I'm young and taking care of my Grandmother, and I don't want to end up resenting my mom. How do I deal with this?


I love my mom, very much and we have a wonderful relationship. I don't want to lose that. My Grandma is very difficult and she makes it even more difficult to make good of a bad situation. I'm trying very hard to adjust to this new situation, but I hate having to give up my life to do this. I'm only 20 years old, and I want to be mature and handle this situation as calmly as possible. I know that if my mom could, she would be giving fulltime care, but my parent's just can't afford having only my Dad's income. And even though I know it's not anyone's fault, I can't help but feel resentful. My Grandma doesn't appreciate my staying with her. She doesn't like taking her medications, which she does have a lot of. She has this "invincibility" thing, where she feels that she needs no help. She has no driver's license, so she can't drive. She thinks that everyone is out to get her... which is hard for me to deal with, and she was diagnosed Bipolar. It's just so hard to want to help someone that doesn't want it and thinks they don't need it. I just wish she was able to make this easier for me to want to help her. Help???

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing


Dear Allie, There is great advice and empathy coming your way in this conversation. I don't want to reiterate the conversation but this is not a responsibility that a 20 year old should be taking on. You are not the solution to your mother's dilemma about what to do about her mother. You have to come up with a different solution. It sounds like your grandmother needs to have some professional testing. I'm don't know where you live, but you can find a place that does thorough testing for seniors and you will have a better understanding of exactly what is going on with your grandmother. Once you have the results of the tests, you can make less emotional decisions. I don't see why you would lose your relationship with your mother if you made a decision not to be the full time caregiver for your grandmother who is verbally abusive towards you. You do not sound selfish. In fact you are quite the opposite. Clearly you are in a position of sacrificing your life for your grandmother. I am confused as to why your mother cannot help care for her own mother. Did I miss something here? I have a 26 year old daughter and I can't imagine expecting her to care for my 83 year old mother. Sure, I might ask her to help out once in awhile, but be her full time caregiver - NO! You are in the prime of your life and you have to find another way to manage this situation.

If your grandmother tests normal and she refuses to take her medications and live alone, then sometimes you need to let that happen. We cannot make someone take medications against their will. Unless you have Power of Attorney or Conservatorship over your grandmother, no amount of pleading, coaxing or talking to her is going to make any difference. I would recommend that you get her tested. Look up Geriatric Evaluations on the Internet and type in your city after that and see what shows up for you. Start here with your grandmother and then create a plan for you to get your life back. Please know that you are NOT selfish for wanting to have some relief from this very difficult situation. This is not a burden than you should take on alone.
Helpful Answer (0)

Here is my opinion, Allie, and that is all it is. Fulltime caregiving of a bi-polar elder with other medical problems is NOT an appropriate position for a 20-year-old woman to be in, no matter how caring and loving she is. This is the appropriate time for furthering your education, participating in activities where you will meet others your age, dating and learning what is important to you in a life partner, earning your own way, figuring out how to budget, increasing your earning power. You will not be able to get these years of your life back.

I get the impression this is supposed to be 24/7 for you. Sorry, bad idea. Some hours, yes. Your life, no. Did I misunderstand? Do you go out to school or a job during the day? Do you have some evenings for a social life?

I think your mom and dad are in a tight spot. They really want grandma to be looked after, they can't do it themselves, and they can't think of other solutions. They mean well and I am not criticizing them. But I really think another solution is necessary.

I think your grandmother's situation should be evaluated by a medical social worker. If grandma needs 24/7 care, or even if she needs some assistance, Social Services will know what resources are available to help. You may be able to help with the paperwork, for example applying for Medicaid. And if Social Services determines that she does not need help at this time, and she does not want help, accept that.

Your grandmother is in her seventies, right? How long are you supposed to put your life on hold? Until your parents retire in 10 or 15 years? What is the long term plan here? Because Grandmother is not going to get better and suddenly need less help than she does now.

My heart goes out to you Allie, and to your parents, and to your grandmother. Please bring in an objective professional to help you sort out your options.

It is no one's fault that Grandma is physically and mentally ill and not a pleasant person. That is true. But all options should be explored for keeping her safe. Putting off starting your independence for years to do it yourself is not a good option, in my opinion, I don't know how you could avoid being resentful.
Helpful Answer (5)

Talk to your Mom. Have a conversation, don't assume she knows how you feel. Maybe there is an option that could get you more help, or have your grandmother live elsewhere? It's hard to be a caretaker, especially for an ungrateful person.

Another idea is to look for a support group for caregivers in your community. Try a local hospital, and see if they have one. Many do. There, you'll find people who can share their strategies for dealing with people, like your grandmother, who don't believe they need care.

I am sending good vibes to all of you, but specially to you and your Mom.
Helpful Answer (4)

Allie: One of the best people on this website for advise is Jeannegibbs and I couldn't agree more with what she said to you. I'm 63 and I've been taking care of my parents from the past 7 years. My mom has passed away and my dad is living under our roof due to a major stroke. Allie, it is hard for me to deal with the full time care of my dad. I miss having a life too.

My granddaughter is 22 years old and is a full time college student and works many hours too. She is just the best person and I love her to pieces. She is like my own daughter. I can't imagine asking her to take on the full time care of myself or my husband.

I appreciate that your mom is in a tough situation. Nevertheless, it is her situation and not yours. You must be an amazing young woman to even consider taking on the care of your grandmother. At your age, there is so much else you need to be doing.

This is going to be difficult for you. You know that you are in the wrong situation and it isn't working for you. This is a primer for your life. Do you stay in a place that is bad for you because you don't want to disappoint your mom or, maybe later, someone else? Or do you say NO, this is not good for me and I have a right to have my life too?

Give your mom two months to find another solution to this problem. That's her job. The fact that grandma doesn't want to move is not a good reason for you to have to sacrifice years to her care. If grandma insists on living alone, then you should get on with your life. Eventually, it will be come clear that she needs to move. You staying with her only makes that process take longer.

God bless you kind heart and my love goes to your mom too. I know you are all doing what you think is right, but Allie it is not right for this burden to fall on you.
Helpful Answer (4)

Allie... Please take to heart all of these comments.... in my experience as a generational person of 52... I have children age 29 and 26... I have charge of my 29 year old (she became 24/7 care from a brain injury when she was 23). I think of my kids and wonder what would I want for them... I would want them to move along to a life filled with purpose, career, marraige, kids of their own and happiness... I would be heart broken if they put it upon theirself to sacrifice their whole life to care for my aging mother. My mother is 78. When I consider the situation you are in I would want you to take the control card... I would definately get social services involved, I would ask about legal gaurdianship and the absolute necessity of getting your grandmother into a facility close to your parents home. This has got to be taken out of your grandmothers hands. If your parents are not going to "step up to the plate" (as stated earlier) You must take control and do what you know is in the best interest of all. Your grandmother will never accept the fact that she can not be alone... NEVER... as people age this is really the last piece of control that is the hardest to take away... their independance... there can be comprimises... maybe we all can think of ways to comprimise with grandma... I just know that though you can certainly insist to social services that they need to intervien and allow you to get grandma moved to your parents area. You can still be involved in grandmas life to a great extent.. visiting 3 times a week... taking her out for outings... She will be angry at you... that is a givin... she will see though after it is all said and done that you love her and are not abanoning her... you (Allie) need your own life!!! NUFF said Ehh?
Helpful Answer (4)

Allie, you do not have enough experience in life to care for an elderly bi-polar. Although, I believe you are adding a wealth of knowledge to your experience because of the situation.

What you do next is very important and you will remember it all your life. You have to get yourself out of there as your mother and grandmother are taking advantage of you. They are guilting you into remaining and will keep you locked in the tower with your crazy aged granny as long as you will stay.

You must plan an escape. Imagine yourself in another situation. Surely there is something else you would rather be doing. Do you have training for a job where you could get work? Finances are going to be what will eventually get you away.

If you are not trained, I suggest you get some. That will get you away from your family and among other people who are planning their future. You will pick up all sorts of ideas and enthusiasm from others like yourself.

Once you have some skills and found work save up a little nest egg, say $2000. Then move in with a roommate or get a place on your own.

You need to learn how to protect yourself from your family and all the rest of the world which will take advantage of you. Believe me it can be cruel. When you have the ability to take care of yourself you can set boundaries with your family and make them stick. If you leave your grandmother, someone will find another naive person to take care of her.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (3)

Allie my daughter is 22 and I would never expect her to take on such a responsibility. This not what you are to be doing at such a young age. I understand that is hard to say no but they should not have expected you to or have even ask you to do this job. They are not really not underatanding of the responsibilities this job has. This is a hard and isolating job. You should never feel guilty with making a better choice for yourself and your Grandmother, make another choice and be the loving caring Granddaughter that you are not her caregiver. Good Luck you are a Great Person
Helpful Answer (3)

I was at a day-long conference about caregiving persons with dementia today. (I know your grandmother may not have dementia, but I think this applies.)

One speaker talking about the stresses of caregiving listed feeling guilty as one stress. She said that is pretty universal for caregivers. And here is the thing -- you will feel guilty if you can't do what is expected of you and put your life on hol. And if you try to do it, you will feel guilty that you can't do it perfectly. You will feel guilty for feeling resentment. You will feel guilty when you get mad at your grandma. The guilt is not rational -- this is not your fault, but it seems to be very hard to escape. You can't make your decisions based on guilty feelings, because you can pretty much count of feeling guilty no matter what.

I hope you can convince your grandma to move, but I wouldn't count on it. So what is the plan if she refuses? You and your parents need to work together to come up with a viable plan that does not involve you giving up your life. This is very tough stuff. Please contact Social Services or your state's Department on Aging and get some professional input.
Helpful Answer (2)

I'm sorry. You are so very young to deal with this and I admire the love & respect you have for your mom. Has your grandmother always been this way or is it something new? My dad lived 50 miles away from us too. He refused to move near us, although I took him to all his dr appointments & more. Dad always fought me on going to the dr, taking his medication & having any in home health care. There was no changing his mind. Your best is good enough in this situation. Good luck to you. Your mom & grandma are blessed to have you in their lives!
Helpful Answer (1)

I just feel guilty, cause I know my mom can't help it. We're going to try and persuade my Grandma into moving again soon. But if she says no, I don't know what I'm going to do. I just wish this didn't sound so selfish, because I know if my mom had another option, we would do it. I just wish I didn't have to do it. I want to help, but it's just difficult.
Helpful Answer (1)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.