Sorry to say this is a long one.
My mam is 70 and suffers from dementia, COPD and paranoid schizophrenia. It means she regularly forgets words, or uses incorrect words, making communication difficult. Almost every task she asks of my dad (71) results in her becoming extremely agitated and argumentative.
Her paranoid schizophrenia creates multiple issues on a daily basis.
- She falsely believes he is deliberately causing problems when he incorrectly guesses the wrong items she has requested.
- When discussing entirely innocent topics in a different room with me - do we need any more bread/milk etc - “stop whispering about me. I can hear you.”
- If she can’t find a misplaced item, she automatically assumes that it has been thrown out by dad.
- Regularly believes neighbours and people in the street are talking about her. When checked. Noone has been present in the garden/street.
Their marriage is extremely unhappy since her stroke and return home.
My mam is a very selfish woman (always has been) and is used to getting her own way and demanding my dad do everything for her with very little appreciation.
She is extremely abusive, belittling and domineering and will remain so until the day she dies. She won’t change.
Trying to control when he can and can’t watch TV, when he can go to sleep, when he can relax, instead of doing tasks for her such as decorating, telling him not to speak to neighbours and immediate family members such as myself. This also extends to telling him not to tell doctors and social workers about her conditions.
She shouts and argues until late night - 0000-0100, preventing the household from sleeping at normal times. She then wakes at approximately 4am every morning, at which point she starts shouting again and making demands of my dad. This almost always continues until at least 10am, meaning aside from forced late night bedtimes on the family, we are extremely sleep deprived daily.
She will demand my dad “get out of bed you’re just being lazy” - after 4hrs sleep?! We try to recover throughout the day, but as mentioned above, she ia abusive and shouting all day. So we can’t even recover/ sleep then.
She also interferes in my dad’s ability to care for my brother, who has paranoid schizophrenia and learning difficulties. She’ll frequently demand that her care be placed before his, leading to a worsening of his health.
My dad - 71 - is now her full time carer but he has no help from outside carers or social services. Despite reassurances that they would make frequent visits, they have not been since mam’s initial ‘exit’ from the care home. They have cancelled two appointments in a row and it has now been more than a month since their first visit. They have not offered a carers assessment to determine if my dad is even capable or willing to continue caring.
My question is: does my dad have to carry on caring for her?
He is at breaking point. First time in his life requiring anti-depressants to deal with the situation. He is exhausted daily, both physically and mentally from the situation.
What are his options?
Q. We have considered getting her returned to care home, as it was the opinion of two psychiatrists from the local mental hospital, that her mental health warranted it.
A. Although this seems unlikely to happen as when looked into, a person can’t legally be forced into a care home against their will. Mental health section does not appear to be an option as otherwise the psychiatrists mentioned above would’ve already done this.
Q. My dad has considered simply walking out on her and leaving her alone, to force social services to act, as she would be a vulnerable adult alone.
A. Trouble is, my brother - whom my dad is also the sole carer for - also lives in this household and he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and learning difficulties. As a result this option immediately becomes unacceptable for his health. Also my dad has no friends or relatives to which he could retreat.
Please someone advise? We’re desperate for a solution that, social services, doctors and Mental Health Crisis team are all failing to provide.