Father is bullying - and now pushing - my mother

My mum (83) has effectively become a carer for my extremely demanding, controlling and ill-tempered father (93), who has always been a bully but who has got worse. He has recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia. He is in reasonable health but can’t see or hear very well, can only eat ‘soft’ foods, has to take medication and has had a recent spell in hospital (more of that in a minute).
I have been trying, at least from the start of the year, to persuade him to go into a care home, as my mother has no quality of life and is worn out from caring for him. He has become very anxious over the past few months (probably the dementia) and got to the stage at one point, when he would not let her go out or leave the flat without him. He physically restrained her, if he thought she was going to try to leave, by grabbing her arms (I was there once when he did it).
About 6 weeks ago, when I was visiting, I noticed he had cuts and grazes all down his arms. This, he told me, when I asked, was due to ‘your mother’ scratching him (he has paper-thin skin) and, on further investigation, I discovered that the ‘holding’ and fighting, when my mum tried to go out, was happening on an almost daily basis and the marks on his arms (she also had bruises) were caused by her fighting back and trying to get away from him.
I was horrified and phoned Social Services to try to report it and/or to get help but, although they took a full report, they didn’t seem very interested and told me that it wasn’t classed as ‘adult abuse’ (or whatever term they gave it - I can remember now).
Two weeks ago, there was another ‘tussle’ and as my mother tried to get away from him, they both fell over. Luckily my mother was OK but my father couldn’t get up and an ambulance had to be called. He was in hospital for 12 days. This was at about 10pm. Nothing broken but bruising and he needed some help from physio/OTs in order to start walking again - with a frame. He is out of hospital now and I found out this evening that 2 nights ago, when they were rowing, he pushed my mum and she fell, hitting her head (causing a big bump which took days to go down) and hurting the base of her spine. She had to crawl around on the floor for a while before she could get up. He offered her no help and in fact, claimed she had ‘thrown herself on the floor’. A carer arrived shortly afterwards (he’s having carers, supplied by the hospital, just for a few days) and my mum said that he’d been horrible and had pushed her over. The carer was concerned, got her to sit down and asked if my mum wanted her to report it but she said no (she is so cowed by him that she doesn’t even realise she’s now a victim of domestic abuse). I am going to phone Social Services again tomorrow but I don’t know if that will be another waste of time. I want to get my mother away from him as he is going to kill her. He’s gone into a home (after much resistance and anger) for 2 weeks’ respite and the plan is, that we will never let him come out and live with my mother again. Any advice? We’ve begged my mother just to leave (she can come and live with me - we will look after her) him but she won’t.

The Police should get involved, in fact Social Servicess should have already done a Safeguarding Report for a vulnerable adult. Go and talk to them, because he’s been beating mum up.
Do NOT get mum to leave her home, let her keep her home but visit you for days out etc. Much better for her.

But if she stays in the house, he will just come back and she’ll be stuck with him again. If we tell him there’s no one there to look after him, he will have no choice but to go into a home permanently (and then she can go home again later).

That’s why you want to involve the Police, he’s been very violent towards her.
It’s not a subject I know too much about, but maybe a Restraining Order banning him from the property would be possible?

PS Assault was the word I was looking for. If your dad had done that to anyone else it would be regarded as assault, so surely it has to be assault of mum?

My Mum and Dad were in a similar situation. He was a bully made worse by illness.

In the end Mum called an ambulance after a particularly bad incident and I refused to have him home from hospital. Mum came to stay with me and my sister for a few weeks and said there was no one at home to care for him if he came home. It was a long process, but he eventually went into a care home. You have to be prepared to dig your feet in with social service if they try to have him home. Keep using the words “safeguarding issue” at them. And yes, absolutely call the police/ambulance if needed.

Be strong, the care of him is now too much and you need to support her in getting out of the situation. I wished we had acted sooner with my Mum, but we were all a bit cowed by Dad.

Best of luck.

There is no-one to look after him if neither you and your mother want to do it - no-one has to be a carer for anyone else if they don’t want to be.

It’s so much easier (and cheaper) for S/S if they can get a relative to do it, but you really don’t have to.

Dear WorriedDD

Thank you for posting in the forum. I’m sorry to hear about this situation with your mother and father which must be very worrying for you.

In addition to the helpful suggestions from other members, I would also suggest that you contact Refuge and Women’s Aid on your mother’s behalf, both of which have freephone 24 hour helplines.

Helpline number: 0808 2000 247

Women’s Aid

Helpline number: 0808 2000 247

I hope these organisations will be able to provide some helpful suggestions for protecting and supporting your mother.

Best Wishes


Thanks Sally. It sounds as though you were in a pretty much identical situation to us. Yes, we are cowed by him (esp. my mum). Glad you sorted it out in the end. Hope we can too! I will keep you posted.

Best of luck to you. And please do keep us posted. We are here for you. Sending a big hug as it is not easy. Life got so much better after a really tough time. Mum was sadly diagnosed with dementia, but we are determined to make the most of time left with her. xx

May I echo the suggestion that the police should be contacted when any violence occurs.

My understanding is that the police can record the incident and then that paper trail can be useful in putting a bit of pressure on Social Services so that they have to take the safeguarding issue seriously.

I wish your family the best of luck with this.

Only just joined this forum and now am about to leave. Police? What sort of caring is that? I came here because I have taken some responsibility for my Dad and his problems and wanted to share with others of similar experience. Unfortunately I appear to have found a bunch of folks who want to put responsibilities onto others. Well, best of luck to you all.

Hi Adrian,

Please don’t be too hasty to judge. In an ideal world, everyone with dementia and any other illness would get the care they needed without any problem at all. At the moment, the system is broken. For some, the very last thing they want to do, becomes the only option left.

Caring can be hugely challenging. I’ve had a total of TEN carees. At one time five relatives, all four elderly parents plus our brain damaged son were all entitled to highest DLA Care! We did our very best, my husband DIED from a massive heart attack, I shall always believe that the stress of caring was largely responsible. I also nearly died, saved by a skilled surgeon and major surgery, but I’ll never be my old self again.

You can ask any question on the forum about caring and within 24 hours get a range of answers from people who are either current, or former carers.
You will find all sorts of advice about who to ask, who is responsible, how much money, what an aid is like, etc. etc.
Inevitably, you won’t agree with some answers, but hopefully, others will be really helpful. Whether you consider the advice is worth following or not is entirely a personal choice.

Many people belong to the forum, some are active members - I am now only a part time carer for my son, all our parents, my husband, and my brother have all died, but i stick around to help others avoid the mistakes I made.

Adrian, did you read the full thread? The poster’s Dad has dementia and the dementia is causing him to hurt his wife. She like him, is vulnerable. The poster asked social services for support, but no support was given. It is a sad situation, but often the case, that the intervention of the police can sometimes be needed to keep everyone safe in a safeguarding situation. Clearly it is untenable for the poster’s mother to keep caring for the father. If she was seriously injured what would happen to the both of them?

If you read other posts on the forum, you’ll realise every caring situation is different, the way care is given is different and the advice and support for one, is not the same for another.

Did you visit this thread because someone you know is pushing and hurting someone?


I feel so sad you feel this way Adrian. We all have different situations and this is an extreme one. Where the mother’s safety was being compromised. Sometime an extreme action is the only one to keep all parties safe.

In an ideal world there would be some sort of emergency mental health care. I was amazed there wasn’t when Dad fell ill. But there isn’t. A 999 call would be a last resort, but it is good to know it is there in an emergency. Knowing a few police officers I would be extremely confident of the being sensitive to the person being unwell rather than criminal. it never came to this with Dad, for us in an extreme situations the paramedics were helpful, but for some police will be the only option to keep themselves safe .Please don’t judge until you are in the situation where you feel terrified that your otherwise strong caree is going to seriously hurt you on a daily basis.

The advice to call the police is for help with the situation. They actually helped someone in my now late husbands nursing home, to find much needed help, in fact absolutely insisted. Social services were not being very proactive. Police aren’t always called to be threatening, but for assistance. I hope you will see situations in a different light. This is a non judgemental forum, and everyone’s intention is to be supportive. To everyone, new, and users who have been here for a very long time.