Hello! This is my first post, although I have been lurking a bit over the past couple of weeks. I suppose I had better start with the facts. My Mum is 84 and lives on her own on the top floor of a maisonette. My Dad died some 14 years ago. They were never people to have friends round, so now I'm the only one my Mum sees as I am an only child. I live some 25 miles away with my husband and 45 animals. (Yes - that was right - 15 cats, 15 ferrets, 2 llamas, 3 pygmy goats, 1 pig, rescued chickens and a fully grown green iguana in the attic). That little lot takes at least 5 hours a day to look after and much, much more at weekends. I also work 4 days a week, not far from my Mum. I'm about to be made redundant after nearly 20 years. The compensation isn't bad, but I don't know where I can find another job where I can turn up when the animals are done or leave early for a vet's appointment (I had another one tonight). I get my work done and do my hours over a period (I work flexi). I've also been working towards a photography exhibition in London for the past 18 months and although it begins next week, the whole process has been really draining. We get up at 5.30 in the morning and I've been working on the show or my web site until 10.30 or 11.00 every night without fail. I'm also about to hit 50 and going through the menopause (or at least I think I am - I don't even have time to think about it really). I'm also disabled following a riding accident many years ago which left me with a bad leg and my hearing and balance aren't good. My Mum isn't in the best of health either, with heart and kidney problems. After a fall at home last summer and spending weeks in hospital, she now uses a zimmer frame indoors. She can't get down the stairs and hasn't been out of the house for years. It takes a team of ambulance staff to get her to hospital. She also has problems getting out of bed/off her chair/off the toilet and has had to call Care Link several times. I first noticed problems last year when she couldn't tell me what the doctors had said on their rounds. I put it down to her not being used to loads of people talking to her, but it's got worse over the past year. Now she is confused about time, thinking lunch time is the middle of the night and that evening is morning. She is also forgetting to take her medication. The carers who started when she came out of hospital are now down to just 2 visits a week, but they will be starting 2 visits a day very soon (mainly for the medication). There is also a District Nurse who comes and dresses my Mum's leaking legs, but I now understand they have been turned away by my Mum on more than one occasion. The carers have offered personal care, but that has been resisted on all fronts. The Occupational Therapist was told that my Mum can do everything for herself - get in the bath, do her own shopping, you name it, she does it (not)! The doctor (who didn't visit for many years and is still hard to get out) finally turned up last week to say my Mum should consider going into a nursing home in the next few months. She doesn't like the idea and to be honest, I'm not sure she would ever settle. She hated hospital and told me the nurses were ill treating the patients. She's never liked meeting new people and has basically holed herself up at home for the past 40 years. We can't have her with us - we live in a very old house with every room on a different level. Anyway, if my Mum is going to be a danger to herself at some stage (leaving the gas on etc.), then it's as likely to happen when my husband and I are at work. I do know of someone who has given up work to care for her Mother at home, but her circumstances are very different. It doesn't make me feel less guilty though. I have had some ideas for getting her used to a move. She obviously couldn't visit, but if we buy a digital camera then she can see the homes and surroundings. I thought we could get her moved closer to us. Not much point in her being close to work if I'm being kicked out in a couple of months. I believe this is possible. The doctor has agreed to an assessment, but he has told us the consultant won't come out. How on earth are we going to get her to another appointment? Also, how do we go about finding nursing homes near us? Do we have to contact them via a third party, or do we just trawl through Yellow Pages? Sorry for the silly questions, but my brain is so full of other stuff as well that I just can't take in any more. We have a cat with a brain tumour who is going to need another "brain drain" over the next week or so. That involves 2 x 200 mile round trips and a load more worry. Thank you for listening!