always stuck in the middle


Registered User
Dec 5, 2007
hi to all,

firstly want to say thank you to those people who take the time to read these messages, and those who take even more time to respond. I often read posts, but rarely respond as i mostly don't know what to advise.

The dilemma of the day (because there is always one...) is how to convince my sister that our Dad needs respite, even if it means Mum might be a little more agitated than usual. The story is, that dad cares for mum at home, and has done now for about a year, at first he was at work during the days, but he still had to come home from work and take on the job of carer until the next morning. He is no longer working as the evening, nights and weekends of caring were taking there toll and he was struggling to keep up with his "paid" job as well. Mum has a carer that comes in still during the days, but even so, Dad is struggling.

I think this it is understandable that he needs a break, and he does have the odd day away but i think the problem with a day away, is that you never really relax because you know that at the end of the day you have to go back to home where everything will be just the same as it was before. So, to the point, dad would like to go away for a long weekend sailing with his friends, but, the idea upsets my sister massively.
For those of you who have seen any of my past posts, you will know that my sister and dad do not and have not got on for as long as i can remember, so in situations like this, it is hard for her to have sympathy for or empathise with dad.
Her point is, that Mum is only reassured by Dad, not even me or her 'will do' and when mum isn't with dad (and by with, i mean sat or stood right next to)she can become very agitated, sweating and looking terribly frightened, calling out his name or asking where's my husband. I appreciate that my sister doesn't want to see mum like this, none of us do, dad included, but at the same time, i don't see how we can reduce dads life-role to permanent human comforter, it's just not right!

As a second to this issue, is that i really feel like i should offer to look after mum for the weekend so dad can go sailing, but in all honesty, i'm just not sure if i can. It's not a case of time, or effort, i'm not sure what it is, i think i'm just not a strong enough person to adopt such a role. Part of me thinks it's because i have a preserved image of my mum as exactly that, my mum, and to be responsible for her personal care needs is just going to take that away from me. I feel like this disease has taken enough already, i've lost far too much and feel like this would be the last thing. Does that make sense to anyone!? I have so much respect for people who care for their parents like that, and i know it's not because i can't cope with personal care (i work as a carer for children with complex learning difficulties at the weekends) it's just that she's my mum and that makes it so different.

i realise i have strayed from my original point quite substantially so to recap - does anyone have any experience or just general advise about how to convince someone that a carer needs a break, even if it means upsetting the person with AD a little?

many many regards


PS: explaining to her that if he doesn't have a break he won't be able to carry on caring anymore won't work because she doesn't care if he can't go on... she thinks that if he leaves she will be able to live at their home and take over, but if he leaves then he will need to sell the house to buy somewhere new for him. .... (a certain amount of hair is on the brink of being pulled out here!)


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Hi Suzanna

My first thought upon reading your post was to ask if your Dad had had a Carer's Assessment done? If it does he may be eligible for respite care from SW. It may be worth considering if neither you nor your sister can help.

My Mum never wanted my help with her most personal care needs and she would not let me take her to the toilet even when she needed help in the beginning. She did not feel comfortable with me although she was fine with her carers. I respected this wish of hers until the end, mostly, when she occasionally just wanted to carry on holding her hand. So I really sympthise with you not wanting to provide this care. Mum made my choice for me and it did make life easier.

Hopefully a respite system can be put in place then you can visit but do not need to do 24/7 care. Having experienced really clingy children I know for sure that your Dad will need a break at some time.


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Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
Hi Suzanna,

I can understand were you're coming from - I too wish my dad could have a break but he won't put mum in respite and we can't have her because of our children.

Is there a reason your sister won't look after your mum for the weekend while she feels it's so easy to do? Will she not do it purely because then she would be doing something nice for your dad?

Has your dad had a carers assessment? Could they not arrange the respite break for your dad?

I hope you can work this out and I think it's great that you're thinking of your dad too - I think sometimes the carers can be overlooked due to the massive needs of the dementia sufferer.


Registered User
Dec 5, 2007
cheers for speedy responses

i'm pretty sure dad has had a carers assessment as he has a carer come in for the day (so i think really he probably gets more support than most)but at the moment we are waiting on a decision re independent living allowance or something, so that dad can be funded the full amount they would pay for professional carers (if that makes sense for anyone).

As for my sister helping for that weekend she's "thinking about it" at the moment, i don't think she would do it 'just to do something nice for dad' as she is more of the attitude of "what has he ever done for me" (such is there relationship really).

I really don't think that mum would have wanted me taking on her personal care either, though i worry that i'm using that as an excuse to hide my own issues.

we could probably arrange respite care over the weekend for dad, but the problem is that my sister is really angry at the idea, she thinks its cruel for dad to go away as it upsets mum.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Suzanna.

The fact your father wants a weekend away speaks for itself, and if your sister isn`t prepared to offer to stay with your mother then she should be prepared to accept respite care for her. It`s as simple as that.

No-one has a right to criticize, a]unless they are prepared to offer a solution, or b] if they are not the main carer.

Your father wants and needs a break. Your sister needs to accept it.

Love xx


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Suzanna - I'm not sure why your sister HAS to agree. After all, if it's your father who is paying for respite (or hopefully the LA) then it's none of her %&&*&^&* business. The fact of the matter is she doesn't seem to have much of a grasp of the situation, period. How she can think that the result of your father being unable to provide ongoing care would be for her, your sister, to move into your parents house is lunacy. If she is so out of touch with reality, I doubt you'll make her see sense over this, although good for you for trying.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I also don't understand why your sister is involved in the decision-making process. If she and your father have never got on, why should her opinion matter so much now? Who is the PoA for your mother? If your sister is not, she has no legal right to make any decisions.

I do understand that you want to keep lines of communications open as long as possible with your sister, but if your father feels he needs time away, he NEEDS it and should have it. In my opinion, if your sister is not prepared to step up to the plate, she should be quiet.

As a second to this issue, is that i really feel like i should offer to look after mum for the weekend so dad can go sailing, but in all honesty, i'm just not sure if i can.
You're honest about this. If you feel you can't do it, that's fine. One thing to think about, you might want to try an afternoon now and again, maybe gradually extending it. I'm saying this not so much as relieving your father as for you to have time for your mother. I wouldn't want you to have regrets later on.

Keep us posted.