How do you care with out smothering

Hi Everyone
I am new to this site I look after my year old Mother who is failing in health even though her memory is mostly OK. My problem is how do I care without smothering her. I know she must move about but it is very hard to watch her and very slow. I have just started shorter hours on semi retirement so am at home more this is making things worse.
She is used to reading or knitting as and when she likes and I tent to work to a time table so we are clashing. I love her dearly and know I will miss her greatly.
Any advice out there.

I also have some health problems of my own.

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Hi David,

I’m assuming you live in the same house?
Who owns the house?

My eldest son lives with me. He has upstairs to himself and his son, occasionally my son with LD comes home.
I have the bottom of the house and sleep in the garage now, which my son has turned into a beautiful bedroom with vaulted ceiling and ensuite.
I cook for him, he looks after the garden and vehicles.
We have our own Sky boxes, and share the conservatory.
Try to think ahead, to when mum is even less able. Do you have a downstairs shower room? Is the house generally user friendly?

When did mum last have a Needs Assessment from Social Services? Does she have a Lifeline pendant to summon help if she falls?
Have you had a Carers Assessment?
Is mum claiming Attendance Allowance?
Does she have domestic help? A dishwasher? A tumble dryer?

Hi David

I am new to the forum too. I’m not sure I have any answers but just wanted to say that I share your dilemma - it’s so hard to know how much to let the person you care for do. My mum is 88 and has an arthritic hip that severely limits her mobility: on top of that she was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2019. The cancer is being managed but not treated. I know she needs to move around a bit to ensure that she still has some strength in her legs and arms and to try to avoid fluid settling on her chest but it’s so hard to watch her struggling. Her carer, who has known us all a long time as she also helped us care for my dad at home (he died of dememtia 2 years ago) says I do need to let her do as much as possible as she is adamant she wants to stay in her own home as long as possible.

I don’t live with her all the time though I am there a lot. I try to keep a life of my own going but it isn’t easy. I do know that when I am with her I watch her like a hawk - can’t read, watch telly, concentrate on anything - and if she makes the slightest sound of discomfort I am out of my chair asking her whats the matter. And it gets on her nerves sometimes, being hovered over like that! I also realise that by constantly asking her how she feels and what the matter is I am forcing her to concentrate on her aches and pains and symptoms - and maybe she would rather just be left alone to forget about them sometimes! Finding the balance is so, so difficult.

I have done all I can to get aids for her to use in the house - wheeled trolleys, a grab handle to help her in and out of bed, extenders to pick up clothes and papers. But it never feels like enough.

I hope you can find a balance David. Just remember that you are doing a fantastic job

Best wishes


Lesley, I was disabled a few years ago in a car accident, happily now OK after 2 knee replacement. My eldest son and his partner broke up so now he lives with me, he looks after the garden and vehicles, I do the house and cook, roughly speaking. I am very conscious of the fact that I’ve slowed up a lot in recent years, after a total of 8 operations for various things, but I’m absolutely fine pottering around in my place by myself.

When my husband was alive, he worked very long hours, so most of my time I was on my own. That is normal for me.

Why are you spending so much time at mum’s house? I’m sure she is very aware that she is getting more old and frail, and her friends are too, and dying. It is still her choice at the moment what to do, and you should respect that.

Why not step back a bit and enjoy your own life while you can too?
As long as mum has a Lifeline pendant alarm, what are you afraid of?
Why not do a bit more for yourself, and then tell mum what you’ve been doing when you go round to her place.
Maybe armed with a special treat of some kind for her, either flowers, her favourite casserole, whatever seems appropriate?
Do you drive? Would mum enjoy you taking her out for afternoon tea somewhere, something new for her to think about when she is alone?

Have you thought about counselling for yourself? I found it really helpful.

Dear bowlingbun, thanks so much for your reply to my post. I hope David has found it as helpful as I did. And talk about great minds…I have contacted the hospice who are helping to support mum today to ask if I could be registered for their counselling service. Your point about having something different to tell her instead of just continually asking how she is such a good one. So, just registered on the forum and feeling a bit better already!

Thanks again


Lesley, my mum was disabled and housebound for 30 years, then the other parents got ill as well, so I have lots of experiences that I didn’t always manage well, I learned the hard way!!

Feel free to ask anything on the forum. Between us we have a variety of different experiences.