Grandmother has mild dementia.. I do her laundry, give her medicine, meals etc.
She is as healthy as a horse and can do for herself if she wants to. I'm at my wits end as far as doing everything for her. I have 3 kids and a husband also, so she isn't the only one that I take care of. She won't shower unless I instruct her to, and she insists on taking a bath even though she can't get out by herself. I'm to the point of burned out and don't want to do everything anymore, I need help!!!

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As far as family being able to help, they all live far away in other states. I have thought about sending her on the train to visit her family. I don't know if that would be something I could do or not. We did have a visit from her son which is my uncle. He upset me making suggestions that I do things this way or that, told her that they can go to Europe if she gets better... Wow, so my Uncle wants her to spend her money and take him to Europe! Ass, he doesn't want to do any work and just have fun. I can't stand him and neither can anybody else in the family. He also was asking about her finances and how much money she gets, I know he just wants money and doesn't care really about anything else. She just goes along with whatever he says, doesn't even ask me what I think and I'm the one doing all the work! I have given up my life, quit a job that I loved, to take care of gma. She doesn't realize this of course, I have told her Gma I moved to help you... She looks surprised, "you did"? Yes, I have given up everything for you, my friends, family, life. She has no clue and it is so frustrating! How do I make sure I don't get screwed in this situation, her son hasn't even thanked me for anything! Although, my mom (his sister) is very grateful for what I've done and tells me all the time how much she appreciates me! I don't want my uncle taking advantage of her, how do I stop him?? I know his intentions aren't good!!

Do tell the doctor the truth! Geriatricians are very used to having the patient tell them one thing and the family something different. If the clinic has an email option, send your observations that way; otherwise consider snail mail!

My husband took a drug to improve his daytime alertness. I'm not sure that matches your GM's situation, but discuss it with her doctor.

You are right that she is in denial. She did not lie to the doctor -- she really thinks she does those things.

Maybe your GM is just being lazy and just wants to be waited on. Was that what her personality was like before she got dementia? But realize that she has some pathology in her brain that is messing up her thinking and changing her personality. Depending on the kind of dementia she may have plaques or tangles or clumps of protein where they don't belong. These are actual physical things that can be clearly identified in an autopsy (but typically not before then).

When you take on the care of someone with dementia you take on the role of compensating for the parts of the brain that aren't working. Expecting her to remember to do her exercises and then to take the initiative is just not realistic. Expecting her to shower on her own when she doesn't like showering is going to frustrate you.

It may be perfectly reasonable to expect her to run the vacuum cleaner (if she is physically capable of it) but not to remember that she is supposed to do it. The best you can expect is cooperation when you give her instructions. You can tell her, "please bring your plate into the kitchen, Grandma," but expecting her to remember to do it on her own is probably just going to give you another bad day.

In other words, I suspect that you did not know what you were getting into when you took on her care. "Mild dementia" -- that means she forgets things sometimes, right? But it means that her brain is not functioning normally. She can't help it. If she can cooperate with instructions, you are lucky. Expecting her to take the initiative is probably not realistic.

In many ways you do not have a 3rd adult in the house who can help out. You have a 4th child in the house who needs a lot of attention.

Dementia is hard to understand, but I think you will be less frustrated (but no less tired!) if you understand it better. Ask her doctor for reading materials. You can also learn a lot online.

And I cannot urge you enough to make arrangements for some time to yourself and some time with your family without GM. I am sure you love her, but 24/7/365 with someone who has dementia is enough to make you crazy ... and your family deserves a sane adult female in the house!!

Yes I agree, I do need to get out. I'm scheduled to see a doctor to hopefully get on some meds. So for me to think that she is just being lazy or wants me to wait on her is not the case? It's hard for me to understand this illness. I have found her a geriatric doctor who I really like, gma just finished PT because she has gotten so weak from sitting and not doing anything. I have been getting her do to her exercises at home, they won't get done unless I tell her she's doing them. If she gets on some kind of med would it help her to want to do more for herself. Do I call the Dr and talk privately, to let the doctor know that she is completely relying on me for everything. She did tell the Dr that she cooks, cleans, takes her meds herself which is so far from the truth. I couldn't believe she told the Dr that she still does everything for herself. She is definitely in denial. I feel bad feeling the way I do, I can't help it though. I tell myself when I get up Ok self you are going to be happy today and then she wakes up and the first thing she does is PLOP on the couch and there she sits all day while everyone waits on her. It doesn't help that I want everything CLEAN and TIDY and she will leave her newspapers all over the house and dirty dishes expecting me to pick it up. Hopefully these feelings will pass, I love my grandma sooo much, we've always been so close. :(

Well, you could stop doing the things you know that she can safely do for herself. With dementia, what she "knows" she can do and what you think she can do might not match up perfectly, so some experimentation will be needed. I expect that you are cooking for your family anyway, so expecting her to prepare her own meals would not save you much, but it might be practical to expect her to put her dishes in the dishwasher, and maybe to load all the dishes.

Your grandmother may be different, but many elders with dementia don't practice the best hygiene, so if she is going to put clean dishes away or help in meal prep, be sure you supervise some hand cleaning first.

From a safety standpoint, I don't think showering or bathing is a good thing to expect her to do herself, or to remember to do on a regular basis.

So the first thing to try is to stop doing the things she can do for herself. Be flexible and make adjustments as you see what she really can and can't do.

And then set some boundaries. Your house, your rules. "Gramma, I know you prefer baths, but it is so hard for me to help you get out of the tub. Let's do one bath, the first Saturday of every month, and the rest of the time use the shower." Set the rules and stick to them.

Baileybell, you are doing an awesome thing to care for your grandmother. Please make adjustments that will enable you to do this longer without complete burnout. The time may come when the dementia is more than you can handle at your home. But every day she can spend with family is truly a gift to her.

I think that respite is an essential key to preventing major burn out. Is there any other family member who could have Grandmother "visit" occasionally? Our Mom lives with my sister and visits me one weekend every month. If there is no opportunity for family help, then hire someone to stay in the house with her while you go out and recharge your batteries! Or have a date with hubby. Or take the kids to a park. This cost should be something Grandmother pays for.

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