Becoming a carer and companion

My Dad passed away in November. Although he was in his 90s, he was pretty fit and active, wasn’t on any medication and so catching a chest infection that quickly took him after a 10 day hospital stay was a shock for us all in our small family. When he went into hospital I stayed with my Mum and basically haven’t left. I’m married and have a house about a 15 minute drive away. Along with dealing with my own grief of losing my very much loved Dad, it’s now expected that I’m with my Mum every single night because she doesn’t want to be in her house on her own. She now “allows” me to go home for part of the day but I have to be back early evening. My Mum was always pretty controlling of my Dad and nagging and bossing him around non-stop and I feel the controlling nature is being directed at me now. Although she’s elderly herself and no longer drives, she’s mentally well and can happily keep herself amused by reading non-stop, loves to watch films and TV in general, learns languages online and chats to friends/my Dad’s siblings from time-to-time. She’s a great cook and can look after herself easily. She’s reasonably well and only takes one medication.
I have a sibling who lives 200 miles away and was never very close to our Dad. He rarely came to visit my parents but has always chatted to my Mum most days. By nature he’s always been extremely self centred and self serving yet has always been my Mum’s blue eyed boy who can literally do no wrong. If we ever fall out he’ll tell her a load of lies to make everything my fault and she always believes him. I don’t get it. We’re both in our 50s. Before my Dad died I’d always taken my parents to any appointments; hair/teeth/injections/hospital, taken them shopping, for days out, always done lots of house jobs and clearing and decorating. It’s been exhausting and all while I had a full time job. I just juggled because I wanted to look after them.
Since Dad died, my brother has come up for the funeral and is going to “try” to come up every few months to see my Mum and when he does I’ll go home for that weekend. I’ve been told by him not to rely on any dates so in essence I can’t book any short breaks or nights out, where I have to buy a ticket etc, incase he changes his mind and doesn’t visit. He has 2 kids, one over 18, and his excuse is he’ll miss seeing them and has no one to feed a pet. He’s self employed and can literally work from anywhere in the world! He’s already told me he won’t stay with my Mum ever for a week so I can go on holiday with my husband. My own child would help me but she has such a busy life at uni I don’t want to take her youth away by asking her to stay so I can go away. She works part time while at uni so this is difficult for her anyway.
There’s no one I can really ask to stay with my Mum or she can go to overnight. My Dad’s siblings have said they’ll try and help out where they can but they’re elderly and live miles away.
I think I’m feeling a bit sad for myself and the life I no longer have. I miss my Dad’s gentle kindness everyday and feel so trapped that I’m not allowed to stay in my own house overnight. I really don’t think it’s a fear thing of my Mum, she just wants to keep me here. She says I must miss home, my husband and my pet but makes no moves to insist I go home. I can be back with her in 15-20 mins at night if there was an emergency. She says she’ll “have” to stay on her own sometime but “won’t want to” and makes me feel guilty. I’m so low about all of this situation and how my life has literally changed overnight. I hear all about my brother and how he’s out and about all the time and I feel so sad for me. Am I being selfish? I’m trying to be helpful and understanding towards my Mum but resentment is creeping in and I hate that in me. My Dad would be so upset for me to know what’s happening. My husband has been so supportive and has been helping me clear out so much in their house (my Dad was a bit of a hoarder!) and yet my brother refuses to do anything when he plans on visiting as he said I should just get someone to clear the lot out, house clearance type service, as he’s not doing it. So if me and my husband didn’t do it, nothing would get done. We’re now in the process of selling both mine and my Mum’s house, so we can buy a bigger place together (that’s why Mum can’t stay with me as no room) and that is already so stressful clearing both of them to get them ready to sell. Even when we buy somewhere together we’ve discussed having a couple of sitting rooms so we can be together and Mum looked after and safe but that we can all have our own space too. She’s taken exception to that and said she hopes she’s not pushed out and stuck on her own. I’d never do that but in my 50s I still need a life with my husband and my own friends. I really don’t think this is grief or fear with my Mum but her controlling nature. Her Dad came to live with us when I was in my mid teens and he was exactly the same and was beyond demanding. Luckily for my Mum I would happily sit with him and look after him for a few years and her and my Dad still did their own thing.
I’m drowning! Any advice out there please? Thank you for listening.

Hello @Jess2023,

I’m part of the Online Community team and I can see that you are new to the community - I’d like to thank you for bravely starting this thread and sharing how you are feeling. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Most community members have sadly experienced the death of a loved one and so will understand some of what you are going through.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that might be helpful.

I really hope you find the community helpful and a good source of support and I also hope you feel you can access more support should you need it.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,


Firstly @Jess2023 im so sorry for the loss of your Dad, but also the situation you now find yourself in. After my mum became suddenly unwell i ended up moving in and leaving my home empty, in order to care for her 24/7, so i recognise those feelings of feeling trapped and mourning the life you had - i think its normal to feel that way. But the difference is my mum was physically no longer able to care for herself, she needed carers and was largely bed bound, so there was no way i was going to leave her on her own.

Your situation sounds very different and my worry is whether you are building a rod for your own back. It sounds like your mum has a lot of independence and interests, and although she must be also grieving, she needs to let you have a life. We all have different thresholds of how much of ourselves we are prepared to give to others (hence your siblings approach is different to yours - thats something i can also empathise with but dont want to go into the detail on here!) Do you feel guilty at gently setting some boundaries with your mum? Could your husband support you in talking to her? The risk is, it could also impact your relationship with your husband eventually if he feels all your attention is focussed on mum. You need to strike a healthy balance and accept that you cannot be everything to everyone. If you are going to be purchasing a property together i think you definitely need to explain that you and your husband will need time alone together. And i definitely think you should plan for times when your mum is left alone, if there is no mobility/frailty issues of concern. Maybe once a week you and hubby go for a meal out initially? If your mum needs care, then you can apply for sit in carers, even overnight ones if need be. There are care alarms so in the event of a fall the person can summon instant help. Or age uk offer a befriending service where someone will visit regularly. Its important you find a balance - even when i was caring for mum 24/7 i had one day a week and a couple of evenings a week where my sibling would come and give me a break. Dont feel guilty - in order to care for your mum, you first have to take care of yourself. Best of luck :heart:

Oh Jess my heart absolutely goes out to you. I am so sorry about your dad. You are caught between a rock and a hard place. Sounds like your mum learned this behaviour from her dad and now you are bearing the brunt of it. I had a similar situation a few years ago with my dad and stepmother ( definitely of the wicked type!!). Being ( at that time) the single daughter I uprooted my son and moved to support them. I did have my own house but what should have been a pleasure turned into an absolute nightmare. The more I did the more demanding they became ( I also had to work full time) and I was struggling to cope. One day ( a bank holiday) when I had run myself ragged cleaning and shopping and taking their rubbish to the tip because they didn’t like the bin men (!) she accused me of stealing money from them. My dad just sat there staring and that was the final straw. I walked out physically shaking and never went back. I called my sister ( who lived 3 hours away) and basically said ‘it’s your turn’. She was always the favourite so they would have been delighted and, to be fair, she stepped up and took them on eventually moving them to live closer to her. The day they left this area was like a weight had been lifted. At the beginning the guilt was dreadful but I had to preserve my own mental and physical health for my son and it was the right decision.

Obviously I’m not saying that you need to walk away from your situation; but I just want you to know that others do understand and have come through similar. Not unscathed but still standing. It sounds like you have an amazing family who will support you through this and that means everything. Definitely stand your ground over the separate living rooms. A completely separate granny flat ( or two adjacent properties) may be even better so you all have your own space? Your mum might not like that idea initially but, actually, it’s not all about her requirements!

Please keep sharing (have a vent if you need to) and know that you are amazing and most certainly not alone. Take care x

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