Constant carer stress

Hi folks, I’m not sure if I am actually a “carer” or not but nonetheless I’m pretty stressed out about my sick family members-it plays on my mind constantly and I’m looking to chat to other people who might feel similarly. My Dad has some serious health problems (he’s 79, on kidney dialysis, has heart failure and had sepsis earlier this year) and he’s been up and down this year and has had several hospital admissions and trips for infections etc. I don’t live with him - I live about 3 hours away by public transport but have a 4yo and I work in the NHS too so can’t visit often except in emergencies really.
He lives with my Mum but she is in denial about everything and can’t seem to see when he’s ill so I have to phone him frequently to check in with him for myself and get him the necessary help.They’re both reluctant about seeing doctors and getting help when they need it and they are very resistant to any formal help (they’ve turned down a care package, physical rehab and my offers to get a cleaner etc).
Also, my Aunty (who doesn’t have any children) recently had a stroke so I spent a lot of time with her at hospital and arranging ways to help etc.
It feels like whack-a-mole at the moment and it’s really hard to switch off. It’s just so sad too.
I don’t have any friends in similar situations really so I’m reaching out here.


Sending cyber hugs Carrie. You are definitely a Carer and have probably slept walked into it as so many of us have.

I think you have to play ‘hardball’ with your parents. I would write to their GP and express your concerns. Also you need to do have a good chat with your mother and try to get the Care Package implemented. It is very very hard as old people are incredibly selfish. Sometimes you literally have to walk away to get anywhere. I would push the cleaner idea again as it gives your parents some support. Also you cannot be expected to visit regularly when you have a job and children and a 3 hour trip on public transport is not viable on a regular basis. You are reaching Carer Burn out.

I am sure others will come along with far better advice but I did not want you to feel your post had been ignored. Please keep reaching out. This is a mega supportive group and many if not most of us will be able to relate to your post.

It might be worth pointing out to the GP and maybe SS that they have a
Duty of Care’ with regard to your parents. I personally would write and send special delivery.


Not a carer?! Is all this having a serious impact on your own life?
Then yes, you are!
How far away are they, In miles?
Are you an only child?
Is dad getting Attendance Allowance?
Do you have Power of Attorney?
Do they own or rent their home?
Have over £45,000 in savings? Yes/No.
(Hands painful, hence brief questions).

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@Carrie1981 I think Helena’s right in that you need to be very clear about the situation as it is, and not as your Mum and Dad would like to believe. They’re scared. Here they are, approaching the end of their lives, and barely coping by the sound of it. A care home is a scary thing. Having strangers into your home is scary too. There are lots of stories out there that make things worse - all the bad news about care workers stealing and bullying the people they’re supposed to support. They never hear the good news. They probably assume they wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the same place - that sort of thing has happened too. It’s all very scary when all you want is a peaceful life.

But avoiding reality will only make things worse, with decisions taken out of their hands in an emergency. The best way to deal with this situation is to look at the problem honestly, and look to solve it the same way - with the help of a social worker to guide them through the possible.


The more help they have the longer they can stay in their home. Domestic help, a dishwasher and tumble dryer are essential. Then the domestic help can do all the odd jobs you can’t. You must explain that your own priorities have to be work and your child. You just don’t have the time to do all they want so they don’t have to admit to themselves that they are not coping.


Hi Carrie, look as the others say get help. You work for NHS, I am not sure what your job is but you should think of yourself self but also what would you do if they’re in hospital and need you there to look after them? Surely your union could help you and any friends would help you as well as outside services. What I mean try and speak to them and they most likely know the right people to help but also sometime having other speak for you can help you out when dealing with someone who doesn’t listen to you.

Hi @Carrie1981 Welcome to the Forum and for reaching out with your first post as soon as you join! It shows us just how much you need to feel seen, supported and heard - WE SEE YOU
sending hugs of empathy and support :people_hugging:

If you’re saying this:

Can I firstly say, that is VERY typical for any carer plus you may be feeling a lot of frustration and anger. I’ll say it in case you can’t. because that’s how I felt waaaay back when…

Before anything else if you’re in ‘Whack-a-mole state of mind’ - (sorry gosh that sounds like the worst Alisha Keys song…sorry @Chris_22081 started my brain’s comedic roll and now my brain won’t stop…ahhh perfect example - can I whack that comic-mole too?! )
It would be good to try to create space for yourself when you can’t switch off…

You can’t think things through, plan or do anything, until you can literally catch your breath

Once your own heart rate is calmed and you’re a bit clearer, you can go through our posts and start writing actions or points that can help. Please don’t try to pour from your empty cup! Especially given you have a 4 year old too!!!

You’ll be getting a LOT of great advice and insights based on ALL our experiences…but FIRST
Breathe and take 20-30mins for yourself…(put on a film for your kid and literally create a bit of space just for you!)

bit directive sorry! but whack a mole is just a blood pressure issue waiting to happen!

Hi Carrie. Yes you definitely are a Carer…

As for stress - a few months ago I referred myself to GP with hypertension - the cause was the stress I have been under looking after G and not taking care of myself (oh I can hear a few people breathing a sigh of relief that I am admitting that at last!!) Then a few weeks ago I was getting chest pains and last week GP sent me straight to A&E One of the doctors asked me what I do for a job… “Full time unpaid Carer”. ‘Oh dear’, she said…’ that explains a lot’. Recommendation… TRY to get some time to switch off and find a way to relax… Much easier aid than done.

Not sure exactly how I am going to change my life, but I DO need to sort out something before part of me goes “bang”. Sounds like you may be in a similar situation.


Thanks for the advice, ideas and hugs everyone :slight_smile:
I don’t think the practical side of the situation is likely to change unless they have a real crisis eg my Dad can’t walk anymore or my Mum gets ill and can’t care for my Dad but thanks for the ideas of getting time for me, breathing, relaxing etc. I’m going to try to attend some yoga type sessions for local carers too. I make use of my friends in terms of texting and calling them but they all have young kids/demanding jobs/going through divorces or bereavements etc so there’s only so much they can give or do.

What do you all do when you’re stressed out/sad/angry?
Thanks again.


Hi @Carrie1981
Yoga is a great idea - there are several online classes via Youtube too
You may want to join some of the Cuppas with CarersUK too?

Things are different for me now when I’m caring for Mum versus the extremely tense, fraught time caring for Dad (see my profile bio)
With Dad when time was in seconds and minutes, stress, hypervigilance etc et:

  • punching pillows
  • organising a 1 hour break at least every other day which would include a 20min run
  • or 20min walk in fresh air with LOUD music in my ears
  • journalling or letter writing or texting friends who were-are my ‘tribe’
  • when I could get a break, ‘hallmark’ primed crying to let it all out…yeah I know it sounds weird but there is NEVER a good time to let it all out so a bit of wine and a tear-jerker film felt like a safe space as long as there was time the next day to be compassionately kind to myself too
  • usually there was NO break, and my friends are abroad or v far from me, so late night on-demand TV, or journalling were my main go-tos

Now with Mum things are a LOT calmer and easier (no mid-night paramedic calls)

  • journalling writing and reading and texting are mainstays
  • music playing, listening is impt to me
  • I still need to run / walk or my brain really fogs up

books and music are lifelines for me
hope that gives you some ideas

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Someone in the village mentioned Laughter Yoga to me this morning - never heard of it, but a mooch around the web revealed this

Has anyone experienced it or tried it or know anyone who has?

I’ve never attended it, but our carers centre runs this. Since real laughing can relieve tension and improve mood I can see why it would work. I think though I’d rather watch/listen to comedy to make me laugh as I’d feel self conscious trying to laugh in a contrived way - though maybe hearing others laughing is infectious. You could try an online laughing therapy session on YouTube to see what its like.


HI Carrie. I can completely understand where you are coming from. I indirectly care for Mum and two siblings whilst trying to maneuver long covid and a stressful job. I am constantly stressed out, worrying about this, worrying about that. I’ve tried techniques to calm myself/worry less but nothing seems to work.

With long covid, I rarely sleep and I find it worst between 11pm and 4am when I am tossing and turning and wondering what more I could have done that day for x y z.

I’ve been on lots of courses via the long covid clinic about sleep hygiene and caring for oneself but it made no difference.

The people on here are absolute gems and will give you lots of advice and tips. Without them, I don’t know what would have happened to me. I can’t talk to people in real about caring - they just say pack your bags and leave but it’s not as easy as that or they just tell me to get a grip and stop being a wuss!

Wishing you all the best,

@ontheverge Anyone who says ‘get a grip’ is asking for a firm grip to be taken to their throat while their head is banged on the wall to knock some common sense into them. I get so angry with those who always know better than those of us who are the experts as we do it 24/7.

We have a friend whose stock phrase is “What you want is…” I want to tell him that ‘What I want is for you to shut the **** up and LISTEN for a change’.

As for being a wuss. Let one of them try it for a week - they would not survive.

Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing and I am going through it now - just like so many other carers.

Check out the ‘Bumper Stickers for Carers’ thread or the ‘Cliches I hate’ one if you want to try to raise a laugh - so many ring true!!


You need to get help for yourself or you’ll burn out.

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I recommend Country Cousins. They are nationwide and good.