I am not the caregiver but my mom is. My almost 90 year old grandma lives with my mom and dad. She has had Parkinson's for years now. I am married and have my own life but have become very ashamed of my mom's behavior towards my grandma. My mom shows all the signs of caregiver burnout. She refuses help, believing that she can take better care of grandma then others. I have told her that she needs to also take care of herself. I am ashamed that my mom has taken to verbally abusing my grandma out of frustration and lack of patience. My dad sides with my mom on this, stating that there is nothing wrong and that I don't understand and don't live at home. I have tried to distance myself from my parents because I do not agree with what is going on. My mom's siblings have been no real help. While I know my mom is very stressed out and she feels like she had made a promise to my grandma, relationships are starting to become strained. I have mentioned online support groups, therapy and having a nurse come to their house more frequently. She has had a nurse come in but still shows burnout. I don't know what to do as her eldest daughter and how to support my parents when I do not agree with what they are doing. I am wondering what other peoples experiences have been in my position. Any advice would be great. Thank you!
Turns out, brother was having some serious stresses in his life, of which my mother was unaware. He is physically quite a large man (he's well over 400 lbs) and his anger was frightening to witness--although when I talked to him, face to face, he's still my LITTLE brother and I was able to figure out what was going on. He was not being abusive to mother, just making the whole house feel his anger. She felt trapped and afraid.
Without question, he is burned out from caring for mother. BUT, he has chosen this. He pushes away most offers of help, and if any of the sibs besides me come to visit he "helicopters" around, making sure he know everything. He is not the POA, and I think that bugs him. My other brother makes all decisions for mother, this brother has to carry them out. I think that's part of the problem.
I guess my point it, you can offer, you can pay for extra care, you can simply go DO the extra care, but some people "enjoy" the martyrdom of the caregiving role. I think my brother does. He quit his 2nd job (he's an EMT and has always worked 2 jobs) to care for Mother. His health is not good and he sleeps a great deal. His kids are all grown and still living at home, but they all pay rent, so financially, he's finally doing OK. Mother pays several of the larger bills and upon her death my other sibs have all decided we will be sure he is "made whole" before any of us inherit. (Her estate is minute, really. Maybe worth $50,000 and 1/4 of that won't change my life one bit).
He refuses to say he's burned out. He refuses to entertain any thoughts of moving mother to an ALF, and we have the means to place her in a lovely one, but he refuses. I think he enjoys taking care of "the old bat" as he refers to mother.
I do as much as mother will allow me--she's really beginning a cognitive decline and is actually so much sweeter to be around, I am finally enjoying time with my mother. My other sibs are all hands off, and that's their choice. I do what I can to help the situation, and brother knows I am here and willing. Some people just do not want solutions they want sympathy.
Regardless of how much I love and respect my parents, I can't see me standing by if mom is verbally abusing grandma. I don't put this in the category of just minding your own business, if you aren't the actual caregiver.
This would be one of those things where I would politely inform my parents that since they have not taken measures to address the verbal abuse, impatience, burnout, etc., that I WOULD take measures to correct it. And then I would. I would do whatever I needed to do to correct it.
I would see an attorney to find out my options legally. I will not stand by and allow grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, siblings, or any family member to be abused in any way. Not going to happen. It's sad, but if they forced me to take action, that's on them, not me. Sometimes, you have to do the right thing and have peace with it.
Grandma is helpless and vulnerable. She needs protection. I'd ensure that happens. I wish you all the best of luck with this. Please let us know how it turns out.
But there are ways and ways of putting that into words. Don't criticise. Instead, say what you would like to see. E.g. instead of "don't talk to Grandma that way" say "please be gentle with Grandma's feelings, she can't help how she is."
Don't distance yourself from the situation, but keep talking to your mother, and to your dad. Just by being there, you take a little pressure off every time. And you're right, your mother does need respite; but this is a classic instance where 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.' Do the legwork, find out what services are available, have everything set up ready, then keep making the offer.
If things get worse and you get frightened, you can always call APS for confidential advice, you know. Better to do that before you need to than after it's too late.
I took care of my husband from the day after our wedding to his death 23 years later. His was total care - quadriplegic, wheelchair and bed bound for 20 years. He did not talk for the last 15 years, was on a stomach tube and needing suctioning for breathing. I married my second husband whose mother had Alzheimer's disease and for 3 years became her primary care giver. So, I know what they are going through and pushing and blaming and judging isn't going to take care of anyone, including you.
Please take the time to show sincere concern to each one of your parents and Grandma, one step, one conversation at a time. Don't give up asking, don't give up saying you love them and are concern about each one of them. Don't give up trying in gentle but persistent ways. Eventually, they will believe that you care and really want to help, if that is what you really want, they will see that.
Calling protective adult services is an extremely aggressive move and you have to be ready for legal and criminal consequences coming down on your parents if it deemed that there is real abuse going on. I would have a family meeting with everyone in the family, whether they want to or not, but please make sure you know what's really going on and have hard facts. the worst thing you can do is rush to judgement. Caregiver burnout is real and needs addressing directly through love and sincere concern, not through bullying and blaming and accusing. Care giving is truly one of the hardest things any of us will ever do in life, and we ALL will be a care giver at some point in our lives whether we want to or not, if we love our loved ones that is. We all will have to step in and help somewhere down the road.
You may be the eldest but this is not your sole responsibility. A family meeting is due now to sort out how the other siblings can help. Do not take grandma to your home for respite that will set a very bad president. By all means offer to stay in Mom's house so they can have a few days freedom even if they only go to your house for the break.
I am sure you think your mother would feel she was failing grandma if she went to assisted living but in truth she would be failing herself if she does not obtain the best care for grandma. Recognize that grandma is and will continue to get worse leading to more frustration for Mom.
Respite care, in a nursing home, is when you enroll your loved one in a nursing home for anywhere from 3 to 30 days for them to be taken care of professionally while the regular caregiver gets a break. It is all inclusive, room, board, help with activities of daily living. There is a nurse present at all times and her meds and any needed medical care will be covered by her insurance.
Medicaid covers respite care. All you guys need to do is find a GOOD nursing home that offers respite (most do). This means visiting homes in your area and asking questions. When you tour the facility you will be able to tell if it's a good one. Pay attention to the behavior of the staff and how the residents are being treated and ask yourself, "if I needed care, would I want to live here for a month?" When the answer is yes, get the paperwork started.
It sounds like it's bad and your parents can't see the forest for the trees. You have no idea how consuming caregiving can get, how it wholly sucks you into its world. Your parents need to enroll your grandma for the full 30 days and spend the first week sleeping through the night and becoming normal again. They need to go to a movie, or out to dinner. The need to take a very long walk without worrying that there's no one at home with your grandma. They need to reconnect with their friends, their church or hobbies, and their own lives. They need peace and quiet.
After that 1-week point, have a family meeting and decide how you'll proceed from there. Your parents may realize how much they were damaging themselves by taking on a responsibility too great for them. At the same time, your grandma might be realizing that she likes having her meals prepared by a culinary institute graduate and delivered to her at the same time every day. She may enjoy the social aspect of being with people her own age.
It's definitely worth a try. Worst case scenario is that your parents get a short break, then it's back to business as usual, but isn't that worth it?
I bet your Mom probably promised her Mother that when she got older that they would never place her in a nursing home. Of course, when one promises that to a parent, the parent [such as your grandmother] is much younger, very independent, still living on their own, etc. We never vision our parents or grandparents aging. And we never expect hands-on caregiving to be so very difficult.
Hiring caregivers is a must if one can afford the hourly rates. Maybe it is an issue that Grandmother never saved for a rainy day or the opposite where Grandmother had saved but refuses to use the money. My parents [who were in their 90's] refused to let loose one dime.
Or if hiring caregivers is not an option, than maybe an Assisted Living facility. There are a lot of very nice ones, then Grandmother could be with people of her own generation, and maybe enjoy the entertainment, etc that is offered. But Grandmother is from the era where "nursing homes" were asylums, so she would never want to step foot into one. Some are set up like 4-star hotels with daily linen/towel service, 3 meals a day, a personal Aide to help her get ready in the morning and to check in on her during the day, then help her get ready for bed. Of course, these places are not cheap. So that idea might be not feasible.
Thus, there are options. Why not set up a family meeting to learn about everything that is going on [don't include Grandmother]. Or offer to give up a weekend to help your Mom. That would give you part of a perspective of what is involved.