Mum - please someone help

Hello I’m new here so please bare with me…

I currently look after my mum. As a bit of background: my dad passed away in 2012. My mum has arthritis in her back and struggles to get around. She is also has issues with mental health.
After dad passed away I became her sole carer. I met my husband in 2014 and moved in with him. Mum lived alone for a year or two but it became clear that she wasn’t coping, so moved in with us in 2017.
Mum is very set in her ways, doesn’t like going out or mingling with people, and despite my best efforts to encourage her to be more independent, she likes to keep herself to herself. This has become a lot worse since the pandemic and lockdowns. I can’t remember the last time she left the house.
She also neglects herself. Doesn’t bathe or brush her teeth. Her teeth have become very rotten in the last few months. She doesn’t change out of her PJ’S.
I do my best to encourage her. Offer to run her a bath or shower. Bye her new PJ’S. Offer to help dye her hair. She doesn’t want to know.
She has pushed her family away to the point they don’t bother much. The odd phonecall but nothing much. I’m so afraid what they will say when they see her next. I’m so scared that they will blame me. I do my best but mum is a 56 years old and a grown woman. Despite her mental health issues she has a mind of her own and is able to fully communicate what she wants. I can’t physically make her do something she doesn’t want to.
Last weekend she had a fall and hurt her back. I wanted to take her to A&E there and then but she’s refused. Since then she hasn’t moved off the sofa other than to go to the toilet. She refuses to eat. I’ve offered to make her food, I’ve bought food for her that she said she wanted but hasn’t touched. I’ve begged her to eat something but she won’t. She just drinks ginger beer all the time.
Please don’t judge me too harshly. I work full time, have no siblings or family to help and my mother is a very difficult woman. I don’t know who to turn to for help. I’m really at my witts end. I would really appreciate some advice and guidance about what to do :pensive:

Hi Laura, I just lost everything I wrote to you! Second go …… Your Mum is no age and it must be so hard for you watching her deteriorate.

If it were me I would firstly try and get her a GP appointment so you can go with her. If she refuses then you need to type up a letter and get her to sign it for you to drop off at GP so they put it on their system and it gives them permission to speak to you about your Mum’s health. Without that you won’t be able to discuss anything. You do need a lot of help right now!

I would also contact MIND and I am sure the helpline on here will support and advice you.

Take care and please keep us updated.

Thank you so much Penny. Do you mind me asking what her GP may be able to do? I’m completely clueless as to what help is available. I didn’t expect to be dealing with this with mum still being so young xx

Hi Laura,

Welcome to the forum.
With hindsight, it was the worst thing to do moving mum in with you.
She needs to live somewhere else, it’s just not fair on you.
How can you have a happy young life (I guess you are in your 30’s at most) have friends round etc. with an unwashed mum in the house? It’s only going to t worse and worse I’m afraid.
I was widowed at 54, suddenly, so I know about the challenges mum has been through.

You and your partner need to sit down and work out what you want, and what mum needs.
Does she still own or rent a home elsewhere?
Have over £23,000 in savings?
Do you have Power of Attorney?
Has mum had a Needs Assessment from Social Services, and have you had a Carers Assessment?
Your answers will help ups give you a few options. You can’t go on like this.

Hi bowlingbun yes I know what you’re saying. I’m 31 and hubby is 36. We’ll be married 3 years in August. Mum is a lot to deal with I’ll admit. I love her but I’m so jealous of our friends having their own lives and space to call their own. I never imagined having to deal with this after loosing my dad.

To answer your questions
Mum doesn’t own any property and doesn’t have much in the way of savings (3k at most). She is on benefits, ESA and PIP.
I don’t have an LPA in place.
I’ve not had any assessments done from social services. I don’t know anything about them really and up until now we’ve just muddled through.

Hi Laura, most people find the forum when they have an issue which is troubling them.
I would suggest that you contact Social Services and ask them for a Carers Assessment, looking at what support you need in your caring role, future needs etc. If they tell you mum should have her Needs Assessment first, it’s not true.

In a way, it’s good that mum doesn’t have a house or much in the way of savings, because then Social Services are entirely responsible for meeting her needs.
I would suggest that you write down EVERYTHING that mum needs help with, that you do for her, and any unmet needs.

Mum has no right to live with you and your partner, so you may have to be insistent with Social Services that they find somewhere else for her. She should be entitled to quite a lot of help and support from SS.

Thank you…I really appreciate your help and I will look into help with SS. You are right we can not carry on like this. I feel like I’m failing mum but there is only so much I can do.

Does anyone have any advice about what I can do in the short term? I’m very worried about her since she had her fall last week. She is completely refusing to go to the hospital but she is clearly in pain. I’m worried about how much of her pain medication she is taking but I dare not bring it up. Also she isn’t eating and nothing I try is working.
It’s awful seeing her like this but I’m also terrified if anything were to happen I would have the finger of blame pointed squarely at me and my husband.

How would you feel if she developed a blood clot and died?
You’d never forgive yourself for not calling an ambulance.
So ring 111, explain the situation, and let them use their judgement.
You are not medically trained, neither am I, there are times when only a visit from someone medically trained will do.

You can’t keep tip toeing round her, clearly she is in a bad way, through no fault of your own.

If they say she must go to hospital to get treatment, and she refuses, if there is any doubt about her mental capacity there are procedures to deal with that.
What sort of treatment has she had previously in connection with her mental health?
When did she last see a doctor?

Exactly and this is what worries me so much. If something happened I’d never forgive myself.

She hasn’t seen her GP for some time. She is prescribed anti depressants but doesn’t take them. Again I’ve tried encouraging her to speak to our surgery. I’m under the care of the practice mental health nurse myself for anxiety issues. I’ve tried telling mum to make an appointment but she won’t go.

I will ring 111 tonight when I get home from work. We can’t let her continue like this.

On the forum at times we describe parents as behaving like elderly toddlers.
Although your mum isn’t that old, she is certainly not doing herself any favours.
Your role is now more parent than child.
Like a parent, you have to do things in her best interests, not always what she wants!

Do you think it would be impossible for her to live alone, even in sheltered housing?
If so, be sure to tell the people she sees.
What was she like when dad was alive, did he deal with everything (my dad did)?
Would you say she has a learning disability or is it just she’s never really learned to manage as an adult?

I know these are difficult questions, you don’t have to answer here on the forum, they are just for you to consider with your partner. Part of the process of finding the best future home for her.

For a start you will be able to tell the GP what you have told us and how worried you are about your Mum and also that you need help. Explain that she will not accept any help and will not see a GP. I am sure they will be able to speak to social services and get things moving.