Trouble with men


Registered User
Sep 13, 2006
Hi, Im a new member. I have cared for my mother-in-law for the last 8yrs. She lives with us - now two boys and a husband. She and my husband have never got on (understatement of the year). M refused to have him in her rooms, but now has refused to allow any men in. She is mute, but gets very agressive pushing and throwing things at any of them. This is causing huge problems as some of the carers that arrive from S.Services are male, which means that I can't go to work.

SS say that they have not the staff to guarantee female carers and also can't discriminate. Their 'help' is to say that as the disease progresses, she won't recognise the difference anyway, but Im not so sure and I need to be able to get out for the kids, shopping etc and work. I'm also exhausted as all the evening, weekend and night help is down to me.

Any ideas?


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Is the problem that these male social service carers can't cope with your MIL's aggression, or is it that you don't like to leave her becasue you know she'll be aggressive with them? I think you need to define the problem in your own mind. If it's the former - well tough, honestly. These people can either cope or they can't - it's up to social services to provide them with the tools to cope, or provide carers who can. If it's your own feelings getting in the way - if you really cannot stand it without the help, you're going to have to speak to yourself firmly. It may distress you to see her behaviour, it may even distress your MIL but in your MIL's case, she'll probably forget it the next moment. So can you take the "tough love" approach? If you have a breakdown due to exhaustion, someone else will HAVE to deal with the situation.



Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi ycisr
I cannot accept the reason given by your SS.
They are depriving you of choice which is a right,also where certain religions are concerned men would not be allowed anyway.


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
I have to admit that I prefer my mum to be cared for by women, where possible. That's not any slur on men who either work as carers or care for loved ones - I know there are some excellent ones here and have also come across some excellent 'professional' carers (not that the male carers here are amateur by any means, just that they are doing it for love rather than money!)

I think what I am trying to say is that I can understand how someone would feel this way and, as Norman says, if this was for religious reasons then your mother in laws feelings would have to be abided by.


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
Sex Discrimination Act

I have been thinking about this and recall often seeing advertisements for paid carers that specify a particular gender. These ads also state that the vacancy is exempt from the Sex Discrimination Act. I've just had a google and found this

The SDA provides for GOQ exceptions in narrowly defined circumstances including the following:-
where personal services are to be provided, e.g. to vulnerable individuals
where the essential nature of the job calls for a person of that gender, e.g. for reasons of physiology (excluding physical strength or stamina) or authenticity (e.g. in dramatic performance)
where the preservation of decency or privacy is involved
where (within strict limits) the job is likely to involve the job holder doing the work within the private home and having a degree of physical or social contact with a person living there or knowledge of intimate details of that person's life
where the work is live-in and the only available premises are single-sex and privacy precludes members of both sexes living there
where the job is in a hospital, prison or other establishment for persons requiring special care, supervision or attention and the establishment is essentially single sex
where the job is one of two to be held by a married couple
where the job needs to be held by a man because it is likely to involve performing duties outside the UK in a country whose laws or customs are such that the duties could not, or could not effectively, be performed by a woman.

So, although I can understand that they may not have sufficient staff to always guarantee to send a woman (or a man if that is what is preferred), I do not believe they can refuse to send a person of a particular gender because it is discriminatory.

I would also think that under the SDA that if you were employing someone privately to care for you that you could specify a gender. I know if I was unfortunate enough to need someone to perform 'personal care' on me AND I was paying out of my own money I would feel that I should be able to specify a woman if that is what I want.
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Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I know that my mother would not like a man carer to wash her are the men carer coming in just to sit with your MIL or wash dress her.

when I go to hospital they always ask me do I mind if a man is present or do I want to be seen by a man nurse or woman nurse .so they should respect your mother in law views on that issue

Their 'help' is to say that as the disease progresses, she won't recognise the difference anyway

I am sorry but I would reply to that “I need to cope with my mother in my NOW your talking about the future that has not happen" ………… That is just so ignorant of the SW to say that .


Registered User
Sep 13, 2006
Sorry, I haven't replied sooner. A chaotic weekend with no chance to turn the machine on. Mant thanks for all the help and thanks noelphobic - I've made a note of your research. Ive organised a meeting with the head honcho at SS and will let you know what comes of it.

I do not think that it's me who is worried as I've had far too many children for that; though, it is for me in the way that it takes me ages to settle her down afterwards and she likes pinching when upset.

As for the the personal care, I get her up and dressed and put her to bed, but she is doubly incontinent so often needs changing and washing during the day. But I don't think that this particularlt worrie her as she seems to have lost any sense of 'modesty'. the last time we went to the doctors, she started stripping off in the waiting room. I believe she just does not want men in 'her' house.

I agree also that some of the best carers are male, perhaps I should ask them to come as 'Mrs Doubtfire'.

thanks again.


Registered User
Aug 25, 2006
Hi - my mum is now in a nursing home and her favorite carer is a man - Jacob! She looks for him all the time and all the staff know he's her favorite. She doesn't mind what he does although she did whisper to me one day when he took her to the loo "your dad wouldn't like this"! So, she doesn't mind but still thinks my dad would!
Carers in drag sounds great :)


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
I know my mother would have liked male carers, that was why she invented a few imaginary male characters.