me, is not giving a solution. Ok, do it until someone can take over - but if she doesn’t consent to it and you are still saying it’s OK, I don’t mind, then nothing will change? In fact, we will now have to increase our visits if you think about it because she expect my weekend going brother to help in the evenings too.

I phoned the GP a few weeks ago, expressing my concerns, who sent a respiratory nurse over on Monday. She just told my mom to take steroids, and she needs lung function test etc that was it really.

I was a registered nurse, and have a fair idea what they need, but defy me at every turn. Mom needs hearty meals that provide energy and nutrients, this is more important than cleaning crockery.

I’ve given them both my time every weekday morning for a long time now. Rearranged things so I can still fit my chores in for them. I honestly thought they would see how much I was doing and how much my brother is doing, and giving up his weekend just to see to them - and it Dawn on them they could get all this from the carers. Am I being selfish? I feel awful

There is and appears to be parental control issues …

Have a read of the whole link.

I agree perhaps some counselling sessions with someone outside the family. In the longer term this will effect your well-being. And you are important as is your right to a peaceful live.

No, absolutely NOT selfish.
It’s your parents being selfish, or have become so self centred they can’t see how much everyone is trying to help them.
Usually a feature of the very elderly, but your parents are younger than me!
I’ve had some very serious health problems, 8 operations, etc. but still very independent and love life.
As a nurse (once a nurse, always a nurse as far as I’m concerned) it must be heart breaking.

Sadly, it’s now only a matter of time until something happens that changes everything. As I used to put it, sat on a volcano waiting for it to erupt.

Be kind to yourself through all this, so many elderly people would love to have a kind daughter like you living nearby able to help them.

Thank you both,

I feel awful for saying all this out loud. When I think if I hearing someone else telling all this, I would shake my head at it all. My dad has been unwell since I was in my late 20s, started out with me dressing his legs. The district nurses took over when I had my children. In a way, I’ve always done something and I suppose when I qualified they had a nurse on tap.
I didn’t mind helping, but it’s now, and I’m 39 now, a daily thing. Sometimes twice daily. My dad even phoned me to make him a cup of tea once because the carers are due in a hour and he couldn’t wait. My mom isn’t that bad, but I wanted someone to be there at tea time. When I spoke to dad’s care manager who me they had been offering this for a while now I was shocked.
I would never want my daughter to do this. There’s a world out there for her, I’d say go get it my love, go see it. There’s people to sort me out. Send me photos of your adventures, fall in love and have fun.

I’m not sure when I started caring for mum, but your comments about dressings for mum’s legs took me back to a time long before I married (at 19) to mum wanting me to massage her legs which were horribly ulcerated. How I hated doing that. My brother, 8 years younger than me, called me his Little Mummy. I was the one who used to tuck him up at night. Sometimes, I was mistaken for his mum!!

My husband and I used to call ourselves the Thunderbirds, ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice. His dad would ring up and say his car (an Austin Maxi, which my husband had told him not to buy, as it would be difficult to work on) was making a funny noise. Mum once rang me to say she thought she’d set the house alight!

After more and more phone calls, I had to put the answerphone on - I worked from home writing a magazine which one of my club members described as “the best of it’s type in Europe” - but it took a lot of concentration and phone calls destroyed my chain of thought.

You are their daughter, not room service!!!
I would suggest that you put your answerphone on, and left it on.
You can still hear the caller, but then you can choose whether to answer, and when.

Thank you bun

It’s refreshing to hear someone who had/is in similar situation.
My dad had leg ulcers and they would appear and turn quickly into cellulitis. This has caused lymphoedema. His legs are huge but taking water tablets would help, but this is based on whether he wants too or not. He tells awful lies. I noticed his knee looked dislocated, I mentioned it to physio. Physio came without my knowing, and dad told them he wore leg irons as a child!! I confronted him about it, and he insisted to my face that he did. I can assure u, he didn’t. I even asked his sister who laughed. This is one of many lies he tells health professionals and carers. My mom doesn’t bother correcting anything anymore probably because there’s so many of them.
I’m honestly tired of it bun, I don’t want to worry any more. I got 3 kids. One of whom has autism. They know this. My husband left me last year for a few months because he was stressed etc. I still had to go down and do my duties even tho my life was crumbling. They gave me supportive comments but I really needed a rest, time on my own. Bun, am I being awful that I don’t want it anymore? I want to move miles away so they can’t reach me.

I was twice right on the verge of running away. I just couldn’t do it to my husband, but I so wanted to escape and be “me” without any stress.
How old is your son with autism? Are you getting any help for him?
Have you had a Carers Assessment which looked at the whole of you, not one for your caring role for your parents, another for your child.

My counsellor told me to sort out a “pecking order”. Disabled son came first, because he couldn’t speak up for himself. Mum had to come second, and I told her. She didn’t like not being top dog, but she couldn’t deny she was more capable than son. I said I’d manage her money after dad died, she’d never even read a bank statement, didn’t know how to use a lever arch file!!

I would suggest your husband and son have to come before your parents.
Over the next week, write down all the lies dad is telling people. Have you ever considered dementia?
There is probably a simple fix for his legs. I lent on the drain in my knee after a replacement, so the knee really swelled up. Once home, I bought a Circulation Booster, like the Revitive thing Eamonn Holmes is advertising. Muscles are stimulated, it worked so well for me, all the swelling went down quickly. After my first knee my feet had been puffy for months.

Given what you have just said, I’d suggest that your husband gave your parents a good talking to, that from now on you would NOT be at their beck and call, but would be putting him and your kids first. If your brothers won’t stick up for you, then let them get on with it.

Don’t end up divorced and on your own. Then plan a holiday away.

Thank you for your reply again bun.

I’ve been chatting to my neighbour who looked after her grandmother for a while. She said her grandmother would snipe at her, but she took no notice. I wish i could develop a thick skin and just ignore it. I think it was anyone I could.
I’m sorted with my son, all that etc. But there are days when it’s hard, and a teenage daughter and 5 year old boy. It does get hard. I wish my parents could see and lean on the carers a bit more.

I haven’t been down since she had a go at me on Monday. I just can’t face it. But they’re managing and I’ve had no call from the carers to suggest otherwise. :confused:

Amazing what you can do when left to devices!

Yes, maybe they’ve finally realised what they have done?

Morning bun,

I hope they have but I doubt it. I know if I went down either 1. They will tell me to go away again or 2. Things will be ok, and everything goes back to the way it was.

The mere thought of them having help at teatime was enough to call me some nasty names. I know its not illness as the gp was in. I was willing to go on and do my weekday morning routine, but I was worried about my brothers wife and kids not seeing their dad on weekend, and of course more importantly, mom getting a good meal and not feeling too tired to eat it.
It’s amazing how they can make you feel like you’re a naughty girl and I can imagine her telling people how nasty I am and how I’ve washed my hands of them.
I’m still preparing meals for them, and taking them to my sister in law. I don’t want to see her our of pocket providing food so I will do my share in that way. Anything else I can’t imagine doing just yet, but my sister in law seems to be wanting to take the reins now so I’ll let her.

Your parents should be paying for their food!!!

She gave me money for their shopping such as milk, bread etc. But also I felt guilty as mom gave me some money a month (she did get carers allowance for dad, and she said she would give me a bit a month of it as I was out of work and I think she felt guilty as I was using diesel) I now feel awful I took this and asked her to check with my brothers that it was ok. She probably felt as tho she was paying for a service. Well I’m handing my notice in. My sister in law seems enthusiastic to do all and everything. As my husband pointed out, even if I didn’t take it, mom would still need help.

Am I sounding like a cow? She won’t admit she needs help. The latest is that she’s asked my dad’s carers to “wash up” only. They should do this anyway. When I used to walk in every weekday morning after dropping the kids off, dad’s carers would be sat having a chat with mom. One day I walked in, one of them was wrapping presents for her grandkids! Make this make sense!!! I’ve been dashing about, putting washing in machine, emptying bins and they are there wrapping presents and chatting??!