Concerned about carer

Hi, I’ve just registered here after yet another upsetting day with my elderly mum. She’s 77, in early December she broke her pubic bone, she has mild cogniative imparment, about 7 years ago she had heart valve replacement and a pacemaker, which is all working well, but her condition with the broken bone has deteriortaed after she got a water infection and had to stay in hospital for 2 weeks. medication has also made her bowel incontinent and she’s on laxatives which is obviously causing mess. My step dad is 63, in good health and financially doesn’t need to work so is at home with her. I’ve arranged for careres to go into the home 4 times a day as he can’t cope with mum. Me and my brother both work full time and have young families but we are there as much as we can be, usually all weekend, which is getting hard on our home lives. The thing is, we’re constantly getting calls for my step dad where he’s either shouting at us and saying we don’t care or he’s freaking out about there being some poo. Twice I’ve run over there in a panic only to find mum sat in her own poo while he’s sitting watching tv. One day he refused to answer my calls all day and when i asked him why, I was worried, he said ‘I couldn’t be bothered’. yesterday me and my brother sat with mum while our step dad went to the shops (he’s done this before and then just disappeared for 5 hours) and as soon a she’d gone she said if she could pack a bag and leave him she would. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like i can’t do anything because he’s her husband but I’m worried about what he might do next, i know he shouts at her and she’s often crying when i get there, but I feel like my hands are tied because he just says that’s her confusion. Does anyone know who i can talk to? I’ve bene onto social care and they’ve suggested a respite week in a care home for her, but what happens after that?

I think the first person you need to talk to is an Incontinence Nurse, most GP practices have one or can refer you (your Mum) to one, if she’s incontinent then she surely doesn’t need to be taking laxatives.

The next person that needs talking to is step-dad, if he is not going to care for his wife then some other arrangement has to be made. No-one has any obligation to care for anyone else, that includes you and your family and unfortunately also your step-dad, but obviously a considerable level of care is required for your Mum. Social services can help you arrange that, beginning with a Needs Assessment for your Mum. This does of course come at a price, if your Mum has over £23.500.00 in savings she’ll be expected to pay for that care herself. Depending on ownership of their home, a charge can also be put on that.

I spend far to much time caring for my wife, including shoving prolapses back in and clearing up poo on an increasingly frequent basis, I could easily fill my day without any of it, but unlike your step-dad, I do feel an obligation to my wife, she had no desire to become as she is, it’s just life, there’ll come a time when I can’t do it or no longer feel able to do it, but that is still in the future for me. I think your step-dad needs to make clear exactly how he sees his responsibilities.

Thanks so much for the reply. I’ve managed to get her care manager to go today to try and get her into emergency respite for a week, not sure yet how that’s going to be paid for, but we can’t go on like this. He’s just making it very difficult to talk rationally, I’ve tried to say that he clearly can’t cope and we need to think about other options, but when I said this morning, a respite week is great, but then what, he just just shrugged and said ‘we’ll see what happens’ I don’t know if he just can’t face what’s happening or if he just doesn’t want to deal with it cause it’s hard.

You sound amazing, by the way, your wife is lucky to have someone who cares so much

If your SD is knowingly letting mum sit in her own poo, then he is neglecting her, it’s physical abuse.
If she wants to “pack up and move out” then she needs to tell the social worker this, maybe with your support.
Who owns the house?
Do they have over £46,000 in savings? In a joint account, or their own account?
Whatever happens, you won’t have to pick up the bill for the care, it will be based solely on mum’s own income.

Yes, twice now I’ve got there and found her in bed, once with incontinence pants on, full of poo and once laid in the bed with poo all in the bed, while he was just sitting downstairs saying he couldn’t deal with it. I’ve just managed to have a semi normal phone conversation with him, as I’ve got her sorted with a respite care week and he seems happier now that’s happening. I could hear the care worker in the background saying mum is very sore because of being left in poo. He seems to be just leaving her until someone, either me or a care worker, arrives and sorts it out.

They own the house, jointly as far as I’m aware. i don’t know what their savings are, but when i told him the cost of the respite week he said he’s happy to pay and that ‘money’s not the problem’

By the end of the week, things may have become clearer. If mum’s skin is very sore, then it may be that her stay is extended. The rules about payments for respite are different from long term care provision, I can’t remember exactly, but I think the first 12 weeks should be calculated on mum’s own INCOME alone.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I feel a bit calmer now I know she’ll be a bit more settled (hopefully), and, yes, hopefully we might have a clearer picture in a week.

Thanks again

They should not discharge mum unless Social Services have made sure it is “safe” to do so. Start talking to them about what she Needs, definitely they should do a Needs Assessment in conjunction with the nursing home and you, before discharge, and carers arranged.

More drama with step dad this weekend! Me and my brother went over to see mum and he said he was going out for a bit, 3 hours later he called me to say he was in Whitby and he wasn’t coming back. I’d say we were shocked but to be honest this is how he’s behaved all along, but obviously it was very upsetting for mum. Anyway, after him telling everyone mum couldn’t be left on her own and he couldn’t cope with caring for her I spent the night there and didn’t having any problems with her at all. I came home last night and she’s been totally fine. I’ve got carers going in, had a key safe fitted and got her an alarm to wear, all things he could easily have done. the care manager came to see us and was gobsmacked by the change in mum now he’s not there. She’s also concerned about why mum suddenly has less pain than she did, considerably less, and she’s concerned he hasn’t been giving her her medication so she’s asking for an investigation into the situation. Mum is now saying she wants to sell the house and come and live near me, which would be fantastic, but i don’t know how he is going to react to this. He doesn’t seem to want to care for her, but also hates not having control, so he might try to talk her out of this or dig his heels in. He has to come back at some point because all his stuff is there and he’s told the social worker he will come back tomorrow, he just needed a break! Does anyone know the best place to go for legal advice for her? Should I just go straight to a solicitor or is someone like Age UK good with this sort of thing?

Drama indeed!!

Talk to mum while he’s not there and ask her if she wants a divorce?
He doesn’t sound very rational. How long have they been together?
Was he always useless, just happy to have mum as “house keeper”?

They’ve been together 40 years, but he’s 14 years younger than her and has had affairs, she’s started divorce proceedings against him twice in the past and he’s talked her out of it. yes, they met when he was 18 and she’s basically done everything for him, he’s never done any cooking or house work at all until now. Their mortgage is paid off, so I’m thinking that will make things easier, but I’m no expert on these things! At the moment she’s just saying she wants him to either pack his things and leave or she leaves, but either way she wants to sell house and come and live near us (me and my brother live 5 mins away from each other but 40 mins away from mum).

Samantha, remember that if mum has over £23,000 in savings she will have to pay the full cost of her care. So if their house is sold and she gets half, that needs to go back into property or it will be gobbled up very quickly in care costs.
Another option would be to have a proper Granny Annexe built either at your place or your brothers house, making sure it is disabled friendly and could be entirely independent of the main house, so carers could come and go without disturbing you.

Oh gosh, yes, I hadn’t thought of that! me and my brother both live in old terraced houses so a granny flat wouldn’t be possible. It’s such a nightmare, never thought I’d be faced with this situation

Don’t let mum move out until their relationship is sorted.
It so very easy to make a knee jerk reaction, definitely a case of do things in haste, repent at leisure.

I know you’ve organised carers for mum, does she have a Lifeline pendant or a falls alarm.
Social Services should be able to arrange both.
For the moment, use language like “let’s just wait and see”.

I still think her husband is acting strangely, not sure what his motives are, maybe just scared now his “gravy train” has hit the rails and he’s realised that at last he needs to pull his weight, or is it something more serious.

I’d suggest you kept a diary from now onwards, keeping brief notes about mum, and him.
I write mine in bed just before I go to sleep. Writing it down on paper seems to help “offload” somehow, quite apart from it being a factual record that might come in handy later.

Yes, i got her the pendent too. She’s getting confused about little things and her short term memory isn’t good, but she’s very clear on the bigger things and seems to understand exactly whats going on. But, yes, you’re right, we need to see what happens next. my main worry about him coming back is, yeas fine, he’s had a little break, but then what? Doe she just do this again? What happens next week when he can’t cope again? But the care manager has said the same thing and agrees that this isn’t right and can’t just continue like this with him flipping out every week. He’s also been shouting at the care manager apparently, so she’s not happy with him either.

he’s being very cagey about money and when i told him to get a carers assessment he said no because he’d have to tell them about money, and that’s private. As far as I can tell mum doesn’t have access to any money right now, it’s a joint account and he deals with it all.

the diary is a great idea, and thanks so much again for taking the time to reply, it’s a horrible situation

Hello again “it’s a joint account and she doesn’t have access to any money…”?
This is setting my alarm bells ringing. As far as money is concerned, it’s no good shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Hopefully mum knows which bank he uses? Go and see the bank manager and explain the situation, especially mum being a bit confused at the moment and husband going AWOL. Make sure he freezes the account.
As husband has left all his stuff at the house, why not have a bit of a rummage? Your mum’s well being is top priority and he’s told you he’s left, so why not?

That’s a really good point as well, he does know I’m there with mum while he’s away. I had extra keys cut today so me and my brother both have a set, we didn’t have any at all up till this point, and yes, when i go up there this afternoon I’ll have a look for her bank details. the confusion makes it hard because when the carers asked her if she has access to her own money she just said, oh it’s a joint account and he sorts all that out, but, yes, she must have a debit card or something. Not sure she’ll remember her pin, but I can have a look around today and see what i can find

I was thinking more about rummaging around in HIS stuff to hopefully find a bank statement or similar.

He’s been too cagey about money, and you don’t want him to withdraw it all and put it in an account in his sole name, do you?
He must have some personal papers somewhere. I know it’s not a nice thing to have to do, but he’s forfeited all his rights by treating mum the way he has.

If he has been shouting at the carers, when he was there, then there might be a possibility of getting a restraining order so he can’t go anywhere near the house. He won’t be expecting that!!!

Well, he came back and kicked off again. The care manager was brilliant, and has also had enough of him. He shouted at me for leaving mum on her own even though the care manager calmly told him she had assessed and there was no reason why mum couldn;t be left alone for a few hours here and there. I told him I didn’t have to put up with being spoken to like that and unfortunately my partner lost his temper with him and ended up storming out, so it was all pretty awful. He’s insisted on taking over the control of the medication from the carers, he didn’t like them doing it, and he’s cancelled half of the care I put in place. We’ve all had enough of it. Mum seems to be getting increasingly confused, but the care manager says she is monitoring the situation. It just leaves us in a difficult position. My partner doesn’t want to even be in the same room as him, and to be honest neither do i, but he’s insisting he has to be with mum 24/7 even though he’s previously said he couldn’t cope with it. I really don’t know how to go forward now. The care manager is in contact with me, but i feel like there’s nothing i can do now. i don’t know if this is just a control issue for him or what, but i’ve had it with playing his games.

He has no right to cancel mum’s carers. Good for your OH getting cross, I’m sure you were embarrassed but maybe step dad is beginning to realise he can’t do what he wants. Good too that the care manager has seen him at his worst. Make sure the carers keep going in, maybe on the pretext of dealing with the pee and poo and bathing as he has made it clear he won’t.