Moved Grandma to Independent retirement near me and I'm exhausted already! Just need to vent and ask advice.

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I am glad to have found these forums!

Sandwich generation. Some backgound. I am 42, DH 48 and we have 16 month old twins and my 85 year old father-in-law with us. My FIL was always in excellent health until the kids were born and then multiple surgeries have affected him. He is very mobile but has early dementa. He has lived with my husband and I for years now and has been very easy to live with so far.

The issue is my very needy and lazy grandma is 73. (I love her very much BTW, just stating facts!) She realized she was spending her money to fast and looked to my brother and I to find a new living situation for her. She once had a lot of money, but paying for help when she didn't need it took its toll. I found an awesome independent retirement home 10 minutes from me and she moved in. The month of July felt like it would never end between getting her moved, having a yeard sale at her place and getting her situated with doctors.

Mentally, my grandmotehr is great, physically, not so much. She has osteoarthritis and a bad back with failed back surgery and is totally reliant upon her scooter, which I hate. Once, after a hospital stay, she was so weak that she went to rehab and could actually walk again with a walker, but as soon as she went home, she got right back on her scooter and now can only transfer again. She also has incontinece issues and takes 27 pills a day!

I already know, as her previous neighbor has warned me, that grandma is thinking that she is going to move in with us one day! She is always inquiring about the health of my FIL, and I know her ulterior motive. I have gleened from reading this forums that this is a terrible idea. She has enough funds to live about 4 years there if she stops her ridiculous catelog shopping habit.

She is running me ragged already. She doesn't like to lift a finger for herslef and will manipulae people into doing things for her. This neighbor that she used to have would walk my grandmother's dogs every day for her. My grandmother could take them on her scooter, but she won't.

She needs her pacemaker replaced now and we had 3 medical appointments last week and another 3 lined up this week already. This places huge stress on my DH, who is taking care of our twins and FIL whle I am gone.

Still yet, there will be the actual procedure and hospital stay. Then I still have to take care of getting her set up with a urologist and opthamologist and vet.

Then there are the phone calls daily, letting me know the moment she runs out of something. And taking care of her finaces, changing addresses, consolidating bank accounts, the list goes on and on.

My mother lives 10 minutes away too, but this is her step-mother and their relationship is not great. My grandmotehr has done some very greedy and selfish things and I don't blame my mother and am not going to ask for her help. My mother has her own health issues and loading and loading my grandmothers scooter would be a challenge for her. She has always been the grandma I have known in my life even though we are not blood. She has never had any children and does not understand their constant needs.

I was feeling pretty stressed before reading these boards about my grandmother's eventual request to move in. But I know now that I need to put the needs of my family first and that I cannot do that and be the caregiver she needs. This will mean a NH down the road, so I will have to be strong.

The retirement home provides all meals, has on site caregivers that charge $10/day. This is a huge savings for her right there! They also provide housekeeping. The transportaion my grandmother cannot use because they are not able to take her scooter. I am trying to get her set up for our county para-transit service and I know she will act like she can't go anywhere by helself, but I am not taking her to get her nails done, dang it! I also have her set up with a pharmacy that delivers.

I do not mind taking her to an appointment or two a month and going over a night weekly after my kids are in bed to take care of her bills and bring her things she needs. I know that she is looking to me for companionship as well and I hope that as she makes friends, that need diminishes a little.

Any other advice or words of wisdom for me to balance things and set boundaries? Anyone have experience with para-transit? Is it un-realistic to expect her to use it in a town new to her, and by herslef, even though all she needs is the address of her destination?


My dear, you have a very full plate. Twins, disabled FIL whose needs are only going to increase with age.

It seems to me you need to set some boundaries it your grandma. If she's in Independent Living, her needs for outside assistance should not extend to more than once a week. On YOUR schedule.
42twinsmom, time to stop enabling your step-grandmother.... she's able to do things for herself, but sounds like she wants attention. like Babalou said above, no more than once a week, if that, you already have your hands full with toddlers and a Dad-in-law who needs your help.

Unless step-grandmother has memory issues, she should be able to handle and pay her own bills. Or you could set up the bills to be paid automatically out of her checking account.

As for her moving into your home, that won't happen unless you hold open the front door for her as she moves her furniture in. Hopefully once she is settled in her retirement building, meets new friends, etc. she will stop thinking about moving in with you.
Babalou, Yes, we do have a very full plate! Once a week was exactly what I was thinking. Once her pacemaker is replaced and we have the met all the doctors that she will be using things should settle down.

Fregflyer, my grandmother definatly likes attention. She has minor memory issues and can't write out her checks propery, but I am in the process of cancelling and and consolidating services, so she will have few bills from here on out. Cetainly will be doable once a week. As far as her moving into our home, she is only 73. If she outlives her money, which is highly likely given that she has about 4 years worth of funds. she will try to guilt me into it.

Once I have her established with her Dr's and her pacemaker is replaced, if her appointments exceed a couple a month, is it wrong of me to find someone she can hire to take her? That is how she used to handle it, but we all lived hours away then.
42twins, a word about Dr apppointments. For my mom, they became the focus of her social life and the focus of her anxieties. She was going to the eye doc every 3 months until I realized that she was needlessly worrying over something she had misunderstood.

Once we got mom hooked up with a good geriatrics doctor, a lot of the other appointments became unnecessary. He treated her dry eyes, her vaginal dryness, her high blood pressure symptomatically. Without a lot of tests. Now, she was 88 at that point, but you mention memory problems. Has she been evaluated for dementia, by a neurologist who will send her for extensive cognitive testing? That would be an investment worth the time, to clarify for you what her needs are, and what they are going to be in the future.

The short answer is yes, your children come first.
All of the advice you've gotten is good. Your first priority is your OWN immediate family, your children and your husband. Since most all of your grandmother's issues are self-inflicted, my sympathy for her is very limited.

As others have said, set limits and set them now, or she'll continue to run you ragged. She can pay others to handle most of what you're talking about, you don't have to be the one to do it. If she won't use para-transit, that's her issue, not yours. You could suggest physical therapy to get her back walking again. If she's not willing to do that, then she's made her own bed and needs to suffer the consequences. Where my mom lives (in independent living) they have an in-house beauty salon, so she might be able to get her nails done in house. Tell her you'll do something for her once a week for X amount of time and let her pick what that is. And stick to that limit!! Don't let her manipulate you. You have your own priorities and she's far down on that list.
Word to the wise, limit those doctor appointments unless it is something like follow up appointments for Step-grandmother's pacemaker.

My parents use to go to a ton of doctor appointments during the year. Half the time I need to blame the doctor who says "come back in 3 months", and the parent has a half dozen specialists, that's a lot of going back. For what? Took time off from work and drove all that way for my parents to say "I feel good" and out the doctor door.

Well, I had to put the breaks on driving, was getting too many panic attacks while behind the wheel, so I had canceled all my parent's appointments. Well, it's been 10 months now and lo and behold my parents are still doing fine without those appointments. I think half the time it was an outing for them.... and my Mom liked hearing from some of the doctors she only saw once a year who said "see you next year"... Mom is 97, thus it was reinsurance for her.
Wow, twinsmom, I can relate! Your step-grandmom sounds a lot like my mother. If you gave her an inch, she'd try to take a mile. Once, when she asked me whether my sister or I would respond to the letter she received from her insurance company, I suggested she do it herself. When she objected, I told her that everyone would like to have someone else do all their grunt work for the, but life doesn't work like that. She smile slyly and said "It does when you get to be my age." In other words, she feels entitled to have someone else take care of all her tasks even if she could do them herself. She also roped other people into walking her dog (when she had one) rather than taking her dog out using her scooter.

You really have to set boundaries with such people. It's all right to say "NO" and mean it. Don't run over there every time she calls. Limit your visits and your running of errands to once a week or less.

About the doctors' appointments, I tried to do as freqflyer suggests but it hasn't worked. My mother sees 5-6 specialists. My sister and I split up these visits. I don't know who to limit them or which ones to cut out. They are always saying to come back in 3 weeks or to follow up with a different specialist. Sigh..
Thanks for all the responses and advice! I should also mention that grandma is a retired nurse supervior, so she knows her medical stuff and probably feels very comfortable being in those settings. Naturally, she is a horrible patient herself!

The appointments currently are directly related to getting her pacemeake replaced and meeting her new primary care dr. She will have to see the primary care monthly to monitor protime levels for her heart medication after out initial visit. The podiatrist will be every 9 weeks. The cardiogist, urologist, and opthamologist should be infrequent.

Bablou - I looked over all the early dementia and altzheimers lists I could find online and see really no symptoms. She is pretty sharp, up with current events, remembers the past clearly, prolific reader. Not sure why writing the dollar amount for her checks is a problem. I will mention it to her doctor. Thanks for the advice.

Blannie, Yes, definitly hard to feel sorry for things that are a result of her poor choices. Part of the reason my mom is, for lack of better word, disgusted with her. She won't do the physical therapy. She had home health for a while, but if someone is not there to make her do the exercises, she won't bother. Lazy, lazy lazy!

Fregflyer, I never thought of questioning follow-ups that are so soon! I am going to do that for sure. What I think I'll do is tell them I will call to schedule the follow-up visits, just to make sure they dont' get scheduled so close, rather than booking them on the spot.

CarlaCB - Wow! You are right, they do sound a lot alike! I could imagine my grandma saying the same thing. That is exactly what it is -feeling entitiled. She is like a queen on her throne and when my grandfather was alive- he the king. When he was still alive, they'd keep a blackboard in the house and when we'd have a family get-together, our lists of chores would be waiting there for us. Eventually, my mom exploded and that stopped, but I know my grandma just keeps her mental chore list for us now. I admit, I don't want her to ask me to walk the dogs, so I always try to situate myself so she doesn't have the opportunity to ask me. I'm not lazy, I just don't want to be doing things for her that she could be doing for herself. Her excuse is that she gets the leashes tangled in the scooter - well, not if she only takes one dog at a time! Get this though, I mentioned that there are on-site caregivers there and grandmas was initially off Wed and Sat evenings. She is actully coming back on those nights now to walk the dogs! The caregivers been there 14 years, she's must have dealt with people like my grandmother before. I was incredulous when my grandmotehr told me. I just don't see how she doesnt think this is not right. I don't think she'd narcistic, but I don't know what I'd call her.

I hope that it doesn't happen that way with the appointments for my grandmother. I can't do this weekly. I work from home and it is easy to be taken advantage of of when you do.

Thanks again all for the great input! I am feeling much more confident in my dealings with her now and when I start to feel anxious again, I'll come back and re-read all of teh positive support!

One thing to check is whether you have a public health nurse who can come in and do the pro-time check at your grandmother's facility. Or whether they have on-site home health people who can do that. At my mom's independent living facility, there's a "Village Nurse" who is wonderful and comes in once a month to take my mom's INR (pro-time). She faxes it to mom's doc who calls me with any changes to her coumadin/warfarin dosage. So no need to visit the doctor.
Consider getting a "second hand wheel chair" she can use to take advantage of the the "independent living" transportation service. She can use it to go to her appointments, fold it up and store in closet and use scooter all other times. That way she can go where ever the available transport goes and does not make you the automatic taxi service!

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