Gransnet forums

Care & carers

What the heck do I do?

(60 Posts)
Luckygirl Fri 30-Aug-19 13:54:47

OH with end-stage PD is at home and we can only manage with live-in care. Finding this at a price that does not totally bankrupt us is an on-going challenge and a continuous day and night headache.

Here's the problem - and I duck below parapet here - my OH will not accept a black carer. I know, I know, it is dreadful and so embarrassing for me when I have to have this discussion with care agencies.

He is/was not a racist man - but he was brought up in a place where he has terrible memories of race riots etc. as a young child. His father was also a raving racist and Enoch Powell supporter.

He has not been like this throughout his adult life, but now that he is suffering with intermittent paranoia from his illness and the drugs he has to take, this unfortunate prejudice has reared its head.

He worked in the NHS and had many colleagues who were black of course, but this current problem is a result of his illness. When we had a Bulgarian Turkish carer, he would wake at night thinking she was a communist spy!

I am tearing my hair out with this as so many of the carers on the agencies' books are from Africa or British people of African heritage.

I have just had a firm (but I hope not threatening) conversation with him and said that he may have to be more flexible if he wants to stay at home - I know his behaviour is caused by the illness, but I am in an impossible situation. I do not want to provoke a worsening of his paranoia, but I am up against a brick wall here.


Doodle Fri 30-Aug-19 14:00:35

I think the explanation that it is his illness can be spoken luckygirl. My brother (who was the most polite person you could meet) when in late stage dementia looked at another patient in the ward and said good grief what’s that. Yes it is embarrassing but presumably he can’t help it. Can you not explain to the agencies and see if they have anyone who can help. So sorry for your stress.

ninathenana Fri 30-Aug-19 14:01:17

Luckygirl a sad situation indeed. I have no advice to give but did not want to "read and run"

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 30-Aug-19 14:01:19

How awful for you both.

There is also the difficulty that if he was in a hospital or care home many of the staff will be black. You will still be up against a brick wall.

My sympathy.

annsixty Fri 30-Aug-19 14:14:04

The weekend agency carers at my H's care home were all black as were most of the staff in hospital Drs and nurses alike.
It will not be solved by him not being at home, just not so awkward for you and the carer.
So sorry for you

Luckygirl Fri 30-Aug-19 14:18:45

In fact we live in the middle of the Herefordshire countryside and you can count the number of black people living this area on two hands - all the homes I visited looking for respite had all-white staff. So for him, in this context, it feels unfamiliar for him; and he is so vulnerable at the moment.

Barmeyoldbat Fri 30-Aug-19 14:37:49

Sorry I am really of no help here but I wish you all the best and hope you find some way out.

Jane10 Fri 30-Aug-19 14:38:45

Gosh that's a tough problem. As if things weren't hard enough. What happens if whoever turns up is black? If they just get on with the job might he get used to them and forget his prejudice as he finds out about them as a person?

mostlyharmless Fri 30-Aug-19 14:51:33

Such a difficult situation for you Luckgirl. You have my sympathy.
Care agencies will have met these sort of problems before. My late fil with dementia, had very embarrassing behaviour issues and was thrown out of one lovely care home. We were very lucky to eventually find another home that would take him.
I hope you can find a solution.

sodapop Fri 30-Aug-19 16:32:11

My mother in law was the same Luckygirl it was difficult hearing the racist remarks coming out of the mouth of a 'sweet little old lady'.

I'm sure its not a new problem for agencies and hospitals. Surely the staff realise its the illness talking. I worked in mental health services for a long time so I learned how to separate the illness from the person.

downtoearth Fri 30-Aug-19 16:55:29

My GD is a carer,has done live in care for dementia,community domicillary care,and currently working in residential care.

My GD is of white African dual heritage,she encounters this on a daily basis,especially as we are semi rural in the East of England.

Although only 20,she realises that this is the illness speaking and not the person and takes no offence.

Have been following your struggles * Lucky*,you are between the proverbial rock and hard place,and I feel for youflowers

tanith Fri 30-Aug-19 17:01:25

I would explain to the agency exactly as you’ve told us they will of encountered this before I’m sure, and may be able to accommodate him. Good luck.

Luckygirl Fri 30-Aug-19 17:36:47

Yes - you are right - I have explained but it seems like water off a duck's back! I still get sent profiles of black carers - I can only presume that this is because most of the carers are black. I am sure that any of them would be fine - but I do not want to risk triggering more paranoia.

Definitely a rock and a hard place!

cornergran Fri 30-Aug-19 19:02:58

Exactly lucky but a place you don’t deserve to be. I imagine you are being sent the profiles because they are the only people available. Doesn’t help you a bit but equally doesn’t mean the agency isn’t listening to you and understanding. I’m hoping for a miracle for you in the guise of a suitable white career who will not be upsetting for your husband. Love to you both.

Ginny42 Fri 30-Aug-19 19:17:26

Oh what a dilemma on top of all you've been through. Of course live-in care is a different dimension to a carer coming several times a day. I have no practical solution to offer, but hope that someone comes along who can tolerate his prejudice and be able to accept that it's the illness speaking not him. You must feel drained. flowers

Bathsheba Fri 30-Aug-19 20:48:49

Oh gosh lucky I am so sorry you find yourself in this impossible situation. It seems as if you hit another obstacle at every turn. I wish I had an answer for you, or even a workable suggestion. I do hope you find a way through this nightmare maze soon.

Riverwalk Fri 30-Aug-19 21:31:48

I expect they send profiles of black carers because they'd be breaking the law if they didn't.

Can you have a close read of some of the profiles and study the photos and see if there's any that you yourself like the look of and investigate further. And somehow tell your husband that he must give her a chance and see how it goes. Of course it could be traumatic for the carer if she's abused by him - it must hurt.

I've recently been working with a middle-aged black South African carer and she's the kindest and most efficient woman you'd want around you - it's a pity that you're missing out on the service that people like her provide.

midgey Fri 30-Aug-19 21:46:19

As if life were not complicated enough for you Lucky! Good luck and hope you find a new carer soon.

Luckygirl Fri 30-Aug-19 21:50:09

Indeed it is a pity - but what can I do? I cannot risk re-igniting the paranoia - no-one gets any sleep, apart from his fear and distress.

I absolutely take the point about breaking the law, which is why it is so hard to broach this with the agency.

You only get two or three profiles to look at so the choice is limited. I have liked several of them, but in the end my OH has to be the one to choose who he wants to wipe his bum and fix his catheter, even though his judgement is impaired. His reasoning is wrong on this case - but, as the thread title says: "What the heck can I do?"

mosaicwarts Fri 30-Aug-19 21:50:59

I haven't got any help to offer, just wishing you good luck in your search for someone your DH will both like and enjoy being cared for by.

suziewoozie Fri 30-Aug-19 21:52:11

I’m sure River is right - the agency simply could not lawfully send you only the profile of white careers - they would be discrimination against their black staff. I don’t think you should mention the issue again to the agency - I think they might be within their rights to take you off their books. All you can do is cross your fingers and hope a white carer crops up. Sorry this is so hard for you.

BradfordLass72 Fri 30-Aug-19 22:11:42

I feel so very sorry for you lucky and my tendency is to be on your side and suggest that before you get too exhausted and drained of all emotional strength you grasp the nettle and tell him it's the carer who's sent, whatever their ethnic origins, or residential care in the all white rest home.

I tend to feel that as it will come to that eventually, it is better to happen now and not let the illness be an excuse for you being run into the ground.

Poor you flowers

paddyann Fri 30-Aug-19 22:20:23

could you advertise for someone born locally ,using the local area as an excuse .Maybe say your husband would like someone who has memories of the area where he grew up an dhas lived all his life so they could share experiences to keep him interested and amused.If as you say balck faces are rare in the area chances are you'll get white locals only.

paddyann Fri 30-Aug-19 22:20:24

could you advertise for someone born locally ,using the local area as an excuse .Maybe say your husband would like someone who has memories of the area where he grew up an dhas lived all his life so they could share experiences to keep him interested and amused.If as you say balck faces are rare in the area chances are you'll get white locals only.

paddyann Fri 30-Aug-19 22:21:15

sorry for the double post ,no idea how that happened