This is part vent really, but didn’t know where else to share it. My mum’s leg condition has deteriorated more and more over the years, meaning she’s got more and more dependent on me each passing year. But the result of this has been that the more independence I get, the more it belongs to her. I learnt to drive so I could get around more, and I end up becoming a taxi service to pick her up from the station after work (back when she could). I learnt to cook my own meals so I wouldn’t be getting takeout every night, and it turned into what I could cook for her. The worst part about being her carer is the socialising she craves from me (she won’t attempt to leave the house, even with my help, so I’m literally the only person she speaks to) when she’s emotionally manipulative and a drain to be alone with. She won’t take other help because “she has me”. It took me 5 years of asking her over and over again to finally get a professional to cut her toenails as they were so thick I was scared of hurting her, and the one time I tried, she bled everywhere. On top of all that, I just turned 31 and didn’t even want to celebrate or acknowledge it because I was too busy crying at what a waste my life has been.
Which is why I get even more upset when I’m told I’m still not doing enough. And not from my mum, but from other people. From the aunt that we see maybe once a year telling me “You have to help your mum more! She needs you!” to her nurse lecturing me about how I “need to take better care of her feet”, and the lady from the council who came to assess if my mum needed extra help leaving me sobbing when she asked what more I could do for her, all the while brushing me off when I asked for support. Those are only the most strong examples, but they stick with me every single day, leave me silently raging and asking myself what more I physically and emotionally have to give up to be this all-in perfect carer that they seem to expect me to be.
Sorry. I’m just drained and the birthday has just bought up all these feelings again.
Hi AWM, welcome to the forum. We can help you get your life back. This time next year you can be living a very different life.
Lets start with others telling you what to do. We call them “Helicopters” here. When they tell you what to do, it’s because they are trying to ease THEIR conscience. Ignore them. They have lost any right to criticise as they do nothing to help.
“Mum only wants me” is the most common problem here. Read some of the other posts.
No one can be forced to care for someone else. The only power she has over you is the power you let her have, but I suspect, like me, you were conditioned to be a good girl and help from a very early age?
If you want something to change, you will have to be the one to change it.
Presumably mum is 88? So it’s not surprising she has failing health. She needs someone to help her, NOT neccessarily you.
A few questions will help guide us to the best way of sorting mum out.
Do you live with her?
Does mum own, or rent, her house? (Probably the most important question of all)
Have any brothers and sisters?
Have Power of Attorney?
Have over £23,000 in savings?
What exactly is wrong with her legs?
Any other health issues?
Oh, my gosh- I cannot relate or understand enough, after reading your post. I, too, had a birthday (I’m now 26) a couple of weeks ago and spent it not wanting to celebrate and crying because it felt like there was nothing to celebrate and also contemplated how much of a waste life seems at the moment, due to caring responsibilities.
It’s so hard to get excited or truly happy about something, isn’t it?
I also have the same issue regarding my Gran’s toenails- I simply refuse to cut them because I have no idea what I’m doing with someone else’s feet. I’ve been trying to convince my Gran to get a chiropodist in- I know you said you’ve done this before and it took quite some time, but could you make this a regular occurrence? It can’t hurt to try, especially if you are able to remain strong and firm enough to insist that you cannot do it yourself without causing injury/pain.
My Gran also won’t leave the house and I find it very emotionally draining trying to keep her company every day, trying to will myself to make some kind of decent conversation when I feel extremely low and (dare I say it) bitter about the whole situation. I think some of those being cared for would sometimes rather be a ‘burden’ to their family members (especially their younger family members) rather than let a stranger into their home, which is understandable, if not at all ideal. I suppose they have a level of control over us (i.e. being used to giving us ‘orders’ as children, which we then blindly follow as adults), rather than having zero control where a professional is concerned.
I know this is going to be difficult, but do not let your aunt put your caring efforts down- if you feel strong/brave enough, stand up for yourself to her and tell her that she can judge you when she has walked a day in your shoes and not before. Nobody understands how much family carers do, except for family carers themselves. Nobody has the right to tell you you aren’t doing enough when you are clearly doing all you possibly can to be of help to your Mum.
As for the nurse, it will be worth explaining to her that your Mum is difficult with her feet in that she is reluctant to have them done by anyone except you and that you do not feel confident in performing this task. You never know, this might actually put something in motion so that your Mum is ‘forced’ to have a professional come in and then it is not like you have made her do it, if you see what I mean.
The lady from the council sounds very cold and callous, but it seems that a lot of council workers are like this. As far as they are concerned, they want the families to break their backs, doing way more than any one human can do in a day so that their resources and money are not spent, as much as possible. It’s a cruel and harsh reality, but it is happening all over the country and I assure you it’s not just happening to you. Give her the benefit of the doubt this one time and, if she comes out and brushes you off a second time, I would personally make a formal complaint about her behaviour towards you.
I’m sorry that this is happening to you- it’s unfair and you don’t deserve it, as none of us deserve it. Please know that you can vent here as much as you like- we all know what you’re going through and you most certainly are not alone.
There is a simple solution to the toe nail issue, see if there is a visiting beautician in your area.
I have used one for ages, I have a pamper session every month, brow and eye lash tint, leg wax, etc. etc. Because I have had a few operations on legs and abdomen, I can deal with my right foot without any problem, but really struggle to keep my left foot in order. My nails are a bit thick too, so Alex, my beautician, files them to reduce the thickness, and trims them.
This then takes me back to your Nan’s financial position. Could she afford to have her feet done privately? She might even enjoy a pamper session, pedicure and manicure. I pay separately for varnish, a special holiday treat only.
Mum is 65 - I was born in 88, sorry for the confusion. Yes I live with her, she separated from my dad before I was born (long story and way too complicated to go into) so it’s always just been the two of us. She owns the house, and paid the mortgage off when she retired (She was working from home for a few years due to her condition before being made redundant, and it was easier taking early retirement than looking for something that could accomodate her).
I’m my mum’s only child, and I think I have power of attorney - she has a financial advisor and I think she appointed me. I don’t have anything close to that, as I only work 2 days a week, but still make too much for Carers Allowance.
She has a condition called Primary Progressive Spastic Paraparesis - I can’t seem to find anything on google with that exact name, but that’s what the doctor called it when he diagnosed it. Basically the muscles in her legs are constantly tensed which makes it difficult to walk or lift her legs. She also has a weak bladder and is prone to accidents, and (in my opinion from my own counselling experience) undiagnosed depression and anxiety.
Thank you Yes, it’s very hard to feel happy about things! Especially when you know that reality will set in soon enough and then it feels as though that happiness was pointless. My mum is a very negative person as well, always complaining, so it’s draining to hold conversations with her.
The toenails is the only battle I’ve won lately- she had someone come by last week to take a look, and she’s going to have regular 6-weekly appointments with her. The lady even lectured her for not getting it done sooner, so as bad as it sounds, I’m hoping the shame will mean she listens this time!
On the positive side, if mum owns her house, and you are an only child, presumably in due course you will inherit mum’s property, unless she goes into residential care. (If she was in council rented property, you could be made homeless just 4 weeks after she went into residential care or died).
On the conversation side, my mum was incredibly self focussed at times. She was very resistant to having outside carers, but when there was no other option she slowly changed that view, and enjoyed hearing about what the carers were doing, their children, etc. etc.
What does mum keep complaining about?
My question about £23,000 wasn’t put very well, does MUM have over this amount? (Yes/No)
Above this amount then she will have to pay for all her care, below it, Social Services will pay for some or all of her care.
Is the home as easy as possible to look after, with a walk in shower/bath seat, tumble dryer, dishwasher? Are you expected to keep the garden tidy too? Or does mum want you to keep it just the way she likes it?
Sorry about the long period of time, things have been hectic at home for multiple reasons outside of the stuff I’ve mentioned.
She complains about everything - the news, TV shows she watches, my dad (I don’t have a close relationship with him, and she always gets irritated by this, even though I’ve accepted it years ago), her other family members - basically if there is something she can be negative about, she will. She’s very hot to yell about everyone ‘letting her down’ the second something doesn’t work out for her.
I believe she does, yes, as she has two private pensions she collects from, as well as her state one coming later this year.
It is time for mum to get her affairs in order, and share them with you. Ideally, you should have Power of Attorney.
If she wants you to care for her, then she should be doing everything possible to ensure that you also have a life of your own.
I know this sounds an odd, even stupid suggestion, but you need a holiday.
Mum needs to find out how much (or rather how little) she can now do for herself, and/or what it’s like for non family to care for her. Then she might realise just how vital you are to her!
Others have found that their carees are very much more appreciative!