Moving in with mother to care for her

Our 91 mother had always been independent and active. However 2 years ago a stroke and a fall meant she could no longer live alone. A nursing home was out of the question and mum doesn’t want strangers caring for her, just us. My two sisters and I have had to leave our homes and give up a major part of our lives to move in with her on a rota basis to look after her. I am not a ‘natural nurse’ and struggle mentally and physically with my new responsibilities. Feel resentful, trapped, stressed and as if my retirement is passing me by. I know how lucky I am not doing this alone, but after a two week ‘shift’ with mum who is immobile, deaf and frail I am ready to scream. Feel guilty and in despair. Just wondered how others cope with leaving their home and their life to do this.

Who said you HAD to give up your lives to look after mum???

You cannot be forced to care for her. Your post says it all, she NEEDS more than one person can give.
You are not a girl any more, but a grown woman, over retirement age age yourself!
You and your sister need to have a serious talk about the effect the care is having on you both.

You describe mum as immobile. Has anyone mentioned NHS Continuing Healthcare to you?
Does she have over £23,000 in savings (Yes/No)
Does she own her own home?
Is she claiming Attendance Allowance?

Mum’s choice is either nursing care at home from a series of carers, or a nursing home.

From now on, concentrate on what she NEEDS - a team of carers 24/7.
Of course she doesn’t want strangers to care for her, but there is no alternative if you are to enjoy your retirement, as she did until very recently. Now she is paying the price for living to a very great age - in comparison to my husband who died at the age of 58!

Thank you for your reply.

The situation is that my other 2 sisters are adamant that mum will not go into a nursing home and to be fair we all do our share. They are just better at it than me.
Mum does get AA yes. She has savings and I’ve never heard of continuing health care.

After reading some of the other posts I think I have it easier than a lot of people. At least mum is lovely, positive and cheerful and was a lovely mum to us when we were growing up.

Whether or not she was a lovely mum doesn’t make life any easier. Stop telling yourself that you situation isn’t as bad as others, comparisons are irrelevant. I’ve had 10 carees, but never provided personal care for any of them, apart from the new born baby when it was just normal nappy changes.

NHS Continuing Healthcare, if granted, means that mum can have all the care she needs provided by the NHS either in a Nursing home, or in her OWN home.

Ask the GP to arrange for a checklist assessment asap. Check the following week that he’s done it. GP’s don’t always seem to understand their role!

Think back to when your mum was your age. I guess you’re in your late 50’s/early 60’s. Did your mum have to give up her home and time to care for her mum? Somehow I doubt it.
Talk to your sisters and tell them how you feel.
Can you leave mum on her own while you go out for a walk/ shopping/ class?

Can you explain a bit more about “leaving your home”?
Where is your home in relation to mum’s place?
Do you own, or rent the property?
Do other family members live there too?

Mum owns her own home. I live close by as does one sister. Our other sister lives 130 miles away. 2 of us are retired.When we are ‘on duty’ we leave our own homes and families and move in to mum’s house. Duty is usually 2 weeks (one sister is working so does weekends). Mum’s strokes mean that she has no balance and moves around with a walker with us following to prevent falls. She can’t cook or do anything in the kitchen as she would fall. She can go to the toilet herself but needs help showering.

She had no mother herself but cared for our grandparents for many years.

I am lucky that the 3 of us sisters work hard at ‘getting on’ and maintaining good communication as this is essential when sharing a job like this.

It does work out but I feel constantly tired and ‘on edge’. when I have time off I’m always thinking about my next duty.

We sometimes discuss the future…what happens when mum can no longer walk at all etc. Fills me with dread.

That’s helpful information.
If you and your sister live close by, I don’t think you should move out of your own homes for mum, but rather make sure mum has what she needs to manage alone. It’s unreasonable for her to want you, when she actually needs “someone”.

Mum should first have a Needs Assessment from Social Services, to look at what she needs - as opposed to wants, which may be different.
Once that has been done, if she has less that £23,000 they will contribute towards the cost of her care.
There is then a choice, mum can either have carers arranged for her, or Direct Payments to pay whoever cares for her instead. Yes, that could be you or your sisters, but it must be managed properly.

Is mum claiming Attendance Allowance?
Does she have a Lifeline pendant alarm so that she can summon help if she is alone and falls?

Hello, Lesley. It sounds as though you have given up the idea of Mum going into care on the strength that you have been outvoted by 2 to 1. Either that, or you are not keen on her going into care either, and your sisters are your backup. Mum does not seem too keen on the idea either. That can be expected.

I am trying to understand what you mean by, “They are just better than me.” Do you think you are coping less well because of some minor disability of your own? You say only one of your sisters is retired. So the other one looks after Mum as well as well as going out to work. So she is not with Mum 24/7 as you are, yet you reckon she is better than you. I don’t think I understand. This does suggest to me that if one sister can take breaks for work, you can take breaks for respite, which it sounds as though you greatly need.

I wonder why your sisters are so against the idea of Mum going into care. As for the one that lives at a distance - I wonder if she sees her turn is simply a welcome change of scenery - a “working holiday”, so as to speak.

Somehow, I wonder if your sisters are coping as well as you imagine they are.

I am lucky that the 3 of us sisters work hard at ‘getting on’ and maintaining good communication as this is essential when sharing a job like this.
. . .
We sometimes discuss the future…what happens when mum can no longer walk at all etc. Fills me with dread.

It is good that you get on well with your sisters, even if you may disagree about what is best for Mum. You are right to consider the possibility of Mum not being able to walk at all, or of other aspects of failing ability. It may not happen but it is best to be prepared in case it does. It would be easier to introduce her to a care home now than wait till her health has deteriorated substantially.

I endorse Bowlingbun’s last post; arrange that Needs Assessment and get a pendant alarm; in spite of your “rota” there may be periods when Mum is on her own.

Armed fully with the facts it will be time to have another discussion with your sisters about what is best for Mum and what she needs, even though it may seem different from what you all want. Many care homes offer temporary stays, so Mum could sample one and maybe find it is not so bad after all.

You Mum was lovely when you were growing up - now she deserves the best of care. You and your sisters will need to decide whether a care home would be the best option, If you decide against a care home for now, you probably have better options than the present while you care for her yourselves.

Hello again, Lesley. This thread seemed to “disappear” for a while. I wonder how you have been getting on over the past few month. Have there been any developments in your position, or are things going well now with the three of you sharing the caring?