Happy New Year all,

Long story short, I am one of three boys, however I am the one most involved in assisting my grandparents in a variety of ways (care,finances,translator,etc). They mean the world to me as they have been in my life since I could remember (I was born in 1989).

I keep playing with the idea that its noble to care for them but I still find myself asking the question "Is it my place to be so engaged?" and "Is this taking away from me living my own life to the fullest?"

Their only child, my mother, is not able to support her own self. She relies heavily on me, and at times, it becomes exhausting.

Apart from this forum, what have been some ways in which ya'll decompress and keep the train moving forward?


You are 32 years old. I realize there may be cultural pressures and expectations at work in your situation. You have been assumed into the surrogate spouse role for not 1 but 2 generations of women in your family. Do you have a family of your own? If not, do you ever hope to? You will burn out before this ever happens, my friend.

Leaving the caregiving up to others allows you to have the fullest life and build your best future. This will allow you to be there for your LOs in a reasonable way when they really can't help themselves, as aging and decline just gets more demanding and intense over time. If you need help please call social services to see if they qualify for any in-home help. You will not be able to "keep the train moving forward" without an inevitable train wreck, and you will be the casualty. Just read around on this forum under the topic Burnout. Finding alternatives for their care does NOT mean you don't love them. It means you are wise and realistic. They won't like it, but sometimes the medicine for the cure is very distasteful. May you have great wisdom in this situation and peace in your heart as you move YOUR train forward in YOUR life (hug)!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Geaton777
AlvaDeer Jan 5, 2021
Couldn't agree more and don't have a single word to add, which will surprise everyone. What a beautiful response, G.
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You are an amazingly compassionate young man. It is noble to step up and help, and it's also important to take time for yourself. I know things can feel very overwhelming at times. One of the things that has helped me when I've felt stressed is to remember that it's a privilege to help my mother-in-law, and that we cannot get this time back once she's gone. Having gratitude for the time we have together has made all the difference in the world for me. When you choose to care for others, instead of doing it strictly out of a sense of duty, you can avoid becoming a martyr, which can be unhealthy.
It does sound like your burnout comes more from your mother than from your grandparents. You didn't specify why she cannot support herself, but if it's a matter of financial assistance, maybe your siblings or the state could be a valuable resource. If it's more emotional, a book like Boundaries could help you with setting up boundaries with her in order to keep yourself sane (so to speak).
As far as "living your life to the fullest", what would that look like to you, and are there some ways to incorporate that vision into your current situation (especially if you can get help with Mom)? You might want to make a list of the things you feel you're missing out on and prioritize your needs and wants. It sometimes helps to see things on paper.
Be kind to yourself and do something for yourself every day, even if it's as simple as a walk in the neighborhood. You have my utmost respect for loving and caring for your family.
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Reply to melsharpe

I’m taking care of my mom and grandma. I’m 40, and grateful I’m married and have a daughter to help. I am scared that my daughter is going to graduate and my husband and I won’t get to travel like we wanted. My mom has a terminal Illness and my grandma is quite healthy.
Once my mom passes my plan is to get grandma an attendant so I can leave the house a little more and to help her build some relationships with others, so that I can at least start having some weekend getaways again. I also plan to to start looking into assisted living and similar type living situations, so I am well-informed and ready when it is time. We are also considering building her a tiny living space in the backyard as a way of creating a little separation without being too far. I plan to move slowly, because nothing is going to happen with my mom in the condition she is in. We don’t have a lot of money, none of us , but I know it will work out.
Make time for fun, I’m sure your grandparents don’t want to take your life from you. Be gentle and firm about your decisions.
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Reply to Homecare123

First I must say that it is very sweet of you to care so much for your grandparents. They are fortunate to have you. That being said though, you are a young man who has seemed to have taken on the care of not only your grandparents, but your mom as well. How can you live your life to the fullest, when you've taken on these additional responsibilities, and why do you feel that you are the one who needs to do so? At this point in your life, your only responsibilities should be your own family(wife, or husband and children, if applicable), along with yourself. So honestly, you probably need to take a step back, and reevaluate what you're doing. You might just be enabling both your mom and grandparents(probably more so your mom)by stepping in and doing things that they perhaps are more than capable of doing for themselves. It's your choice, and only you can decide how much "care" you will provide going forward, but if you do continue on the path you're on, just make sure that you are getting away on a regular basis to do the fun things you enjoy, and that you're making yourself a priority too. Best wishes.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

Guardian for my grandparents (Grandpa passed away in Feb). I ended up telling my sister she was going to be in charge of my mom's guardianship when that day comes. I've done my dues. My mom's great so I doubt that will happen, but it's nice to think about... Hopefully, you have siblings to lean on and set that boundary now (even if it's just wishful thinking). Good luck.
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Reply to Juliasmygma

If you feel you are over-extended, then you probably need other people to help with your grandparents. Ask family, friends, members of your faith community, and even paid help to lighten your burden. Check your state/province and local department on aging since they will have government assistance resources.

I would also suggest visiting a lawyer that specializes in elder law to draw up wills, medical powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney, and any other needed legal documents to help with their care. You may need to do this for your parents as well. Ask get advice from the lawyer about what are your financial obligations to all these senior family members since caregiving can be costly in terms of time and money.

As for decompression or keeping from burning out, it is a matter of creating balance. You need to balance time caring for others with time caring for yourself. Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep daily, 3 square meals, time without caretaking to socialize with friends and pursue your own hobbies/activities. Some find that building their spiritual life through prayer, reading the Bible and gathering (either in person or online) with people of faith (like a church group or Bible study group on Zoom of Facetime) helps build resilience,
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Reply to Taarna

I was caregiver with no help for the family and only criticism. It was so bad I had to leave. I was working overtime hours and only one day off and had to do the caregiving. It was too much criticism and bullying from family. I was not supposed to be the caregiver but just there overnight to make sure she didn’t fall. They were supposed to hire a caregiver but my sister had the idea to put her two cents in and state to my grandma that family should do and we can do it as a family and then she abandoned me and disappeared and would only come to visit and criticize saying grandma needs this better and her criticism was too much. When grandma needed a handyman she would state that grandma you should not hire someone to do this family should and she volunteered me and herself but again disappeared. What hurt me is recently my sister accused me of abandoning her and not helping her out when I was caring for my grandma saying I could have left if I wanted to and didn’t have to stay when it was her the main one pushing me into that prison. My grandma would send my mom to buy things from the appliance store and throw it in my face to fix something and I would not know about it until then. They would do it on the day they promised me off and I would not be allowed that day off but somehow they considered it still a day off. I was being attacked, they would sit in a table criticize me in front of me like I wasn’t there and they fired the lawn guy and I had to mow. I had to prepare for holidays and everyone would leave without cleaning but they would make suggestions for me to do this. I left and now everyone helps and I am always guilt trip when they were talking about how hard it is like they expected me to take over again with no help but they should not be tired because they have all the help and even hired people
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Reply to Arp1754

I need more info.
Depending on how much care they each need.
Do both your mom and Grandma live in the same house as you or do the two of them live together?
How many hours a week do you spend with them?

If it's just a few hours during the week or weekend then you'll be fine.

If you're questioning it then maybe you don't want to be doing what you're doing.

Of course they will need more help the longer they live and you won't be able to do it all.

If you have the money, you can always hire help.

The least expensive would be to let them both live together in the same house and hire a Live in if that is what is needed.

Other than that, if they need more help that you aren't able to offer then they will have to be put in a Senior Home.
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Reply to bevthegreat

Imho, you are doing a STELLAR caregiving job thus far! God bless you, young man!
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Reply to Llamalover47

Hi there,

I am new to the forum and dealing with this very thing as well. It has taken over my whole life, to the point that I am becoming extremely depressed and feel as though I have no time for myself. I completely sympathize and understand how you are feeling. Both of my grandparent's children passed, one of them being my mother, which has resulted in me being left with sole caregiving responsibility, as very little help is given from her other two grandchildren.

I have found speaking with a counselor the most helpful for me, as well as reading through posts on this forum. For years, I have felt that as a grandchild, there was no one I could really relate to in this issue, as most caregivers are caring for their aging parents and are a bit older themselves and possibly retired. I am at the point in my life where I should be able to truly live it, but instead feel like I am drained, exhausted, and living life to please someone else. Please know you're not alone. I encourage you to continue reading through this forum. It helps to reinforce the truth that there are others like us, and we will get through it one day at a time.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Caregiver226

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