End of tether in sight

Does anyone mind if I have a good, old fashioned rant???

Just to give you some background… my mum is in the early to mid stages of Alzheimers. She’s managing well by and large, sometimes gets us mixed up and can’t remember characters on the TV but she’s holding it together. She fell badly last August breaking hip and shoulder and was in hospital for 12 weeks having had a new hip. Just before Christmas she was diagnosed with breast cancer. So we’ve had a full dance card lately.

Since August it’s been a battle every day. There’s only me and my elder sister whom I call the Ghost Sister [GS] as she always manages to be somewhere else when there’s any effort required to help Mum out. I have no other family members I can call on and no one I can confide in about the problems we are having.

I’m utterly exhausted. In our family we have two enormous cats - one each for Mum and I - and my parrot. I’ve had to leave him at Mum’s because supporting Mum means spending a couple of nights away from home and I can’t leave him by himself. It breaks my heart having to leave him. Every day I haul the two cats from mine to Mum’s before work, throw a bit of food at my poor parrot before dragging in for an 8 hour day, doing the same in reverse at the end of the day. I do all Mum’s shopping, washing and tidying. I take her to Doctor’s appointments and Hospital trips and occasional trips out, generally to the local Sainsburys. I’m disabled myself so hauling even a lightweight folding wheelchair in and out of the boot is a struggle.

GS does absolutely NOTHING. I don’t know how she thinks food gets in the cupboard or clean washing appears in the drawers but I’ve yet to see her do it herself. Just yesterday I mentioned that the carpet needed a bit of a sweep (something I normally do) ‘I’ll do it,’ GS volunteered!!! Well of course no such thing happened and I ended up doing it anyway.

She’s managed to whinge me into taking a week’s precious leave so that I can look after mum while she trots off to the wine district of France with her boyfriend but still insists on protesting loudly and repeatedly that she does not want to go. She used the same cry just the other day because she wanted to go out with her boyfriend on a night when it was her turn to cover. If she really didn’t want to go she’d just tell him so and never mention it but of course she mentions it in front of Mum who insists she’s okay to be left - which she isn’t quite yet - and I end up doing what GS wants.

I haven’t had a night out with friends or a full day to myself for months. GS even makes a production of my needing a few hours on a Sunday to wash my hair etc ready for the working week. She makes it sound so shallow, my actually wanting a few hours to myself. She’s out several nights a week, has someone else do her cooking and shopping and has not worked a day in her life so has no concept of the pressure that puts on you. When she goes home from Mum-Watch she plants her bum on the sofa, commands her son to fetch her tea and there she stays.

I have managed to persuade them that they can manage for one day so I can visit London to see an exhibition but already Mum is whinging that she wants to come [this is my second visit to this exhibition and I took her with me last time - it wasn’t pretty]. I just know the two of them are going to put the mockers on it and I’ll end up not being able to go, probably because GS has gone flaky and disappeared.

I did go to see my doctor for help and he has given me some anti-anxiety pills to take when it gets too much but as he rightly says it isn’t going to make this horrid situation go away.

I’m physically and mentally exhausted and I could quite easily sit down and bawl my eyes out and I could do with hiding under the duvet with the cats until it goes away.

How am I to cope with these two very dependant women. Mum can’t help herself, that’s for sure but GS is 60 next birthday. She thinks she can behave exactly as she pleases no matter what and I’m really, really struggling to hold my temper. Weirdly I get angry with my father and step father for passing on and leaving me with the two of them.

Thanks for allowing me to let rip. I’m not sure there’s any solution to this one but having a moan helps.

The solution is to step back and do less.

No-one is under any obligation to care for anyone else no matter what their relationship.

Your mother will have to accept outside help and probably pay for it - that depends on her finances, if she has more than £23.5k in savings she will have to pay for everything.

Has she had a Needs Assessment and yourself a Carers Assessment?

It’s time to make a stand. Book a week’s holiday. Seriously. You cannot be forced to care. They don’t care about you, they are simply using you, utterly selfish and this will go!on getting worse and worse until you make a stand.
It’s time someone outside the family was involved, ask Social Services to do a Needs Assessment for mum and Carers Assessment for you.
Does my own or rent her home?
Have over £23,000 in savings?

Thanks for your support.

I don’t believe Mum has had a needs assessment - I certainly haven’t had a carers assessment. It isn’t that I mind looking after Mum as such it’s my lazy what-not of a sister who thinks ‘caring’ involves turning up under duress, sitting on her bum with only the occasional trip out for a fag and an occasional cuppa. She has practiced incompetence down to a fine art. She cooked Mum’s tea last week and did the job so badly we won’t be asking her to do it again.

You’d have thought that between the three of us we could manage this wouldn’t you? It’s hardly rocket science. Mum, poor soul, can’t really help herself but GS could make a big difference if she put in a fraction of an effort.

Dump any thought of sister being helpful. Not worth the frustration. I had two useless brothers. Sister has now forfeited any right to comment about how mum’s care is arranged in future.
Ask Social Services to arrange assessments as you need regular time off. They will need to know if mum has over £23,000 in savings. If so she will be expected to pay the full cost of her care. Is she getting Attendance Allowance? This would Be a good time to round up all information about mum’s finances and put it all in a lever arch file.

Frankly, resting under your duvet with your cats and bawling your eyes out, may well relieve your stress. Give yourself permission to do that.

Hello and welcome!

Do nothing for a whole day. Ask her to help mum out and see what happens. What she does actually will be so telling. Step back. In the meantime ask for a needs assessment for your mother.