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I have been married 16 years and have two wonderful children 14 and 9, I began caring for my schizophrenic, morbidly obese, parapalegic, chf 84 year old grandmother over a year ago. Her quality of life has increased tremendously, mine has ceased. I am 35 years old, I quit an excellent job to care for her. My family and I had many discussions about our situation before she moved in. Recently, my husband left me and quit his job. I now am unable to leave my home, have no insurance for myself or my children and my income has been decreased by 75%. My mother who is my grandmothers POA will not talk to me as she is to busy. I understand why she does not care for my grandmother as she is a mean person, but she is also sick (mentally)
I do not know what to do and am in need of advice. My grandmother does not qualify for assistance and I have to pay $17 to a caregiver if I leave my home. My mother is GMA POA and will not help me with anything. Can I put her in a nursing home as her medical POA? Also, my mother stated that she will not pay for a nursing home. I hate doing this as she was not cared for properly the last 3 she has been in but, I have two kids to think about. I would really appreciate advice advice as I am extremely overwhelmed right now.

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Baumgark: Where is your update. What's going on with you? How was the therapist appointment? Hoping to hear from you. Love Cattails
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Baumgark: Thank you for sharing and also for putting up with me. I want to apologize for getting on my soap box. I've been doing that for the last few days (can't say it was the first time) and a friend on this site pointed out to me that my tone was getting away from me. A nice way of saying I was being hard on some folks.

We will be placing my dad in nursing home care in a week or so and I think it has put me in sad place. I knew it would be sad, but I also feel agitated and let down. Pissed off and bummed out. And yet I really want to do the placement and have a chance to live with some freedom.

Anyway, I wanted to explain that to you and apologize. I do want you to stay on this thread and I did use to read all your posts. They always touched my heart and made me sad for you.

I guess I better start making a plan too. Let us know how your week goes.

Hugs, Cattails
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Cattails, I did place her in March and you are right my mother guilted me into bringing her back. I started seeing a therapist a few months ago. Never knew or wanted to admit that I am a codependant who is going to save the world. I stopped posting a while back because I felt guilty that I was complaining so much. You are very insightful, I never had a childhood. Early on I began caring for my younger siblings and moved out at 17. I appreciate your being bold, I am too usually. As my therapist put it " the only people I take crud from is my family." I have applied for several jobs and have gma on many waiting list. As for my mother, she is crazy but I now understand why. I cannot imagine growing up with this woman. I have a suite for her in my home where she stays. I do this to keep her away from my children as she has not had any interaction with them since she yelled at my daughter. I have written out a plan of action rather than going through the steps in my head over and over. I am not signing off, I feel less crazy when I correspond with people who understand. Again, a sincere Thank You! P.S. I see my therapist again Friday
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Baumgark: I have followed and responded to your posts from months ago. Didn't you see any of this in black and white when you were going through marriage counseling.

What the heck happened to your life. I thought you placed your GM last March. Maybe you did and didn't feel she was getting the care she needed so you brought her back home? Sweetheart, your GM is a mentally ill, mean, cold hearted, nasty person and you have let her abuse you and your family for far too long. Just because she is mentally ill does not mean YOU have to be subjected to abuse. I think your mom has clear signs of mental illness too because there is no way she could leave you and your children in the spot you are in while using GM's money for herself.

For some reason, you seem to feel responsible for your the mental illness in your family. You have been treated so badly by your mom and your GM and you just accept it. Somewhere along the line in your childhood, someone sold you a sick sense of obligation. Your world is falling apart, but their worlds continue uninterrupted. What the heck is wrong with this picture.

If you want to be the attendant at a nut house then go to work for a psych ward. At least at the end of the day you can go home and you will receive a paycheck every two weeks. You are dealing with a paralysis of the spirit and I know it didn't happen over night. It's been drummed into you for years.

You have two children who are depending on you. You are a role model to them. If you, by your actions, teach them that your life is not a priority, you are also saying that they are not a priority. In spite of the fact that you are their mother, what you are saying to them is, "I can't be strong enough to protect you or care for your needs, because I am just a slave to two crazy sick women. They are my captors and I have no power over them, not even for your sake." What are you telling them about self worth.

You have an opportunity now to distinguish yourself as a parent. It is your chance to be the mother to your children that you never had. Don't let them down and stop letting your self down. If I recall correctly, your GM really went after your daughter with hateful behavior and comments. What will your daughter have to pull from in her history to keep her safe from abuse? She has a crazy grandmother, a crazy great-grandmother who has been allowed to destroy her family and a mom who is a perpetual victim. Her dad has abandoned the family and quit his job and now you all are floundering and it's a miracle you know where your next meal is coming from. But still, GM and GGM continue on their path as if nothing has happened. Well, I guess nothing has happened to them. It's just you and your children that have suffered.

I'm being very blunt about this because I am afraid that your last comment is a polite way of ending the conversation. "It's nice that you all care and thank you for the support." I'm afraid that you are going to quit posting and continue on the same path. Do you really feel a sense of empowerment or are you just telling us what you think we want to hear?

This is your life, Baumgark. It's the only one you have and it is the one that your children will remember and be deeply and forever influenced by. That is your power and it is an awesome responsibility.

Here's what I want. I want you to get a grip and call APS. I want you to get your grandmother out of your house. If you need assistance in finding a better place for her to go to, let me know and I will help you research a variety of facilities that are highly rated. I want you to kick your mom to the curb. I want you to discontinue allowing people to use you up and abuse you.

With every fiber of my being, I want you to stay on this thread and tell us everyday what is going on in your life. I want to support you and I want you to know what true support feels like. You can do this, please try.

Cattails
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You have given me a sense of empowerment. You were correct in the fact that I needed to see this in black and white. I have read and reread the answers you all have given and it is nice that you all care.
Thank you for the support
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OMG. Mother is cruising on Grandma's dime and she expects you to pay for respite care?! OMG.

Lawyer time!

(And I'm not sure I'd want financial POA for Grandmother ... but that is something you can get the lawyer's input on.)

If the attorney you can call is not well-versed in Elder Law matters, perhaps he or she could refer you to someone who is. Having a lawyer who is an expert in, say, intellectual property law, may not be just what you need right now.

Continue to love Grandmother, for sure. This mess is not her fault. But defintiely move forward with extricating yourself from the mess.

Consider yourelf kick-started. :-D.
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Baumgark: My heart goes out to you!!!!! Your mom needs a good legal kick in the butt. Please call your attorney and see what can be done to give you financial POA. I would suggest you call Adult Protective Services too. You can't sit there with no access to her funds when she needs care and you need to work.

Your mom needs a big, ugly wake up call. She is taking complete advantage of you and your GM. I know your are overwhelmed and I can get kind of pushy when I want to help someone, but it's time to take the gloves off and get your house in order.

Please keep us posted. Hugs, Cattails
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Thank you
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Baumgark, but you asked for help, that's what we do when we are overwhelmed... get that lawyer and get busy getting things done and get your life back... a divorce is devastating under the best of circumstances..... you ARE important here....come back and let us know how you are doing... hugs to you.
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Jeannegibbs,
Thank you for the post, I am overwhelmed now. I do need a kick in the pants,
my mother has been on 3 cruises on grandmas dime since gma moved in with me. You are right, she can pay home health to take care of gma until I can get her into a home. I have an attorney I can call in if I need help with my mother!
Thank you! Guess I am in a pity party and that is not for me
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Whoa, lady. Do you know how passive this sounds? Read it over, as if it were written by somebody else. Would you have any advice for the poster? I do. And I'm going to be pretty blunt with it. If you are not in the mood for blunt advice, skip this now and come back later.

First, your quality of life is every bit as important as your grandmother's quality of life. If you do not believe that and cannot accept that, then skip the rest of my post. This post assumes that you are a unique, valuable individual, worthy of dignity and love.

With the exception of your minor children, there is only one person in this mess whose behavior you can control: you! It is essential that you start taking charge of your own life. There are many things that are beyond our control, that is true. So we have to do all we can with the control we have.

First, your husband left you and quit his job. I'm not saying that you can control that. But there are laws requiring fathers to contribute to the support of their children. You are in charge of seeing that the wheels of those laws start turning. Do that NOW. Maybe in the future you'll reconcile. Maybe he'll get an even better job. Maybe ... we'll maybe doesn't matter. Starting RIGHT NOW, see to it that he knows his legal obligations, and that the state knows it, too. While he is unemployed I don't think this is going to be an immediate big help to you financially, but it is important to establish the ground rules.

Next, Grandmother. Poor dear. I hope the outcome of this is continued good care for her. Caring for a schizophrenic, morbidly obese, parapalegic with congestive heart failure is a HUGE responsibility. It boggles my mind how you can do that and also have energy for two children and a husband. You certainly should not expect to do this without help and without refrequent breaks.

But how can you afford that? Grandmother does not quality for financial assistance. Baumgark, what that means is Grandmother has income and/or assets more than the guidelines for financial help allow. If she has the means to do so, Grandmother SHOULD BE PAYING HER OWN WAY. She should be paying room and board. She should be paying the $17/hour respite care. She should be compensating you for giving up your good paying job to care for her.

But, alas, you cannot control what Grandmother does with her money. It sounds like Grandmother cannot control what she does with her money. Mother (mean, mentally ill Mother) controls what happens to Grandmother's money. She has financial Power of Attorney.

But here's the thing. YOU have control of your own behavior. YOU can decide who is going to live in your household. YOU can decide how many hours a week (if any) you are going to devote to being tied to your house for Grandmother's care. YOU can decide what, if anything, you will do without getting financial compensation, what you are willing to do for pay, and what you are not willing to do at all.

You may not be able to decide whether Grandmother goes to a long term care facility. You cannot decide how that would be paid for. But YOU CAN DECIDE your own role in her care. You are NOT stuck with keeping her in your house and with paying for someone to come in when you need to go out. Mother may want you to think you must do this and that she is too busy to discuss it. But you are all grown up now, with responsibilities for children of your own. You DO NOT need to continue this self-destructive behavior just because Mother wants you to.

A year ago you had a very good job. Obviously you have marketable skills. You can get another job. Do it! That means somebody else has to take care of Grandmother, either in a long term care facility or in your home. Either way, you do not have to pay for this care. If Grandmother has the funds for it, then Mother is responsible for using those funds on Grandmother's behalf. If she doesn't have the funds or when the funds run out, Mother needs to apply for financial assistance on her behalf. YOU ARE NOT FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR GRANDMOTHER. It is enough for you to be responsible for yourself and your children. Paying for your grandmother's caregiving is out of the question.

How do you cope with all this overwhelming upheaval in your life? Take charge of the things you have control over. Let the rest go.

Good luck!
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