Feeling helpless

Hi my name is Laura, I’m 55 and a full time carer for my mum with vascular dementia.
Up until Feb I was working full time and trying to care for my mum who was finding it increasingly difficult to look after herself. So I made the decision to move her in with me and give up work. I live alone and I’m an only child so all the caring is down to me.
Then just 4 weeks after she moved in Covid struck and we all went into lockdown.
I feel so isolated and miserable. My mum is not happy doing anything. I’ve tried everything. Simple tasks, taking her for walks. She is only happy watching certain programmes on TV and as she can’t even turn the channels im back and forth switching stations. She doesn’t like sitting on her own so I either have to sit with her or she follows me round the house. I just can’t bare the thought of years of this. I’ve recently rung the dementia crisis team but as there are no day centres available at the moment I’m stuck.
She has one friend who has kept in touch and she does enjoy seeing her once a week. I have 2 grandchildren 8 & 10 but she doesn’t like them coming round as they disturb her and so even that’s difficult.
I dont know how to make either of our lives better. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Hi Laura,
welcome to the forum.
Clearly the pandemic has worsened your situation but moving your Mum in with you and giving up work, Covid aside, are massive life changes.

Day centre places are like gold dust and the government seems to have conveniently forgotten those who require this kind of support, likewise councils appear to be no further forward with a plan of how to open them safely nor when.

How old is your Mum?

The way I see it is, you can carry on as you are and wait for day services to open, you could also investigate sitting services etc for the future and see if this makes it easier to cope. Or, you could move your Mum back into her own place and ask social services to put care in place and you support her too but with your house to escape to or you could start your homework on residential care for your Mum.

I have heard of people in your situation who have hired a cleaner to come each week to clean obviously, but also to be company for their caree. Is Mum claiming attendance allowance? She should be entitled to this and some of this money could pay for a cleaner etc.

I also suggest you read “The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring: How to Cope with the Emotional and Practical Aspects of Caring for Someone” by Hugh Marriott for some realistic survival tips!!


Have you had a Carers Assessment for yourself and a Needs Assessment for Mum? This is done by local Social Services, Covid permitting.

With regard to the TV switching, does she not know how to do it or is she incapable of using the remote? Usually nowadays you can assign Favourite channels and that would reduce the options that she has to look through if that would help.

Buy her a Teddy Bear (or something similar, stuffed Dog or Cat?) for company? Don’t laugh, you won’t know until you try.

It’s unusual for Grandchildren to not bring some pleasure, perhaps she could engage in some simple games (card or board rather than hide and seek) with her Grandchildren?

You really do need to be apart from your Mum for a while each day, I understand that you say she doesn’t like it, but it’s vital for your own well-being, and it’s not OTT to say for your own sanity in the long-term.

Hi Laura

Welcome to the Forum and thanks for sharing some information about your caring situation.

As well as the suggestions from other members, I thought you might like to join one of our Care for a Cuppa online video meet-ups that we run every Monday at 3.00pm. These are an opportunity to take a break from your caring and meet other carers who understand the challenges you are facing.See www.carersuk.org/cuppa and the following thread on the Forum:

You might also find it helpful to contact our helpline at advice@carersuk.org or 0808 808 7777 to ask about support that may be available to you.

Wishing you well