Considering caregiving for my grandmother.

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I am just looking for support outlets. Maybe other people who are also just looking for someone to support them. Well wishes!

18 Comments

Sydnie, how old is Grandmother? How old are you? What is your life experience so far? (School, marriage, work history, etc.) What are Grandmother's needs at this point?

We'd love to here more about your situation.
My Grandmother is 74. I am 28. I am currently unemployed. I want to go back to college & finish a degree I have been working on for more than 6 years. I always get started but then become a work-a-holic. My family wants me to not work right now & go back to school. I just got married (for the second time in my life) to my husband back on April 27th. He is a Truck Driver and he makes decent money. We are also living with his parents (they have financial difficulties - so we help with some of the bills - as if we would if we lived on our own). We have no children, although we want children (Serious health issues on my part). I have one pet, a 110lb 11 year old dog, he is very low maintenance & my husbands family loves him & spoils him rotten. (I brought him into the marriage).
My Grandmother was diagnosed with COPD many years ago (she is a smoker, her whole life). She has serious breathing problems and is on oxygen. She recently was admitted to the hospital for her second stay in 6 months (the first time was 11 days, this one was 8 days) While during this last stay they found a mass in her heart, which she apparently has had since 2009.
My Grandmother is very stubborn, complicated, opinionated, thinks the world owes her (she is a retired LPN of more than 30 years & in her younger days she was in the Military). She is a DNR & lives strongly by that & she "wants" to die.
She has been told that she is NOT allowed to go home to her apartment to live by herself anymore. She has three sons, two that live here in the same state & one that lives in Wyoming. She lived in Wyoming with her son & his wife & their two kids for almost 20 years. Due to the atmospheric pressure & her oxygen needs, that is what brought her back here for almost 6 years now. Her one son is not in a position to care give for his mom. Her last son is my stepdad. My stepdad is an over-the road truck driver & my mom runs a Storage Facility. My Mom and stepdad took care of his father about five years ago, for six years while he battled dementia/Alzheimer's. At that time my stepdad was a contractor & was home more. However, now that he is gone ALOT, my mother can not do it on her own. Her taking care of her father in law, took a lot out on her. She just really can not do another parent. (Both of her parents are passed away - her Father just last year).
Now that everyone is involved, her only options are Hospice House where it has already been determined that she will have to sign over everything upon entrance or a Family member. They would of course, prefer a family member. So, I prayed long & hard about it & have arranged to rent my sister-in-laws single wide trailer (right next door to where I am staying currently).
I guess I just want to make sure I have support (my husband doesn't know how he feels about it, he doesn't say much, he says he supports me. However, I don't necessarily "feel" the support. Not to mention, he is not that kind of guy, at all. His mother has agreed to help me if I need it... but I just already feel a little lost & just want to make sure I can stay strong enough for myself to do this. I am Blessed to know there are groups/sites out there, for this kind of thing. However I feel a little silly knowing I resorted to reaching out this way to feel like I am doing the right thing.
Never-the-less, I really appreciate, more than you know, a complete stranger(s) for reading my story & offering any words of advice, care or support!! Thank-you.
What Jeanne said...

And seriously, you really need to read on before you make what could be a very life altering decision...as in, you won't have any life if you take on this role and your grandmother declines to the point where she needs looking after 24/7. People are living longer and longer. Depending on your grandmother's age, and yours, you could be looking at a decade or more care giving.

Do I personally recommend being a care giver if there is any other choice at all? No. The care giver role can snowball very quickly into such an overwhelming, huge responsibility that the care giver literally loses their own health and well being, their very sanity, their finances, their jobs, all personal free time, any and all outside relationships, and are totally and completely consumed with the care of another, to their own detriment. That's reality in a nutshell. Just like almost every person here can attest to.

I personally recommend people educate themselves about every single aspect of care giving, everything it will entail now, in the present, and everything it could entail in the future as the person gets older and keeps declining and needs more and more care and more and more of your time, before they jump into it.

This is no road for the weak.
I really think this should be between you and your husband. His feelings should be the most important, not ours or the rest of your family. I wish you all the best!
You're married and want kids. Be prepared to put that on hold if you jump into the care giver role. That's not a joke. You're going to be looking at an elderly person on a steady decline, that needs a whole lot of time, especially if they decline to the point where they can no longer do anything for themselves, including personal needs. You'll be changing a baby's diapers, and the elderly person's, too, and both will demand all of you full time. Unless you have a team in place and major help, taking this role on has the possibility to be a disaster of vast proportions, as you struggle to care for someone elderly that will need more and more supervision and care. A baby? Forget it. Education? When? You won't have the time. Your marriage? It best be a strong one, and your husband willing to be on the back burner. You won't have TIME for any of it if you take on someone elderly on your own. Those are simple facts. You'll need a team if you ever want a moment to yourself when, not if, your grandmother declines to a certain point. Are you ready to sacrifice all for the care giver role? You better be, because that's what it could very well mean and come down to.. Sorry, just the harsh, bottom line truth.
Ok, well maybe I wasn't prepared for any of this!! Because my heart rate is increasing & whether it was your intention or NOT, I am feeling a little bullied. From the initial post, I said I was looking for support, which I believe was my first mistake. Maybe I should have said, I have already made up my mind, I am GOING TO care give for my Grandmother AND I AM LOOKING FOR SUPPORT. Thanks for your time, I would rather not have anymore posts from you "StandingAlone". Best Wishes to you!!
Thank-you Macada, I feel as if you are 100% correct!! Solid piece of advice, at this point. Best Wishes!!
Sydnie, you do what you have to. Frankly, I don't have any personal interest in your situation, nor do I care what you choose to do. It's your life. I gave you the best advice anyone ever could...freaking REALITY. If all you want is fluff, someone telling you what a great, wonderful role care giving is, how happy and joyful it all is all the years you do it, you're right, you won't want to hear from me, and from half the people on this site.

Bullying you? *laughs* I gave you the bare bones TRUTH of what you could be facing. YOU do as you please. Why would I care? I've given you damn good advice, and things that you SHOULD be thinking of, but you get freaking offended by it? Have you even bothered to READ anything around here? Oh yeah, you're in for an eye opener, and if things go the way they have for the vast MAJORITY of the people here, you'll learn it blind and the hard way. It's your world. Do what you have to do. It's nothing to me what you do.
It sounds to me like you have thought about this alot, and have made a good start on your plans. You also seem to have some back up for the begining. I got sprung into taking care of both my parents about 3 months ago. My husband was not totally on board but is hanging in there and getting better at it. Go for it, use the back up you have when you need it, and you can re-evaluate when you need too! Good luck. We are doing OK so far (not always easy, but we expected a learning curve), so will you!
Sydnie, you've already made up your mind. Did you take into consideration the kinds of things StandingAlone said? Because even if she wasn't answering what you asked, she was telling the truth as it applies in many cases.

I don't understand why GM's only options are Hospice House or a family member. What about assisted living? What about a nursing home? And I don't understand why she would have to sign over everything to go there. Medicare pays for hospice care, and if she has been paying rent, can't she use that money to pay the rental part of the hospice house, the part Medicare doesn't cover?

Have her doctors said she is ready for hospice care? You can also get hospice care to come into her home (your rented trailer) and provide assistance there.

Does Grandmother love your dog?

Why is it a problem for Grandmother to use up the rest of her assets on hospice or other care? Are you considering this in order to save her money for family to inherit? (This is not a criticism. It just helps to understand the whole picture.)

What does Grandmother want to have happen now?

If you've made up your mind even though your husband is not fully committed to the idea and you don't sense his full support, and even though just reading about what often happens to very young caregivers of very ill elders makes your heart race, then I wish you well.

Come back and post often, letting us know how this is working out for you, and asking specific caregiving questions as well as sharing the successes you are having. We learn from each other here.


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