New to all this!

Hi my name is Hilary, and I am considering caring for my 88 year old Mum full time and living in. I was hoping that someone out there is doing this right now and can give me feedback on how it is going, and what you have to do day-to-day. My Mum is pretty fit, she can walk around 3 miles no bother although she does have arthritus in her right leg. She manages, to an extent, on a day to day basis on her own in her own home, but has lost her short term memory quite significantly and can’t think ‘out of the box’ anymore. She is cheerful and content with her life, but myself and my brother live in Manchester and she is near Newcastle, so it is a bit of a hike to get things done for her!

Looking forward to hearing your advice.

Hilary xx

Hi Hilary, and welcome.

It’s a wonderful idea: until it’s not.

There are so many things to consider, what happens to your life, your accommodation, your income?

I’d be surprised if anyone here said, “Yes, go for it, it’s hours of endless fun”

Your Mum will deteriorate as she gets older, she may become doubly incontinent - are you prepared to deal with that?

I’m sorry to sound so negative, but being a carer is not something that I’d wish on anyone.

Hold the brakes there is a lot to consider.

What age are you?

Are you planning to leave employment which has a good pension attached.

Caring full time is not for everyone and once there difficult to reverse.

Have you ever lived with your mother for any length of time. I don’t mean a few weeks as if on holiday. With the best will in the world caring can be isolating and all consuming. Loss of one’s identity!!

Do NOT do this!

A friend cared for his mum until she was 104, by which time he was too old to realise any of his retirement dreams.
Arrange more and more support for mum in her home, when she can’t manage any more, arrange residential care.
Is mum struggling to manage to keep her home clean and tidy, prepare her meals etc.?
Or is it the business side of things she is struggling with? If you haven’t done so already, top priority must be sorting out Power of Attorney for her to give to you. Time is fast running out for this, by the sound of it. Don’t delay.
Does mum have over £23,000 in savings? (Yes/No) This is the cut off point for Social Services help.

Hello, Hilary. It is great that you want to be more involved in looking after Mum, but don’t get yourself trapped. There is an old proverb, “Easier in than out.” It sounds as though Mum is still physically fit for her age but is now suffering the early stages of dementia. It is good that she is happy and content but you need to be aware that her condition is likely to get worse over time.

You need to arrange for her GP to give a formal diagnosis if she has dementia, and have her assessed by Social Services. Possibly they could arrange for a carer to visit on a regular basis to make sure she is OK. Sheltered accommodation or a retirement home are further possibilities. In the longer term, a care home may be the best place for her.

You are obviously considering a move to Newcastle. This could mean giving up your job, if you have one. Generally we would not recommend giving up a job to be a carer, though if you are near retirement age anyway it might not be much of a sacrifice. If you were to move, I would suggest getting your own accommodation near Mum so you could be handy but maintain your independence.

Being a carer does not necessarily mean becoming a full-time nurse. If you are generally looking after Mum’s interests and organising and delegating work to those that can look after certain caring aspects better than you can, then you are a carer.

Have a browse around other cases on this forum. Have a look at the successes and problems of other contributors. It may help you to decide where you stand.

Hi Hilary

I will echoe what others have said.

Don’t do it!

Your mum is fairly fit now, so its easy to ignore the potential future negative impact it will have on you.

Being a carer is very isolating.

You will most likely enjoy your mums company far more if you are not her main carer (or carer at all for that matter).

Don’t do it!! You may well have lots of energy and enthusiasm now but sadly things change.
I’ve been caring for my mum for 5 years. Caring wears you down. If you move in with your mum she will most likely take you for granted and expect more and more from you.
If you do decide to move in with her then start as you mean to go on. Work out a timetable where you get at least one day off each week.