I am a single parent to 3 kids, youngest is 10. The younger two both have special needs, mild enough to attend mainstream schools but fairly tricky to manage at times.
About 6 weeks ago I suddenly became a live in carer for my aunt, grandmother and great aunt, aged from 71 to 98. One has dementia, one is physically disabled, one is fairly independent but has some sensory loss and is terribly anxious.
There are also many pets. Luckily it’s a very large house.
I work a 4 day week as a teacher of children with special needs.
I want a day off so badly I could cry. Does that feeling wear off with time? There’s no prospect of it, at the moment I’m struggling to even get a few hours to go and clear out my old house to move our stuff here! I am giving notice on that house but cannot see how I am going to get everything done without collapsing with exhaustion! And the kids want their Xmas decorations up, which is absolutely fair enough but it feels like a massive demand right now…
Great aunt is in respite at the moment but will be home in 2 weeks with carers coming 4 times a day. This is very welcome (and removes all the running up and down to the nursing home) but she is wakeful through the night and I just can’t see how on earth I’m going to manage on even less sleep.
Keep your old house. Let us help you sort out the situation for you. It’s not fair on you or your kids to become a live in carer. There are many here who have done the same as you, and it’s RUINED their lives.
Hi Nac and welcome to the forum.
Nac, how did you get into this situation??
Surely 3 children as a single parent and a responsible job is enough to keep you busy.
Can’t your mum or dad care for your grandmother - that is usually the answer or outside carers?
Have the aunts got grown up children who could help?
You feel like crying after 6 weeks in this situation (which I completely understand) but I’m sorry to say that No, the feeling of despair does not go away, it will just get worse and worse and worse. Please don’t do this to yourself- it’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to your children.
As bowlingbun says - keep your old house.
Which of the other two is more capable? Kindly suggest to both of them that they have to help as well. Type up a list of tasks for them to do- five or six is enough, print out a copy and laminate it. To clarify, which family member is very vulnerable? Which relative could cope alone if the worst happened to you?
Your nuclear family comes first. Can you find paid for carers or not? Some carers do night shifts, this is a good idea for your relative with dementia. You need to be a mom first and foremost. I am a unpaid carer as well and I love having me time. I kind of regret becoming a unpaid carer for my little brother but I know that there was no other option. Have you requested a needs assessment yet for your other disabled relatives? It is a good idea just in case. Call their local council to start the process tomorrow morning.
Don’t sell your property either. Your children need a place to call their own seriously. Why sell if you don’t need to? Get your other relatives to assist. Additionally encourage the one with mobility issues to try to do things independently. Same goes for the one who has a sensory issue. Are they in a relationship? Do they have children? If so, ask them to support you. Do not panic and make a bad decision. It is not fair to you or your children at all. Take some time off from work and clear your head.
Go for walks or try talking to someone who understands you. Can you afford to see a counsellor or not?
There must be amount of monies to fund in the first instance and possible temporarily private carers. You need an emergency home meeting by SS. Tomorrow call the local SS adult services emergency helpline.
You need more than time off!!!
You need some other people to provide care for relatives. Which you can just keep a watching eye over.
You will burn out and then you children will require help. As a teacher you know the outcome of that will be input from SS.
When was the last time you had a break? Everyone needs a break from their cared for person. I love taking a break. Even if this is one night at a expensive hotel or a night away it still counts as a break. Do you have any support? Perhaps it is time to see if you can get financial assistance too.
I forgot about this earlier but do you claim any benefits on their behalf? The two important ones are pip and esa. Citizen’s Advice can assist you with the forms. Email/call tomorrow or take a look at their website. It has a lot of useful information on all aspects of benefits that will be useful.
I juggled special needs teaching and one caree with special needs - and that was enough for me!
Are you sure about moving in with three dependent rellies on top of your own children, two who have special needs?!!! I have to say, I think this is far too much for one person. Honestly, you would be better setting up paid care for the rellies and keeping an eye on them, otherwise you will make yourself ill. Even if you gave up your job (not a good idea,) supporting three elderly rellies and caring for your own children would be too much.
Nac, the more I think about your situation the more worried I am for all concerned.
Please let us help you unravel this complex situation into individual strands, and then resolve each one in turn.
Could you start by giving a few more details about each of your new carees?
The care system can seem very complicated at first, you may not know what questions you should be asking which person. Most of us here struggled too.
To save writing to much of an essay, here are a few questions to start with, that will give us a better understanding.
Has everyone had a Needs Assessment from Social Services?
Have you had a Carers Assessment from Social Services?
Is everyone receiving Attendance Allowance?
Is the person with dementia claiming exemption from Council Tax?
Generally speaking, are they all comfortably off, or not much to spare?
Is the house clean and tidy? Do they currently have any domestic staff to help with cleaning?
Do they do their own washing up, have a dishwasher?
Do they pool their money for “housekeeping”? House Maintenance?
Who manages that money?
Is there a big garden? Is there a gardener?
Are there any other absent relatives, who will come out of the woodwork in search of money when they are all dead??
How far away do you children go to school? (Still going to their old school, or now at a new school?)
Tell us more about the relatives with disabilities.
What sort of dementia does she have?
Is the one with a physical impairment able to walk or not?
How bad is the sensory issues?
If you have not done so already, the first thing to do is to get a needs assessment done so you have some sort of support for them. It may be that the physically impaired relative needs to start helping herself instead. This is what I tell my brother who also has a physical disability “You can do that yourself”. Of course if she cannot do that, then help but if she can, encourage her confidence etc. Can they afford to pay a gardener or cleaner to come to clean etc? Do your children go to local schools or not?
I think the big question here is … what happened six weeks ago that necessitated you moving in with your relatives? There is a phrase used here along the lines of making the worst possible decision for the best possible reasons. It would seem that you reacted instinctively to whatever situation occurred, but now need to step back and put your sensible/logical hat on and sort out what happens now.