Hi All. I’m Tracey, age 48, married 24 years, 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I used to have a life now I feel life is just existing.
I am a carer for my Mother who lives a 5 minute car journey away which is fine and I have no problems at all with my Mother. She had open heart surgery in 2022 and is like a different woman now but still needs a level of care from me due to her ongoing heart failure.
The real stress is Husbands 99 year old Grandfather. We live in Wales, 99 year old Grandad lives in London. Both of Grandads sons passed away in 2022 so my Husband and his Brother are next of Kin. My husbands Brother does not work he was made redundant in 2019 and had a lovely payout, but he will not help look after his Grandad so it is left to my Husband and myself to provide all care. My Grandad has a lady who he knows who does his shopping once a week and myself and my husband visit every other weekend. We also do more shopping when we visit and housework and sort all his mail. Grandad is very hard of hearing and cannot see very well, he also has a pacemaker and regular INR checks. Grandad does not use his oven or hob and cooks all food in a microwave, sausages, fish, meat, anything I’m surprised he has not had food poisoning as of yet!! He will also not turn his heating above 15c even though he could afford to heat his street. He will not have anyone to come in and help him, will not consider moving here or a home even though we are his only family. I am very worried about him but he won’t consider any help except from us and as much as we love him it’s having a strain on our relationship and we are missing out on life. I have contacted adult services who phoned him and he just lied to them on the phone saying he uses the cooker etc and that he has a bath everyday. He hasn’t used the bath or shower for over 10 years. We have tried many conversations but it’s his way or no way. In the cold weather his memory goes too I’m guessing due to the lack of oxygen from being cold. Myself and my husband also work too and it’s getting very hard.
Does anyone have any advice please? We love him very much but it’s just so frustrating
Hello Tracy, welcome to the forum. I think grandad needs to go into a care homes or a live in career which are the best option to help with his needs.
Thank you. Yes I agree but we have asked him and he has said no to both. He has even got my Husband and Brother in law to make an LPA stating no care home or carers on the health LPA. My husbands uncle warned us he was very stubborn but we never believed that this old man could be as stubborn as he is! My husband really is at his wits end, he’s had to be put on antidepressents to deal with it all. My husband doesn’t want to force anything on him so has decided to just let grandad do things his way but I am forever waiting for a phone call to say he’s been lying on the floor for a week etc
I know with family it can be a pain but what they both going to have to relaised is that if grandad ends up in hospital, questions might be asked and if and it is a big If someone decides to checkout any story, it will open a full can of worms which could cause more problems for you, it has with me. I would speak to citizens advice about or give the carers helpline a ring or email they might be able to give you some other advice about the matter. But keep in touch with updates
I can totally understand why you and your husband are so very stressed. It may be worth phoning the Carers Helpline. I would also write to his GP and say that they have a ‘duty of care’. Ideally they would visit and be able to get a better idea of what is going on and if he is coping. Would he have an alarm pendant? I totally agree a Care Home would be the best option and it might be worth at least looking at homes in the area or maybe nearer to you? I do understand that neither you nor your husband want to force him into a home, but it really does sound as if he is simply not safe on his own. At least if you write to the GP, stating your concerns and saying that in your opinpon, he was not honest in the telephone call with Adult Social Care , you are covering yourself if anything did happen.
We suggested a pendant alarm and he was with the idea until he realised he has to pay for it. He is far from poor. He just says when I need help I will let you know. We go there and he’s cut himself and won’t say how. My husband says we cannot force him to do anything.
My late father was similar and I just could not sleepwalk into caring for him as well as my much older husband. I did write to his GP. We did get a short term free Carer package but he sometimes would not let them in or get out of bed. His neighbour was very worried and kept phoning me. In the end, the GP came out after the Carers called the ambulance services twice, and he refused to go. He basically had to be taken into hospital against his will and never came out - sectioning was mentioned but hard to get a mental health team in place even back in 2017. It was horrible and very traumatic for me and for the carers. So I know how hard it is. I would even see if his GP would see you and explain the affect on your husband and your own mental health. It sounds as if it will have to get to a crisis situation before anything will be done. Sadly this is not unusual with stubborn older people. But I agree with Michael please cover yourself.
Tracy, when I was torn in all directions, on the verge of a breakdown, I had counselling. It was life changing. Probably the most helpful thing was setting my priorities firmly. Disabled mum was well off and could speak up for herself. Disabled son couldn’t. In the end I told mum that son had to take priority over her, and although she didn’t like it, she had to agree it was what I needed to do. Everyone wanted me, but there was only one of me, and I too was disabled, and newly widowed, and left to run a business. You and your husband are NOT invincible. My husband died suddenly at 58, when we had been caring for both his parents, both my parents and our brain damaged son. You have a right to family life and your children have a right to happy relaxed energetic parents. Be sure to spend quality time with them, go away for a couple of weeks if you can afford it. It will make everyone realise how dependent they are on you, and how they need to have others in their lives to help them.
I’m worrying if I sound like I am whinging I know there are others worse off than us. I have every sympathy with anyone in same situation and thank you all for the advice and being so kind. I told my husband to contact his Grandads GP and he said he can’t as grandad will not be happy. I think my husband is too soft with him.
There is so much more I could say but like I say I don’t want to be a whinge I’m just finding it so difficult
I would love to go away but my mum makes me feel guilty if I go away for a weekend and grandad has to have us there every other weekend. Last time we went up we were on time he was adamant we were an hour late then constantly said how lonely he is. We have offered to move him here with us but he is refusing to leave his home.
I’m sorry for everything you have been through and the loss of your husband.
You are not whinging. It helps to say how you feel and not to be judged. Rant away, we wont mind
Tracy, you are among friends here. In total, I’ve cared for 10 relatives in various ways. Counselling made me realise that mum expected me to do whatever she couldn’t. It started with little things, then more and more. You do NOT have to do what mum or grandad wants, you have a right to a happy married life. Try to ignore mum guilt tripping you. Grandad has lived a long life and is now paying the price for it. The choice is his, carers or care home. He must not rule your life. Elderly people lose the ability to think of others, it’s not just him. Is he claiming disability benefits? Plan a weekend away, you both deserve it. Turn your phone off.
Tracy, it’s time you started thinking differently. It will take time, so baby steps.
Imagine you lived in Australia, or you were very ill.
Mum and grandad would have to either manage or accept outside help.
All you want is some time off to have a holiday from visiting.
From their point of view they might actually enjoy someone different to talk to. For 30 years my disabled housebound mum stubbornly refused carers. Then I had major surgery, and so did mum, in the same month! Mum was in hospital for months, desperate to get fit enough to go home. After 6 months she could walk with a Zimmer frame. The hospital tried to bully me to care for her, but how could I do things for her that I couldn’t even do for myself? Faced with a choice o f carers or care home, she chose carers. Then enjoyed their company, hearing about their families etc. My life would have been so. Much easier if she had accepted them years earlier. One of the biggest regrets of my life is not having a blazing row and insisting she stopped dumping jobs on me. Grandad too would probably enjoy someone popping in to see him, cook a meal and clean for him. Think about others he knows and whether their grand daughters do as much as you.
You are not the family slave. They should be encouraging you to enjoy your life.
@Tracey1012 I think change is scary for older people. I think in an ideal world, we would find Carers before desperation set in so the older person could get used to them and there was enough ‘wriggle room’ to change them if it did not work out. I was very lucky with my late father as my neighbour ran a Carers business and she agreed to take my father one because he knew her. She was brilliant and reported back plus got the GP involved as we both phoned the Surgery and said how worried we were, and this is when the free package was put in.
I can only echo what BB has said, your husband has to stand up to his grandfather and you have to threaten and yes, even follow through, withdrawing all that you are doing for him right now. Sometimes it takes ‘tough love’. I would definitely approach the GP before doing this personally. It is not going to be easy to find the right Carers team. Also old people become very mean. My late father had enough to have a cleaner and Carers but he refused until virtually forced into it. He wanted to leave his savings to me and would not accept that I would far rather he spent what he needed to make himself comfortable in his home. Maybe you need to stress to Grandad that the stark choice is Carers or a Care Home. Also stress that you would rather he spent the money on being comfortable than leaving it to his family.
I totally ‘get’ how easy it is for us to type advice and how hard for you to implement it. So sending hugs too.
Thank you so much for all your advice. I’m going to sit my husband down today and explain how tired I am with it all. We are going to see Grandad on Sunday so I think the time has come for me to actually speak up while I am up there. He is a very rich man and in a way in my opinion I think he is bribing my husband because he always says when I leave you will be very rich, but like people have said I’m not bothered about the money I would rather use it for his care now so that myself and my husband spend less time worrying about him being on his own or constantly wondering if he has fallen etc. He thinks because he is living on his own he’s very independant but he cannot leave the house, he doesn’t hear the doorbell. We have walked into his house plenty of times without him knowing we are there because he’s quite deaf and leaves the door unlocked all day. There is just so much that is unsafe. Since speaking to you all on here it’s become extra clear that he really does need help. I will report back Sunday night and let you know how he’s managed in this cold weather I should imagine that he will be confused.
Once again thank you so much for the kind words it’s actually helped me so much.
We all know what it is like to care for a family member.
Even Social Services and GP’s can try to guilt trip us, I could write a book on that subject.
Their motive is seeing you as the easy target, but you have a home of your own and a house to look after and a right to a life of your own.
Does grandad have a Lifeline pendant so he can call help in an emergency?
Maybe suggest to your husband that this weekend he goes to see his dad on his own, which would give you some free quiet time at home.
If he doesn’t want that, then point out that you don’t really want to go and see his dad either, that supporting him is a real sacrifice on your part of precious time when you could be having a lie in etc. Maybe husband has been taking your support for granted for too long?
You do not HAVE to do anything at all.
(I know all this may sound a bit bitchy, but in a way it’s my interpretation of the counselling I had that changed my life. Too long I’d been running around everyone else, to the point where the real me never ever surfaced at all.
My circumstances have changed now.
I take two holidays a year, at least one in Greece, but I wish my husband was still here to enjoy them with me.
I’m so sorry on the loss of your husband. I’m glad that you go and enjoy your holidays. Grandad won’t have a pendant alarm. We have tried several times to get him to have one explaining how it would be better for him and for us. He was up for it when we first asked him then we explained he has to pay monthly and then he refused. We will try again this week. I think he is in denial myself that he can manage on his own and also doesn’t realise the stress it causes us. It’s little things too, last Christmas 2022 he asked for a radio for the dining room, he used it for about 2 months then put it back in the box. This year he asked for a navy cardigan, we got him a navy cardigan, phoned him Xmas day and he said it was perfect. Went to see him on 30th Dec, he now hates the colour navy and wanted a red cardigan so of course my husband got him a red cardigan. I will go up this weekend to make sure I need to say what I need to about his health and to see how he is but if it comes to it I will phone his GP myself. I have this morning contacted adult social services again and stressed they need to visit him not just phone him
I think the “I want/desperately need” is another trait of the elderly.
I could write a chapter on that too.
Worst example was when I was very ill with cold/chest infection, really should have been in bed. Mum rang to say that dad (diagnosed with cancer) needed a new single bed and needed it IMMEDIATELY! So I dragged myself to the furniture shop, arranged the bed, which was duly delivered. Still unused when he died about 2 years later. Best to avoid demands like this, just hang it out, with things like “I haven’t forgotten but just haven’t had a chance…”
Never ever add a “because” to that sentence, as that gives an opportunity for them to ask if that is more important than them. Just say you’ve been busy.
Tracey if you haven’t already call the council to request a needs assessment.
With regard to grandad not wanting a pendant alarm, I would be saying “Well it’s your choice. If you want to lay on the floor for hours until someone finds you, then you have to accept responsibility for that. Surely it’s better to have an alarm than to die a horrible death?”
If he’s refusing a carer popping in as well, it could be days before he’s found!
Please forget the idea of moving him down to you, because then he is entirely dependent on you as the only people he knows, for the rest of his life. Better to leave him where he is or find a care home in the area he knows.