New to the forum

Hello everyone out there. I’m new to this forum and quite new to full time caring. I am 64 and am one of the first cohort of ladies who should work until age 66. My husband is 73 and retired on the grounds of ill health when he was 59, due to what was classed as an industrial injury. In fact his health was damaged whilst working with chemicals and for that he receives Industrial Injuries disablement benefit. Since he reached retirement age he also has his normal state pension and also he has Attendance Allowance. He has several co-morbidities including asthma, COPD, heart failure, ventricular bigeminy and benign essential tremor.

Up until last March I was working in a University library but after several incidents when I was called by the local hospital because my hubby had been sent in there directly by his doctor, I became very stressed at work, worrying about him at home alone. We decided that I could afford to finish work to become his full time carer, if we managed our money carefully and I took my works pension early. I also claim Attendance Allowance. This means I’ve taken quite a hit in the pocket, and I will have less pension from my employer when I reach retirement age but it is worth it to have less worry and stress.

I finished work at the end of March 2018 and am at home most of the time with hubby. I attend all his various hospital and doctors appointments with him. Obviously I attend to all his needs at home. He is eating better than he used to, as I have more time to cook everything fresh, and his mental state has improved because he has my company during the day. However I am having problems with other members of my family thinking I am available to be at their beck and call. I do ‘the school run’ for my granddaughter, age 5, two days a week, morning and afternoon. Together with my sister I visit my recently bereaved brother-in-law once a week, for lunch. He has taken the death of my sister, his wife, very hard and we don’t feel we can abandon him just yet. Also, former work colleagues are constantly getting in touch with me and asking me to meet them for coffee or lunch. I know that probably sounds really nice but it’s actually a big bind for me . I don’t drive, but obviously I have to get into town to meet them in their lunch hour. This involves about an hours travel on public transport. My problem is, I don’t know how to say “no”. Does anyone else have this problem on top of their caring issues? I’ve not had a holiday for three years, as my husband does not like to go on holiday, and I’m too afraid to leave him on his own for any length of time. Now I’m also tied by minding my granddaughter twice a week, even during school holidays, because both her parents work. I feel as if I need a break but people just look to me to carry on.

Assertiveness training? Certainly not a problem I have (!) but maybe useful. Places such as carers centre, mental health centre etc often have it running.

Assertiveness is probably what I need. I will look into it😊 I’ve just realised that I put that I claim Attendance Allowance. What I meant, of course, is Carers Allowance!!

Hi GrannyAnnie, welcome to the forum.

I was a multiple carer for many years, and on the verge of a breakdown, had counselling. How I wish I’d had it years earlier. The counsellor and I worked out what I wanted to prioritise. Son with Learning difficulties had to come first, because he couldn’t speak up for himself. Housebound mum had to come second, as she could speak up for herself, and could afford all the help she needed.
I would urge you to have counselling too, aimed at managing your life so that there is time for YOU!

You should NOT be expected to baby sit or do the school run because both parents work, for example. They should be able to afford child care. You took early retirement to look after your husband, not their child!! After all, you would be at work yourself if he wasn’t ill.

Again, bereaved brother in law needs to learn to manage on his own. (I’m widowed and know how tough that is. Suggest he joins the forum called Way Up, for widows and widowers, so he can make new friends. Again, you took early retirement to look after husband, not BIL.

As for work friends, can you set a regular time to be with them? You cannot be chained to hubby forever, he needs to get used to having others care for him, so you CAN take a break. If you want a holiday and he doesn’t, I stay in a wonderful hotel for single travellers in Crete I can recommend. Have Social Services done a Needs Assessment for him? A Carers Assessment for you?

Hi Bowlingbun

I know you are right. I just needed someone to say it. In recent years I have had counselling twice for depression issues relating to my husbands health issues. The University where I worked for eighteen years had a wonderful pastoral care department and provided counselling for me which helped at the time. That was four years ago. A couple of years ago I took part in a CBT group on the recommendation of my doctor. I think the course of therapy lasted twelve weeks, and again, it helped for a while. I was on the anti depressant citalopram for some years but was weaned off it last year. I feel much more alive since I came off it, but the sedative effect obviously used to dull my stress so it did help in a way. Neither my husband or I have been assesssed by local services. Our doctors surgery know that I am his only carer, and I have noticed that they have an information board for Carers. I will make that my first stop for local information. Thanks for your advice