I feel terrible. So my grandpa has been paralyzed since I was born. And just 6 years my grandmother, his caregiver, passed away and we had to find someone else. She did for a few years but then she left. Caregivers just quit left and right. He doesn't want to go in a home and we are trying our best to keep it that way. But it is exhausting. I just graduated nursing school and I want to be a nurse so I feel my family just puts this on me. But I have my own husband and want to leave this town. I love my grandpa and would be devastated if anything happened. He is so kind, even though stubborn, and I know it isn't his fault but lately I just feel like I don't care anymore. Every time I am over at his house I am just checked out. I feel TERRIBLE. I feel like I don't deserve anything if I just decided to leave and put the burden on my family. (I feel bad calling him a burden.) I feel like I would make a bad nurse if I can't even take of him. My brain is just hurting. I have my nclex coming up and I am also supposed to go back to school in about a month and I just feel like I need to put it off even though I don't want to. I'm at a loss. But it feels great to actually express my feelings. I do get paid for some hours becuase I just do that now 24/7 and it makes me feel bad becuase of that. But I don't even care to get paid. I just want to leave my city and start a life somewhere else. I had a breakdown last night, just lying in my closet crying my eyes out becuase I feel stuck here. I don't know what to do.

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I'm going to repeat what others have said. Caring for a totally bedridden person IS a huge burden, especially when the majority of work falls on one person. He needs to be in a SNF. There are actually decent ones out there, it just takes diligence to find one. Also, to ensure good care, family members have to visit him at the SNF daily!

Dear Nicolemarieu,

Please know I hear where you are coming from. You sound like such a nice and caring person and I think that is where our downfall is sometimes. We are too nice and our family just takes advantage of us.

It is all right to stand up for yourself. No good can come of things when we feel burnt out and resentful about caring for a loved one. Its a sign to make changes and soon. You are a young woman entitled to make her choices and to live her own life.

We often think the world will stop just because we stand up ourselves. But its not true. There are options available to your grandpa and other family members. You do not have to do all their bidding for them.

I know its a lot easier said then done but I hope you will follow Sue's suggestions.

I say FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! This is what I tell my kids, they can choose to or not, it's completely their call. Yes, it would be easier, but for who? I think being that you want to go into that field of work, that you are being used. Get out while you can, imo.

Xenajada . I watched my aunt worn down to nothing caring for my abusive alcoholic uncle. He was a massive massive pill, would pitch a fit if she did anything other than go to the store for food. When she became too ill to continue care, he was placed in a NH
She finally thought she'd have a chance to enjoy a little life of her own, but she was so
worn down she lasted only a year. A year of stress induced illness. It was so sad to see.

You're young and starting out in life. Your grandpa is older and bedridden and his life
is now quite small. You sound very isolated as the sole caregiver. Who wouldn't feel
burned out? Caregivers from agencies work in 8 hours shifts. Live in care givers are
likewise supposed to have breaks, get out do something else. As a professional nurse
you would social contact with other RN's patients, doctors, etc. Perhaps I'm wrong here,
but I don't see how being the sole caregiver for your grandfather will help your career in any way.

Please don’t give up your dreams of being a Nurse. You are burned out & need to live your life. If Gramps was in his right mind, that’s what he would tell you, too!

Interesting that Grandpa is paralyzed, which usually brings with it an endless list of health issues, yet he outlived Grandma! Why do you suppose that is? Because the stress of endless caregiving wears down the caregiver. I've seen patients outlive their caregivers many, many times, particularly when there is ONE caregiver doing it all. It is a 24/7 job and there is extreme emotional stress when it is a close family member. Your grandfather has been very fortunate, but now is the time for a new chapter. Just go. Your family will likely put him in a NH cause they don't want to be doing the caregiving - which is why they are guilting you.

Nichole do not run away.
You owe it to yourself and family to pass the NCLEX. Do it ASAP while your education is still fresh in your mind and go back to school especially if it involves getting your BSN. The days of getting by with an Associates are rapidly disappearing. The best jobs ago to BSN.
Realistically you need some or should I say quite a lot of experience under your belt as a nurse before taking care of someone towards the end of life if you are not to get exhausted and overwhelmed.
i am sure you love Gpa dearly but you are not one of his children if you are thinking of having to care for ones elders. Where are your parents in this? They should be taking on the responsibility of the caregiving or placement in a facility if that is appropriate.
Don't brush it off by saying, my parents have important jobs and can't take the time off or they have just retired and deserve their leisure. Of course they do but so do you . Don't say your sister can't do it because her kids are little and she could never change diapers.
Face the fact that everyone has equal rights and you can't do it either. it is not going to get better so get over it and put yourself in the same box as everyone else. Your needs are just as great. Grandpa has rights too and that includes staying in his own home but if he can't make it happen he has to accept other arrangements.
As I said at the beginning don't just run away that won't solve anything or ease the guilt. You are a professional now so approach it from that point of view and look at what you might advise a friend to do.
Most of the younger caregivers who come on here write because they are desperate to get out of their current situation.

Nicolemarieu, bravo for becoming a nurse. You need to remember that taking care of patients in a hospital or a doctor's office is very different emotionally compared to taking care of Grandpa.

For one, when you are working as a nurse your work hours would be probably 8 hours or 12 hours per day, and then you can go home and be refreshed for the next day. And you are paid for those hours and probably have benefits such a health insurance, etc.

As for your Grandpa not wanting to go into a "home", if he is in his 80's or 90's, back then the "home" was the county asylum. Such places were dark dank places with unsmiling faces. Today's continuing care [don't call them nursing homes in front of Grandpa] are more like hotels. One positive, Grandpa would be around people closer to his age group. Usually people who have memory issues are placed in their own wing, thus Grandpa would be those who have issues with mobility but are still very sharp. You need to go tour these places.

Now, it depends on what Grandpa can budget from his retirement fund, or if he has a house with a lot of equity that he could sell. That is important before you run all over town checking out facilities. My Dad's assisted living was costing him $7k per month but we are in a high cost of housing area. If Grandpa can't budget, then check with Grandpa's State Medicaid office to see if Grandpa can be accepted. Medicaid will pay for room/board and care at a nursing home.

Who is/are Grandpa's financial and medical Power of Attorney? Time to sit down with them and quietly explain you are moving on to do your nursing career, thus Grandpa will need others from the family to help. Then you can pull out your notes on "continuing care" facilities. If the family tries to keep you there, just say "sorry, I can't possibly do that". Repeat that in the mirror as often as you can until it feels like second nature.

Nicole, I'm very sorry for your stress. It sounds like you love your grandpa and have done a great job looking after him. But, sometimes things get overwhelming no matter how much you love and care for someone, and there is no shame in taking care of and doing what you have to do for yourself also.

It sounds like your grandpa would be better somewhere where he had a 24/7 round the clock staff, particularly if he is bedridden. I know many elders are resistant to going into nursing care facilities, but sometimes it's like with a little kid that hates going to the doctor, if that is what's best for them and their health and they need someone to be there 24 hours to make sure they are safe, then it wouldn't be good for them not to go. Plus you and your family could still know that he is okay and well-cared for and not have to worry about when he's alone.

Congratulations on completing your nursing school, that is a big accomplishment. I echo what others have said about focusing on studying for and taking the NCLEX now, while the training is still fresh in your mind. It will make it easier to pass now vs. the longer time passes. Things change so quickly with health care that you want to get the jump on it before they go and revamp the questions.

I know first hand the mental and physical toll it takes to care for someone round the clock, especially being married. We are currently looking for alternative care arrangements for my mom too because like you I just can't keep doing this, and it's not fair to my husband or kids that we hardly have a moment to ourselves or that doesn't involve somehow taking care of mom. But there are some good places available where she will get good care, we just have to find the right one.

I think it would help rather than hurt your grandpa and family to seek outside care. That way you all can visit grandpa often, stay in touch with the staff to check in on how he's doing, and just be able to enjoy your visits with him without feeling like you want to bang your head against the wall.

Hugs to you, I know this is not easy.

Nicole, it will save me a lot of typing if you will just re-read SueC's response, and pretend it came from me. Except I am not a nurse. And I think your first responsibility is to yourself, and husband comes second. Otherwise I fully echo what SueC says.

Most people who are in care centers would rather be in their own homes (or they think they would). Care centers are full not because the relatives of the residents are bad people, but because the care center is the solution that makes the most sense and provides the best care. (OK, there might be a few bad people making decisions, but that is the exception.)

Your grandfather has lived in his home, paralyzed, at least as long as you've been alive. And for the last 6 years he has been able to do that without his wife to help him. I'd say that he has a lot to be grateful for, and if he now has to live in a nursing home, he at least had a quarter of a century or more to live at home. What if his wife was overwhelmed (or injured also) and placed him immediately? I'm sure he would have adjusted -- but he didn't have to. If he has to now, you deserve NO guilt for the decision.

Again, please re-read SueC's response.

Sorry, Nicole, this is very long but I hope you come away with a different perspective.

You said; "I want to be a nurse so I feel my family just put this on me."

You want to be a nurse. So did I (got my license in 1979). I would assume you want to be a nurse because you want to help patients recover. Your care will directly impact your patients lives and that gives a nurse a great deal of satisfaction.
But you did NOT become a nurse to be a caregiver for only one person (grandpa).

"Everytime I'm over at his house, I just feel checked out."
Those feelings are for a REASON. You probably have done your share of care for him and you want to move ahead and start your career. That is a NORMAL reaction. Please don't feel bad and let guilt dominate your decisions. You are not the ONLY person in your family. Others can help out too. Keep trying different home care agencies for caregivers for him. The work is hard with a bedridden patient (as you know) and often the patient is grumpy and difficult to work with. Many c/g's, like you, take it for as long as they can, then quit. That's what you're doing too. Like Popeye says, "It's all I can stands and I can't stands no more." You've reached that point. His care should be primarily given by home health aides, with family filing in when needed.

"I feel bad calling him a burden."
I'm sorry to say, a completely bedridden person (needing 24 hour care from an able person) IS a burden. That doesn't mean that they are unloved or cared about. But their care and welfare always has to be considered first.

"He doesn't want to go into a home and we are trying our best to keep it that way."
A noble attempt but, if the situation can't be worked out, he will have to go where he will have constant care. It's just a fact of life. All of us have do things we don't want to do. If his care requires too much sacrifice from the family, then placing him would be the best solution.

"I have my own husband and want to leave this town."
If your grandpa wasn't in the picture, that's exactly what you'd DO. Your FIRST responsibility is to your husband (biblically and wedding vows). You are supposed to leave your mother and father (and grandpa) and become one with your husband. That means making a life together (in another city if that's what you both want.) Don't feel guilty to want to start your life as a family.

If you take care of grandpa, what happens when you decide to have a baby? Who takes care of him then? You can't be pushing, pulling and lifting dead weight when pregnant. And who will take care of the baby?

"I feel like I'd make a bad nurse if I can't even take care of him."
You CAN (as in you are capable) to take care of him. But you want to work at your chosen profession, not be your grandpa's caregiver.
There is a BIG difference between a nurse and a caregiver.
Nurses do a heck of a lot more than cook food and change diapers. You want to put what you learned into practice.

You said, "I feel terrible." TWICE. You are suffering badly from guilt. Get over it. Your family can go on without you. You can NOT be their savior. Do you think they are giving you and hubby ANY consideration as to what YOU had planned? Doesn't sound like it. More like they're trying to guilt you into staying and doing the job. What if you had studied any other type of work? Then they couldn't use that against you. " You should take care of grandpa because you're a secretary." They are using your education against you.

"I feel like I don't deserve anything if I just decided to leave and put the burden on my family."
They don't seem to have any problem putting the burden on YOU. You are hog-tied in family guilt.
Their stragity is working on you. You feel worthless UNLESS you do what they want.

Concentrate on nclex and NOTHING else. Disengage from your family until the test is over. And good luck by the way.

Sometimes when we read what we wrote we find the answers. I hope you have.

Please get back to us when you are settled in your new home in another city and let us know how your nursing job is going. One day you'll be in our shoes (on this board, there are at least 8-10 nurses). I don't regret a minute that I chose nursing. If you WANT to be a nurse, you won't either.

Nicole, wouldn't it be a bit simplistic to say:

You're a nurse. You can look after your grandpa 24/7. Simple!

You didn't go through all that training for a career in nursing so that you could provide one person with one-to-one care.

Mind you. This is a bit of a tangent, so bear with me. Why did you choose nursing as a career?

Nicole, a lot of caregivers who are caring for a loved one in their own home or in the home of the loved one come to realize they just can’t do it anymore. I am at that point with my bedridden husband, but we have no recourse. It sounds to me like your family is perfectly OK with letting you take over Grandpa’s care because you want to be a nurse. Even if they do help out, Grandpa needs more care than you can provide. And, don’t tell yourself that you would not succeed as a nurse because you think you can’t take care of Grandpa. That’s apples to oranges. If I took a CNA or an STNA course, I know I could take care of other people and not get disgusted and angry like I do occasionally with my husband.

You have some thinking to do and a decision to make, and no one but you can do it. It won’t be easy, but you need to put your emotions aside for a while. You are a grown-up married woman. You are creating your own little family. You have a wonderful career you are about to embark upon. You’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money on this career. It’s probably something that you wanted to do all your life, right? So, do you want to have this career, or do you want to pretty much give it up to be your grandfather’s caregiver? Do you realize that eventually you could come to really resent him AND your family for having to put your dreams on hold or give them up completely?

All us Old Farts are stubborn. We don’t want to be yanked out of our homes and lives and go live somewhere with a bunch of strangers telling us what to do and when to do it. But the truth of the matter is that it’s OK to be stubborn, to a degree, but when that stubbornness turns to selfishness, our family has to draw the line. You say your grandpa is a kind man. I’ll bet if you sat down and talked to him, he’d understand that you need to move on with your life. You need to talk to your family as well. They are using you and that can’t happen if you don’t let it.

Just because Grandpa goes to a facility doesn’t mean he’s out of your life forever. You can visit him often. If the burden of caring for him is off your shoulders, those visits will be far more enjoyable. You can tell him about your nursing.

Do some serious reflecting on what YOU want your life to be, not what everyone else wants it to be. Then follow through on those decisions. You’re allowed! Good luck.

No you are not a bad person at. Your grandfather would not want you to give up your dreams and life to care for him. You can always do what you can by helping in ways you feel comfortable but you have the right to say no as well. You and your health and mental stability matter more. You can’t help anyone in work or home if you don’t take care of yourself. I know a lot of people would disagree and say we have obligations to care and take on that responsibility of our loved ones but your grandfather has been able to live his life and I’m sure he wants that for you too.

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