I'm 29 y.o. & am the sole caregiver of my 86 y.o. grandma w/dementia which was put on my shoulders after my mom's sudden passing in early 2020 (we have no other family)...Over the past year, grandma's mental faculties have declined & she began exhibiting signs of dementia which have gotten worse over time. Since Sept, there have been 3 incidents (wandering & such) that ended with her getting admitted to a hospital after 911 was called due to safety concerns. It is now very clear that she can no longer live alone.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability or the resources to take her in so, over the past 5 months, I’ve been desperately looking for LTC placement...Sadly, there are several hurdles that have made it extremely difficult find placement (I've contacted 32 facilities in my state so far with no luck): not only does she not have any assets or income (other than monthly DTA payments), nor does she have SSI, pension, retirement savings or Medicare. Her only way to pay for LTC would be MassHealth (Medicaid). Additionally, she is unable to speak English so the language barrier has made it even harder...After the 2nd wandering incident in Nov, her landlord had apparently served her with an eviction notice on giving her a little over a month to vacate; however, since the notice was in English, she didn't know what it was and forgot all about it until she finally showed it to me on 12/23/21. She is now awaiting a hearing to be scheduled regarding the eviction…Long story short – not only is she not able to vacate her apartment due to the fact that she is still currently at the hospital because they don’t want to discharge her to go back to living alone (admitted for the 3rd time on 12/25) but also, she has nowhere else to go if LTC placement isn’t arranged.
I’ve tried almost everything – our state’s Family Caregiver Program through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, local aging programs, endless research; even the Case Manager & Social Worker at the hospital where she's admitted have done absolutely nothing.
To make matters worse, she is the most cynical, negative, conniving, nasty, ungrateful person. She grew up during WW2 and lost her entire family in the war so she was put in an orphanage until her adolescent years. The highest level of education she completed was 3rd grade; that plus her innate pessimistic personality and all that life has thrown at her has made her into an impossible person to deal with…She loves to play victim and always lies about everything. When she doesn’t get her way, even for minor inconveniences – for example, she calls me during my workday to tell me that her computer “stopped working” (she accidentally hit the wifi button & turned it off) and expects me to drop everything and run to her to fix it (she doesn’t live close). If I don’t, she starts spewing hateful things such as “I’m going to kill myself then write a note and blame it on you”, “my death will be on your hands”, “your mom never wanted you” and so on until I break and give in to her demands. With the dementia, it’s gotten much worse…She has absolutely no idea of the things I have to do to make sure she’s taken care of like doctors’ appointments, paying her bills, making sure her annual recertifications for housing/health insurance/SNAP/etc. are in order, buying groceries, arranging for aide/nurse visits, ppwk and so on.
I am so exhausted and stressed that my health is taking a toll. I just recently got engaged and I want to live my life, grow my career and start building a life with my fiancé but I feel like I’ve lost the ability to feel happy. I resent her because I feel like I’m wasting my youth as she sucks the life out of me. I don’t even want kids anymore because I feel so depleted.
I’ve even thought about changing my number and just walking away…Is it possible for her to become a “ward of the state” while I am still around?
I just know I won’t be able to keep keep running on empty like this forever...

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Welcome, H!

If grandma is in the hospital, go to the discharge planning unit and tell them that gma lives alone, no one to care for her, unsafe discharge.

Do not listen to any twaddle about getting her care at home.

They (discharge planners) need to find her a placement. Be hard as nails about this
Helpful Answer (29)
Slartibartfast Jan 2022
Yep. Once they realize you're not going to take care of things for them they will do their job and find her a place.
By doing what Barb says, be aware that the State will take over her care. Which for you may be a good thing. They will be able to find a place for her more quickly. To be honest, I think this is the only way you can go. Like Barb says, tell the powers that be you have exhausted all avenues. That people just don't seem to want to help. That you cannot care for her and you cannot afford to care for her. The state will have to take over her care.

Do not feel guilty about this. You are a grandchild starting a new life.
Helpful Answer (28)

You've gotten some great 'tough love' answers and I hope you follow them.

It's beyond cruel for an elder (or anyone else) to hijack a younger person's life for theirs. Sad that gma had a rough time growing up, (truth is, many of us did!) yet we do not expect ANYONE to come flying in and make it all be OK.

DO step out of any CG expectations and let the state take over. They will not discharge her to the streets. They will find a place for her, and honestly? She's not going to be happy b/c like many people, happiness is a state of mind they cannot or will not acheieve. And it's not your fault.

Establish a relationship with her that YOU can handle, even if that means going grey rock with her and having little to no contact. It's OK to do that.

My mom kept us kids in line by a constant threat of suicide. It was beyond horrible and has taken me years to deal with. I DID do the "go ahead and don't leave me a mess"...and after that, she never threatened suicide to me.

It's hard when you are a person who cares. My 'caring nature' has landed me in a lot of hot water and messes it's taken years to get over. You can be caring and kind and still be a whole person in your own. Move forward with your LO and spend the time with Gma that YOU choose.

I wish someone had told me 45 years ago that 'I' mattered. I'm sure my life would be very different.

Helpful Answer (24)
Feelingguilty22 Jan 2022
You’re so right about being a person who cares. You get taken advantage of. I feel the same way too, about your last two sentences. My life, my choices may have been different. But I suppose I have the life I needed to grow? You DO matter. The world needs people who care. Hugs to you!!
Why are you CERTAIN that you have LEGAL responsibility for her AT ALL?

Have you been TOLD by a LAWYER that you MUST Continue?

What she “spews” or where she was born or ANY of the rest of her stuff MAY have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, since she is NOT your PARENT.

She can “spew” until she gets hoarse, BUT IF IT ISN’T YOUR JOB TO LISTEN (and it may well NOT be YOUR JOB) STOP LISTENING.

This awful sense of burden WASN’T “…put on…” your shoulders- YOU TOOK IT.

She can kill herself, blame you, blame Steven Spielberg, blame Jolly Old St. Nick- it’s all the same nonsense, and except for your core of misguided loyalty and innate kindness, she’s not NOT YOUR JOB.

CHANGE YOUR NUMBER. CHANGE YOUR HAIR COLOR. MOST IMPORTANT, change your perspective. If she was a nurturing loving Nona when you were a child, capture those memories and cherish them, then walk as fast as you possibly can toward your life and happiness and leave responsibility for her to whoever will take it.

YOU COUNT TOO! Give yourself permission to access what YOU DESERVE. It’s time!
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CaughtBetwixt Jan 2022
Just FYI - some states do have laws that make *children* responsible for their family members' care and support. (Haven't seen any that put such responsibility on grandchildren, though).

Example: § 20-88. Support of parents by children (

This is a link to an article from 2018 that (starting on page 6) provides a state-by-state list of those states that have such laws.

This is another article that discusses filial responsibility laws and whether (or to what extent) they are enforced:
You have gone above and beyond what many people would do, you should be commended and proud of yourself. At this point, you need to walk away and let the professionals take over. Yes, a ward of the state. Contact or have the hospital contact state elder services and let a state social worker take over. Make sure you are firm and clear that you are not able to take her in or supervise her at this point.
Helpful Answer (16)

You've gotten excellent advice below. Are you her POA? HCPOA? If so, resign that immediately. Do not go to the hearing.

She is probably telling the hospital SWs that you will help. I bet they start pressing you about that. Do NOT accept any promises of help if you "temporarily" agree to take her in. She will be of the SW's radar and responsibility. You will get no help.

The golden time to act is now, while she's in the hospital. Refuse to take on any responsibility for her. The hospital will have to find a place for her to go.

I am so sorry for the sudden loss of your mother in 2020. You have done an extraordinary amount in finding your grandmother help. The hospital can wave magic wands to get placement that you can't. Let them. Please fully embrace the wonderful life you have to look forward to with your fiance.
Helpful Answer (16)

Firstly, so sorry for the loss of your Mom. Too young.

Now as to Grandma: Sweet little old lady, getting what she wants, despite not speaking the language.. yes she has worked out how to survive. After a life of war, lost family, the school of life showed her well how to get by. It was survival.

Her style is dramatic. Do as I say or I'll slit my throat, die in agony & haunt you forever.. or whatever line she comes up with next. I've seen these entertainers before. As non-family, I just watch the show.

Your reply can depend on your style: deadpan, "Go ahead but don't make a mess". Or play along! "No, no no Grandma dearest, don't ever hurt yourself, not one hair on your head!"

Then do whatever you want.

In fact, thinking your current situation over - it may be safer to watch this show from a little distance. Introduce Grandma to her nearest hospital social worker, advice they will need a medical translator, then bow yourself out. Take your seat in the audience & let it unfold.

It's either home with home services or if 'unsafe discharge' to rehab/or care.

You as NOK probably present as as smart, caring & ??female. Three things that make a social worker tick the Good Family Support box. However, if you were say a long distance truck driver.. well..? See? It can hinge on you even though you may lack the actual legal guardianship.

If you state a firm no, it can stop the show. This farce of independance. Maybe act one, maybe it takes a few more. Choose your lines & stay firm "No, I will not support her to live alone. I do not think it is safe. She cannot look after herself. She cannot arrange home care".
Helpful Answer (15)
Maggie61r Jan 2022
This is very true! I never thought of it that way, but the more you seem to care about the person, the more they (and grandma) will work on you helping.

The hospital will get her admitted somewhere. Just make sure you tell them she's not safe living alone and you refuse to take responsibility for her. You have no legal obligation to take care of her.

You deserve to live your life and enjoy it.
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Seek out an elder care attorney and so what you can do to make her a ward of the state. Your place in life is to be a granddaughter to her. You are an amzing person and doing all that you can to show love to her. But do cannot mess up your own life to care for someone who is so "cynical, negative, conniving, nasty, ungrateful". Much of what she is saying can be attributed to dementia, but still it is hard to hear. I know. I love my beautiful wife of 31 years. But she is suffering with a case of SUPER sudden onset of dementia. Just last night she was talking about all the girlfriends (lovers) I have. You don't know me, but I assure you that I have never had, nor thought about cheating on my wife. She has been my love since the day we married and will be until "death do us part".
I am doing all I can to care for my bride, but it is difficult. I, too, am looking into a memory care facility. I don't want to place her, but her safety is a factor.
Do what you can helitua and don't feel bad about placement of a declaration of her being a ward of the state. You are doing her a favor. She may call you all kinds of names for doing so, but you are none of those. You are valuable and precious!
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You are 29 and doing everything you possibly can for your grandma. You have been an absolute angel and now you are at a point where you can’t do anymore, with everything you’ve had in your life over the last few years I’m not surprised you’re on empty,
narcissm advice is to grey rock - don’t react don’t share. I have to do that at times, and it helps because I don’t get so angry with the crap I have to put up with
your grandma is 86 and has dementia, and she needs more support and healthcare than you can provide. The state needs to do this.
im wishing you all the best and sending hugs xxx
Helpful Answer (12)

Been there…I’m living it now.
Walk away…save yourself.

She’s beyond your level of care.
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