Living in a gilded cage

not so long ago my only parent had some health problems so I had to drop everything and move in with them and be their carer.

probably like a lot of people here they’ve had had strained relationships with their parents while ‘coming of age’ and for me its no different, where my lone parent lives now is not where I grew up, its a suburbanised villlage/town in a different area to where I grew up, I have no friends there and in my opinion its a pretty unpleasant place to be.

the only ‘upside’ my parent is pretty well off, in a working class retired nouveau-riche tastless kind of way.

so while I’m on carers allowance money itself isnt a problem.

My dad regularly says ‘if there is anything you want on Amazon…’ etc etc, this is hard for me to indulge in because when I was a teenager, in a rural location he gave very little attention or support to me my or my other siblings interms of ‘social development’, he was pretty stingy and critical of spending money, always having me and sibling do housework yet not capable of setting an example himself, he never gave us a lift out to town to see friends (it was an area with no buses). and when I moved out it was definitely under a cloud.

for years I was destitute but happy living my own life in London and other cities around Europe, and he’d contact me, nagging me to come home ‘for a day or two’, so I could wait for a delivery on his behalf, while he was out at work, and he’d ‘offer me some money’ usually about 40 quid for mytime, considering the train from london itself was about 25 quid, it sort of made it pointless to spend my free time there doing that. his house is about 30 minute walk from the station and depending on his mood he may or may not offer to pick me from the station, so with all of those travel times added up, it just wasnt worth doing his errands, and then he started to pay his friends/partner’s kids to do housework (apparently they were getting a proper wage!)

when I found out he was ill I had been living overseas. I had to drop everything to return to the UK including being separated from my spouse who had visa issues for 1 year. around that time I was beginning a new career in a particular industry, which I had to drop.

the few friends I have in the UK are based in London, Im lucky to meet one of them once a month.

in this rural location I can’t work in any sort of job which contributes to any career paths I was previously heading down.
meanwhile my spouse who was a translator and has no intention of working in the local Spar or a fish and chip shop (something my dad doesn’t quite understand). meanwhile if I mention career or money my dad says ‘ohh dont worry about it, if you two need anything I will pay for it!’ which obviously feels like manipulation.

He’s spent a lot of money on me recently, because I’ve had driving lessons, (I never wanted to or learned to drive before, Im content with public transport and living in cities.) to complicate things he nagged I had to learn manual and he/we spent a lot of money on several weeks worth of lessons, with a horrible local instructor who’s car I almost crashed/stalled countless times. Eventually he relented and gave ‘permission’ for me to have automatic lessons instead, and my dad’s car which he can longer drive is an automatic. (“ohh but if you have a manual license, in the future you can drive any type of car!” its 2019, automatics will soon be the norm AND I clearly have no wishes to suddenly buy a 1960s Aston Martin and go to a car rally.)

so things like the cost of those driving lessons are what he uses when his body is aching and he’s having an impatient tempter, for example, he will want his dinner (a plate of 4 chicken theighs cooked in the oven (he prefers them overcooked and really ‘brown’) with some microwaved frozen vegetables) at 6pm exactly, he will say "Arrggh! To think I wasted all that money on those driving lessons, and this is how you act… like spoilt brat! etc, and thats something I’ve lived with since I was a child.

I’ve noticed that when I go the extra mile, he will expect that as normal the next time around, whether thats wiping his ass, making an extra cup of coffee, pushing his wheelchair. I honestly cant workout if he’s become accustomed to being wheeled about everywhere or if he’s too lazy to make the effort to talk with his sticks.

in the mornings, he can shower and dry by himself most days, but then I do his socks and shoes, then his breakfast. He always has 2 large cups of coffee, I used to make one, have a few minutes of conversation, where he’d cut me off mid-sentence and then ask for his second cup, (‘Please, I’ve asked you 3 times now! I’d like my second cup of coffee! Or will I have to get up to make it myself?’). So I’ve gotten into the habit of making 2 large cups of coffee with his porridge, and then going straight back to bed without a word said, because there is nothing else to do.

as he’s of that baby boomer generation, he can’t trust technology, so when he needs to check his bank account, I have to physically go to the bank with him where he checks everything directly with the staff… instead of doing it online like I do, which is a further waste of my time.

whenever we get back from a supermarket (usually where he’d sat in the cafe and had me order a ‘a large Americano with three pots of extra hot milk, make sure its hot!’), he will say 'help me take my jacket off, right now I ‘d like a cup of coffee and perhaps something nice with it!’ Seriously? you’ve jsut been driven 7 miles to drink coffee, and now you are home you want to drink another cup of coffee? I dont have the desire to drink that much tea. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve just returned from the supermarket, we have several bags-for-life full of raw meat, and other foodstuffs, yet he forgets about the shopping I need to put away, and will be saying ‘and I’d like my coffee now. if thats ok.’ I’d explain Im busy he will have to wait 15 minutes, and during that 15 minutes he will say it repeatedly. ‘CAN, I, HAVE, A, CUP, OF…’

his dinner is always ‘too much’ and recently he’s developed a taste for Marks and Spencer’s kentucky style chicken and Aldi’s bratwurst sausages, the box has 6 pieces in it, and he will eat 4 pieces in a meal, with some sausages on the side, before I’d move in, he’d just cook all 6 pieces and throw the 2 other bits away. I do eat eat but I try to avoid eating it excessively and I even his castoffs are too much for me to eat and I feel like a glutton.

in the evenings he switches from drinking coffee to ‘diet’ ginger beer, he can drink one of those Old Jamaica 1.5L bottles in an evening. He says ‘I would like a straight glass and a bottle of ginger beer’. no idea why he nags over the glass being straight, but several other glasses in the cupboard are always rejected because of shape. Today we went shopping and I forgot to purchase 10+ bottles of ginger beer and I know he will throw a tantrum. However if he hears me boiling the kettle around 9pm, he can suddenly demand a final cup of coffee.

Politics they’re all over the spectrum, however they enjoy listening to LBC radio so you can easily work out what they voted for in recent referendums.

as they are retired they like to spend their money on crap, in the last 2 years I’ve been their career he’s purchased lots of fancy watches, the average price is around 5k, but 3 times in the last 2 years he’s spent 9k on Rolex/Omega watches. ‘Ohh but when die, you can sell these watches!’ he says, but I try to explain that when he dies, I dont want to go about with bunch of watches arguing with David Dickinson lookalikes.

personally I feel if you’ve got savings and money to waste on trinklets like watches you should spend that money on professional care.

so yeah, im stuck in a gilded cage, he said in the past ‘you want to move out? where will you go to? London? What on earth will you do there to pay the rent? its expensive in London you know!’ overlooking the fact I’ve lived in London and Berlin and Turin and Shanghai for years previously.

anyway its 6pm now and he’s nagging for his dinner.

I’m the ungrateful millennial youth, and i keep thinking about killing myself.

Hi Menwewe,

You don’t have to care for your Dad, he can have a Needs Assessment and paid care workers can put on his socks, prepare his meals etc Needs assessment | Carers UK He probably won’t be happy with this arrangement to begin with, but you aren’t happy with how things are now.


Welcome to the forums!

You are not obligated to care for him anymore. Have you talked to your local council or not? If not call on Monday to enquire about getting a needs assessment done by a social worker. This is the first step of the process. None of this is normal. Please don’t suffer silently. The NHS have useful resources on the needs assessment process and care services on their website that is worth reading.

Please act now before it is too late.

Alternatively you can always research care homes. Visit for more information. Or you could visit care homes directly to ask questions and talk with the residents and employees too. Ring up to schedule a visit or look at the site. If you do pick that option, you can find a checklist of questions on that site that can be printed out and taken to the home with you. Bring a pen to take notes. Tell him it is the only other option that is left to try at this point as you simply cannot cope any more and observe his reaction carefully. It will tell you quite a bit.

Trust your gut feeling!

It sounds like he’s losing the plot, quite frankly. Utterly selfish and horrible, or is he getting dementia?
Can he afford to carry on like this, or is he going to find one day that all his money has gone?
This happened to a relative of mine, I was left to sort out the mess (as usual)!

You chose to do this. Bad choice it seems and it’s not working out. You can choose not to. There’s no law that says any adult has to Care for another, whatever the relationship.
Whatever your motives for taking on the Carer role, whatever the advantages are, if it’s destroying you then it has to stop. There are alternatives. You have to weigh any good points against the bad and decide. Only you know the full picture. Only you know the full emotional, financial and practical aspects to take into consideration.
How do you want to proceed? There’s no magic wand. Dad needs care. You need your life back.
You could leave tomorrow. You could sort out a care package for Dad and then leave. You could stick it out and suffer for more driving lessons.(etc) or because you really do want to look after Dad for as long as it takes.
Your future is your choice not what you ‘ought’ to do, or think you ‘must’ do. Chose a compromise that’s best for both.

When a parent needs help, and you drop everything to help, there often seems to be any “choice”.
Unless you have found the forum before things start going down hill, who is there you can ask to say “Will I regret it”?
So I applaud you for wanting to help dad in his hour of need.
You are not the first to dash to the aid of a parent, only to regret it later!!

I would suggest that you had counselling to help YOU decide where YOU go from here. It was hugely helpful to me.

If dad is loaded, does he give you a regular “allowance”. This would be the first step to changing your relationship. You are not a little girl who needs pocket money now and then, you are a grown woman who needs money to live on.

First change must be to stop providing any personal care, except in a dire emergency. He should have a “nurse” to get him up in the morning, and get him dressed. To change him in the evening, and put him to bed.

How much time do you have for yourself? Me time is so important! Even if it is just ten minutes to read something or half a hour to do chores etc it counts. I relish any time alone I can have. Today I escaped after work down to the gym to stay fit, tone up and use the equipment. Then I showered and ate.

You must be crafty and find ways to get me time. Me time in any shape or form counts. Do you have any friends? What are your interests and hobbies? Go from there. In my area, there are many opportunities for unpaid carers to relax and make new friends. Don’t feel bad either.

hi Melly1, leah_1902, bowlingbun, Elaine

sorry for the late reply to this post.

firstly im very concerned about using social media and revealing too much information about my situation which could make me easily identifiable or doxxed etc.

secondly my spouse doesnt like me venting personal information online and as we are usually in the same room its diffcult to type a long body of text with them right next to me, our bedroom feels like an office space.

its tricky to make my dad aware of how unhappy we are being his carer, firstly he’s never been very sympathetic to people showing their emotions, I lost my mum 30+ years ago, and when BBC or Channel 4 has a documentary or news report and bereavement counciling is mentioned, he will loudly say ‘ohh I don’t believe in any of that mumbo-jumbo, when your mum died, the council asked if you need a councilor I told them its a waste of time!’ and while Im quite a stoic person I really belive in counciling and especailly the importance of being able to talk to a professional who can listen ,and I have had a lot of mental health problems growing up and these have always been handled dealt with outside of the family home using services like the NHS or Mind, however now as Im at home with my spouse I really have to act like everything is fine and be strong and if I say 'ohh i’m off to see an NHS councilor!" my spouse’s response will be: ‘your depressed? how the f@ck do you think I feel being stuck in your country?’, so yeah, its tricky topic to bring up. Secondly, if I am able to get an NHS mental health councilor thing, my dad’s current schedule means usually twice a week I’m expect to shuttle him to hospital and back and I think the fall out of my mentioning my own needs would cause quite a stir.

regarding money, tonight me and my father were chatting about life cause a friend of his died yesterday, and he said about how good it is me and my sibling (who conveniently lives overseas and has kids already) will inherit his (average new build type) house and whatever money he has and he added “after im dead you and your wife will probably move back to [insert far away country here and buy a house]”, and while thats nice, I said that I cant feel secure in that, cause, for me, I feel like im at a point where I cant see me or my wife having kids, or either of us picking up our old careers where we left that, so no amount of money will compensate for that, and basically we dont know when any of us will die so looking forward to something like that is a pretty stupid business plan!

we dont get pocket money or a payment from him, he mentioned it a few times, in his high and mighty attitude 3 years ago he was like ‘benefits? no need for that, I’m gonna pay you an allowance straight into your bank account… blah blah blah’ he never did that.

it is confusing for me, cause growing up we didnt have money and he only got flashy with (for himself and his odd collecting hobbys) in the last 15 years, and I always learnt to be self reliant, so when he thrusts money in my hands “here’s 20 quid you and your wife and treat yourselves to some nice lunch in town!” it honestly makes me feel sick, because as an adolesent looking back I felt neglected, not necessarily with money just support mentally developing (with school or whatever), so when he expects me to accept his cash I really feel angry. obviously people (my sister included) may say ‘you dont have to accept it!’

I dont think he’s getting dimentia, but he’s just so selfish, today at hospital I was helping him in the toilet pee, and once he’s done his business, I need a few minutes to wipe the seat, and pick up all the piss soaked paper towels and put them in the bin, but he’s saying ‘ohh dont worry about that!’, as if its ok to leave the toilet in a total mess for the next person. if he cant find a bottle of harpic to clean his little en-suite bathroom (thank god he doesnt use our one!) he will order a box of harpic bottles on amazon, then to my confusion, I will answer the door to the amazon man who has a massive box of harpic bottles. Because he keeps peeing into his piss bottle and then pouring the urine down his sink, you get that brown limescale in his sink, me and my spouse have both given up cleaning in there because he has no clue how to clean and doesn’t appreciate our efforts when we do clean, so keep keeps pouring huge amounts of toilet duck or harpic or whatever down the toilet and into his sink, which stinks out the upstairs of the house, then in the morning he keeps spraying this ‘anti-black mould foam’ after he showers (without scrubing!) because of the few spots of black mould in the bathroom, if he had opened a window, or use the extractor fan or paid a profesional cleaner the last 15 years he has lived in that house his bathroom wouldnt be so bad. meanwhile the few times that me and my wife do clean his bathroom (about once every 6 weeks) we scrub it physically and afterwards he will say in a meak voice: ‘ohh thank you, you did use the harpic and the black mold spray didnt you?’

today he suddenly went ‘ohh those skirting boards look like they need a bit of a scrub, you’re supposed to be incharge of that.’

I wanted to say back ‘fu@k your skirting boards! you got an office which looks like Steptoes yard and you are worried about that skirting board?’

I hate this house, he moved here because he had a partner in the same area living here, (a proper witch, never got along with her and its only in your 30s you can suddenly realise this person is dysfunctional and its not always your fault) this summer she finally disappeared, considered he stopped going to over to her house for dinner on weekends (the only time we’d get respite) and he only wears cheap cotton shorts I can see why she stopped communicating with him, I feel pissed though, she lured him here and she rarely came to help with his care, and I’d do anything to reverse the clock back and keep him in our old house, it was a nice area, with proper countryside you can walk in, with forests and rivers in every direction, it was nice but not an ‘Area of Natural outstanding Beauty’ with hikers or tourists everyway, it was quiet, but where we are now, its a suburbanised village, and it seems every direction you walk in, its either a motorway, an A-road or a railway line, or a bungalow, cutting your path, a lot less footpaths than where I’m from, and they are tarmacked and properly fenced on each side, so when you go off for a walk you feel like you can’t really exlpore too far, and it adds to that feeling of being trapped in.

currently, my biggest focus is getting my dad’s weight down, for a long time he was overeating as he came from a heavy weight sporting background, i feel if he could get down to a normal level it would be easier for him to manage his ailiments.

sorry if this is big rant.

anyway here is some prince to cheer up everyone.

I’m afraid your situation boils down to just two choice, because dad is never EVER going to change his ways. In fact, he’s going to get a whole lot worse, never better, until he has to move into residential care, or dies.

  1. Put up with it
  2. Leave.

You only have one life to live, and only you can decide, it is entirely up to you whether you want to live with him like this or not.

Usually I can think of something to make life a bit easier for a carer, but it sounds as if dad is determined to live his way, which is disgusting to me, completely and utterly unacceptable.

If his behaviour was a recent development then I’d say he was heading towards a diagnosis of dementia or similar, but it sounds like he’s never really been a nice person or a great dad.

What hold does he have over you? To work this out, and find a better way, I’d suggest asking your GP to arrange counselling for you, with the aim of living a different life in 12 months time.