Caring for someone I don't want to care for

My mother died four years ago and I cared for her for seven years since my father died. She suffered from Parkinson’s and dementia. Her sister who she was very close to dumped her when my father died and didn’t want anything to do with her. I could have done with her and her husband’s support but they were not interested. They were in there 70s at the time. Anyway life goes on and although they lived nearby, I put them out of my life…until.

A couple of weeks ago my uncle contacted me, deeply upset. He is now 88 and his wife - my aunt had died and childless, he had no one to turn to. So I arranged everything funeral etc. He had also neglected himself and presumably the aunt was neglected as well. They have had no hot water for 3 years. House not in a good state Uncle has cataracts and deaf. I am sorting these problems out now. The funeral is shortly. However, he is not a blood relative and will not allow me to contact his nieces and nephews. His brothers and sisters are dead now. He says he doesn’t know what he would have done without me. However, he has taken up so much of time recently. He is not senile and is able bodied just suffering from self neglect, all these things I am trying to sort out. When these things have been sorted out. I don’t want to care for him at all as his age advances but I don’t know how to contact his blood relatives. Because basically I don’t want him neglected. I want him to have a comfortable life now. Only I don’t want to be the one enabling his comfortable life. I don’t know whether I should get social services involved, although he is of sound mind. I know I must sound awful but that is how it is. They both refused to visit my mother - and she used to cry for her youngest sister. They did not even come to the funeral. Any advice would be appreciated.

I’m totally on your side, he doesn’t want you in particular, just someone to run his life for him. You don’t have to do anything, he didn’t help when you needed a hand, so now treat him the same. Too late, 50 years too late, I realised how I’d been used.

Hello and welcome to the forum
You have already gone the extra miles for this man. Had your share of caring for people you obviously loved and there is absolutely no reason to start again!
As you are obviously a caring person, I suggest you contact social services, explaining the situation. He is of sound mind but needs professional help. Be firm, then leave them to it., Then you have done more than enough.

Hi missmouse,

I agree with Pet66. Refer him to social care and then leave them to it.


Thank you all for your replies. It is much appreciated. I think I might have found the details of a blood relative and am going to write to her and then after the funeral I will leave him to settle down for a few days and then contact social services. I really don’t want to care for him. I am 67 and single and still work part time. I would like to try and enjoy my “me” time and not worry about him (although I am). Basically they were just two very selfish people.

the cogs of social care turn very slowly. I suggest referring him asap. Good that you can write to relative of his too. Make sure you are very clear re not caring for him.


Contact Social Services TODAY.

Make it clear that you CANNOT care for him from next Monday onwards.
He needs either emergency respite care or the reablement/emergency team.

Keep saying this, the same phrase, over, and over, and over again.
I know it sounds cruel, but you must do it.

Hello, MissMouse. Apart from agreeing with the above advice, I would add that his refusal to let you contact nephews and neices is unacceptable if he wants your services. You have done your bit in straightening up his welfare. You need to let him go his own way and accept the help of closer relatives or social services if he will.

I understand you perfectly. On the one hand, you feel sorry for your uncle, but on the other hand, I understand perfectly why you do not want to take on such a responsibility. After all, by and large, you did not have any support when you looked after your mother. I drew this conclusion from the fact that your relatives did not even come to the funeral.