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left with an elderly aunt I don't know

(32 Posts)
nanarosie Wed 05-Oct-11 22:56:29

my uncle has passed away and although I had not had any contact with them for over 30 years suddenly had a phone call when he went into hospital from aunt left disabled by a stroke some while ago. They have no family, no friends so I took aunto to and fro to hospaital and arranged funeral and all the othe stuff that needs doing. Now I have an aunt 0f 84 who cries all the time, won't accept any help other than mine, smokes heavily and she and the flat stink and so do I when I go there. Have just lost father in law and mil needs me,, still work, and have 5 grandchildren who I am just not seeing enough off. How on earth can I leave my aunt who sadly is nearly as nasty as my mother was and get some life back without feeling so bad about it all - help please

grandmaagain Wed 05-Oct-11 23:22:47

have you brothers or sisters who could be asked to share the problem?
also "Age Concern" and social services should be contacted.
plus a well done to you for caring enough to ask for help thanks

GrannyTunnocks Wed 05-Oct-11 23:25:45

Gosh that is a terrible situation to find yourself in. Why did your Aunt not have any friends? Have you contacted Social Services as it looks like they need to be involved. You can't put your life on hold and look after an Aunt you hardly know but it is difficult to walk away.

FlicketyB Thu 06-Oct-11 08:28:01

Nanarosie, I understand your situation. A few years ago I had to take over the care of an aunt and uncle in an emergency when I already had demanding commitments to parents and grandchildren. I at least had ties of affection to my aunt and uncle.

There is no easy exit and the pressures of emotional blackmail are not easy to resist, but you must, otherwise you will have a breakdown, and that will make the situation even worse. In my case after 8 weeks of providing intensive daily care we hit a second crisis and my uncle and aunt were bundled, I can use no other word, into a care home. It caused them great distress for nearly three months and they would not see me for over a month but they settled and. although my uncle has since died I still visit my aunt every few weeks.

The practicalities. Grit your teeth and tell your aunt that you can only visit, say, once a month and call in Social Services. They have a statutory duty to do a Care Assessment, although they will do everything they can to wriggle out of it, especially when there is an involved relative. Speak to your local Age UK, they may well have a caseworker who can help you, I was such a volunteer caseworker for 10 years. Their online site has many helpful Fact Sheets including one on Care Assessments. But mainly, just continually remind yourself that your nearer relatives have priority and you simply cannot do everything.

nanarosie Thu 06-Oct-11 11:11:52

many thanks for kind comments. I don't have any brothers or sisters and since my parents have both passed away in the last year I am the only family left. I did find a lovely lady to help her who had all the police checks etc and arranged everything with her and my aunt who then rang her up and was extremely rude and told me why pay anyone when i would do things for nothing. Both her and my uncle never had anyone into the flat, didn,t speak to the very nice neighbours and were generally quite horrid to one and all. There is lots of money so that is not the problem but she won't spend it. I am happy to help mil especially since she has had a stroke and need a bit of care but just wnat to see the children more as one of them is teminally ill with a very bad heart condition and my daughter is just recovering from menengitis. Sounds like a bad soap opera - just that lots of things have come at once - but the guilt feelings are very strong - a left over from my mother I thing - arch manipulator that one! Thanks again for kind comments

Libradi Thu 06-Oct-11 11:56:06

nanarosie this may sound harsh but if you've not had any contact with your aunt for 30 years I think you should just back off, leave whatever she needs doing to social services, look after your own health and that of your close family. That sounds awful now that I've written it down but you have enough to worry about with caring for your Mother in law, daughter and grandchildren and you can't do everything.

FlicketyB has experienced a similar situation and gives some good advice and I agree that your closer family's needs (and your own) should be your priority.

Take care.

harrigran Thu 06-Oct-11 12:08:52

My sentiments too Liberadi Get social services to do what they are paid for.nanarosie you need to take care of yourself or you will be unable to be of any use to your family. No one should feel guilty, one can only do so much thanks

Amber Thu 06-Oct-11 13:10:18

Nanarosie there is no reason for you to feel guilty about not being able to be at the beck and call of your Aunt, just ask your self what she would be doing for you if the situation was reversed, by the sounds of it nothing at all, so why should you wear your self out trying to help such an ungracious woman. I know us grans can do a great many things, but none of can be in two places at the same time, I agree with the other g/netters you will only make yourself ill, if she has plenty of money then she can afford to pay for help, tell her you can pop in for a visit every now and then and perhaps she will learn to be a bit nicer to you.

dorsetpennt Thu 06-Oct-11 16:13:15

Nanarosie I think you have done more then enough to help this unpleasant sounding lady who after 30 years suddenly needs you. If the situation was in the reverse would she have helped you - if she was so nasty to other people I think not. It sounds as if you have quite enough on your plate and you have done enough to help her. My ex-husband's brother totally ignored me and my two children for years even though we live in the same town - as their father lives abroad it would have been great for my children to have a male influence intheir life. He then had a stroke and was hospitalised etc for sometime. He was compus enough to pass on my details and Social Services leapt on me thinking I would 'help'. I visited him in hospital just out duties' sake but made it clear to everyone concerned that he is my ex-brother-in-law, he's been an absent uncle and I don't feel obliged to help him out. I made my ex-husband aware of the situation, they are estranged, and agreed that I had done more then enough.
So have you, you concentrate on those who love you , as Amber has said pay the odd visiand she can pay for help if she is so well off.

nanarosie Thu 06-Oct-11 21:44:12

thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. After fil funeral tomorrow will draw breath on saturday and settle mil and sunday will be d day for a final explainin of what I can do for her and what she is going to have to find paid help for. Again very many thanks for the "permission"!

Libradi Fri 07-Oct-11 09:14:05

Thinking of you today nanarosiethanks

em Fri 07-Oct-11 09:49:23

nanarosie - I do hope things go smoothly today and the next few days too. It's a lot to deal with but you sound like the kind of person who will cope. Will be thinking about you.

nanachrissy Fri 07-Oct-11 21:36:36

Hope things have gone as well as possible today nanarosie and good luck for Sunday.

newt148 Fri 21-Oct-11 13:24:34

Hi, remember all the way through guilt is a wasted thought like worrying about worries, I made the mistake of getting remarried (that was not a mistake) but agreeing to take his spinster aunt to live with us (as she had no one else!) emotional blackmail,
Here I am 8 years later with a very sharp tongued, rude and ignorant, 88 yr old who justs spends the whole day sitting in a arm chair or on the loo, doing nothing but getting waited on. Dont Dont get to involved and do get Social Services involved as suggested, they can help especially as she is not yours!
take care and I wish you lots of luck getting back on track, dont do as i have done I even moved to ROI taking her with me and now no social services....ugh. Its like a leech sucking the life out of your life GET RID!

Mishap Fri 21-Oct-11 14:22:30

I think your best bet is to contact the local Social Services department and seek their help. Harsh though it may sound, you cannot take responsibility for someone you hardly know - you have done so much already and cannot base your life around her. Your grandchildren need you more!

HildaW Fri 21-Oct-11 18:20:19

Nanarosie.....dont get guilted into getting involved. We all have our limits and must stand firm by them or we go under and then even more people suffer. The firt rule of being a Carer is 'Look after yourself'.

Social Services need to be told in no uncertain terms that you cannot take on anymore. If they see so much as a chink in your defenses you will find yourself agreeing to something.

WE had fulltime care duties of a loved FIL and as soon as they saw that (and knew he was self-funding) we got absolutely nothing, not even answers to phone calls about where to start looking. Husband and I nearly went under but thankfully got a lot of help from a small local charitible trust.

Nanrosie, sounds like you have more than done your bit, tell her you will make sure the right people know and will keep in touch, thats all anyone can ask. Bless you for doing so much.

nanarosie Fri 21-Oct-11 21:33:22

many thanks for such kind comments - haven't had much time to look here aa mil needs a fair bit of help having just lost fil. DH is very sad at losing his father and my DD is absolutely distraught about it all. Have not had a chance to see aunt but have rung a few times to check on her - she refuses all help from a very nice lady i found who would take her anywhere or do whatever cleaning she needs at a resonable cost but aunt won't pay! she also refuses to go out for little walks around her close and just sits and cries all the time - thank heavens mil is not doing that. I don't think i could possibly be a very nice person as could willing push her off the balcony - well not really - just am at a total loss as social services says she has money and must sort things out privately. I realise she misses my uncle dreadfully and its not long since he passed away but i don't think she is ever going to rally around and make some kind of life for what time remains to her - the rate she is smoking perhaps that won't be long and I rather think its what she wants. Sorry to have gone on so much about my troubles and am truly sorry to hear of your sad situation - I hope things improve for you soon - many hugs

harrigran Fri 21-Oct-11 23:56:36

For goodness sake the woman is 84 do social services not have any compassion, she may have money but it is probably the guidance she needs. If they tell her how to go about things she is more likely to listen .

FlicketyB Sat 22-Oct-11 22:08:05

Nanarosie, whether your aunt has money or not Social Services have a legal obligation to make an assessment of her needs, even if she then has to pay for any care that results. Social Services will use the 'self-financing' card to avoid fulfilling their statutory duty whenever they can. Dont let them. Sadly my experience of SS is the same as HildaW's. There is no situation involving the care of the elderly that Social Services cannot make worse.

However, even allowing for the very natural grief of your aunt at the loss of her husband, refusing to pay for any care that she needs is ridiculous and expecting a niece that she hasnt seen or shown any interest in for 30 years to provide all the care she needs for free is outrageous. Stick to the phone calls and go no further. You have never suggested that your aunt has any mental problems and from what you have said about her and her husband's lack of friends and family contact it would suggest that her current behaviour is the way she and her late husband always behaved, which is why she is in this friendless position. If she chooses to continue to act that way she must accept the consequences.

As for pushing her off a balcony. I have looked after four very disparate groups of relatives at different times over the last 15 years and when I felt like that, and believe me I did. I relaxed, indulged the thoughts, and then let them flow out of me. It was calming and cathartic and enabled me to keep going.

Nanarosie, Your health and wellbeing and that of your nearest and dearest come first, an aunt who hasnt seen you for over 30 years comes way down the list.

HildaW Sat 22-Oct-11 22:18:52

Nanarosie, I would just like to add my voice to Flickety's about the mental state of this poor lady. We ended up 'coping' with a form of dementia and soon learned a lot about it. There are many different variations and some can just seem like bloody mindedness to those who are not involved 24/7. You need a full assessment - this will then open the door to all sorts of help and advise. Good luck.

nanarosie Sun 23-Oct-11 22:34:45

it would seem as though the problem has resolved its self - my aunt had another stroke this morning and looking at how she is i think she will require proper nursing care and expect to be aked to find a nursing home for her shortly. A sad semi end to the whole thing - I will find somewhere kind for her to be and close so I can at least see her from time to time. Many thanks for all your kind comments and suggestions

GrannyTunnocks Sun 23-Oct-11 23:29:17

Sorry to hear about your aunt nanarosie but your family need you more than she does. Good of you to help find a home for her and at least it takes the pressure of you. It is sad when old people have no friends or family but they should have thought about that many years ago when they were still able to go out and join clubs etc.

HildaW Mon 24-Oct-11 19:31:43

NanaRosie, such a sad story, and its such a shame you are having to cope with this. I do hope you find somewhere you are happy with, it can be quite a problem. This highlights a problem that is only going to get worse if the powers that be dont get their act together and make the system a lot more integrated. I fully appreciate that a lot of funding is required but in many case, as in ours, it was just reliable information that we needed. I hope that all goes well for you Nanarosie you sound a lovely person.

grannyactivist Mon 24-Oct-11 20:08:39

Hello NanaRosie and bless you for your kindness and generosity of spirit. Your family are very fortunate I think. smile

NannaJeannie Mon 24-Oct-11 21:59:18

Hello NanaRosie, I have been reading this post for a while and want to send you my best wishes. I am sorry to hear that your aunt has had another stroke, I assume she is hospital now. I am sure she will now receive a full assessment of needs, irrespective of her financial situation. You must look after your own health or you will be fit for nothing. Hopefully your aunt will now go directly to a Nursing home.

I have had a similar experience this year with a close aunt who had no other relatives and once she had gone into Residential Care it was a great relief for her and us. We used the internet to pick a list of care homes and then found a suitable one. My sister and me have arranged Power of Attorney (through a solicitor) and have been able to sell her house for her.

Number one priority is you and your close family, I would be happy to give you more detail of our experience in a private message if you wish.