Hello I am really stuck with how to help my parents and reaching out to see if anyone knows of any help.
My mum was diagnosed with Parkinsons’s 3 years ago. Prior to this my dad has never kept very well mentally. He has been suicidal and is now in that place again. My mum recently went back to work full time but I think this is impacting on her as her symptoms seem to be getting worse, she is more tired and she seems to be cognitively deteriorating.
Alcohol has been a huge part of my parents life. My dad has drank every day of my life from what I remember. My mum has also been a big drinker but did not drink every day until about 15 years ago ( I think). I have no doubt that my dad has an alcohol problem and I think my mum has been borderline but I know she has been able to take it or leave it. However after learning about my mum’s deterioration, I asked my dad openly how much mum is drinking now - he said about 2-3 drinks Mon - Fri and then no more than 4 a day at weekends - I have caught him out a lot with dodging the truth relating to consumption volumes so it’s probably 5-6 at weekends and 4 during the week…maybe not but I have a lot of experience on this matter… My first thought is that if he is concerned, stop the alcohol (but of course he won’t because my mum has been his enabler for years). Since I was a teenager I have battled with trying to get my dad to get help for alcohol - I’ve had to deal with alcohol fuelled arguments since I was a child - I have spoken to professionals about my dad and they have told me there is absolutely nothing I can do to help him. They’ve always leaned on me to help them - like I am their parents -especially when it came to arguments between them. I am just now concerned about the impact alcohol can be having on her deterioration. I am now also pretty sure my mum wouldn’t be able to go a day without alcohol nowadays…
I don’t know if anyone can shed any light on the potential impact of alcohol on symptoms if they stopped or if a family member stopped? I feel I need more factual information.
Perhaps my mum is deteriorating anyways and changing the alcohol consumption won’t change that.
I’m also worried about my mum’s cognitive ability and the fact that both my parents are not being realistic about the future. They live in a 4 bedroom house at the moment with huge gardens but will not move. My mum has had falls but they seem to have improved. However, my dad has OCD extreme anxiety so spends hours trying to keep the house perfect and will not change. He will not go to his gp. Was prescribed medication but felt it made him worse. He is just killing himself slowly in my opinion. He works part time so is in the house a lot until it hits 2pm when he heads to the pub. Anyways, my worry is that if they don’t make a change with their living arrangements now, could it be worse if they left it when my mum is struggling to get around completely… Maybe I am trying to make too many changes too quick but I just want them to try make their lives more comfortable and easy.
If I didn’t have two babies 2 and 1, with our 3rd coming along as well as our own business, I would suggest I care for my mum but I just can’t. I do absolutely everything I can to help them when I can. I do all communications, paperwork. Have difficult conversations with my dad to try sort him out. I am taking a discussion with my mum at the weekend and then will speak to my brother. My dad would like me to do housework for them but quite frankly, I just wouldn’t do it so he can hit the pub at 2pm and im stressed out my head trying to run about and my house is never anywhere near tidy cause I can’t manage it…
I am not sure if this all makes sense but any help would be really appreciated. I am struggling to handle this and due my baby in December so need to try help them make changes now before im struggling in 3rd trimester.
A warm welcome to the forum.
First of all, my heart truly goes out to you, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate which I’m sure isn’t easy especially as you’re pregnant. Generally, unless your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse have advised you not to drink alcohol, a small amount, such as a glass of wine or a beer every now and again, should not cause any problems. However, it sounds like your mum has been drinking excessively which could have an impact on her Parkinson’s medication or even cause problems with low blood pressure. It sounds to me like your mum could benefit from some emotional support to help her manage her condition and meeting other people in similar situation may be what she need. We have over 300 local groups and a search tool where she can find a group close to her, please visit our page for more information here - https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/local-groups.
As for your dad, there’s also support available to him via the Samaritans charity. They provide confidential and non-judgemental support for people who are experiencing feelings of suicide. Please visit their website here - https://www.samaritans.org/.
Lastly, our free and confidential helpline is here to answer any questions you have about caring for someone with Parkinson’s. Feel free to call us on 0808 800 0303.
I really hope you find this information helpful and do take care.
Forum Community Manager
Hello, I have read Reah’s response to your post and hope the information she has given will help. I am not sure what I can offer in the way of practicalities to help but if I may, I’d like to offer a view. It sounds as is in one way that or another you have been something of a prop for your parents all your life, leading to your current very complex situation. I daresay it all feels particularly distressing just now with your being pregnant and no doubt have hormones running wild. I agree that the alcohol is a concerning factor but, to be blunt, it is your parents problem not yours and unless or until they are prepared to address that nothing you say or do will make one iota of difference - as I know only too well from having an alcohol dependent parent. They have to want the help, want things to be different and from what you wrote that doesn’t appear to be the case just now. I know you only want to do what’s best for your parents but you can’t be all things to all people and maybe you need to take a step back and think about your priorities and what you are actually trying to achieve. It seems to me that at the moment your focus should be on your own health and safe delivery of your baby in due course and all that you need to do to prepare your children for the new arrival. Your parents are adult and responsible for the choices they make. There will be time enough in the future to address their issues if that’s what you wish to do and if they will let you help. I can fully understand how difficult it must be for you to see what is happening to your parents but it is for them to manage their problems or not, you are already doing the best thing you can for them by being there as the caring daughter you clearly are. I hope you don’t think I am being hard hearted here because that really is not case but the complex and complicated issues of your parents can only really start to be addressed when they recognise and want to do something about it. I hope I haven’t spoken out of turn by writing quite a strong reply when I only know what you have written and you may feel I am not understanding your situation. I sincerely hope this is not so and that it may have given you a different perspective. Look after yourself. Best wishes.
Thank you both for your replies @reah and @tot. I really appreciate what advice you have given.
Firstly Reah - thank you. I am planning to speak to my mum 121 this week to get a better understanding of how she is feeling. She’s never been a very open person but I’m hoping that she will share her feelings with me. I will then able to speak to her about getting more emotional support for what she is going through.
@tot I don’t think you’re speaking out of turn. You’re words are very helpful. Years ago I was advised to do the same by a counsellor. I suppose I have just forgotten or got lost in the emotions so found it hard to figure out what’s the best course of action. I need to remember to create a strong barrier to defend myself from the effects of alcohol as you’re right, they don’t want to change things from the alcohol side of things. I just said that to my partner today, alcohol is their life, always has been and I very much doubt that will ever change.
It’s so sad seeing these things happen with my parents but I also really feel exhausted by their constant need for my support. I’ve never really been able to rely on them as I should. Yes they have loved me and supported me but never been reliable and drained me. Anyhow, thank you both once again for your help
I was so pleased to get your reply as I was concerned I may have caused you upset. It is no consolation but I could relate absolutely with your words. My dad died some years ago and I had long got used to managing to all intents and purposes without parents in any close emotional way. I now have Parkinson’s and Mum and I talk more openly since my diagnosis than we ever did before. I started it because it was important to me she understood. It’s not perfect but we are closer and have a better general relationship. I hope your efforts with your mum helps you, be brave and be honest. That’s all you can do, the rest is up to your mum. Good luck and best wishes.
You’re welcome, I’m happy I was able to help you and I hope the chat goes well with your mum.
Just visiting the Forum for my own offload, and read yours… totally echo the very wise advice given, but also want to express my support for your difficult time. One additional perspective - it sounds like you have been a parent to your parents for much of your life. I’m thinking that just like parents have to let go of stroppy teenagers who won’t listen to advice (we had one of those!) sometimes have to let go, stand by and watch them crash so they learn the hard way… maybe you have to let go and let your parents grow up, crash, and decide for themselves they need help.
Same advice really. just another way of seeing it. Love and thoughts. xx