Newbie/ My story

Hi there. I am new to the site. I live in the South of France with my husband, 3 children and my disabled mum. My husband is French and we decided to leave London for a better quality of life. The push really came as my mother could no longer live alone in Belgium. My sister lives in Germany and I was living in England.

We moved to France without my mum for the first year so that we could renovate the property we had bought and get everything ready for her to move. She has her own little house on the property which needed to be adapted to be wheelchair friendly. The initial year when she joined us was tough as she missed her life and independence in Beligum.

We have now all lived together for 5 years and I’m finding things quite difficult. I have non stop visitors descending on us from all over the world to visit my mother. If I dare to refuse my sister, my mother gets furious and my sister insists she can come and see her mother whenever she wants (with her family of 3 teen boys who obviously want to spend time with my kids). Most of the time this can be organised but last time this happened to coincide with the first day of school. I was very hurt! If I mention the. visitors my mother then feels bad that I have the added burden but on the other hand if she doesn’t have visitors she feels lonely and as I work she always mentions that I have no time for her.

In recent months and weeks my mum who is now 86 is struggling more and more with her mobility. She didn’t want a carer so I was helping her with a few things such as washing hair etc. My husband organised the paperwork in France and now we have a carer but I’m still washing my mum’s hair etc. The carer gets sent to do the shopping instead.

My biggest worry is my mum is getting more and more depressed about her future. She finds it difficult to get up in the morning, difficult to wash, difficult to manage her pain. She refuses all help from the doctors, refuses carers and says that nobody understands her situation. She doesn’t seem to want to find solutions and is often quite negative towards me and I"m then not so patient as I work and have a crazy schedule with too little sleep.

I feel really lonely as a carer even though my husband and friends are all amazing. I just want to reach out to get some advice on how to cope.

Thanks for reading

What nationality are you, and mum?
How old are you? I’m now 70, with lots of health issues now. Caring for son with learning difficulties, and at one time all four of our parents, all elderly and disabled. I used to be fit and strong, but then health issues and a car accident changed me from feeling relatively young, fit and strong, to an old before my time woman of 70. No one else realises how my body feels now. You MUST start telling sister where to go. If mum plays up, then maybe it’s time she went to stay with sister for a while instead?!
You must impress on her that if she doesn’t want to end her life in residential care she has to start accepting the help on offer. Starting with someone washing her hair. I know I sound tough and heartless, but believe me, I’ve had my life ruined because I always put everyone else’s needs before my own, and my husband DIED of a massive heart attack as we were juggling all our parents needs and trying to have a normal life.

Hi bowlingbun,

I’m English but mum is German. Thank you so much for your reply and sending me strength. I’m so sorry your husband died in the middle of your situation. My husband is a great support although he works in England during the week so is a bit removed. It’s really tough with my mum - lots and lots of emotional ups and downs. Sending you strength back.

So you’re half German and half English? That sounds so cool. It also sounds cool to me you have a big family around. I wish I did. It’s just me and my mum and I have to care for her all by myself and I have no friends or family except for internet friends.
I came on here hoping to make fellow carer friends. People to relate to. My online friends understand what I’m going through and give advice even tho they aren’t carers themselves. Some of them have cared for a relative

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I feel for you all. Your poor Mum because, let’s face it, getting old is depressing, as is having people to help you. i don’t think many people just give up and accept it actually. i’m sure I won’t when my time comes! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:.

It’s great that you appear to have plenty of room where you live and that your Mum has her own area but it’s hard on you when people descend on you. My advice would be to nip it in the bud and say your Mum welcomes visitors but it must fit in around you as well.

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Hello KX0822

Welcome from Carers UK and to the forum. We’re really pleased you’ve found us.

I just want to highlight a few of the other opportunities we provide for you to meet and share with other carers and ways to access support.

Every week we run a Care for a Cuppa video chat for carers where you can take a little break and spend some time talking informally to other carers who understand what you’re going through. People say they’ve found it really helpful and supportive and it’s nice to be able to take a little bit of time for yourself. There’s no pressure to share any more than you’re comfortable with. Join up details are here:

We also run weekly Share and Learn sessions which are fun and relaxed online sessions where visiting speakers share tips and skills on a range of topics.- please have a look at the link and see if one grabs your attention.

There is also Carers UK’s helpline should you need advice or support - Our Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email

Please do come and join us at one of our online meetups, we would love to see you there.

With kind regards


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Hi Ingrid. Fantastic that’s amazing. I have felt so lonely for 5 years. My mum doesn’t want to be a burden on me so she tries to do things herself, which ends up being too difficult for her so she gets upset and cries and doesn’t want to live. It’s all really heartbreaking. I always want to help her but because she’s my mum she sometimes uses a tone of voice that triggers me. I try my best but I mostly feel it’s not good enough.

Heya. Request a formal care needs assessment in order to proceed further. Make notes as well. A good social worker will explain to you in depth what your options are, offer choices and respond to any questions. I know that there are care companies located all over the nation. Use the Internet to find care agency details. Interview all local care providers in advance to determine their current level of experience, and so on. Pay very close and careful attention to all of the reviews.
Do trust your gut feeling as far as possible. Best of luck too.

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I can’t begin to make suggestions about caring in France - the care system there is unknown to me. This link might help: France – Eurocarers and there is what appears to be a national support agency for carers based in Paris: Association française des aidants | Association Française des aidants -might be worth a look.

The emotional side, though, is very familiar. Dad died almost 11 years ago, but there was a point where he felt useless because he could do very little for himself, and his abilities diminished over a period of time until he was almost wholly dependent on help from others. Depression set in quickly and although we raised the issue with our GP, we were unable to get any support for him. He died a few months later.

It may be worth talking to your mum’s doctor - hopefully they’ll be more helpful!