Need help telling my Grandmother that I cannot take care of my Grandfather.

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For the past few years I, along with my mother and Aunt, have been taking care of my Grandfather. My Aunt is a registered nurse and lives in their home during the week to care for him and works on the weekend. Up until recently, my mother and myself took over the care on the weekends.

It gradually became unbearable mentally, emotionally and physically. Almost every weekend there was a family blowout (frankly, because my Grandmother was being very rude,condescending and down right mean) eventually my mother simply gave up. My Grandmother has since, been forced to have a private nursing company come in few hours throughout the day during the times when she needs help which has been such a relief for both of us. After I stopped being the care giver on the weekend, I realized how stressed out I truly was and how effected my relationship with my husband and my 6 year old daughter had been because of my stress and inability to live my life. At this point in my life, I am happy. I am living my life and spending quality time with my husband, daughter other family and friends.

Now for my dilemma. My Grandmother's health has significantly declined. I received a text message from my Aunt Pat, who still care gives during the week with the help of the aids, telling me my Grandmother wants to talk to me about what will happen to my Grandfather when she is no long with us. I am terrified that I will be asked to resume the care giving Fridays, Saturday and Sundays when my Aunt returns to work. I do not want to see my Grandfather in a nursing home, however, I cannot go back to where I was months ago. I was very depressed and felt so much resentment towards my Grandparents. I am 32 years old with a husband and 6 year old daughter. I do not feel like this request should be placed on me and feel guilty for feeling this way.

Money is not an object. My Grandparents have more than enough money to pay for around the clock in home care, my Grandmother just does not want to spend the money.

I believe when/if I tell her that I cannot commit to take care of him, she will consider me ungrateful (may even say it) and place a guilt trip me.

4 Comments

It's so unfortunate that so many of us have lived with the infamous guilt trip when we have done nothing wrong at all. First of all, don't feel guilty about telling your Grandmother you will be unable to take care of your Grandfather. It seems you have done more than your share and you need and deserve to devote time to your marriage and child. You are such a loving and caring person who has sacrificed so much for your grandparents. Since they have more than sufficient funds to take care of your Grandfather; you can feel confident that he will have quality care and remain in his home.

Hopefully, your Grandmother will understand that you will not be able to be your Grandfather's caregiver. I know it's easier said than done but maybe if your mother talks with your Grandmother with you, it will be less uncomfortable.





I used to be a visiting nurse for alzheimer dementia patients but I can tell you since my own mother got it... it is a whole different challenge for me...you have to tell your grandmother you love her dearly but you think it would be best if maybe they made the step to assisted living... where they can have more help and care. as you just can not neglect your own family on the weekends all the time.. your own daughter at 6 is in school all week and the only real time she has with you is on the weekend. explain that to your gram she had kids she will understand deep down even if she originally seems mad...she loves you really she does. Talk to you aunt and mom as well and explain the same thing to them they will understand I promise you. Their health insurance will pay for more homecare for now as well some will even pay for a live in person. good luck
Maybe she only wants to talk to you about the fabulous assisted living place she has picked out for Grandfather once she is not with him. (Yeah, right.) But if your hunch is correct (as I suspect it is) and she is going to try to extract from you a promise to look after Grandfather and never let him be placed in a nursing home, practice saying No. Help your mother practice saying No. You've been there, you've done that, and you know the consequences. Just say No.

You can promise her that you'll stay in touch with Grandfather, that you'll visit, that you'll bring his great-granddaughter to visit sometimes, that you'll never forget either of them. But give up all your weekends to do hands-on caregiving? No.

Ah, but then what about the guilt? Of course you do not deserve to feel guilty; you are doing nothing wrong. It is OK to turn Grandmother's request down, even if she is making it from a deathbed.

I was at a conference a few weeks ago on caregiving for folks with dementia. It really changed my perspective on guilt. The psychotherapist speaking said that a certain amount of irrational guilt is pretty much inevitable for caregivers. The goal is to minimize it, push it to the background and go on and do what you need to do inspite of it.

If you say No to Grandmother's request, be aware you will probably have some guilt feelings. If you try to avoid that guilt and say Yes, you will have some guilt feelings about not fulfilling your role as wife and mother. So accept it. You are going to feel guilty. Don't let that interfere with your good judgment. Just say No.
To: Rms0767,
I read everything you wrote in your message. I can relate 100%. My grandfather wants to takecare of my grandmother because she has Alzheimer's. My grandfather has never taken care of anything in a household other than paying the bills. I'm 26yrs old and work full time. In the middle my grandparents took over custudy of their granddaughter which is 7yrs old. My uncle which is my grandparents son has also tryed to tell my grandfather which is 85yrs old that we need to put someone to clean, cook, give my grandmother her medication. My grandfather gets very upset and says he can handle it. NO he can't without my grandmother which is losing her memory he doesn't know much. How can I go about this any suggestions please?!

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