My grandmother was a dark cloud on our lives before she was elderly, and now she is our responsibility. How can we take care of someone who's negatively impacted our lives so much?

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Living with an elderly person is not easy. My grandmother has just recently gotten ill but she has been mentally abusive to my mom and I for many years. Now that she's really getting old and losing basic abilities to care for herself, she expects us to take care of every little need, ordering us around and going into rages daily. She will purposely break anything that belongs to us, slam cabinets, and scream at us through our bedroom doors (and this was before her dementia got worse). She's recently lost the ability to control her bladder, and now we spend our days cleaning up after her. My mom is 61 and very tired as well as mentally exhausted from putting up with her abuse all her life. We don't have money to put her into a home (where she can get legitimate help) and have no money for the kinds of things she needs now (like medication and diapers). She was a dark cloud on our lives before she was elderly, and now she is our responsibility. How can we take care of someone who has negatively impacted our lives so much? It is NOT a "growing opportunity" for everyone.

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It definitely sounds like your grandmother has some psych issues and probably has for some time given that she has always been a "dark cloud." Medicare should cover a psychiatric evaluation and there are decent psych meds that are available as a generic and not too costly. It is important that she be evaluated by a psychiatrist instead of letting the family doc try to prescribe psych meds (too much trial and error involved there from personal experience with my mother). If she gets on a good regimen that works for her, she may be tolerable to live with at least in the short term until you and your mom can get on your feet financially. I would definitely follow the advice already posted about applying for Medicaid for grandma and getting advice from a social worker:) Good luck. My prayers are with you and your family. Keep school your top priority. It's your future!!
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Crowe is right. Apply for Medicaid now.....even if you think that she does not qualify for it. Do it anyway.\
It appears that the house is either yours or your mother's, correct?...."our bedroom doors", therefore you two must make the decision to find a place for her.
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You need to read other topic areas like "I love my mother but I don't like her", you will find out that you are not alone in that a lot of mothers do not inspire "warm and fuzzy" feelings and sympathy. Mine relationship is still an unpleasant roller coaster. I totally empathise with you, though frankly, your situation sounds worse. I got some relief from the suggestion above - a social worker through our Senior Center got her a girl to come in and at least help with some of the work.
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Do you have a county social worker in your lives? If not, get one. Lay your cards -- all of them -- on the table, and see what options he or she can come up with.
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I have been caring for my mother in my home for the last six years. She was very abusive, both physically, mentally and emotionally, when my siblings and I were home. It has been a tough road but is bearable. My siblings find it very difficult to be a part of her care. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression as well as Alzheimers. She did qualify for Medicaid so I do have some help with her. Her medications help keep her from becoming agitated and out of control. Without the meds, I do not think I would be able to handle her as she tends to become violent. I do agree that it sounds like it would be better for all of you if you can put your grandmother into a nursing home. She will receive the care she needs and you and your mother will not have to deal with further abuse. It is a tough situation. I pray a lot for my mother and for my patience and ability to treat her with dignity and respect. This is probably one of the toughest jobs I have ever had during my lifetime and I can definitely say that this responsibility is not for everyone.
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"adaughter" was on the ball when she suggested that Grandma might need an anti-depressant. Maybe she has needed one for years and this is why she was always seemed like a "black cloud" . I don't understand how the three of you ended up living together in an apartment. Whose apartment is it? Mom's? - and she took in her daughter and her mother? Or did it start out as Grandmother's apartment? Since you all HAVE to live together now for financial reasons (you need Grandma's contribution for the rent), it sounds like it would be helpful to have a neutral person talk with Grandma. Has a doctor examined her so that you know exactly what her problems are? What has happened in Grandma's life that has made her so angry? Has she suffered many disappointments, burdens and sorrows? Or is she afraid of what is happening to her or going to happen to her so instead of showing fear, she shows rage? To me, your apartment doesn't sound like a happy place for any of you.
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SadLady,
I truely think this is the hardest thing in life. To be in the position of having to take care of an abusive, manipulative, anger driven person, who has acted this out upon your and your mother's emotional well being, it brings forth the questions; Should I leave her to her own well being (do nothing?) or Do it anyway (take care of her) if only for duty's sake?
I have gone through this with my parents. It took some thought. I really have no 'great words of wisdom' on this. You have to follow your conscience and your heart, but in the end, there are only the two choices.
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If she does not qualify for medicaid......medicate her and forget the guilt. Insist she wear depends or clean up her own messes. Never permit anyone to abuse you.
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Your living arrangement does complicate things. If you are relying on grandma for her financial input, you may just have to put up with the bad behavior until you can all get on your feet and live independently.
I hope your Mom finds a job soon, you graduate and get a great job, and grandma finds a nice place to call home. Remember, everything worthwhile happens in increments. Just do one thing a day that helps you reach your goals. That way, you will feel like you are moving forward.
good luck to you all
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Well to answer some questions, the apartment we live in is shared by us. I pay a small amount of the rent; my mom pays some of the rent and all the utilities; and my grandma pays about half the rent. So... that DOES complicate things because we can't really afford to move out. My mom just got laid off recently and can't afford a place on her own. I'm in college and can't work full time. If my grandma moves out we won't really have a place to live. We are waiting for a low-income apartment to come up but the waiting lists are years long.
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