Help with Mum's appointments

Since my father died Oct 17 it became apparent that he was, silently, mum’s carer. Mum has many anxieties, including health anxiety although, at 77, she’s physically fit and healthy, yet makes regular, frequent medical appointments.

She feels she is too ill to go alone - in a taxi or volunteer car service – which leaves me as I am the only local family member and mum has never socialised. I work full-time and cannot sustain this. I realise now that stating my case, the impact on me, my employer, etc is fruitless as she is intent on meeting her own needs desperately, so doesn’t hear me. She does go quiet for a little while, then the calls for appointments start again.

I’ve suggested joining groups, a befriending service, sheltered housing – refused. She doesn’t leave the house apart from accompanied medical appointments. She self-diagnoses and doesn’t rest until her fears are temporarily alleviated. In appointments she gets muddled, doesn’t explain herself coherently, magnifies symptoms, doesn’t listen well or retain/understand information so her going alone also seems wrong. So 111 doesn’t work; she over-reports and gets told to go to A&E.

The only way I feel I can escape this mental health situation is to find practical solutions that help me. She has a medical assessment 50 miles away in Feb which is probably another total waste of yet more time off and she wants the GP again this week.

I feel so very trapped by her needs, helplessness and ignorance of her impact on me and her unbending resolute in urgently needing copious appointments. I am so, so resentful and need to delegate some of this – to who?

Any empathy/solutions gratefully received.

Simple. You just say NO and put your answer phone on.
If she is ill enough to want the appointments then she must get there herself.
No more time off. Each time you are asked, just remind yourself that if she didn’t have a daughter at all, or didn’t have anyone living locally, she would HAVE to do it herself or go without.

The more you do, the more dependent she becomes. Don’t let her “blame” you at all, just remind her she is a grown woman who can go by taxi or bus. Tell her you boss will NOT permit any more time off. That time off is for you to use and enjoy, mum has not right whatsoever to hijack it!!

Ask your GP to arrange counselling for you, so you can discuss mum and learn coping strategies to manage her expectations. It was life changing for me.

Hello and welcome!

Have you tried refusing or not? Just say no to her from now on and offer sensible practical alternatives to help her. Turn off your phone at work or block her phone calls completely if possible too. Insist on having a needs assessment for her and make inquiries about local counsellors for both of you. With regards to the self diagnosing habit, simply block those sites or turn off the WiFi. What are her hobbies and interests? Does she work?

One of the things care companies can assist with is appointments. Once a needs assessment is done, this can be arranged. Find a reputable care company (you can ask around on Facebook for some recommendations) or call the council for help. Or you can check out a few reports on the care quality commission website to find a suitable care provider. Try telling her “Either you accept help or a place at a trusted care home” and watch her reaction carefully.

You need me time as well.

Has mum had any counselling sessions. Mum needs to get to the route cause of her anxieties. Do you think although she does not want to communicate with others she is actually lonely. There are many charities who provide befriending help lines even home volunteer visitors. What are the actual fears?

Hi Suzy, Some very helpful advice from BB, Thara and Sunnyd.
It sounds like your mum is lonely and still grieving for her husband.
Try to find her some new hobbies and interests. Perhaps you could take her to her local library to get her reading. Or some libraries provide a book delivery service where someone will bring library books to her on a regular basis.
Tell your mum about Dial a Ride. This is a service for people who struggle to go out alone. They may be able to help her. There is info online. The service is free.
Think about what hobbies/interests she had in the past and see if you can incorporate them into her life.
Please let us know how you get on.

Sorry - I’ve just re read your post. I don’t think Dial a ride will accept her because she is physically fit.
What about suggesting she gets a dog for companionship? Plus a dog would get her out every day taking it for walks!

My mum seemed to think that I could run around after her when my dad was working away. As she became more disabled, and dad died, I realised that I was a “dad substitute”.
Mum didn’t NEED me, just WANTED me rather than anyone else. Your mum, like mine, just needs a “someone”.
There is a phrase used on the forum, which I don’t like, but can’t think of a better one, that of a parent behaving like “an elderly toddler”.
If you start making yourself less available, expect tantrums.
If you don’t start making yourself available, your entire life is gradually going to be totally taken over by her demands.
A friend of mine cared for his mum until she died at 104, by which time he was too old to realise many of his own retirement dreams. Don’t let this happen to you!


I don’t think Dial a ride will accept her because she is physically fit.

Dial a ride community schemes ?

A real post code lottery … many simply do not exist anymore.

Suffice to add in the north / south divide as well.

Hi Suzy
Might not be helpful! but what I’ve found is that being a little less available is easier if, at certain times that are ok for me, I actually make the decision to focus on my mum for a period of time, even if it’s a decision to just sit with her for half an hour with that focus.
Mentally this is so much easier for me (it’s my choice so I’m not resentful!). Plus it really does seem to take the edge off her unconscious need for life to revolve around her.
I almost felt like a fraud writing that last sentence as things have improved so much since I started doing this and it no longer feels quite so swayed in her direction.

Appointments-wise my mum is pretty reasonable luckily. I do find that if I can’t make it away from work somehow another solution is found. (Perhaps a list of phone numbers of various options could be helpful for her?) From what others have said it really does seem that you need to be unavailable for a few appointments and just see what happens.
Does the world end?
Test the ground a bit perhaps, and with zero guilt.
Good luck…we know it’s not easy!