New and reluctant

I’m 66 and retired, live alone and was hoping to have an adventurous retirement. My mother 92, and not demented at all, is now needing a lot of care but social services say she doesn’t meet the criteria and although we could pay for some private care, she won’t have anyone in. She wants me to do it.
She has eye problems, balance and walking problems, can no longer see to cook and can’t get a shower. She wants me to do that. I’ve done it but I don’t want to continue. She says she doesn’t want some strange woman “washing her arse”. So far I’ve done what I can but I’m getting stressed and resentful, although I feel sorry for her.
I feel I’m being guilt tripped and manipulated… She has a history of this all my life, and has been forever obsessed with herself. I have one brother who is the favourite but he doesn’t do much and two other siblings who have cut themselves off completely.
Yesterday she had another of her panic attacks and had to be taken in to hospital in the middle of the night. I didn’t know it was just a panic attack again. My brother was called as he lives near. I went hoping I was going to say a tearful deathbed farewell. But when I got there she was up and about and moaning as usual, wanting food. She’d had all the tests and nothing wrong.
I feel pity for her and resent her at the same time.
I need to know how to cope with this.

Do you want to wash her arse either. Of course not.

Of course not. The best years you have left will be utterly wasted. Mine were!

If you don’t stick up for yourself, then no one else will. Have courage, and insist that she gets help. Does she have over £23,000 in savings (Yes/No).

Yes, bowlingbun(!) I’m coming round to that conclusion. If she doesn’t want help, she’ll have to do without.
Now let’s see me put it into practice…
And no she doesn’t have a lot of savings.
But I’ve asked twice and the social services insist she isn’t bad enough.
But we can pay for private care using her attendance allowance and her pension which she hardly spends, so money isn’t a problem as yet. The problem is her not wanting people in…She has always been antisocial and has never made friends. I can’t think of one single person in her entire life that I can think of as my mothers friend.
But I’m going to start small with meals on wheels and church volunteer visitors. Then I’m going to book a holiday for three weeks and she’ll have to have carers. I’ll give her plenty of notice.

By law, Social Services MUST do a Needs Assessment on someone who requests it, and it MUST be written down and a copy sent to mum, explaining why she doesn’t qualify.

Did they do this? When? After all, she must have fairly high needs to be getting Attendance Allowance!

Posted too soon - sorry! I was going to say was that I have one of those (I had 2 before my Dad died). And it is hard work! Don’t feel guilty. She is lucky to live to old age and the price for this is needing some help. And it isn’t fair to expect you to do it all.

We too worked up to some care for Mum. We started with a cleaner and then insisted she had someone come in to make lunches when it became clear she could no longer cook for herself. It was the best thing we ever did. She doesn’t really like it. But finally my sister and I can balance her care with having lives ourselves.

Get that holiday booked! And DO NOT be guilted. Where are you going??

I think you have a good understanding of the situation and know the answers.
How would she cope if you were living in Australia say? (Or otherwise totally unavailable)
Then act as if you are.
Or if that is too much pendulum swing, work out how much/little you are prepared to do and set firm boundaries

Ps, if brother went to the hospital, why did you go too? Delegation problems or self imposed guilt? (Rhetorical questions for you to ask yourself)

Bowlingbun, no they didn’t write a report. They came to see her in the hospital,but she tells them how capable she is and they believed her.
Mrs Average, my brother went in the middle of the night I wet the next morning, and Sally I haven’t decided where I’m going yet!

I find that too much contact with my mother absolutely drains me both emotionally and physically…so I know I’ve got to set boundaries.
I don’t want to be the carer even though she’s trying to manoeuvre me into it. Before she went rapidly downhill in the last couple of months I used to see her once a week and it was enough.

So I’m going to go back to once a week again. Then she’ll have to agree to help. It’s her choice, as the social worker said. I think they’re underfunded though that’s why they trying to avoid taking on anymore clients, but she’s 92 for Gods sake.

My problem too is coping with the mixed feelings.

We all struggle with that, one way or another. We have a phrase on this forum of “the guilt monster” and whenever he rears his ugly head you just have to change the word "guilty"to “sad”.
Its sad Mum is being this way, but you are not guilty of making her this way
It’s sad Mum can no longer do what she used to be able to, but you are not guilty of taking her abilities away
It’s sad Mum is now very old and suffering effects of age, but you are not guilty of her getting this old
It’s sad she has isolated herself, but you are not guilt of that
It’s sad she hasn’t had good relationships, but that not your fault

Try “sad” to replace other emotions too, it’s quite useful

Your role should be that of are manager, not provider. First step the assessment, BUT this time with you present! My mum would say she could do things she couldn’t because she couldn’t admit to herself she would never again be able to do them. At 92 she is very old, it’s OK to say I need a bit of help with…


In your “Care Manager” role, think about all the jobs you currently do for mum, probably easiest on the computer.

Over the next week, write down EVERYTHING, no matter how trivial, that she currently needs done for her.

Then shuffle the jobs into groups

  1. What can be avoided altogether by doing things differently (flower borders and ironing etc.)
  2. What she needs SOMEONE to do for her - mowing the lawn, cooking, bathing
  3. What she needs YOU to do or you want to do. Money management is best checked by you.

Give the list to the social worker, before the assessment if possible, ideally by email, ask for an acknowledgement, then you have evidence that she saw it.