Worried about being coerced to care for elderly parents

My Mum was diagnosed with alzheimer’s 12 months ago and sadly the disease has progressed quite quickly. She’s solely cared for by Dad and he’s got to the point where he’s struggling.

I live over a 100 miles away, am an only child and work full time. In addition to that I’ve never had a close relationship with my parents and after a difficult childhood they were totally unsupportive of the career path I wanted to follow. Consequently I spent years working in a job I hated and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve been able to turn things round and find work I enjoy.

It’s no accident I live a good distance from my parents and until the last couple of years visits were no more than a couple of times a year. I started visiting more frequently out of a sense of duty but have found the increased contact stressful and it’s triggered memories of difficult past experiences. I’ve also struggled to pay for the extra fuel costs of visiting as my job although great isn’t well paid.

A few days ago I contacted social services to request a full needs assessment for my Mum and a carers assessment for my Mum. I refused to give my phone number and told them I didn’t want to be involved in my Mum’s care. Someone has now phoned my Dad and asked for my details and phone number which of course he provided. I actually think it was really underhand of social services to get my details like this and now feel increasingly mistrustful as they told my Dad they want to speak to me.

I’m absolutely terrified they will try and coerce me into doing more or suggest to my parents that they relocate closer to me. If that happens I’ll run. I don’t want my life ripped apart because of my mum’s care needs and can’t afford to give up work or reduce my hours. After a lifetime of not achieving or doing the things I want to this is my final chance and I don’t want it ruined.

I realise some people will see this as selfish but aim aware people alzheimer’s is a long haul. My Mum has no physical heath problems so could live for years in the middle/late stages of Alzheimer’s and its likely my Dad will die first.

I would welcome any advice about dealing with social services and the pressure I fear they will put me under.

Hi Boatgal

I totally understand where you are coming from.
I had a pretty difficult upbringing myself.

As you say, you have got your life on track now. I agree that you should think about yourself.

No body can be forced to care for anybody else.

Simply tell Social Services that you work full-time, and need to continue to do do.

They are just going to have to sort it out themselves!

If they try and persuade you be firm!

Otherwise I think we both know you will regret it…for a long time. If you get sucked in you won’t be able to get out again!

It’s easy, you treat them just like you would any other lying cheating conniving scumbags, with contempt and complete indifference.

You live 100 miles away and have a full time job, you simply cannot drop everything and run to look after your parents and IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO.

Social Services are directly responsible for providing the right care, Social workers are paid and paid well to provide the care AND NOT YOU.

And relocating your parents would be just unrealistic , expensive stressful and just cause upset at their time of life.

You need to be the organiser of the care BUT NOT THE PROVIDER.

Any issues it is up to Social Services NOT YOU.

Social Services have the staff, there should be a community care team.

Just Say NO and Keep saying NO, if you can Block Social Services number.

Say you will correspond by email, then you will have a written copy of anything said.

But Care is not your job, 100 miles that’s a 2 hour drive? it is just unrealistic for you to drop everything and drive there at a moments notice.

I looked after my friend for years and made myself very ill in doing it, I never get any support, saved the council a fortune.

And i am still ill.

NO ONE can be forced into caring for anyone else, even a wife for a husband.
We will support you, it’s YOUR choice whether to care or not to care.
I have similar feelings as Ayjay.

However, if you give us some more information, it will help us give best advice. Some of the questions may seem odd, but they are all asked for a specific reason.
How old are your parents?
Do they own their own home?
Do they have over £46,000 in savings? (Yes/No)
Do you have Power of Attorney sorted out?
Has dad claimed Attendance Allowance for mum, and her exemption from Council Tax?
Do you have any brothers or sisters?

You need to know what is happening and who is doing what, especially regarding finances. Try to think of your role as being an overseer of their situation.
Maybe decided that you will visit alternate Sundays, or whatever suits you best, and tell them, and stick to it.

My parents are in their 80s and own their own home. I have Power of Attorney along with my Dad although am regretting agreeing to do this as it feels like it could be a lot of work. Dad currently manages all the finances. My parents have savings although I’m unclear about how much. My Mum donated thousands to a charity last year and despite a significant amount of effort on my part I was unable to persuade the charity to return the donation. I’m worried social services will see this as deliberate deprivation of assets when they conduct a financial assessment.

It’s a time consuming drive to where my parents live as there no easy route from where I live and no motorway. The shortest journey time has been three hours.

As an only child I feel absolutely stressed and overwhelmed at having to deal with all this and am dreading having to deal with social services.

As you have Power of Attorney, it’s time to give a copy to your parents bank and ask for copies of recent bank statements sent to you.
Do they know mum has dementia? HOW did she manage to give a large sum away???
The bank has a duty of care to it’s customers, especially those who are very elderly. You must take steps to stop a repeat of this.
Is dad really managing the money. Is he suffering from his age too?
When my dad was dying he made some really bad decisions about finances, mum said she didn’t know but later I found she’d turned a blind eye. I was left to sort out a real mess, then ended up taking control.