Follow
Share

I'm 41 years old, and in the last 10 years I've been my mother's, my MIL, and grandmother's caregiver until each of their deaths. During the time I was taking care of my grandmother I also was taking care of my grandfather who is NOT an easy person to get along with. During the time of my grandmother's care I recieved NO HELP from either of her 2 children, my dad and my aunt. We live in Puerto Rico, expect for my aunt who lives in the states. During my grandmother's care my aunt came to PR once, for what she said was going to be for a month and within the first week she left for her in laws because of my grandfather. During that time I also left the house with my husband because the stress was too much! My grandmother had Alzheimer's and Dementia and wasn't easy to take care of because she was always trying to run away and wouldn't sit for 2 minutes, I don't have enough space to write everything I've gone through with her. Fast forward 4 years later and my grandfather asks if my husband and I can move back in because he doesn't want to be alone, after much hesitation we did, BIG MISTAKE! The first month of us moving back we went through many earthquakes resulting that we had to send my grandfather to his daughter's house because we couldn't have him sleeping in the car, because he has 2 spinal cord surgeries and was in pain and going back into the house was too dangerous if it collapses, so he stayed with her from January until October. During that time, my dad gets real sick and he is diagnosed with mestastic cancer (bone cancer) and now I am his full time caregiver. I am running around to doctors appointments and chemotherapy and daily radiation therapy. My grandfather and aunt would bicker a lot while he was with her, he wanted to come back home because he wasn't happy. I asked to please wait because I am too busy with dad to also be taking care of his things, him and my aunt didn't care and sent him home anyways. Since then I've been extremely stressed out to the point that I am experiencing severe body pains that sends me to bed, depression with suicidal thoughts and my mind is not what it used to be. I cannot control my anger, the crying and my emotions, I am too emotional now. I've asked for help but nobody in the family wants to take in my grandfather, here we have laws if he doesn't want to be put in a home, I cannot obligate him, and guess what, he doesn't want a home. I am too stressed with my dad who is another piece of work, a man who didn't raise me and now I have to take care of him because my sister left at the first sign of my grandmother getting sick. My husband and I pay almost all the bills, we don't ask for money, my GF goes out of his way to always put down my husband whenever he gets the chance and now he cannot take it anymore and wants to move! I hate my life, I have anger issues that I cannot control anymore and I feel left to fend for myself with my family. I haven't worked since 2010 and haven't collected SS because I have to be here for people who I don't want to care for anymore, not even my dad! I am getting sick and there might be a possiblity I have cancer too, getting checked in March. I am so depressed and been thinking of suicide everyday. Sometimes I lose my cool and my husband gets scared, he said that I can easily hurt someone or even poison my family, and I think he's right. All this stress is bring out a personality disorder I never had. What can I do? Can I take my aunt to court and have her take care of her own father because I am already taking care of mine, my husband and both of our health. I'm afraid I can hurt someone or myself and my family doesn't care, as long as it doesn't interfere with their own little world. I've been called selfish many times by my aunt, she never liked me because I was my grandmother's favorite. My GM was my world and I am happy I took care of her, but I don't want to take care of anyone else...HELP!

Find Care & Housing
Jeyka4444 - You have had a few days to read through the posts, and maybe scan the outside information provided.

My main concern now is, how are you feeling? Are you feeling reassured by the concern expressed here? Are you relieved to see there is indeed a path forward to get you out of your unhappy situation?

Because you mentioned feeling suicidal, which I have felt in my life, I've been thinking about you and wondering how you are doing? Did you see the moderator's post, offering the number to the suicide help-line? Do you think you could call them just to talk, in a moment of particular desperation? I believe the phones are answered by truly caring volunteers, available to chat at any time of day or night. Just copied from moderator's post: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255.

How are things going right now?

Wishing you blessings & peace!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to ToBeHelpful
Report

Thank you everyone for your comments. I have read them all, or mostly all, and sorry I haven't responded, I have my dad in the hospital and have been also taking my GF to his doctor appointments and doing a million things.

Some have asked me what grounds do I have to obligated my aunt to take care of her own father? Because #1, I was obligated. Without even realizing my family had planned since I was a child that I would be taking care of them, many times I heard them tell me this but never realized what it meant because I was so young and I was taught that we MUST take care of our family.

#2. I am not giving the same quality of care as I once was able to. As I mentioned before, I am depressed, suicidal and it's brought out a personality disorder that I never had. I am being spread thin, or burned out. When I reach out to my aunt, which I spoke to her again the other day, she tells me that she cannot take care of her dad for her own mental health and that I just have to ignore him and try to "get along" for the sake of my dad that shouldn't be under any stress by seeing me and my grandfather argue. But....if she would've stayed with her father that "stress" on my dad could've been avoided by not adding a HUGE load on top of an already exhausted caregiver.

Does that seem fair?

For those who are unaware, yes, I can be forced to take care of my parents and grandparents, and if I don't comply I can go to jail. I can be also forced to liquidate any debt left behind after their death. No, I cannot put my grandfather in ANY home without his approval, and he is well enough (clear minded) to make that decision and already said he doesn't want to go to a home. Nursing homes are NOTHING like the ones in the states, and in all honesty I don't blame him for not wanting one, they're over priced and there's constant reports of elderly abuse in those homes. I tried to find a nurse, they only work for 4 hours and even if I went to work to pay for one what I would make wouldn't be enough to pay for one. Since my grandfather has money, he doesn't qualify for a lot of programs, so we been told.

I find it rather offensive that we can be forced to provide care for an elderly family member, even when at times we can't physically, mentally or emotionally but when we ask for help we are treated as if we're selfish for even suggesting that GOD forbid a child takes care of their own parent. I did it for BOTH my parents and my mother in law AND my grandmother who is my aunts mom. Come on really?! Is that really too much to ask? Because the really messed up part about all of this, I can't work to pay my own SS so when it's my turn I have something to collect and I can lose this house if my grandfather dies because we have Forced Heir Laws and my aunt can take it away from me even against her own parents wishes, so just that alone is another reason she should take care of her dad since she was NO help with the years I spent taking care of her own mother. She is one that cannot take care of her parents but LOVES to bark orders on the phone on how I should be taking care of them. I've also spent years being belittled by her, so fuck her! So it's appalling to force her but not that I am being forced to the point that I may harm myself or others? This is the mentality we need to change, since we all know how difficult caregiving is and stop blocking anyone looking for genuine help.

Sorry if I am being harsh but some of these answers have really ruffled my feathers and I feel that my needs and health is being ignored as always. To those who genuinely took the time to help find me information I am so grateful for you, thank you! I will be contacting a lawyer since the laws here are different.

Also, to answer another previous question. No I didn't sign anything to be a caregiver, it was dumped on me and expected of me to do so, and to shut up while my husband and I continue to put our lives on hold for others.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Jeyka4444
Report
Jeyka4444 Jan 30, 2021
My husband and I changed our plans to never have kids because of this experience, we don't wish this life upon any children we could've had and it breaks my heart because we really wanted a family but we know one day we would need someone to care for us and I will NEVER put a child or niece or nephew through the hell I've went through. This life, isn't fair towards my husband either, that's another reason why I asked what I asked. It's effecting another person, who also was obligated, because he's married to me; to be in a situation he doesn't want to be in. So, as you can see, it's not only me who gets effected, and that's not right. Why should I live in a toxic and stressful environment just to make my aunts life easier? Please tell me where's the logic in that? Because I don't see it.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Frebrowser, good work!   Do you have legal background?    I think so, especially since you provided a Lexis cite.    And I stand corrected.    Apparently a multitude of people can have standing.

I'm still kind of shaking my head, as the PR laws you cited are quite demanding in terms of family care.   Did you happen to read any background on why these laws are so demanding?   I'm guessing it's a handed down tradition with Puerto Rican families but became codified into law as some members didn't participate in family caregiving.

I'm wondering now if the "long arm" of the Puerto Rican government can apply the law to a family member living in the States, and/or whether or not reciprocity could be established for the GF in Puerto Rico and the aunt living in the States.  

Jeyka, at this point I think you might need someone versed in international law, and unfortunately and to the best of my knowledge, many of these types of attorneys are with the big, silk stockinged, white shoe law firms, although you might be able to find someone in Puerto Rico.  Does Puerto Rico have local and territory wide bar associations?    That's where I would start, and get lists by practice area, "international law" being a good choice.

This has been a learning experience for me.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report
Frebrowser Jan 27, 2021
GardenArtist: I don't have an actual legal background, but thirty years of working in libraries has given me some research skills.

"Family Assistance for Older Adults in Puerto Rico" by Paul-Jesús Fericelli, the article that detailed the mediation process gives some good background information.

I don't think it's "international law" but interstate doesn't feel right either. Maybe interterritorial? I tried to Google it, but wandered off into marveling that Puerto Rico has three interstate highways.
(2)
Report
See 4 more replies
If I am reading this right Gfather is able to live alone,, just wanted company? So you moved in to provide company for him. Did you move from the states to PR? Move out,, if he can live alone.. move back to the states if you want to!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to pamzimmrrt
Report
Jeyka4444 Jan 30, 2021
Yes, he was living alone. I lived in the following town and he asked me to move in because he didn't want to be alone and I am the only one left here in PR, my dad is here too but has cancer. Now we all live in the same house and I am treated as a servant, even with my dad because he seems to be in competition with my grandfather to see who can boss me around more. My husband is mad at the abuse both have with me.
(1)
Report
So in filial law... which states laws take precedent if the elder and the "heir" live in different ones?

Like say the elder lives in a state wih filial and the "heir" lives in one that doesnt?
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to ZippyZee
Report
Stacy0122 Jan 26, 2021
In most filial law states, it is only financial. I know enough about PR law to make me dangerous, Frebrower just Googled to make someone right or wrong and everyone else goes by gut feeling of what is right or wrong and likes what they wish was true.

No one here knows PR laws so that is why OP needs a lawyer.
(3)
Report
Wow! Who knew?

"Laws of Puerto Rico Annotated
TITLE EIGHT Public Welfare and Charitable Institutions (Chs. 1 — 46)
Chapter 32. Act for the Improvement of Family Assistance and for the Support of the Elderly (§§ 711 — 748)"

"§ 712. Duties of the descendants and their limitations
(a) It is the obligation of the descendants of elderly persons to contribute to their sustenance. Those descendants of elderly persons who are responsible for their support, in those cases where the administrative mediation procedure has not been effective, the court shall order them to provide a monetary contribution or as an alternative, to make a fair and reasonable non-financial contribution to their support pursuant to this chapter. The duty to support elderly persons continues even when the elderly person has been placed by court order in a care facility or in the custody of another person, or a public or private agency or institution.
(b) In order to make the obligation of providing support to an elderly person effective, or to equate said obligation, it is necessary to file a petition for support whether by the obligee him/herself, or through his/her legal representative, or a police officer, a public or private agency or instrumentality, a guardian, a public official, or any private person concerned for the support of said person. Any of the above may file a petition for support before the Program, or before the court, or present a request for services to the Program pursuant to the provisions of § 722 of this title."

https://advance.lexis.com/documentpage/?pdmfid=1000516&crid=33cedd13-6586-4c20-baf3-c035ec30a6d7&pdistocdocslideraccess=true&config=00JABkODU1MGI4OC1hMmRkLTQ2MGYtOGY1NS03YjVjOWM4YjJlZjAKAFBvZENhdGFsb2d0HiKld62itjBDGzN8H7lV&pddocfullpath=%2Fshared%2Fdocument%2Fstatutes-legislation%2Furn%3AcontentItem%3A5CFX-2N91-66SD-843T-00008-00&pdcomponentid=234193&pdtocnodeidentifier=AAKABRAAC&ecomp=q53dkkk&prid=d309000b-5df1-45cd-a886-fcd7e2b99c97
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Frebrowser
Report
Frebrowser Jan 26, 2021
"(c) An adult obligor who is already providing support to an elderly relative may file a petition before the court to direct other obligors to provide support to the obligee. In these cases, leveling shall be used as a means to equitably distribute the obligation to support between all the obligors.":

Here is an easier to read link. https://casetext.com/statute/laws-of-puerto-rico/title-eight-public-welfare-and-charitable-institutions/chapter-32-act-for-the-improvement-of-family-assistance-and-for-the-support-of-the-elderly/712-duties-of-the-descendants-and-their-limitations

Note that while hands on care is an alternative not the original requirement, which is monetary.

And there are exceptions for those who were abused, etc. by the elder.
(2)
Report
See 4 more replies
Yes, in PR, you can. They have some of the most strict filial responsibilty laws which include hands on care. I do not know how it works since Aunt lives in the states. Call an elder attorney.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Stacy0122
Report
AlvaDeer Jan 26, 2021
Wow. What bad law. I can't imagine what kind of care would be given when it is given only by force. I would want a taster for my meals.
(5)
Report
See 2 more replies
Let's start here. It doesn't matter if you haven't worked since 2010. If you have ten years or more on the books paying into social security and are now disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for SSD (Social Security Disability) disability benefits. If you don't have at least a ten year long work record of paying taxes, you do not qualify for SSD. You can try for SSI (Social Security Insurance) which is a supplement for people who haven't paid into the system but are disabled. This is very hard to get these days because too many people who weren't disabled took advantage of it for too long.
Secondly, there is no way to legally force someone to be another person's caregiver. If your aunt does not want to be a caregiver to her father, then she doesn't have to. You do not have to either.
If he cannot care for himself anymore and there's no family to help out, then he goes into a nursing home. It may be different in Puerto Rico, but they must surely have elder care homes and even nursing homes. You and your husband need to stop being the caregiver. Put him in a home.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
Report
Jeyka4444 Jan 30, 2021
SS rules are different here than the states, my dad paid SS for over 40 years, except for the last 5 years because business went down, then hurricane Maria, the earthquakes and the pandemic, and he couldn't apply for disability when his cancer was discovered because they didn't have any tax returns in the last 5 years, so they only gave him retirement and he has to wait until he's 65, in 2 more years, to be able to get Medicaid. He receives less for retirement than if he would've gotten disability. I also spoke to the SS admin about my own situation and he said I am a few points from completing the 40 points I need. When I explained my situation and if I can pay my own SS, he said No, and since I am a family member I cannot get paid from my family and pay SS either because it's my obligation to take care of my elderly. In order for SS to pay a caregiver, they cannot be a family member. When looking for a private nurse to take care of my GF, they're rates are way too high for this area and they only work for 4 hours a day.

Here in PR I can be forced to take care of my elderly and if I don't I can be charged and serve jail time. Our laws are not the same as in the states, we also follow many laws from Spain. Here, even if my dad or grandfather leaves a debt, it's my responsibility to pay it after their death. I know too many people who got screwed over paying their parents debts.
(0)
Report
So sorry you are going thru this. Not sure either how things work in PR but I think you do share the same benefits that American citizens do.

I would have granddad evaluated either by Adult Protection Services or Office on aging. Tell them your health is now compromised and you are caring for someone else. You can no longer care for both. If you need to, let PR take over Grandpa's care. I think you do have Medicaid?

Your Dad. Is he on Medicare? Check to see if you can get Hospice in to help. It won't be much but they supply an aide to bathe and maybe some xtra time for u to get out for a while. A nurse checks in 3x a week or so but is on call 24/7. Dad will be kept comfortable and as pain free as possible.

I hope this has helped.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
worriedinCali Jan 26, 2021
Puerto Rico is part of the US. The OP is an American citizen...
(3)
Report
See 2 more replies
W/o getting into the details of the family dynamics, and cautioning that I'm opining just on the basis of what I think would apply, and not personal experience, I think there are two basic but critical factors to first address:

1.    What STANDING do you have to sue to force someone (i.e., your aunt), to care for your grandfather?   "Standing" is  a legal term addressing the rights of someone to undertake actions, more accurately and specifically described here:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/standing

I'm certainly not an expert on standing, but it seems like a basic issue that if you're NOT legally obligated to care for GF, then you can't be either forced to do so, or voluntarily seeking legal support to force someone else.  

2.   The assumption by others here that "force" is being applied to keep you in this situation and presumably be responsible either directly for care, or inferentially to locate substitute care seems to be a major issue.      I've read your post twice and think that one way or another, you've demonstrated reliability over the years, and perhaps that's lead to family members looking to you as first priority for taking care of them.    But have there ever been any threats to you to coerce you to care for GF now, or others in the past? 

Did you ever sign any agreement to care for anyone other than yourself, and inferentially your specific husband and children you might have?  If not, then you're being manipulated by the family. 

It's time to stand up for yourself, and that's what you're trying to do.   If you aren't comfortable facing them, e-mail and mail them that you're not able to take care of anyone else in the extended family, and that's the END of the discussion.   Someone else will have to address care for your grandfather.  

Do NOT let them challenge or manipulate you, don't take their phone calls or respond to e-mails or letters if they attempt to manipulate you.    Stand your ground. 

More than likely they'll turn against you, but that's not your problem if they can't take responsibility for one of their own.

And if Puerto Rico has local therapeutic counseling available, take advantage of it.   I don't know anything about PR's governmental options, or nonprofit organizations, so I can't make offer any suggestions on these issues.   I think one of the first priorities is to enhance your own self esteem so you feel more confident in standing your ground.

I wish you luck; you're in a challenging situation, but you have to have confidence that you're on the right path to refuse to care for GF.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report
ToBeHelpful Jan 26, 2021
Thank you, GardenArtist, well said! The heart of the matter truly is, "I think one of the first priorities is to enhance your own self esteem so you feel more confident in standing your ground," and, "...if Puerto Rico has local therapeutic counseling available, take advantage of it." Jeyka's issue truly is not whether the aunt can be brought on board to care for her father, but that Jeyka has taken on too much, is being exploited by family, and needs encouragement to extricate herself from a miserable situation. And clearly everyone here is hoping/praying for the best for her. You articulated it well.
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
(moving post elsewhere)
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ToBeHelpful
Report
AlvaDeer Jan 26, 2021
Moving day for me as well! Actually deleting! Now you are all so curious you can't stand it. Sorry.
(0)
Report
Hi Jeyka4444, 
 Caregiving is a long difficult road, and we're happy you have found the support of others here on this site. 
 However, there are limits to what untrained members on our site can provide for you. 
 Please reach out to experts for additional support and the help you need 24 hours a day at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 
 Call 1-800-273-8255
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AgingCareCM
Report
JoAnn29 Jan 26, 2021
Sorry, that was a mistake.
(0)
Report
Hello, Jeyka4444,

Wow! I am sorry all this chaos has been dumped in your lap! The anguish you are experiencing makes perfect sense. I am so sorry you are having to juggle all this drama, but kudos to you because clearly you are giving it your best shot! Please don't commit suicide, it would obviously be a great loss to the world if you did. Remember: suicide is a long-term solution to a short-term problem. This too shall pass!

Personally, I did not find Geaton777's answer helpful at all. The assertion that "morally and ethically you should not force anyone to provide caregiving" completely ignores the horrible situation you find yourself in, having yourself been forced to care for people who are not 1st-degree relatives, when their immediate family has abandoned them! Not fair! Not "moral" or "ethical" at all!

I don't know if you can get a Court to mandate that your aunt care for your grandfather. However, I have a couple of suggestions. Quite often, an attorney will give a free first consultation. Show up to the appointment well organized, with all your questions, and you may well get advice to point you in the right direction. Hopefully, there are a variety of options the lawyer can suggest you can pursue.

Now, on the other hand, do you have access to money from your grandfather? Because if you are hiring an attorney to manage his affairs, your grandfather should be paying. You should not be putting out your own money for his care unless he is completely indigent, and if he is completely indigent, he can be made a ward of the State and put in a State-run facility. If the idea of putting him in a State-run facility is abhorrent to you, please realize this man is an adult, and made decisions over the course of his life to put himself in this predicament. Each of us makes choices for which there are consequences, and we alone are responsible for facing the consequences. It's illogical that he should make poor choices, then expect anyone else upend their life to rescue him from his foolishness. You deserve a good life, too!

In addition to private lawyers, ordinarily, too, there are often Legal Aid Societies, where young lawyers will try to help at no charge to you. I would bet there is more than just one in San Juan (I am in NY, but when I was growing up, we traveled to PR frequently, and my father's third wife grew up there), there are probably several of these around the Island.

I've been trying to get help for my mother, who is mentally ill but generally functional (e.g., she imagines neighbors are stealing things from her cluttered apartment, but she manages to pay her bills), for years. Slowly, slowly--did I say slowly?!--I have come to learn about resources to help. In the case of mental illness, unfortunately, a lot of places that should help--psych hospitals, for instance, and social workers at medical hospitals--don't. I have tried one option after another, and have been very disappointed to find how few professionals want to get involved. Now *there's* truly a matter of moral/ethical failure! When professionals turn their backs!

But lately I was just told of a consortium of lawyers here in NYC who specialize in elder law, who provide free advice. It's only been 15 years since I first started trying to get help! From experience, I can only say: hang in there, and keep reaching out, regardless how frustrating and even infuriating. Step by step, you WILL find help, just keep asking.

And the bottom line is: take GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF. This advice comes from someone who doesn't always take good care of herself, who notices how much better things go when she does! LOL! Last night, I got to bed at 11PM and fell right asleep, rather than staying up until 3AM or even all night just to get everything done that needed to be done. I feel so much better today than yesterday, when I'd stayed up the night before until 1AM trying to get things done, then read in bed until 2AM just to unwind.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF!

Blessings!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ToBeHelpful
Report
BurntCaregiver Jan 26, 2021
No one can get the court to force another person to become a caregiver. If the aunt said no to being one then that's the end of it. Parents abandon babies and children and the court doesn't mandate them to start taking care of them.
They take custody away and the kids go to foster homes to be cared for.
If the grandfather cannot do for himself and is a non-functioning adult then he will become a ward of the state if there's no one to care for him and the state becomes his guardian.
(4)
Report
No, you cannot nor can any court force someone to be someone's caregiver. What you can do is contact a State social worker to see if they can offer assistance. You can also choose not to be a caregiver anymore if you really can't handle it. (It is admittedly more complicated than that, you can't just abandon your family, you would have to handle that in a certain way to make that happen, but it could be done).
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to mstrbill
Report
AlvaDeer Jan 26, 2021
I second Mr. Bill's advice. I also agree with Geaton that you cannot force others to act to provide their own bodies, minds and monies to the care of family members in need.
(1)
Report
I don't know what the laws are in PR but morally and ethically you should not force anyone to provide caregiving. Think about it: what kind of quality of care do you think they'd actually provide as they stew in resentment over it every day? You yourself know the toll caregiving takes on a person. I'm sorry, but the assumption of family-provided caregiving cannot be mandated by a court. Now you have to be realistic and look at other options for them. I'm not familiar with what is available in PR but perhaps others on this forum are. You have chosen to do a loving and noble thing in providing care for your LOs. May you be blessed in your life going forward and peace in your heart whatever caregiving arrangements are available.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Geaton777
Report
ToBeHelpful Jan 26, 2021
Geaton7777,

If you think about it, how "moral" or "ethical" is it that Jeyka4444 has been forced to take care of so many debilitated relatives when other family walked away? No, it's not, it's a lousy predicament. So, to me, it doesn't seem helpful to make such a stern statement to someone who is clearly overwhelmed and suffering. "No, I'm sorry, legally it can't be done," should be a sufficient response to someone so upset, don't you think? Why add to her burden by questioning her character? Thank you for adding kind words at the end of your message.
(1)
Report
See 4 more replies
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter