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Torn? Am I an awful person to consider this?

elizabeth c

Registered User
Apr 16, 2008
I have posted on here a couple of times before. My mum is 60 and was diagnosed with Alzheimers last year. Since then she had deteriorated rapidly. She is now very very confused and has little grasp of what is going on and there is nothing of her old self left. It is really heartbreaking to see. I have been having a really hard time trying to accept it. She is cared for currently by my stepfather who until this all happened , I have never had a close relationship with which makes it all the more complicated. I live almost 4 hour drive away, have 2 small children, am pregnant and my husband works long hours so am not in a position to offer a great deal of practical help.
My dilemma is that recently my husbands job has been very unstable and we have been quite concerned about what on earth we will do if he gets made redundant. He has now been possibly been offered a job abroad which would be a fantastic opportunity for him and for the whole family. We have lived abroad before we had children and both loved the opportunity to do so. It is the kind of opportunity that would probably mean we were able to provide a lot more for our family. it is unlikely to come along again. If my mum was not ill, we would jump at the chance but I just don't know if I can do it. I am so torn as in some wasy I feel I am unable to do very much even being in the same country and that I have to make the best decisons for my family. I don't want to abandon my Mum and would always want to do whatever I could for her but I would have to accept that I would not be able to come home all that often. Please I would love other people's opinions on this as I just feel very confused and really guilty for even thinking about it.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Elizabeth

First of all, don't feel guilty. Not considering it would be wrong for yourself, your husband and your children.

Only you can make the decision, but my advice would be to go.

I's suggest that you get in touch with your mum's social worker, and consultant, and make sure that all possible support is in place for youe step-father, and that he knows exactly who to ring if he needs help urgently. Perhaps talk to a neighbour or close friend who can be relied on to give support, and whom you can ring to find out the true picture.

And go!

If your husband is likely to be made redundant, that's going to be a huge problem, both financially and emotionally, and you owe it to him, and to your children, to give him this chance.

I wish you every success.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
I agree with Hazel. I think you have to think about what advice your mother would give you if she was well. I think most mothers would say "go for it" even if they said it with a tear in their eye. I know my mother did. Yes, it's going to be tough to be a long way away from her, but your primary concern must be your own family unit.

Best wishes


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear Elizabeth, I think Hazel and Jennifer have given excellent advice.

I just want to add "what have you got to feel guilty about"?

You are not just walking away from your mum, you are putting in place the family values she brought you up by.

Please let us know how things progress for your family.


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Dear Elizabeth,
As with previous posts I agree 100% that you have to think of you husband and your children.
If your Mother was able to, she would probably tell you the same thing.
Wishing you all the best


Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Hi Elizabeth

Of course you're not an awful person, you'd be a fool NOT to consider it. If your Mum hadn't been diagnosed until next year (instead of last year) it would have been done & dusted as the obvious course of action in the best interests of your family.
As things stand you are unable to give much hands-on care to your Mum, so your stepfather will not be 'worse off' in terms of care assistance, and it sounds as if she will not be able to remain at home for much longer anyway.

My opinion: if the opportunity comes up, go for it!

Best wishes


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Perspective from a daughter of man who has dementia

After my Dad's diagnosis back in 1997 I decided to stay close by and not consider job prospects elsewhere, despite only recently returning from working overseas, but like you I didn't feel like there was much I could do even though I was close by. A few years after the diagnosis when Dad was going noticeably downhill, my sister and brother both moved over a 1000kms to our home town to also be close by to provide support. My sister and brother have children I do not.
Therein followed some very very hard years as we all tried to come to terms with Dad's disease. About 3years ago my brother moved away again (over a 1000kms away) for the sake of his wife's career and I suspect his own sanity. Mum was a little disappointed, but more so I think because she missed having her little boy and her grandkids nearby than because she desperately needed his support. I personally thought it was the best thing he could do and I felt that Dad would have preferred that he lived for his family and not sacrifice everything for a dying man. Last year, I too moved away, 3000kms and I haven't regretted it for a second. At the time I did some soul searching first and I was in the end certain that Dad who always wanted the best for me, would have been unhappy if I continued to let life pass me by, when really there was nothing I could do. After all the years he put into making sure I was well educated and self sufficient it was effort wasted if I was to just stay and wait for him to slowly disappear. I lost my 20s to this disease, and was in my 30s when I did finally leave. Had Dad not gotten this disease I am pretty certain I would have travelled far and wide and probably would have had kids by now.
Unless you are actually the carer there is not much that you can do. It may be different in your case as your mother's carer is not your biological father, but despite us being close by, Mum never really accepted us helping out as when we worked full time there was little we could do anyway except a day here or an evening there, the main support we provided was simply to be there when she needed to vent or if there was a hospital emergency. When I have talked to other parents, they too say that they wouldn't want their children to be burdened with their care if they could help it. Would you want your children to miss out on life for your sake?
Also as a step-parent myself, there is no way I would expect my husband's daughter to care for him if he became ill. However as you say you are not close to your step-father I am wondering what kind of support network he has because this will be very hard for him if he has no family of his own. If this were your biological father who was looking after your mother he would at least know that he can ring you up and get emotional support when needed, that he would only need to call and ask you to come home for a bit and you would, not that he would necessarily do this, but he would have the comfort of knowing that he could. I think for your Mum's sake it would be ideal if you can try to make it clear to your step father that you are not just washing your hands of your Mum and abandoning him to care for her alone. Make it clear that you will only be a phone call away for emotional support, that you will come home for any holidays or emergencies, that you would even time your holidays around his needs for a break if that is necessary, and that whenever he needs it you can still make phone calls send emails etc to investigate things for him if he needs you to, like finding out about respite and home support. You will also have to accept the fact that he may decide that he cannot care for your mother and that she may need to go in a home. You may not like this, but if you are not physically providing the care to your mother this will be something you may have to accept, just like I and my siblings had to accept it when Mum could no longer look after Dad, despite the fact that we lived in the same town.
All of us love to be loved but I don't think there are many that want to be a burden to those we love. Your Mum in her right mind would understand and would send you away with her blessing because thats what good parents want to do, they want the best for their children.
A terrible thing about the human mind too is that distance does allow us to let go of the guilt & sadness to a large extent. I realised this when I used to visit my father on a daily basis at the home he lived in. Despite visiting him everyday for near 3yrs, this ritual became something of a self inflicted torture, twisting my mind with the pain of seeing Dad in a home and me not being able to provide the care I wanted to be able to....if I didn't visit him for a couple of days strangely enough instead of the guilt and sadness increasing, it would fade more and more and I would absolutely have to force myself mentally kicking and screaming to go back. I didn't go back because of guilt I went back because of what I thought was my moral duty. When I finally realised that I was destroying my own life because of it and that my life that Dad worked so hard to set up was being wasted because of it the decision to move on was easy, as I realised that I had a bigger moral duty to him to be/do everything he dreamed for me instead. Maybe you can look at it this way too?


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
live almost 4 hour drive away,
Compared to a flight of 2 or 3 hours ( unless your going to America ) why would it make a difference, just because your over seas , may make it seem your so far away, but your never be far away from her because your mother will always be in your heart .

The air fairs could be a set back but then if your husband is on a better wage you can afford to pop over to visit your mother, each year when you've had your baby

That what I would saying to my daughter anyway , seeing that your mother only 10 years older then I .

I know my mother would not say that to me , because my father is not alive, but if she had him to care for her she be telling me to go .

where with I , I am different from my mother I am not dependant on a man , so even if I was ill , I would not put it on my children to look after me.

I would want them to Jump at any positive opportunity that come they way to see life outside England with they family It open their mind to different cultures.

I agree also your not being awful , your just facing the reality being realistic & the emotion that come with being realistic is hard to balance out, but I am sure your make the right decision for your family xx

Debby Short

Registered User
May 29, 2008
Near Heathrow Airport

Don't feel guilty, and go for it. Living 4 hours drive away, or a flight away, it does not make any difference, you still could not visit everyday - but you could ring regularly - and of course there is always a computer and webcam. I lived abroad before my mum was diagnosed and felt so close to my parents becasue of the webcam (did not come home because of mum). My mum is only 65 and was diagnosed 18 months ago - she is already fogetting who we are.

You must do what is best for you and your family
Good luck in your decision.
Debby xxxx


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007

It is hard to feel so torn. I have been there too. Luckily my opportunity in a similar situation gave roughly equal choices of emigration or closer to home. I chose the latter, but if I had only had the former to choose from I may have gone. There would have been many tears though, just sooner possibly rather than later.

A HV told me when my sons were small and Mum was "Odd" that I no longer had to think about my Mum first. The children were the important people as they were the future, and while we should ensure that our parents are treated with love and respect we should ensure that our children have that and a future as they are our continuation and the hope for us all.

I never forgot those words. They are right to me.

I hope that you come to a decision that you can live with. I think that you have been given great advice by Hazel, Jennifer Connie et al.




Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Hello Elizabeth,

You've had some excellent advice here.

My husband has 2 daughters who both now live in Australia.

The second daughter left England 3 months after their father was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

They both feel guilt about going...the last one to leave more-so.
But they, and my husband's grandchildren are enjoying a much better quality of life than they ever would here.
if anything I am closer to them both than ever before..we speak regularly on the phone and email each other..they send photos..and visit England when they can.
To be honest..in your situation with your own family, even if you were in England..there would be little in the way of practical support you could give. This was the case with my husband's family.
They went with my blessing...and as their father's disease progresses he doesn't really miss them as it's the "now" that matters.
Am sure your mum would want you to make the most of this opportunity.

I do wish you every success..and good luck with the new baby!

Love gigi xx


Registered User
Mar 19, 2005
Just a quickie... In response to the question 'are you an awful person for considering this?' of course not! I think everyone has given good honest advice, can't add anything else just don't beat yourself up about it and make the most of the opportunity. I know I would.

Take care, Kate x.


Registered User
Jan 29, 2008
Ashford, Kent
I guess, we're all different.

I desperately want to leave the UK, but won't. Just, feel I absolutely cannot.

Guilt, loyalty, love? A combination of all three.

Who knows.




Registered User
May 25, 2008
west midlands
thoughts are only half of the deal

my mother is 44 she has the later stages of alzheimers, my sister, who is 19 has just moved to manchester, which isnt abroad, but it feels like it and i miss her. but the only reason i miss her is for her, not for support with mom. i know if i desperately needed her, she would be there, whether she was in manchester or in the maldives. and im sure your family know that bout you too. this really is a no-brainer. go.

go and enjoy your life, life is for living not existing. unfortunately your mother has had that choice cruelly taken away from her, but im sure before alzheimers took its hold, she lived life to the full, and im sure she would expect you to now.

much luck with your decision.
lots of love