RANT ALERT: Hard time dealing with being full-time caretaker to my Granddad...

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My sweet Granddad (89) had a stroke several months ago, and being the only single family member, I became his full-time caretaker in his home. I volunteered with the knowledge that I would have support from other family members (18 in total, 14 in town). "Support" was actually meant mainly in the figurative sense, instead of the literal sense that I took it under, as I was told a few weeks ago after I pleaded for help and suggested starting a rotating schedule of 3-4hrs every other month from each person to give me a break, and them valuable time with him.
My mom and Aunt (his only children) help with most dinners and clean up (thankfully, because I apparently can't cook...), and on occasion, a cousin also brings dinner... as well as their very energetic children.
I'm with my granddad 24/7, helping with anything from transfers, bathing, home therapy, taking him to appointments, outpatient therapy, and putting up with a friend he adores, but annoys me to no end.
My granddad is the sweetest person you could ever hope to meet or take care of, served in WWII and loves to tell about it, and I've never heard him say anything bad about anyone (knowingly, until the stroke).
What I'm having a hard time with is the fact that I (27) put my life on hold thinking I would have breaks given by family, but that didn't happen. We finally started a respite care, but now he wants to get rid of it because it either is too much money to spend, or he doesn't like having a new person each time and thinks it's pointless to have someone "baby sit" him, as he puts it.
I feel like, yes, I'm here for him and his needs are what matter, but what about ME? I feel selfish for even saying it, but I want someone to care about my needs and my sanity! I'm not one to stay grounded in one place for long, and I don't like being around people all the time, even if it's my sweet granddad. I feel stuck. And I want out, but the alternative, a home, is not in our price range.
I have good days where I feel like I can keep going just a little bit longer, and then the really bad days where everything and everyone annoys me and I want to pack up my stuff and leave.
I'm thankful that I have a creative job that I run from home, but I can't get everything done in a timely manner like I need to because I'm constantly answering questions or getting up for something that he "needs" and won't get himself. And I'm quickly getting burnt out on everything, including my art...
I feel like I should just suck it up and take it and appreciate what help I DO get, but if I do just suck it up, I'm going to go insane and I want to do what is best for BOTH of us.
Apologies for the rant. I'm glad I found this site for caregivers to help me realize that I'm not alone. No one can truly understand what we go through, unless they have been through it themselves.


You are right that you can't continue to do this alone. Basically, your family misled you to think that they would actually help. What they supported was your volunteering to do this so that they would not have to take any responsibility.

Where are your parents in all of this? What about any other adult children that he has.

I think they as a family need to have a meeting and deal with this so that your life does not need to be on hold anymore.

Take care of yourself.
Thank you, cmagnum. :)
My mom and Aunt come over several nights a week to help with meals and I retreat to my bedroom whenever possible, or take a ride on my bike if it's warm. They both take care of all bills, financial issues, legal issues, etc. and I appreciate all of that, for sure! It's mainly the care part that I'm frustrated with, as I'm the "only one" who is able to stay with him, transfer him, etc, because I'm the one without a family of my own and physically able.
I do feel like I was misled in their meaning of support, though. Sanity breaks are usually once a week when respite is here, but as soon as I return (with dread), my attitude and anxiety returns. My attitude towards things needs to change, I just don't know how, or what to do to improve it. :/
And you are only 27, your whole life ahead of you. You need to be thinking about and planning your future. Tell the family you will no longer do this and give them one month to figure it out. TAKE CARE OF YOU!
I am so tired of hearing the same story repeated over and over again of family members who expect the one person who does not have their own family to be the one to do all of the work as if people without their own family don't have a life or are not supposed to have one.

Yes you were misled and frankly I think you are getting used as free and convenient help. I think I'd tell the family what date you plan on being out of there and tell them that he's their responsibility.
ME TOO magnum, and I am one of them, but not 27 any more either. Still does not make me feel better about family members that not only take advantage, but make our lives a living he!! To boot!
Give your family 2 week notice and get out of there! What about your job? Future? Education? Now is the time for you to be thinking about those things and not taking care of your grandfather. Your family is being very abusive. Caregiving is not a job for the youngest most unencumbered family member!
Returning with dread and anxiety after a one a week break following being 24/7! My goodness, that sounds like you are already on the path to burnout!

My dad has 24/7 care at his home, but it is divided up between 3 CNAs who work 8 hour shifts and thereby are able to have a life outside of work. What your mother and others expect of you is unrealistic!

I wish you the best and I encourage you to set up some boundaries to protect yourself.
Stargazer, I believe you are being taken advantage of and you are so sweet, you just don't know what to do. There is something called boundaries that we put up to protect ourselves. Yours were taking a break because you did not realize your family would do this to you. It's time to bring them back up and make a much bolder statement. You have been USED, and I believe it's time for you to get on with your life.

Tell mom and or auntie that it's time for them to find a paid caregiver because you are done. You don't want to remember changing your granddad's diapers, you want to remember his love. That is a fine reason - and you don't even owe them one. You have gone far ABOVE and BEYOND.

When YOU can make arrangements for your housing, you go. The family can call an agency and have ANYONE replace you at a moment's notice. That random person is not volunteering, they are being PAID and they get to go home at the end of the shift.
stargazer, I admire that you have been staying with your granddad. I worry that you are so young and in such a critical stage of your life. You need to be building your career and establishing your own family. It is like you've had your wings clipped so you can't fly away and establish yourself. I know it usually doesn't seem so bad now, but your grandfather may live for many more years. When you're 35 and you look to see yourself alone without much money, then it will hit hard. It is totally okay to help with your grandfather, but not at the sacrifice of your own future. I don't know if you'll need to leave, but you'll have to have more responsibility sharing with the family so you'll have time to work uninterrupted and to meet friends -- maybe even a special mate. Life passes fast. You don't want to give up you at such an early age.

I am not upset with your older family members, because they do help a lot and probably think all is covered. At 27, though, you have to build your own dream. If you're an artist, you need to do shows and sell your work. If you're interested in marriage and kids, now is the time. Just tell the old folks what you need so they can fill in.
If you don't continue to build your life now at 27, you will very likely not have a life later on when your grandfather dies because your life will have ceased being your own.

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