My grandmother, who was abused as a child and in turn abused my dad, is showing signs of decline. She lives alone, in a different state, and recently totaled her car so probably should not be driving. My dad and his siblings are grappling with how to care for her without risking their own mental health. She continues to be verbally/emotionally abusive to all of them, even when they try to help. She is extremely paranoid; my dad (a general contractor) has arranged for work to be done on her home by people he trusts and works with often, and she has repeatedly accused them of ripping her off or stealing from her. My dad tends to be the stoic type, but I know the prospect of increased caregiving is a huge source of dread and stress for him. She is unlikely to agree to any kind of help. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions.

Find Care & Housing
Kelly, your Dad is a good guy. But, I think the first thing that needs to be done is GMom needs to be evaluated. She may not be able to live on her own anymore. If there is no way for family to get her to do this, then Adult Protection Services could be called in. They could evaluate Gmoms situation and maybe see to it that she see a doctor. If they find out she needs 24/7 care, then they can have Gmom placed in a LTC facility. If your Dad and Siblings don't want to be involved in her care, they can allow the state to take guardianship. That means the state takes over fully, financially and Medically. Her house and any assets will be used to offset the cost of her care.

Trying to say this without repercussions. I realize not all of us had an idealic childhood. Yes, there are very good reasons why you don't want or need to get involved. And I am one of those who have said "stay away". I understand that, but Tothill's first paragraph hit a cord.

"First, no one in your family is responsible for providing any level of care for your grandmother. That includes doing work around her house, even if it is falling down around her."

Tothill is not the only one who has said this and it seems so sad to me.
I know, you made ur bed....but this woman was abused and knew no other way. Remember, there were no resources when she was a child. In the early years of TV, abuse was not even talked about. It was kept in the homes, swept under the rug. Children weren't aware there maybe help. There was no help for adults. I am 70 and only in the last few years am I aware that some of my classmates had abuse in their homes. Either beating of a parent or alcoholism. One friend, their Mom beat them just because.

I see no problem in helping from a distance. Finding the resources. Giving the person the info, even if in a letter with no return address. If they refuse to use the info, oh well. Call APS, not giving out your identity, and asking for a well check. You can get the ball rolling without getting involved. Then, you can step back with no guilt.

Some people need to be able to say "I tried" so they "can" finally walk away.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29
kelly114 Dec 5, 2019
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I believe she is seeing a doctor soon and is not yet in need of full time care, but in the future having APS evaluate might be a necessity. I appreciate that suggestion. And I agree with you, my grandma's generation had very few resources or awareness of how to heal from trauma. Hers is a case that really drives home how crucial it is to educate people about trauma and how to spot it in kids so they can get the care they need. I'm able to hold space for her pain I'm just supremely grateful that my dad and his siblings were able to avoid perpetuating the cycle.

I think my dad is in a place where he can provide some help from afar, but definitely needs to set boundaries with her regarding how much communication they have and how much responsibility he is willing to assume. It's not easy trying to find the fine line between empathy and self-care, but I'm hoping I can help support him in that. I really appreciate your input :)
First, no one in your family is responsible for providing any level of care for your grandmother. That includes doing work around her house, even if it is falling down around her.

Once your family realizes that, they can decide whether or not they want to participate in her care at all. And each person gets to make this decision on their own, wihtout any fall out from their siblings.

Now if they do want to be involved they can hire a geriatric care manager in her town.

It may be easier to report her to APS and have them step in. Explain very clearly that there is no way on God's green earth that any of the siblings or grandchildren can provide care.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Tothill
kelly114 Dec 5, 2019
Thank you for your response, I think you're right that it's important for my dad and his sibs to absolve themselves of feeling obligated to help and decide for themselves whether or not they are willing to.

I'm going to look into GMCs as well, that very well might be an option. Thanks again.
Sorry I don't have an answer but I will be following this thread because a third party negotiating service is a great idea! I've never heard of one outside of getting advice from an elder attorney.

I'm sorry about your dad and what he and his siblings are going through. At the very least let him know his abusive mother's elder care is not his responsibility and if she won't cooperate or negotiate then she can become a ward of the state and they will tell her what to do. She can't abuse a state representative.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ExhaustedPiper
kelly114 Dec 5, 2019
Thanks for your comment, I also think it would be helpful - kind of like mediation for divorce. I'm in my final year of a Masters program for counseling, and this situation along with my internship at a hospice has really piqued my interest in mental health issues surrounding aging, caregiving, etc. There is clearly a lot of support needed for all parties involved!

Meanwhile, I appreciate your empathy - and your excellent point about not being able to abuse a state rep :)

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter