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I have my 83 year old grandmother who has dementia living with me. My mother had a stroke in 2010 and somehow I got my grandmother. One sister lives in TX and the other sister comes and picks my grandmother up every other weekend and nothing more. My mother lives in a convalescent facility and I visit her during my lunch hour. My relationship with my boyfriend has become extremely strained (oh did I mention his 14 year old daughter had to come stay at our house). We pay a caregiver to come from 9 - 5 Monday through Friday. I get off at 4:30 each day. I have to rush home to change her and cook dinner. I AM TIRED. Most days I cry from fear that I will end up like my mother. I am urgently in search of an overnight senior care center so I can go on vacation that doesn't include doctor appointments or last minute sick caregiver days.

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My heart goes out to you! I certainly hope you find a place that can provide respite care for your vacation. You need it and you deserve it. Have you called the Aging Services helpline in your area for a list of respite resources?

1. I'd like to go back to Nancy's question. Why is Grandmother living with you? Yes, I suppose you love her. I imagine that you love Mother, too, but you realize that caring for her in your home is beyond your capabilities. Sounds to me like this situation is getting beyond you, too. Loving an elder does not always mean taking on the day-to-day hands-on care of them.

2. If Grandmother has properties, why are you paying for the daytime caregiver? To the extent that she is able to, shouldn't she be paying her own way? What about using her resources to place her in a nice care facility, or to at least provide in-home while she lives with you? What is she saving these resources for -- her old age? :D

3. Transferring properties to you may make her ineligible for Madicaid, etc. for 5 years. And fordellcastle makes a good point, that if she is not legally competent to make contractual decisions, transfers from Grandmother to you may not be valid. Is there a trust involved? I don't understand the stipulation that she must be deceased before you get the property. I don't understand the whole financial situation, but my point is just that this does not sound like a do-it-yourself project, but something that should be guided by an elder law attorney. If you are working on straightening out GM's financial affairs, spend some of her money to be sure it is done correctly.

4. Do you love your boyfriend? Are you hoping to make a stable home with him and his daughter? Or is this a more casual friendship? I think a serious evaluation of what you want/expect that relationship to be should be factored into any decisions about Grandmother's care.

5. If GM is going to live with you, make sure you have the best medical help and guidance you can have. Figuring out how to care for someone with Dementia is also not a do-it-yourself project. ltopper's comments about the importance of having a knowledgable doctor on your side is very important!

The more I think about the stress you are under -- caregiving for a person with dementia, being supportive of a mother in a care center, trying to maintain a relationship with a boyfriend, dealing with a teenager in your home, and struggling with the heaps and piles and stacks of leagal and financial issues -- the more my heart goes out to you. Crying every day is not what you deserve!

I don't know how your brothers and sisters fit into this, but I think I wouldn't waste the energy to resent them. They've made some choices. You get to make choices, too. Focus on your own choice right now -- those are the only ones you can control over in any case.

Best wishes to you, and please keep us informed about how things are going.
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I'm going to take a different route with this. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 6 years ago and has lived with my family since then. My daughter and her children (Mom's great-grandchildren) live across the street from us, and she has seen them almost daily all their lives. They are 4 and 5 years old. I believe that if we seperated Mom from the little ones, that she would rapidly succomb to the Alzheimer's symptoms because they are the absolute joy of her life. It's very difficult, emotionally and physically, to care for a loved one with Alzheimer's. We're lucky, because Mom's symptoms lean more towards forgetfulness, incontinence (she doesn't get the signal from her brain, even after the deed is done), stubborness about bedtimes, things like that. Even so, caring for her takes its toll: she can never be left alone (danger with the stove, etc.), so if I'm not here, I'm paying someone else to be. You begin to feel like as much of a prisoner in your own house as your parent/grandparent is. If moving your grandmother into assisted living isn't an option (my Mom would hate it!), then check into the assisted living facilities in your area that offer "respite care". They'll take your grandmother in, for a day, a week, a month, whatever you need. You'll pay a higher price because they're using a room that could be contracted to a longer-term resident, but if it's only for a few days or weeks, it might be worthwhile. You don't know until you check it out. Also, check with your local Dept. of Aging. They monitor assited living facilities and generally know their way around caring for the elderly and what resources are available to you. Also, I can't stress enough the benefit and importance of having a good gerontologist for your grandmother. They don't cost any more than a GP (covered by Medicare), and they're trained to not only deal with everything that your grandmother is experiencing, but everything that you (as her caregiver) are going through. Mom's gerontologist changed some medications that my Mom was on, gave me advice on dealing with daily routines (and getting away from them), and it made a world of differnce for all of us. It's so important. Her regular doctor didn't have the training and expertise to help her, while that is the gerontologist's only focus. Good luck, and God bless your for caring for your grandmother.
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Fordellcastle, I'm sorry to interrupt this conversation, but I have a question for you. You mention that you put instructions in a living will to stop all medications upon diagnosis of Alzheimer's and/or dementia. Could you please expand upon what you mean. Are you referring to specific types of medication, or all medication? Am very curious, as I've never heard that suggestion before based on Alzheimer's or dementia and don't understand what the intent is when doing so. Your insight would be appreciated. Thank you for your time, Helen
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In addition, everyone needs to make a living will before you need one. Your Grandma, if she has a will, may also have one on file with her doctor or attorney. My grandmother live in mom and dads house with us with Alzheimer's from 1978 (first signs) until she died in 1988. My aunt got it a few years back. She had a living will. They stopped all her medications, and she died peacefully a short time later. Be sure to put instructions for Alzheimer's and/or dementia in your living will. Mine says to stop all medications upon diagnosis of either. There is a hell on earth, and it's name is Alzheimer's.
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If your grandmother already had dementia when she signed her property over to you, you won't have proper legal standing to file it. She has/had to be of sound mind. Call elder care in your town or county/parish. I assume she has a doctor. If your grandma, who I can tell you love, were in her right mind she wouldn't want you to spend your youth caring for her. She has Medicare. If you are on her home's deed as 'right of survivorship', the house will go to you once she passes. 'Taking care' of the property while she is still alive is problematic. Your boyfriend has no legal standing here unless he is mentioned in the papers by name. Make the calls to people I and others here have suggested. With Medicare & Social Security, they can help you find a place for her. I wonder why the boyfriend's ex has not already raised holy heck about her daughter living in a home with someone with dementia. He may be showing strain because he knows it is no place for her. He is right in that. Grandma has reached the stage she needs round the clock skilled care. It is the right thing to do for both of you. You are young. Most of us here are in middle age to senior years living through the same thing. I am a Grandma, and if it were me I wouldn't want my grandkids to live like you are now.
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I am in the process of having her property transferred over to me/us. In that, the form states the grandparent has to be deceased. Until I take of the property, she does not qualify for Social Services/Medical. Right now she only has Medicare.
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I honestly think that is way too much for one person to try to do. I would worry about the 14 year old getting lost in the chaos. The months I spent dealing with my moms problems I was not really paying any attention to our teenage daughter. I found out neither was my husband and he was the one at home! She ended up failing the last semester of school and it was enough she has to do the year over. Meanwhile the rest of my siblings were off doing whatever they pleased. I would look into assisted living for your grandmother. Most places have social workers on staff who can help find ways to cover costs.
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I know you must love your grandma, but why is she living with you? Wouldn't it be better if she were in asst living or maybe an adult foster care? There are asst living that DO take Medicare and Social Security I know, however we never found a foster care that did. Sometimes, just because we 'can' doesn't mean we 'should'. Gotta think not only what's best for her, but best for you too. And don't fall into the guilt trap, that's a bottomless pit.
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