Real Life MMD: Should we keep paying for son's extras?



  • Brian_Steele
    Brian_Steele Posts: 96 Forumite
    Most importantly, this is your husband's son we're talking about, so without a doubt he is going to want to provide for him, and quite rightly. My view of marriage is that you support your other half and share everything, so you go along with this. Note that I am of the view that I cannot understand how any marriage would have anything other than a joint account and pooled income.

    On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with saving money in what you are doing. If the son's things disappear so quickly, then buy cheap replacements. Is there any way of understanding where the things are going? Is someone stealing them?

    I think the son needs help and parents have always made sacrifices where their children are involved, but there is nothing wrong with being efficient in the way you help him.
  • 19lottie82
    19lottie82 Posts: 6,027
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    jockanese wrote: »
    I can't believe i'm reading this. What a selfish, awful thing to ask.

    That's really harsh! As the OP says, they are stuggling, it would be fine if they could afford it but the post suggests they can't. Maybe her husband feels some sort of guilt over his sons current situation, hence all the high expenditure. I'm sure she doesn't want to stop all the visits and all the spending, but would welcome some ideas on how to cut back.....

    I'm sure most of us would love to pay for everything for their offspring, but realistically, most of us can't. Also if his son is 28, I'm guessing there is a good chance that they are pensioners.

    You should consider all the factors before you judge so harshly.
  • lilykim
    lilykim Posts: 554 Forumite
    I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I do think the suggestion that other members of family and some friends maybe take turns visiting is very sensible. After all the time may come when you yourselves are feeling the physical and mental strain of the situation. My elderly father recently had a spell in hospital and yes, he did look forward to visiting hours, but understood that not everyone could go every day.
    Growing old disgracefully!
  • This topic rang so many bells for me. 5 years ago, our daughter, then 17, was badly injured in a car accident, and was rushed to hospital in a coma with serious head injuries as well as other physical injuries. When she came out of the coma (after about 3 weeks) she could do nothing - could not recognise us, move, eat, talk, read, walk etc. Only through intensive therapy and rehabilitation over an 8 month period was she able to partially recover some of her facilities and leave hospital (for which we are eternally grateful to the medical staff).

    During that period my wife and I visited her every day, often twice a day, travelling 30miles each way. Her mental condition during much of that period was that she had lost all of her learned behaviour, had no memory, short-term or otherwise, and was in many respects an infant and then child again. She frequently lost things and demanded others, and she absolutely depended on our presence for any peace of mind at all, or to make sense of what she was going through. I can well imagine a similar situation for patients having suffered mental breakdowns.

    So my response to the dilemma is this - time and money should not be a factor you should consider cutting back on. You have to do all that you can for your loved ones. Yes, take the precautions suggested by others here, but don't stint on the visits or support. In the long run, it will be worth it.
    A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.
  • bezman
    bezman Posts: 2 Newbie

    This is my first post on this forum, apologies if I speak out of turn.

    As a mental health patient thats been dipping in and out of hospital stays for the last 20 odd years I feel qualified to throw my opinion into the debate.

    Stop bringing the gifts. Take something cheap and simple like a newspaper or a packet of his favourite biscuits. The cd's,slippers etc will always go missing. Either due to theft or your son genuinely losing them. The gifts offer a very brief temporary distraction, what really counts and makes a difference are your visits. These provide him with love, one-to-one attention and a valued break from the monotony / routine of a mental health unit. These visits will do far more to aid his recovery than a cd. This has always been the case for me and the vast majority of my fellow patients.

    Just be there for him as a loving non-judgemental stable figure and he will get through this.

    I wish him all the best.
  • annie123
    annie123 Posts: 4,256
    Combo Breaker First Post
    I'm doing what you're doing right now, only it's my mum and she has left the hospital and gone into a half way house care home.
    She has Schizophrenia and had a stroke at xmas which is how she ended up in hospital to start with. It's a 150 mile round trip from me £30 in petrol each time. I'm unemployed but my husband is working.

    Mum looked forward to every visit in hospital and also asked for lots of things to be brought in too.

    Had I have visited daily it would have cost over £800 pm in petrol alone! so that was out and her brothers and other family members were too busy etc to visit and still haven't:mad: So she had me and my family.

    My husband is working 6 days a week now to pay for my travel to see her. I would do the same if it was the other way round, and indeed have done so in the past. Marriage is supporting the other partner when they need it, and this time its my turn to need his support.

    I visited every 5 days in hospital but phoned her daily, this she liked as it was an opportunity to ask for things she needed!

    In between visits we also posted things, anything, could be a magazine, sweets, oranges, toothpaste, she liked getting parcels, it gave her contact with the outside world and a sense of normality.

    She would say things were stolen/lost, when in reality when I spoke to the staff she had asked them to throw them away as it was broken/poisonous/talking to her.

    We went to jumble sales/charity shops to source things so it didn't brake us financially and it kept mum happy. We still do the same now.

    Savings are there for, amongst other things, emergencies and what you have at the moment is an emergency.
    Deal with it the same as you would any other the best you can with the funds available.

    Put yourself in their shoes, how would you feel? what would you want to happen?
    I did and very quickly came up with our plan to deal with the emergency (even if it is now a 6 month one and on going) that helped mum the best way we could and didn't lead to us having to use credit cards to buy our own food or pay bills.

    What ever you were plaining to use those savings for can wait till this emergency is over, then start saving again.

    If it were you in the hospital you wouldn't want your husband saying, "I'm sorry I cant visit you or buy you little things, those savings are for emergencies/holidays etc and you're not worth more than them" would you?
  • superbabe612
    superbabe612 Posts: 145
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    You have my sympathies for the emotional, physical and financial strain you must be under. My late mother-in-law spent 10 months in hospital before she died, and my father-in-law was in respite care in a nursing home at the same time. I had a 10 mile drive home from work every day immediately followed by a 20 mile round trip (in the opposite direction) to the hospital/nursing home which took up to 3 hours including visiting times. Plus we had to pay for parking at the hospital (if we could find a parking space!), and my children were too young to leave at home on their own so we took them with us. Eventually we realised we couldn't all do the trip all the time, so my partner went almost every day, I would fill in for him on the missing days, and the children would come with us at weekends.

    Financially we were struggling anyway, so it was difficult, but we were later reimbursed for any personal items we needed to buy for MIL/FIL out of their pension. If your stepson is entitled to benefits when he comes home, could you use a little of his savings now to try and get some bargains? Shop with a budget in mind, and try to buy own-brand supermarket products if possible. We buy fizzy pop and fruit juice for my father-in-law, but we buy a multi-pack then just take one or two bottles at a time for him. We buy supermarket/budget clothes so it's not as costly to replace them if they go missing.

    It's not an easy routine to live with, especially relatively long-term. My partner is an only child so there's only us to do the visits/looking after - does your husband have any other family that could visit may be once a week/fortnight, just to give you a break? Don't give yourself a hard time if you miss visiting for a day. Remember, you can only look after someone else if you take care of yourself first.
  • bezman wrote: »
    The gifts offer a very brief temporary distraction, what really counts and makes a difference are your visits. These provide him with love, one-to-one attention and a valued break from the monotony / routine of a mental health unit. These visits will do far more to aid his recovery than a cd.

    Yes, exactly. Shame on those of you who say the only way of showing love is to spare no expense. If the OP and her husband get into debt because of this, that won't do anyone any good, least of all the stepson.

    Having said that, copies of CDs are a great idea, and perhaps [cheap] slippers labelled with the stepson's name should be a priority if possible.

    I wish you all the best.
  • I write this from personal experience..... I am 29yrs old and I had a complete breakdown a 5yrs (recovered now) due to depression.

    My parents came to visit me everyday (also a 40mile round trip) DO NOT STOP THIS! Maybe drop 1-2 days a week but that's it. He needs you!

    As for property going missing it does happen regularly! Other patients are sometimes in a lot worse mental state and do take it or damage it. Rooms are not locks for safety (unless going away for a home visit or on request) Gifts are nice, but as earlier suggested (burn a copy of the CD) But gifts dont make people better! My parents spoilt me- I think out of guilt, looking back I was aware of this so I did ask for things- 20fags a day, CD's, new clothes, drawing materials, food.... over 22wks that builds up to £1000's

    I would suggest you speak to the hospital staff about benefits they will be able to help you (the staff at my hospital were amazing), they will tell you the options you have etc.
    I signed over power of attorney to my father so he could sort and have access to my account, debts etc.

    My personal opinion...... use his savings! Or tell him you will use his savings for 'gifts' you will soon find he asks for less! This isn't to be nasty or cruel.... its to stop him making you both feel guilty, your husband may feel he has let his son down. He hasn't! Showing you care and that you love him, is visiting the hospital as much as you can, talking, talking about the future, hugs etc.

    I hope he gets better soon.

  • MsHoarder
    MsHoarder Posts: 410 Forumite
    How about you offer to pick up/prepare your step-son's presents for your husband? Then go to budget shops, order CDs on Play and then burn him copies. Then you're trying to help, and he is still getting the things he needs/wants hopefully without breaking the bank.

    Unfortunately if you are already doing this, your husband will not want to stop providing things for his son until he is out of hospital. Make sure you know about the financial situation, and stay out of debt if possible. Possibly remind your husband that his son will need real financial support (for a flat or transport or furniture) when he leaves hospital, more than he needs CDs now.

    Make sure he's not left unvisited though!
    "Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world."
    — Frank Warren
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