I hear it's all about choices...

Started by

Grandma was admitted into the hospital from an assisted living facility, her main condition was listed as failure to thrive. Now I am questioning the decision I made over a year ago to move my grandmother into my home. At the time, I knew it was huge and I wondered if I could truly handle it. I decided I could, and unfortunately I failed to take into consideration the impact it would have on my children. Grandma adores my son but only tolerates my daughter. My daughter has been subjected to unfair favoritism and she is fully aware of it. I am very angry right now. That is such an understatement at best.

I know all the sacrifices I have made and I did it willingly at the time, but things have changed. I look at the state of my life and the quality of my children's lives, and I question my decision. I want to 'undo' our living arrangement and get back on the track of being the best mom I can be, which I've recently redefined. There was a time that I thought as a role model that meant taking care of my grandma in my home with my children helping along the way. It seemed like the only right thing to do, but now I'm not so sure. Today it seems more like we are all hostages because grandma didn't want to acknowledge her abilities declining and she wanted to stay in her home as long as she could. The truth is, she stayed too long and refused to plan for the time when she couldn't.

Now, I can't help but ask myself why I continue to take responsibility for the choices she made, rather refused to make year after year. The truth is, the children and I have done a remarkable job with making her comfortable and happy in a life she would NEVER have chosen for herself. The catch is that now I've noticed that the three of us are no longer thriving, but she is. Is it worth it? I find myself in a quagmire of family values; priorities vs. loyalties. Honestly, I do not know what I am going to do to change the current situation. But, because of my experience I have become very proactive and set up long term care plans for myself so I never put my children through a dilemma of this sort. However, I'm not sure that means very much to them at this point.


Dear Jamie, it will definately mean much to them later on. Sounds like Grandma, has been truly blessed to have people take such good care of her. However, as usual, the rest of the family has made a huge sacrafice. It sounds as if Grandma needs to go to assisted living, so you can finish raising your children. I too am struggling with this same situation with my father. I too need to finish raising my children, and give the time back to my daughters that has been taken away, for the last 10 months. 10 months has felt like ten years, sad to say. Good Luck to you and God Bless you, and get back on track for yourself and your family. Nauseated
Wow ladies, this thread makes me cry. The whole caregiving thing is making me crazy. A little over a year ago, I was a wife, and a stay-at-homeschool mom of a wonderful little guy. While it wasn't perfect, I miss the freedom I had. I could do what I wanted, any time I wanted, and was pretty content with the way things were. Jamiea, I can relate to feeling like a hostage. I feel like my parent's needs are stealing ours. My husband and I were just discussing this. He said that we are unhappy because we want things the way they were, and don't want to give up our lives for others, but that we are supposed to serve. I am legal Guardian and Conservator of two, and my husband of one. Little did we know the extent of our responsibilities and duties in this position. I literally feel buried and crushed by it most of the time. Dad is no problem. With Alzheimer's, compassion takes over, and he is a joy to serve. But the Mama Drama is a stressful, ongoing, devastating nightmare! Quagmire is a good choice of words to describe it. Can't we all relate to that? I am so thankful that Dad is well cared for in a Nursing Home (where he needs to be due to Advanced Stage Alzheimer's). But Mom and I have always struggled. The current struggle is our compassion toward her due to health problems and incapacity, versus anger over her lifelong poor choices and their accompanying consequences. Her expectations of me go beyond the relational bridges built. I'm ashamed to admit that I wish she were in a Nursing Home too, because the way it is makes everything that much more difficult for everyone. Time, distance and decline sum up the situation. It's a lose/lose scenario for all concerned. I asked my husband if he resented the time it takes away from him to care for everyone else. He said he understands. (Man of grace and forgiveness.) But my eight year old? Am I forsaking his life to care for my parents' lives? Mine is gone as well, due to the demands by parents, Probate, and stress. Nothing was planned ahead of time, and I've had to clean up huge problems left behind. The feisty firstborn gets the work and criticism. My baby sister (48) calls me a martyr. What's wrong with this picture? Of coarse, nobody forced me to assume responsibility, but what was the alternative - neglect? Chicken Little was told what to do. I did it. My reward? Criticism, false accusations and fatigue. Little did I know...
Some days I wish I could just hand my new responsibilities back to Mom and Dad, and be their "kid" again. Other days I wish someone would take over for me, or guide me through this unknown territory (kind of make all the decisions for me). Neither scenario would work. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I failed. What would the court do? Who would take over then? Not knowing what to do seems like the hardest part. There are so many choices, and no clear cut answers or solutions. My brain goes in circles contemplating all the possibilities. And it seems that no matter what I decide, it all involves work for me. I'm having a hard time following through with things, hesitate in making decisions because I can't see the whole picture, and fear the outcome. It is not pleasant holding the responsibility for someone else's life in the balance of my choices. Fear and fatigue immobilizes me. Does anyone else experience like this? Got any suggestions?
Anne, OMG! I too am having the same thoughts as you. Especially today, I felt so depressed, like I'm falling into a bottomless black hole. I feel horrible because I too am hesitating making decisions by not being able to see the whole picture. I'm trying to just handle one thing at a time per day. But the bigger decisions are based on many factors. I too am cleaning up a big mess that took years for dad to create. I am having to clean it all up, and the only child or family member left to do it. I once had a social worker come to my house to speak to my dad as a last resort, because he was being so difficult. This was before I obtained guard/cons. She had suggested that since we were having such differences, that she suggested an outside conservator, and a guardian ad litem. At first it sounded wonderful, then I could go back to just being the daughter again, instead of the enemy. I decided to think it over for at least 24hrs or more. After that, I decided that would have been the worst possible route to go because if ever he went into a facility, I would have absolutely no say whatsoever in the kind or quality of care he received, nor would he. I know I made the right decision for my dad. My suggestion is the same suggestion I am giving myself, and that is to just take one assignment at a time per day, instead of looking at it whole, it is less stressful and overwhelming that way. Hoping everything else will just fall into place. We must pray this will happen. Anne, we are here for you. Love and Hugs! Nauseated
Thank you dear naus! Just got back home after traveling 450 miles down to care for Mom and back. So strange. She's OK one minute, then slamming down sick and tired the next
Mom was doing fine when we got there, I thought. I took her to her surgeon's appointment yesterday. He said they found "something" on her lung, but wasn't worried about it. Thanks a lot! He scheduled her Cancer surgery for left breast lumpectomy for Wed. April 1th @ 6:00am. Another reason to be thankful, since I live 200 miles away. Means I have to drive down the night before, and stay awhile, because they said someone has to stay with her for two days following surgery. They sent her for a CT Scan of her lung yesterday. She said, "I'm glad you were here, because I would have missed the appointment because of the public transportation, and I hate the bus." Again, my life on hold...absorbed into her health issues.

Got Mom and Dad's taxes done yesterday as well. Went to the Probate Court to ask questions, because their first year's accounting is due soon. As Guardian/Conservator, do we pay ourselves a fiduciary fee? What's fair? I've worked my tail off trying to help them over the last year, and sacrificed my own family, home, time, and interests doing it. In return, I got complaints and criticism from Mom and uninvolved sister. How thankful is that? Still, I just keep helping Mom. Compassion, duty, pity, and service calls. I feel sorry for her, but struggle with the sympathy part at times. She is not very nice, but absolutely needs help.

Can't wait to see my Dad. He is stuck in the Nursing Home with Advanced Stage Alzheimer's. He is doing better there than with his wife, and needed full-time assistance. We miss visiting him when I have to go downstate to care for Mom. We enjoy serving him, and helping him with his needs. Can't explain the difference, but it is as different as night and day. Strange...

We are living in reaction mode. One catastrophe after another. Weary in the battle, and needing a break!
3930 helpful answers
Anne, it's so natural to feel differently about each parent. We don't choose our parents, and some are easier to help. You are definitely battle weary. I hope you get some kind of break. That feeling of duty is hard to ignore, but you've really got your plate full. And then having them in different locations, so you have to travel so much...it's got to be tough.

You have so much wisdom to share. Keep checking in.
Thank you, Carol. Hope all is well with your battles regarding the flooding. My Dad lives 4 minutes away. He was messing with me just now as I tried to video tape him and photograph him for CarePages.com and share with family. Dad wouldn't get up for the Men's luncheon today, and wouldn't eat while we sat there. He did put an orange juice glass in front of his face as I tried to get a snapshot of he and I together. There are so few good ones. And as his grandson tried to tickle him, he growled. I asked what kind of wild animal he was and he laughed and laughed. How I so wish I could have a video of him playing with us. As his Alzheimer's progresses, he is less able to communicate fully. I recorded some of his conversation today. Those will be precious memories.

As for Mom, she is better today after a new script arrived yesterday. But the doc said a problem with lymph node next to her lung and PET Scan Thursday prior to surgery. My husband bought me a beautiful van yesterday for my birthday. That should be a blessing for all the upcoming miles we have to travel. Some blessings in the midst of battle. A huge cold sore popped out under my nose yesterday, but it is already healing, and there's been so much loving support - how can I complain? Thanks for your kind words. My wisdom comes from above
Carol, my post got cut off. I wanted also to say, my blessings come from above, as well. Sometimes those blessings come from the wonderful support, and love from the angels on this site. I pray you all have a blessed day! You have sure been a blessing to me. Thank you, A
3930 helpful answers
You, too, Anne. You are a blessing to us.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support