Scared, overwhelmed and resentful

This is my first post and i have read some of the other posts and know I’m not alone. By comparison to some my woes are small but seem huge to me. I am one of 5 children and have an 88 year old Mum who is showing signs of memory loss and has lost most of her hearing. My siblings have very little physical contact with her and I find myself being the one left to care for her needs, medical, emotional and social. I work 4 days a week and visit her 2 or 3 lunchtimes and spend the day with her on one day. I feel so out of my depth and run down that i have just recovered from my second bout of flu and sinus infection in 6 weeks which has knocked me off my feet both times. I attend regular counselling sessions as I feel my tentative hold on life will at times desert me altogether. I am also estranged from 2 of my siblings due to their lack of support for Mum and for me which I’m finding pretty stressful too. I have very little contact with the other two as well. I am by nature quite introverted and require long periods of alone time to recharge emotional batteries time which I feel has been stolen by the situation I now find myself in and i feel so resentful. I do try to maintain a sense of positivity but I know Mum’s health will only deteriorate and it scares me to death. I’m hoping that at Carers UK I will connect with others who find themselves in a similar place in their lives and to whom i could offer mutual support. Thank you for listening.

My situation is different (only child, mum 68) yet commonalities in our respective situations (esp needing alone time to recharge) greatly outweigh differences. I have found this forum a source of mutual support and think you will too. Sure others be along soon but just thought say hi and welcome.

Hi Judy,
Like you I’m quite new to this forum. My situation is different to you but I to care for my elderly dad. He’s 85 and like your mum has lost most of his hearing and also needs care through the day. We have carers in 5 times a day to see to his personal care but he is really totally dependent on me for his emotional and general day to day problems. I hope your getting care to help with your mums if only to take some of the pressure off you ? Maybe you could arrange a companion to visit to give you a little time to yourself.
I found this forum helped me by just knowing that there is someone there just listening to me and understanding my problems. Sometimes I feel quite lonely snd to know there are people there reading my posts and give advice was comforting. I hope it’s the same for you.

Hi Judy,

At some stage, mum is likely to need residential care as her dementia progresses. Very sad, but true. The more help you get, the longer she can stay home, but only YOU can make that final decision. The only power mum has over you is the power you let her have.
Mum’s life is nearly over, and you should not be expected to sacrifice your own life so that your siblings can do nothing!!!
You CANNOT be forced to be a carer, you could refuse to care for her right now and no one could do anything about it. At one time my husband and I were caring for all four parents, all living nearby, and our sone with severe learning difficulties. My husband died of a massive heart attack at the age of 58, and I shall always believe it was he stress of caring that brought this on.
We can help things get better, but first, a few questions. They are an odd mix, but vital for various reasons I can explain later.
Do you have Power of Attorney for mum?
Does mum own her house?
Does mum have over £23,000 in savings? (Yes/No)
Mum is now exempt from Council Tax due to “severe mental impairment”. Has this been claimed, it can be backdated to the date of diagnosis!
Is mum claiming Attendance Allowance?
Has mum had a Needs Assessment from Social Services?
Have you had a Carers Assessment from Social Services?

Hi Judy

I can relate to your post. I am a carer for my husband who is nearly 80. His hearing is very poor too plus he has memory problems. There are a lot of very supportive people on this forum so please join in - the Roll Call is very good too as we share our challenges on a daily basis and support each other.

On the forum we call relatives like yours ‘helicopters’ - they are completely useless in terms of doing anything to HELP with caring, but are more than happy to offer criticism of YOU for caring! Or, of course, they aren’t seen for dust at all!

May I ask what the financial situation is with your mum? As BB has asked, once that’s clarified, we can be in a position to say what she is, or is not, entitled to by way of ‘outside help’ - which you DO need given that your siblings have conveniently-for-them washed their hands of their mother.

And that’s the reason for my particular query - it is this. IF your mum has ANY savings or property (eg, she owns her own house), what is the situation with her Will when she dies? Is she simply going to let her entire estate, whatever it is, be divided equally between all her children?

If so, that is simply WRONG. She should NOT leave as much to your useless unhelpful siblings as to YOU. In fact, you should get EVERYTHING.

If her will does divide it between you all, and it’s now too late for her to change it (because of her dementia), then she must start paying you NOW for the care you are giving her. That way, at least you will have got some of your ‘fair share’ before your siblings put their hands out for their utterly unjustified inheritance!

What was the relationship like between your mum and her other children before she needed care? Do you think she did anything to deserve them ignoring her now? What was your relationship like with your sibings before your mum needed care?

I’m trying to work out whether your siblings feel aggrieved at their mother, and so feel she doesn’t deserve them doing anything for her now she needs care. Or whether they are simply selfish pigs who are perfectly happy for YOU to do all the care, while they simply ‘don’t bother’ (until she dies and they want her money!!!)

If you can explain the emotional landscape amongst you all, that will help us see what is going on, and what it is, or is not, fair to expect you to do for your mum.

Sadly, it is not always the case that a parent in need of care has treated their children well…we have a member here whose mother is a total B**** - absolutely VILE to her!! (Yet if the daughter stops caring for her she will be homeless…) (hope this isn’t the case with you!)

Hi Judy, welcome to the forum. I am in a similar position to you. My mum (age 88) still won’t have carers so it is all my responsibility. I can only think that my siblings (and yours) think that because we are caring for our mum then everything is done, such as the washing is all clean and put away, shopping is all done - fridge is full, the home is clean and tidy and our parents are happy, fed, washed, admin work is all up to date etc. If this is not the case then ‘we’ are too blame for not doing it!!! The reality is that one person cannot possibly do all what is needed 365 days per year every day.
If your mum is ‘rich’ then you could (at the right moment) suggest you both write out a timetable involving your siblings. This would mean asking them, one at a time, if they would be interested in doing a ‘shift’ caring for your mum eg every Wednesday, then someone else does every Thursday, etc your mum would then pay them for caring for her. Where there is money involved then they may suddenly take an interest in caring. Obviously it goes without saying that you should be paid by your mum too.

To my mind the refusal of carers (ie, outside care workers) has to be addressed by telling the caree the following:

“Your choice is NOT outside carers or me…” .(because of course they’ll choose you!)

It is

“Your choice is outside carers AND me…OR a care home”

The mnessage has to be that you CANNOT do it all, or do it alone.

You do have to be firm on this, even if dementia is in the frame. Or you will just go down through a hole in the ground with exhaustion and despair (and possibly anger as well…)