I’m very glad to have found this forum and really hope I can get some advice as I don’t know where to start. I’m 55 and my husband and I live with my 76 year old mother - she lives in an annexe attached to our house. Mum has always been difficult - I strongly suspect she has narcissistic personality disorder although this has not been formally diagnosed. There is no way she would see the doctor about her mental health.
Although her health is relatively good, her mobility has declined rapidly over the last couple of years, so I am very much finding myself in the position of a carer now. The trouble is, she is so difficult and uncooperative and does so many things that make the situation worse. She seems to have no concept of self-care or self-preservation. For instance, she leaves bags and rubbish all over the floor, which, for someone who needs two sticks to get around, is really dangerous. Both my husband and I have had falls in her annexe due to stuff she’s left lying around. She’s caused a fire by leaving a magazine on her cooker when it’s on - the smoke alarm wasn’t working because, unbeknownst to us, she’d already broken it by hitting it with her stick. She had severe lymphoedema in her legs earlier this year but would not comply with any of the advice given by her doctors (despite being in major pain) so it took far longer than necessary to get it under control. These are just a few examples of the kind of things she does. I can’t talk to her about this as she can’t cope with anything she perceives as criticism and so she just gets really nasty.
All this is made worse by the fact that she has a drink problem. I don’t think she’s a full-blown alcoholic as she can and does stop for brief periods but she does get very drunk fairly regularly and she’s incredibly nasty when she’s drunk. She has also had falls because of being drunk. A couple of times she’s been completely unconscious and we’ve had to lift her up off the floor.
She and my husband are always at loggerheads. He has mental health difficulties of his own and isn’t the easiest person, and the two of them just constantly wind each other up and I am in the middle.
I want to get some advice on how to care for an elderly person who just won’t comply with anything. Does anyone have any ideas who I could contact or what I should do?
I wanted to wish you a warm welcome to the forum, this sounds like a really difficult situation for you, have you contacted our helpline yet? Carers UK’s helpline should be able to give you advice or support - the number is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email (email@example.com)
If you are interested, we are also running online weekly meet ups for carers to take some time for themselves and chat to other carers. Feel free to join if you’d like to and there’s no pressure to share anything you don’t want to. I’m sure you’ll find others in a similar position to yourself.
You can find information on how to register to our online meetups at the following pages:
Care for a Cuppa: This social meet up, it’s a great way to have a little break if you are able to and spend some quality time talking to people who understand what you are going through right now. Online meetups | Carers UK They run usually on a Monday at 4pm but please check the link.
We also run Share and Learn session the can be found on the above link too, the sessions range from creative writing activities to beginners Latin dance sessions.
Thanks for the replies. Yes, she does have a right to live in the annexe. All three of us own the property jointly. Mum did see a doctor after one of the falls as she had a bump on her head and a cut so my husband insisted she see a doctor. They did refer her to a geriatrician at our practice and I told him about the drinking. He was kind but rather ineffectual - just told her why it wasn’t a good idea to drink so much. She nodded and smiled - she’s amazingly good at portraying the nice, compliant patient when she’s sitting in front of a doctor. Then she just turns nasty when she gets home again. He gave her some mobility exercises to do which she has not done even once.
I will contact the helpline and attend some of the sessions. I have to do something otherwise I suspect my marriage will soon be over - either that or I’ll have a breakdown.