Newbie at the of her rope!


I’m currently helping my husband to care for his 79yr old mother. We live with her and have for the last 8 years. I have always been incredibly independent and it has been a struggle for me living in another woman’s home and having zero control over anything. I love her to bits but it’s not been easy.

As time has passed she has become more and more needy we can’t do anything without her without it ending up in sulking and stropyness. We have a 7 yr old who needs our attention too and our marriage needs us to have time together but it’s always so stressful. I feel like we have no privacy and she is always trying to involve herself in our parenting.

His mother has a long list of ailments but the latest is that the sight in her left eye is pretty much gone. Ever since the consultant confirmed it she has become even more moody and has just decided that she can’t do anything, everything is a drama, she can’t see anything (she can, and the problem with the left eye has been going on for years). She uses a frame to walk at home, has a stair lift and a wheelchair for when we go out.

My husband deals with all of her personal care (showers/camode and her bedroom) and I deal with the general stuff (house and meals etc…) more and more she treats me like the hired help, very rarely says please or thanks you and makes no effort to help herself. Example: rather than get up and use her Fram to walk the three feet to turn the light on she will sit in the dark and shout one of us to do it for her. She has also started doing this with my daughter.

This morning I go to the upstairs bathroom and find feces in the sink and smeared on the toilet seat where she just doesn’t bother to wash her hands and I want to scream! What if my little girl had gone in there!

I know she must be depressed and fed up etc…but she is capable of many things and is choosing not to bother and it is not fair on the others that live here especially my little one.

I’m not sure if this lot even makes sense but I’m greatful to get it out. :unamused:

Hello and welcome!

Can you afford a care home or not? What was the result of her needs assessment?

could you get in contact local social services they may be able to help you.Sorry to hear you are having a difficult time.hope this is helpful .Good luck.


My feeling is this cant go on especially with your own child. If it was me I would not be able to relax.

The sink incident would be the final straw for me.

Have you contacted social services?

Me too. Any woman who does that is very I’ll and needs to be checked by GP.
You must take photos now and keep a diary of all incidents.

Hey, thanks for your responses. In her own words “she’d rather die” than go in a home and we had some bad experiences with carers coming in after she had her hip replacement. So she’s absolutely against that.

It’s not that we can’t manage the looking after her physically but I feel like she is lonely, missing her husband, she hates being stuck indoors and relying on us to take her anywhere, and she absolutely resents her ailments and the limitations they impose. She seems to be in a place where she feels like “if I can’t do the things I want then why bother with anything else” Although she has mobility issues and ailments she is ok health wise and I think she resents that also. Like it’s not fair to be so impaired but not dying. (if that makes sense) I think the thought of living in this stuck state relying on everyone else for another however many years is torture for her. We try to involve her as much as we can but the fact is she can’t do much so if we go somewhere she’s still reliant on us to push the chair, take her to the loo, read the menu etc…

My husband had a chat with her last night and explained that however she is feeling it is not right to do that kind of thing as it puts our daughter at risk and extra stress on us and if it continues we would have to look at alternatives to us living here. She seemed to understand and hopefully will snap out of it a bit.

We have family visiting over the weekend and she usually perks up a bit when there are new people to talk to.

She doesn’t like being old?! She needs to be grateful for the good things in her life, a family that are there to help and support her, a grandchild to see, love and cherish. Her behaviour is disgraceful, she is behaving like a spoiled child! Isn’t it time you told her this??? You need to start taking control, having dedicated time off from her.

Oh my goodness, I really sympathise with how you feel. I am in a similar predicament. Do you feel that because you have tried so hard to help, and been uncomplaining, she has forgotten you have feelings too? I think this is at the root of my problems. If I do finally snap and complain he gets really mad at me, but then will try a bit harder for a while. I just wish it did not take that as it is stressful on me.

Hey lovely, yes I think she is so depressed and lonely and just going through the motions that it doesn’t even enter her mind how it affects everyone else. It’s incredibly sad.

Hey, while I appreciate your passion I feel like this is very judgemental and patronising.

Yes the situation is hard and I get frustrated and need an outlet such as this to vent but, I also think we have to look at it from her perspective. She is an old lady who is extremely sad and depressed with having lost the life she loved, her husband died very suddenly, she has no friends as they are all dead, her 4 other children have all but abandoned her, (and use us as an excuse because we’re here and won’t just dump her in a home to die) she cannot do simple things like make a cup of tea and carry it to the table. She loves to read but now she’s losing her sight. Her memory is going and she is terrified of it developing into dementia because she watched her father go through it. Her list of ailments is massive arthritis, spondylitis, collapsed discs, trapped sciatic nerve because of collapsed discs, diabetes, skin cancer, cataracts, blindness in one eye poor sight in the other…I could go on but you get the idea… Also I think the relationship she has with our daughter is one of the only things that brings her joy.

It’s really easy to get angry and say she shouldn’t behave this way or that she should know better. But honestly she is afraid, angry and lonely. And believe me we do not just accept it when she behaves like this we often have conversations about it. But no amount of “telling her off” is going to change how she feels inside and the fact that she cannot do anything about her situation other than wait to die.

It is heartbreaking to watch someone go through this slow degradation and not be able to fix it.

No need to tell me about how heartbreaking it is. I supported not just mum with rare spinal condition over 35 years, through thick and thin! In total I’ve had 10 carers, put my life on hold so many times, and lost my own husband when I was 54 and he was 58. I’m here to help others avoid the pitfalls I fell headlong into. Too late I realised that my dreams can never now come true.
Read your posts again, what would you say to any one else that had written a similar post.
A poo covered flannel in the sink is OK because she isn’t feeling good?
Or what the heck is she doing using a flannel for poo in the first place?!?!?!
Some things are unacceptable. You were the person who told us about it, apparently disgusted and worried about your daughter. Isn’t her well being the most important thing here?

I have never said it’s ok also I never mentioned a flannel??. It was actual poop in and on the sink where she had gotten it on her hand then held on to the sink to stand. And yes absolutely I was disgusted and worried. And yes my daughter’s wellbeing is always at the top of my priorities. But I also feel like it’s important to understand why she is acting the way she is and how she might be feeling.

I didn’t mean any offence, just being honest I felt your response was harsh. I was hoping/looking for support and understanding here and I just felt like most responses not just yours really jumped on the “can you afford a care home, she needs to be reprimanded, omg aren’t you doing anything about it? That’s disgusting” without any consideration for what she might be going through to make her just not care about herself any more or what we might be able to do to help her.

This is a forum for carers. Many of us have been expected to grin and bear the most intolerable situations, 24/7, because our own health and feelings have been totally ignored. They have come here desperately seeking permission to say ,“II just can’t do this anymore”.I’ve been there myself.
You described yourself as being at the end of the rope".

It is a well known fact that the very elderly become entirely self focused, and cannot see how much others are doing for them. It’s nothing personal. Gentle reminders that she is lucky to have family around to support her might sink in and reassure her, but equally you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your own lives because of her, it’s a case of balance. I found counselling very helpful, making me feel proud of what I could do, not guilty about what I couldn’t. I have no experience of what you or mum are going through. Mum should have a lifetime of happy memories of dad to look back on. Do you think some grief counselling would help her? Do you all talk about dad?

Try writing out a list of things that are irritating you most, then put it into order of priority, and share the top two with us.

Have you asked the GP for help? Maybe get a CPN Community Psychiatric Nurse involved?
Help from a Continence Nurse from the GP Practice?
Is dirty washing an issue?
I didn’t say about money to send mum to a home. IF the person concerned accepts increasingly more outside help they can stay home until the end but too often they refuse all help demanding family only. It’s really tough finding a solution that works if the caree refuses to compromise at all.
Did you know you are a Sandwich Carer? Dealing with generations older and younger than yourself?

Going back to the dreaded basin again, if I dare, as she was struggling to stand, there is a simple solution. Ask Social Services to arrange a visit from an occupational therapist. Drop down bars fixed to the wall either side of the cistern will make things so much easier. If a man also uses the toilet don’t accept a raised toilet seat and frame it will really hack off your man!

Call the local social services department for help on Monday. Ask for a OT to come out to assess her and offer some helpful tips and recommendations as well. Alternatively you can search for an occupational therapist on this useful website- RCOTSS-IP

You cannot do this alone. Good luck!

Thank you for this response. We have had all kinds of assessments, The GP is fully aware and she has all manner of aids including bars and frames in the bathrooms but she will use whatever is nearest to lean on or steady herself to get back to her walking frame. She has everything she needs. She is just miserable in herself and that in turn shows in her behaviour. We’ve spoken to various people about her mental wellbeing and there just doesn’t seem to be anything that works for very long. She gets in to very dark places in her mind.

We’ll not give up on her though she deserves whatever comfort and love we can give. Until it becomes impossible for us to cope we’ll keep trying.

Has she had any counselling? It’s such a difficult situation.