Only 31 and well past burnt out!

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I will warn anyone reading this that I will ramble. I think I completely burnt out a few months ago and now it's catching up to me. My Grandmother is 83.....and there isn't anything wrong with her. And for the last 7 months, because my mom is worried about her, I have been cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and caring for her dogs (and I hate them with a passion). She wants all of this completely for free and with the ability to harass and chastise her help. She doesn't like my cooking so she barely eats anything. It's too salty, too peppery, too hot, too spicy, to weird, too normal, too....fill in your personal complaints here. She doesn't like me even being around but heaven help all of us if I even think about a night out by myself or spend time writing my resume! Because of the personality change, she used to be very nice and understanding, we took her to the docs. After a slew of tests and so many specialist I can't remember all of them it all came back clear. No dementia, no alz, no heart problems, no bowel problems, no cancer, not even depression. She's healthy as a horse according to them. But she wants a caregiver so my mom (a certified nurse midwife) will have me (historian) be her caregiver. How the hell did that work, I don't even remember right now. It was undoubtedly guilt trips and tears but it worked. 4 years of off and on of this and I'm still dumb enough to return, this time it was only to be 2 weeks. I know she can live in her house without a problem but she won't lift a finger. It's not caregiving it's indentured servitude minus a contract or a date for release. I'm sorry for the ranting and rambling I just haven't been able to talk about it to anyone, let alone my family.

5 Comments

Agatha, it is so hard to do, but just say no. Your grandmother doesn't need you to do all these things from what you write. You are the only one who can stop it. You have every right to be upset by what was imposed on you. You'll probably feel mean saying you won't do it anymore, but feeling mean for a little while is better than feeling resentment for years. You would really be doing your grandmother a favor by not being there so much. It will keep her moving around and active. Sitting and letting people do things for you is the best way I know of becoming disabled fast. The old saying "Use it or lose it" has much truth.
It is very hard to say no to family but in the end it is worth. I have told my mom many times that I want her to stay independent as long as she can so I won't do things for her. When it gets to the point that she can't, then I'll be there, but as long as she can she's going to do it. She may be hurt at first but in the end she always thanks me for it. Your grandma is taking advantage of you and you have every right to step back and say no. Also, maybe you need to talk to your mom about how you are feeling. Maybe she should be helping out more. Keep your chin up and be bold!
"I'm still dumb enough to return"

"It's not caregiving it's indentured servitude minus a contract or a date for release"

And there you have it.

Make a plan to get out, set a timetable and do it. You're the ONLY ONE who can. You've been manipulated by both your mother and grandmother. It's time to put an end to it.

It's up to the parents, not the grandchildren, to be sure the grandparents are cared for. If your mom is worried about Gma, there are things she can do to help Gma. There's Lifeline alert in case Gma falls, Meals on Wheels, housekeeping and yard maintenance companies. Maybe there's a grocery store that delivers or takes orders online. Or Gma could keep a running list and Mom could get Gma's groceries when she gets her own. I did this with my inlaws and it worked fine.

But what is not a viable option is you, at 31, derailing your life because they have deemed that this is what they want. You are not being selfish or uncaring for wanting to leave and have a life. That's sane and whole. You've been hit with a lot of guilt and I suspect this is an ongoing thing in your family. Take it from those of us who have been guilted - they will not release you from the hold. You must make the move and stick with it. Don't over talk it....just tell them that it's no longer possible for you to continue and that as of a date (soon), they will need to make other arrangements. Yes, they will be unhappy, but making them happy results in your being quite miserable. Hugs.
When are your two weeks up? do you have a job to return to? a place to live? Go back to them and the next time the call comes to care for Grandma who has "nothing wrong with her", tell you mom that. Grandma has "nothing wrong with her, why does she need live in help?" This is your MOTHER"S responsiblity to help your grandma use GRANDMA'S resources to pay for help. NOT YOURS. Who is going to take care of you in your old age?

You can only be a doormat if you lie down on the job. Sorry to be blunt.

Read a couple of the burnt out folks on this website who have been caring for grandma's with NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM for 9, 10, 12 years. How old do you want to be when this is over? And then you'll take over caregiving your mom, because, "oh, she's so good at this" ? Think about that.

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