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I am a 25 year old woman, and am having a hard time giving up my freedom at such a young age. I lived in a big city 3 months ago, and had complete freedom. Now my main concern and priority is my Grandparents. Parts of my life such as a romantic life and friends just don't exist. If there is anyone out there who is in this situation, how do you cope?

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I don't know if DebbieCakes is still around, but her question is from a year and a half ago. That's OK -- the recent answers may be useful to others. I'm just pointing out that there may not be an answer from the original poster.
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Eddie, I like how you always write what I am thinking. DebbieCakes, one thing to consider here is why your grandparents want to continue living in their house if it means that you'll have to sacrifice your life for them to do it. There are in-home care services. There are retirement communities around that are very reasonable. If they need more help, there are assisted living communities. Your grandparents will have chances for social activities with people their own age. And it will free you for getting on with your own life. If you want husband and children, it isn't something you want to put off until they are gone. It is not selfish of you to want these things for yourself. It is only natural. I think it is very sweet of you to care for your grandparents like you do, but there has to be a balance. Life goes by faster than most people realize when they are young. At the present time, it looks like you are the only person making any sacrifices. Your grandparents also need to sacrifice or what Eddie wrote may become your life. There are too many options that they have. You could still be there like a granddaughter, but you could build your own life, too.
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DEB:

They're both functional, so there's no reason for you to give up your social life when you're at your prime. I assume that b/c you live on their turf catering to their needs, wants, and whims is your job. I'd have a heart-to-heart chat with them. If that doesn't work, start making other living arrangements before you become a bitter, resentful old maid and take it out on them.
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You are a very kind and generous granddaughter to be doing what you are doing. Your grandmother is a selfish self centered individual. She should be grateful and allow you to pursue some freedom. Tell her if her behavior does not change you may no longer be able to live in that restrictive environment. Do not loose yourself in their care.
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wuvsicecream, thanks. :) I think I will start logging things. Also, I am being "compensated" in a way. Before I moved here I was about to go to college for the 2nd time, and my Uncle is now paying for me to go to school online. He said he wants me to be well prepared to live a full life when this is all over. I am very much appreciated by my family, it's just that they cannot be here physically to help in that way.

LME, my job is not and never will be in jeopardy for any reason. But thanks for your concern. This is a small town my boss knew me when I was in my mother's womb and she knew the situation before I even moved to the state and has made the proper accommodation. Also, you must have missed former posts, where I stated that my Grandmother's condition is declining rapidly, and that when I start school, I will need someone to be here to help, because every time I come home from work there is a big crisis. Any time I come home from anywhere at any time of day there is a big crisis because she can't seem to remember how to do anything when I'm not home. And I never mentioned or even thought about quitting my job...just because we are all caretakers doesn't mean every situation is the same.
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Do not allow caring for your grandparents get in the way of your job. Your boss may be understanding NOW, but, sooner or later, they will tire of you not being totally available. Have plans in place now for some help. Since your grandmother still drives, it's not like you are needed to care for her 24/7. She can take care of herself; you might have to oversee that she is doing so. Your grandfather needs help. Agencies do have male caregivers available if he or your grandfather do not feel comfortable having a female caregiver. Your grandmother needs to know that you are simply not available for everything, that you have a job. You also have/need a life but you have to gently make them see that. To make friends, you need to get involved in activities, like church, or volunteering at the hospital. Without making new friends or having outside activities, you may become bitter, resentful or depressed. God bless you for what you are doing, but you are way too you to have given up your life to come stay with your grandparents. You must not do anything to jeapardize your job. So many writers complain that they have given up their job to come live with their relative or have their relative come live with them. Then they complain about their health issues and how depressed they are. You need to take care of yourself first.
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DebbieCakes Just to make you smile I wanna tell you your name makes me hungry (cakes) (lil debbies) Just from reading your post I can tell you are wiser than most people that are so much older than yourself and facing similar situations. If you can see the big picture clearer anyone who should be involved uses every excuse under the sun why thier life is more important and too busy to help. Unfortunately this seems to be a stage of caregiver drama, so to speak. If your Uncle is the money you should ask him to compensate you for your time. This is a job that is never properly appreciated or compensated for, and only when you express the reality to the rest of those who are going on with thier lives will you find out who is there to help and who is acting as if you have no life and nothing better to do. You are 25 and have a life just as they do.
With that said: start writing a journal a log book. Don't leave out any details. You want a reference with details on paper.
For example: Long but intersting point so bare with me!!!!
TRUE STORY
I'll give you an insight of one of my caregiving days. After work today (friday) I went to pick Mom up at her nurses aids house(she cared for mom 25 hours a week rest of time, I was with her, 1/2 of that time while I was working she was with me...No break ever not even to PP in peace!!!). She did not want to go home with me just stubbornly refused.(at that time she was becoming increasingly difficult and didn't like me bossing her around) She asked if my sister could come to get her and if she came she would go with her. It is a friday night I worked 11 hours on my feet all day. I called my sister who is scheduled to pick Mom up at 8:30am at my job anyway the next morning. (which by the way she wanted to get paid for and I took money out of my pocket to help Mom & never took a dime from her for her care) I explained Mom's request to my sister and she refused I begged and she still was being a B--CH! Left with no other choice i called the police an ambulance came. I explained the situation and as I didn't know what to do I called them. So off they took her to ER. They wanted me to go to hospital but Mom was getting overly aggitated and I explained I was the reason for her behavior. (I am such a horrable person lol) I gave them all the info they needed, meds, dementia issues, how to contact me and went home. I finally got home and got a call saying I had to pick her up. They cannot keep a person with no physical problems at the hospital. I explained that she will not go with me. Thier response was well you can't leave her here. So they drugged her so she would. So it is now 2:00am I had to drive 1 half hour to hospital to get her and she was so drugged up she couldn't walk. She had to pp so in ER I took her to BR she slided slowly into an awkward position on the floor legs croosed and pants half down, looked at me and said I feel like I'm drunk. ( I actually laughed ) I got someone to help me get her up and then into the car.(was not easy) Then after a long ride home I couldn't get her out of the car. The whole ride home she was Seeing Things! My BoyFr was luckily able to help me get her to bed.....
Next Day: I some how managed to get her up dressed fed and meds and then get us both to my job.
(she had no recollection of anything) Then my sister shows up 2 hours late(ME trying to keep Mom occupied so she wouldn't walk out the door and while trying to keep up with appointments) Sister looks at my face and says to me "WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY!!!!" I think if I tryed kill my sister right then infront of mega witnesses, I would have gotten away with temp. insanity, She would have still asked why I only just wanted a friday night without any drama. Oh!!! and!!! that I should be thanking her for watching Mom 2 days in a month (wich consited of companionship, food and fun time no work involved!!!!) Like I was having a partytime with Mom & all while I was giving up all other things in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow it felt good to get that off my chest after all this time.
It is just the start and what you are doing is for everyone, not yourself, so let them know the valuable assett that you are.
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Hey everyone. Thanks for all the replies. Well, here's the story. My family is very small and very scattered. It consists of me, my mother, my sister and my uncle. I am unmarried, and was living it up in Pittsburgh. My mother has a young teenager in school and cannot move to another state right now, and my grandparents do not want to leave their home. My uncle lives in California, and is president of a major computer/tech company there, so he can't come here. My uncle says he is the money and I am the brains. He supports them financially, by putting money in their bank account and I pay the bills and what not. I work as a pharmacy tech. I have not brought in extra help yet simply because my Grandmother refuses it, so I have come to the conclusion that something just has to happen for her to realize that she needs someone here when I'm gone, and that is terrible. My job is very close to home and she calls me there frequently, lol and that is okay. We live in a very small town and my boss knows us all and is very understanding of the situation as she had been a caretaker for her mother in law. I do want to have a life, have friends and maybe a boyfriend. I think what's going to happen is I am going to just have to wait a bit until my Grandmother accepts that we need some extra help in here, and then I will be able to live my own life as well. My Grandmother hates it when I leave the house and acts as if I am never coming back. Ugh. I leave anyway, I can't stay in the house all day. She drives as well, usually just around town, but also drives about 30 min to the grocery store, usually with a friend, as I have to stay here with my Grandfather. Oh yeah, and my sister lives in England so she can't afford to fly out here right now, and she is married with a child so yeah. It was my decision to come here and I knew it would be hard.
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Debbie: where are all their children? How was it decided that you would take on this enormous responsibility? Something is amiss here and you should not be taking on all their care alone.
You have already noticed how time consuming and isolating caregiving is...it will not get better. As they age, they will need more intensive care that you will not be able to provide.
What is their financial situation? Are they able to pay for their care? Did you give up your job to care for them? If so, please do not jeopardize your financial security to care for them.
Here is some practical advice. Start looking at care centers in your area. If they are relatively mobile, they can live in an independent care community. It is like any other apartment but with some care (such as meals and baths) built in. Assisted Living adds more care with a RN on staff, etc. Later they may need a skilled nursing facility. Do your research now so you know what is available.
In the meantime, do you have their power of attorney? If not, you will need two: one for financial, one for medical. (I used an online company, Legacy Writers. It was easy and inexpensive. Also, make several copies as "originals." You will need to have them notarized and/or witnessed according to your state laws.)
Have all their medical records, from past physicians, on hand and make copies. I carry a small card that lists all Mom's medications so that I have it on hand when she goes to a new doc.
Look into in-home care. Even if they come in once or twice a week for personal care, it will give you some "me" time. Here it costs between $12-18/hr. Find out what services and activities the senior center offers. There may even be low cost adult day care in your area.
Most importantly, do not give up your social life. Make a few friends who understand your situation. Make a point to go out to do anything at least once a week. Or take an online class that will enhance your career.
If you feel this way now, can you imagine how you will feel in 10 years? You cannot recapture your youth and I doubt that your grandparents want you to make this big a sacrifice.
Taking care of our loved ones does not mean that you have to live under the same roof. Find them appropriate care and continue being the involved, loving grand daughter that you are....let us know how things are going......
Lilli
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I feel for you!! I am 32 and have been moms sole caregiver for over 2years now. Let me tell you from experience YOU got to have a plan to get time for yourself. Hopefully, unlike me you have family members willing to help and give you a break. Don't delay asking for help. The longer you wait to get extra help the less chances maybe that family members will help you. They might get the opinion that since your young you can do it yourself.
I jumped into this role with both feet without thinking of myself. I soon realized that caring for mom swallowed me alive taking all my freedoms. No friends, No shopping adventures, no vacations, etc...I became a prisoner in this house. I have no help from family.
I DON'T MEAN TO SCARE YOU. What you are doing for your grandparents is WONDERFUL!! and you should be applauded for that. Don't ever feel bad about getting a break, you deserve that!!!!! At any age caregivers need that time to live their own life. By having a "plan" and sticking to it. You will be able to do your thing outside your caregiving role. For myself, looking back I wish I would have had a "plan". I don't regret taking care of my mom for a minute. But I never realized how hard it would be.
You will figure out what works for you. Whether its help from family or having paid help come into the home. Setting aside time for yourself now will benefit both you and your grandparents. It will keep you from getting "caregiver burnout" and in turn you will be more present mentally and physically to be a caregiver.
You will get many suggestions here on this site. I hope something works for you!! Everyone here understands where your coming from.
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Bless you, Debbie, for taking on this labor of love.

Your grandparents may need help for a year, or two years, or ten, or even fifteen.

However noble your intentions, you cannot give up a romantic life and friends for a year, or two years, or ten, or even fifteen. There are certain things you should be doing at this stage in your life. You need to do them. I don't know if you hope to have a family of your own someday, but if you do you cannot postpone for some indefinite period continuing a social life.

Your grandparents are very fortunate to have you in their lives. That you are living together must be a great comfort to them. Personally, I think that your role should be to supervise them getting the help and care they need, rather than to provide every ounce of it yourself. And that supervisory role is huge and taxing and stressful enough. You have to figure out how you can play that role and still have time and energy to be 25.

I take care of my husband, who has dementia. We have grandchildren your age. If something happened to me I would consider it wonderful if any of those grandkids would step in and see to it that their Grampa has someone to advocate for him and see that his needs are met and help him with care decisions. I would NOT WANT or expect any of them to give up their youth for him. A few months to get things organized and running smoothly and the necessary help in place, yes that would be a most welcome gift. Beyond that I would hope they could provide ongoing support and oversight, but NOT 24/7 care.

There are many ways to express love and provide care. Your responsibility, in my view, is to find the ways that will enable your grandparents to function safely and with dignity while you go about the activities natural to this time in your life.
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DebbieCakes I am not as young as you. No matter how young or old, this effects caregivers just the same. Your priorities about your grandparents are a gift believe it or not. Others might think I am crazy by saying that, but I have good reason for that. My Grandfather took his own life to keep us from the burden of careing for him! I believe that is why I feel so strongly about elders and my Mom and want to help others if I can. Who is handling thier finances? Are there any other family members to help you? You should keep records of daily needs for them what you do for them etc. your grams behavior will help Drs help you. They don't live with them you do.
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