Really glad to chat

Hiya. Having just joined, I’m already feeling relief at being able to chat about what’s on my mind.
My Mum, now 88, moved in with us in 2011 suffering from depression and heavy drinking. Later bad falls, broken hips and arthritis. Then worse depression needing antidepressants. Then she had to stop the wine. It’s so sad and worrying seeing someone you love going through such a lot.
Though carers came twice a day I still had lots to do - from 8,9 am to 10.00 pm (not possible to get any more Carers). OK, it was not continuous work but I know how draining it is to be “on duty” 7 days a week. The cycle of tasks-recover in spare time-new
tasks popping up is sheer survival, leaving no energy to go out and meet people. I’m still recovering.
Mum’s now permanently in a Nursing Home - half hour walk or bus - and I visit her for about 2 hours most days. Now I’m doing more and more for my Auntie who lives nearby. At age 80 she can’t walk far or drive now so I shop online for her and research things, there’ve been several problems with her flat, needing our help as she cannot cope easily and suffers from anxiety and phobias.
It’s likely she’ll need to sell and live with us - there’s no one else who can help her.
At age 62 things take it out of me much more than 20 - even 10 - years ago and I take much longer to recover. I must admit, after years of bringing up 2 sons - now grown and jobhunting ( computers), a big house move and other things too, I’m feeling dread at the likelihood of doing yet another round of caring for years to come - till I finally get ill and need Carers myself! I really feel for anyone who’s lost their freedom and is permanently tired out.
Thanks for listening. At last, I’ve plucked up the energy to join and write something.

You have my sympathy as I have been caring officially since 2013 but in practice much longer for my very difficult older 83 year old medically non compliant husband.

What about YOUR life ? You have put things ‘on hold’ with regard to your mother so please d o not sleep walk into being a carer for your Auntie. Could you sort of see yourself as a ‘Care Manager’? Helping organise support but limiting the ‘hands on’ work?

Could you cut down your visits to your mother? It does sound a huge commitment and at least she is safe and hopefully being cared for. With regard to your Aunt, can you back off a little? Maybe, if finances permit organise a cleaner for her? Is she claiming Attendance Allowance? A cleaner would also help give her some company and also maybe go in on days when you do not?

Hopefully others will be along who will offer more ideas but I did not want you feel alone and well done for posting. It is a great Forum and there is a huge amount of support freely given.

If your aunt cannot manage in her home with carer support then she needs residential care.
Had you asked the forum before your mum moved in with you, my advice would be the same.
So many lives have been ruined because people cannot imagine how difficult caring is, how the parent goes into decline and with a son or daughter around they want more and more.
By all means help aunt have a Needs Assessment from Social Services, help her claim Attendance Allowance, keep an eye on her but do NOT invite her into your home to stay. It’s time for you to rest, go on holiday, spend time with your children. Maybe aunt could move to mum’s care home?

Same as other posts, help your aunt get into a residential home, doing so is giving your best care and love for her to enable her to continue with her own life, you still love and care for her but you aren’t caring for her - the residential home are doing that so you can have your life. She will need a home eventually so she can get settled in before she has to go into one.

Some older people like to “guilt trip” younger relatives to get them to care for them.
This is so unfair.
Did you ask them to live a long time so that they got frail and age related illnesses?
Of course not - my husband died at the age of 58, he missed out on so much as a result.

If you lived further away from your aunt, in Australia, for example, then she would HAVE to manage without you.
Just because you live nearer does NOT mean you have to care for her.
The services she needs are available regardless of whether or not there are relatives they can bully!

Hi Rosalind
It’s good that you have joined and found some energy to post.
You sound worn out before even starting to look after your auntie.
Speaking about getting ill and needing carers yourself is not a good starting position.
I’m a similar age to you, have been looking after my Mum 24/7 for over five years without a break, even a day out would be a luxury.
I often wonder what will be left of me when she passes.
With respect, maybe your auntie would be best in a nursing home too.
Think of yourself. Sorry if this sounds hard, but caring burns through people very quickly.

Best Wishes

It is now the time for her to receive some sort of assistance. Have a complete written list of things to discuss at the initial care needs assessment with the social worker who conducts the assessment. Make some brief summary notes in order. Set aside some spare time to complete the required forms etc. Perhaps ask her to be more involved in her own care on a daily basis instead assuming that she has the mental capacity to do so.

Please don’t even start on the road of being the carer for your aunt.
I haven’t been on the forum for a few weeks now, and today have logged on and seen at least six new posts relating to the sheer exhaustion and frustration about being the carer to very elderly relatives, usually parents.
As Bowlinbun says, no one asked them to live so long and they cannot expect their adult children to give up their own lives keeping them going.
My MIL is 95 and I’m sure she wouldn’t be here had myself and my husband ( her son) not have sacrificed much of our own lives. As a rational, and I think intelligent person, it’s beyond me why we do it as she is not grateful, rather, she expects it.
The more I have read, there is a common thread of selfishness and self preservation amongst many 90+ year olds, who are very good at telling other people how well they “manage.”
So, by all means make sure your aunt is safe, gets assessed if needed and then move on. Be the kindly visitor not the ever present ( and eventually the resentful) drudge.
I know these are strong words that will find condemnation from some, but sometimes you just have to let it out!!!
Thanks to those who will read and not judge.

Hi Jane
you have an interesting perspective and what you say is true and probably representative for many carers.
I have been looking after my 99year old Mother for at least 4-5 years alone without a break, not even a day out. Up many times during the night and looking after her during the day. I have prolonged her life by many years, but she is my Mum. I’ve had two courses of CBT and been on meds for bad thoughts.
I didn’t ask for this and neither did she. I do what I do because I love her and when she is gone the thought that I threw her away into a home would be too much to survive.
Its a crazy situation for all of us and when the dust settles for me I look forward to buying a one way ticket out of this place for hopefully a more relaxed and peaceful life.
If I had been advised about how difficult caring is I wouldn’t have believed them, but I have now found out the hard way.
I hope that we can all have peace and rest and some quality of life when our caring role stops.


John, it’s not a case of “throwing mum into a home”. That phrase sounds awful. Some homes are lovely, and caring!
I am not sure when I started caring for mum. She had my brother when I was 8 years old, now I think she had post natal depression or similar, because she was never the same again.
Certainly by 1976 mum was virtually housebound, various reasons, and she would only go out n a car with dad, if he was in the UK, or me, or a taxi to go to the doctors. I gradually did more and more, after dad died of prostate cancer, another long drawn out illness, mum had just me. Then I was ill, my husband died, I was nearly killed in a car accident and left disabled myself, but managing mum, our brain damaged son, an dour business, complete with 30 tons of lorry spares to sell.
Mum was in and out of hosptal a great deal, finally after a very long period of hospital she moved to residential care, unable even to roll over in bed by herself. Ultimately this was mum’s decision, fortunately, but e both recognised that there was no other option left. Mum needed a team of carers 24/7. The home, just down the road from me, was like a hotel with nursing. Accidentally on purpose I let it slip that the company MD was my next door neighbour!
I was still caring for mum, in a different way though. I could rest and relax at night knowing there would be no more emergency calls, no more ambulances in the middle of the night, no more carers telling me tales of woe.
In mum’s last year, we both enjoyed being just mum and daughter again, talking about old times as I arranged another bunch of fresh flowers for her.

Hi Bowlingbun
Yes, the phrase I used sounds awful and I meant no disrespect to anyone reading the post.
I have sadly met many people who can’t wait to see the back of older parents or relatives in order to get the cash or house.
All I want to do is the best for my Mum, she doesn’t want to go into a home and that is our situation.
I can only relate fully to us. Some of the posts on here make me feel very sad and you have certainly had it tough and did the best you could. We all burn out at different stages.
It’s an individual thing for everyone and what works for me is, if necessary I will run myself into the ground in order to do what is best for Mum.
I’m on the edge, but hope I can survive with some sanity and health left at the end.
I like most carers want My life back, but the inevitable cost is terrible.

Best wishes

I have taken on the care of my mother too, I could not see her go into a home.
It is a very emotive subject, vive la diference.
We all work in different ways and live in varying circumstances.

I keep a piece of me, retain my interests and music.
It’s easy going at the moment and we laugh and joke.
I don’t dwell on the future, there’s no crystal ball, no point getting stressed about what might not happen.