My step Dad


Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
Dartmoor Devon
Hello everyone, I have been up almost all night, dont know why I didnt post this earlier, it always seems to help to write things down . Mum is in special unit in Reading , leaving Ken, my step Dad, on his own . He, like Mum, is 87 years old but always been a coper . However, he is threatening suicide because he is so distressed at being without Mum , he is telling mke that his life isnt worth living any more . I ring him every day and yesterday , he scared me so much that I rang around my step brothers ( four of them ) to get one of them to go and be with him for a while . We live in Devon, my husband is disabled and cant be left to fend for himself for more than a day or so whilst Ken has these four sons , two of them living within 25 miles of him and no one has been to see how he is coping . I had the number of Mums phsyciatric nurse and rang her to tell her how worried I was and bless her, she has been to see him and assurres me that she will visit him again . Poor old soul is wracked with guilt that Mum is in hospital and keeps asking me when she will come home , he says that he is sure she will soon be well again and its very hard to know what to say to him . One of his sons is going to see him today but it really beggars belief that it has taken this long when they live so close . I almost feel more sorry for Ken than my Mum , she doesnt know what is happening most of the time but he is really suffering . Thankfully, my sister, who lives close by, will be back from a short break today and will keep an eye on him and I am arranging for him to come amd stay with us for three or four days , if he can manage the train journey ok . He was reluctant as he felt he was deserting Mum but we have assured him that Mum has no perception of time and that he needs the break badly . It makes me so cross that his own family have left him alone when he so obviously needs attention and reasurrance . Now, to add to it , my three year old Jack Russell is facing the last trip to the Vets as he is very ill and I am feeling a bit down right now , just needed to get some stuff off my chest and thank this site for being there .
love Kate


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Devonmaid

I'll cut straight to what is probably the key worry here - that of threatened suicide.

I'm doing that because I have been in his position, and people didn't know what to do about it.

Threats of this nature should never be taken as 'just something they said', and I know you are not doing that because of your post here.

The line that worked best for me was "if you are not around, who will look after Jan as well as you have done". Actually, I felt at the time as if I was not managing at all well, and it is likely that others could look after as well, if not better.

I was simply exhausted, at the end of my tether and very, very firghtened.

The statement made me turn the thing around from being self-centric, to Jan-centric, and then I could move on for a while.

Dementia is a cruel, cruel affliction. Norman has it right: take things "Day by Day"...

Sorry to hear about your dog - they fill such places in our lives.

Sweet Pea

Registered User
Dec 20, 2006
North Yorkshire
Dear Kate

Yes, it does help somethimes to write things down, and it seems to me that, despite being up for most of the night, you are thinking clearly about your step dad's situation. I'm afraid I can't offer any advice myself as I have never been in the situation that you find yourself in, although I'm sure that you'll get lots of very wise advice on this site. It's a wonderful place to 'meet' like-minded people, and you have no need to feel alone with your problems when you have this virtual family. You sound like a very thoughtful and caring person, and I wish you well, and just want to let you know that you are not alone.
Sweet Pea x


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Dear Kate, Bruce is right, talk of suicide should always be taken seriously. I think he has given you good advice, too. Can you convince your step-dad that his visits to your mum are very important to her, and that she would decline very quickly without them? I don't know if that's true, but that doesn't really matter, if you can give him a purpose in life.

It will help that he is coming to stay with you, too. Try not to make it just a holiday for him, tell him that you're looking forward to him coming because he can help with ...........

I'm so glad that you are so caring of your step-dad as well as your mum, you're a lovely daughter. And I'm so sorry about your dog, I know how important they are. I don't know what I'd have done without my Skye these last few weeks.

You have so many things to think about just now, it's no wonder you can't sleep. I'll be thinking about you, and post whenever you need to.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Kate

I`m so sorry for your step father. he`s a old man and feels guilty about your mother being in a home. He is obviously very lonely and sad and feels life isn`t worth living.
At least he`s got you.
And it`s getting to you, and that`s why you`re up all night worrying.

It`s good that the psychiatric nurse has offered to visit again and that you`ve galvanized one of his sons to visit. Perhaps when he sees his father, he`ll realize he needs more help than he`s being given.

And you are being so kind to have him stay with you for a few days, even with all your other worries and problems.

You really are doing your best. I hope all you`ve done helps your step father feel a bit better.

Love xx


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Kate

What a lovely careing person you are, all credit to you, you have done all you can and more for your step dad, it must be difficult being so far away.

You seem to have got the ball rolling for some immediate support with the family and the CPN, he/she may consider some medication might be appropriate in the short term to lift step dads mood.

I am so sorry to hear about your little Jack Russell, our pets are an important part of family life, I really feel for you.



blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Dear Karen
Everything is happening as once for you and that is really hard to deal with. Just adding my support to the kind and wise words of others. Giving your step dad the samaritans number might be helpful - they will listen and support anytime day or night - and it is the nights that are the loneliest isn't it? You seem to be coping so well with all your troubles, though they are obviously preying on your mind, and to cap it all you lose your much loved dog. You will move into calmer waters eventually but that's hard to see when you are in the eye of the storm. Keep us in touch with how things go.
Blue sea