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For the last three and half years I have been the sole caretaker for my 90 year old grandparents. They have done so much for me in my life, that I enjoyed spending time with them and taking care of them. I have no regrets for the decision I made to live and be responsible for them. In March of this year we lost grandma, and it devastated grandpa. They were married for over 72 years so it was like he lost part of his body. Over the next several months he was depressed because he lost the love of his life. Many a night I would come home after work and find him crying in bed. I kept reassuring him that it was normal for him to be so emotionally distraught that he might never get over loosing the love of his life. Throughout this whole process I have been asking for help from my mother, his daughter to help out. It was difficult to balance a full load of classes, work and care taking. Grandpa has always been independent and his mind is sharp as a tack, he was driving up until 2 years ago. As with everything in life, time marches on, and when she died, his spirit did as well. He has numerous health issues, diabetes, poor circulation in his feet and legs, and from may to july we were in and out of the hospitals trying to alleviate the pain from gangrenous toes. The podiatrist at the V.A. said as long as we kept the toes dry and uninfected he could keep them. IN September as I am about to start taking my pre-requisites for nursing, I get a call from the caretaker that he is being admitted to the hospital because they need to perform an partial amputation of his left foot, because the toes on that foot were severely infected
After a seven day hospital stay he went into a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation, I balanced spending time with him daily with full time hard science classes. I lost my job as a result of this because my mom did not want him to feel alone in the nursing home, because he always had someone with him,in life, grandma. My mom has not been there to help in this situation as she has her own life. I have always been the one to do the hard stuff, as grandma became incontinent six months before she passed. This doesn't bother me, which is why I am pursing a nursing degree. I have repeatedly asked fro help from her, and I know she made two promises to both grandpa and me. Grandpa made her promise that she would never put him in a nursing home, and that when he left the nursing home that he would have 24/7 care to help me out. We are not a rich family so you know how expensive caretakers can be, so I know that I am going to be left to pick up the pieces. I am emotionally burnt out and fell like the love and compassion I once held for him is souring. He is coming home tomorrow and I am freaking out about this. I can physically handle the demands of taking him to the bathroom, which is what he ultimately is going to need. Emotionally I am wreck, I am crying and trying to prepare myself for the inevitable. We are going to bring him home, mom is going to clean and try and set a caretaker schedule, then leave. Leaving me alone with him. It's extremely hard to tell a love one that they can no longer live independently and require someone to be with them all the time for their safety. I know that his prognosis is not good, as we may have to go through more amputation in the future because his feet are bad, and the pain is extreme. He is going back on hospice so that we can make him comfortable. I really needed to express my story as it is not a unique situation. Taking care of a love one is hard and I hope that I can find the strength to continue doing it.

Any advice, prayers are greatly appreciated and thanks for listening to my story.

J

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Sweetheart, it sounds like you don't have a lot of time with your Grandpa left. Sign up for VA aid and attendence. Talk to the VA social worker. Get every help available sent to your house. Sign up for the respite care. You need a little relief. Talk to your advisor at school about your granddad. Ask if you can take half a course schedule. Get her on your side. See if this pratical experience of nursing your granddad can count as credit.

I think what you are asking for is the strength to go on. It is called grit. Individuals who possess a drive to tirelessly work through challenges, failures, and adversity to achieve set goals and are uniquely positioned to reach higher achievements than others who lack similar stamina. Grit is a muscle. The more you use it; the stronger it gets. You got it, kid. You can do this. Your strong, resilient, and intelligent. You got a heart as big as the oudoors. I don't know you, and I am so proud of you. You have your priorities straight, family first, education, I see big things in your future, success, happiness, and love.

We are here for you. If it helps I am going through the same thing. My Dad, who I love with all my heart, is slowly dying. I am collapsing under the pressure, but I won't break, and neither will you.
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I don't think it is too late to have a talk with your mother. I'd politely tell her how I felt about the whole ordeal. You are not her little girl anymore, you are a grown woman with your own voice and life which includes the right to say no. I'm sorry, but your mother is using you and does not care that you are emotional wreck over this for she is only focused on having her own life which sounds very narcissistic to me.
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This is what jumps out at me:

"...I lost my job as a result of this because my mom did not want him to feel alone in the nursing home, because he always had someone with him,in life, grandma."

I'd love to "have a word" with your mother. What the heck has gone on that she thinks she can delegate her role to you, and she has succeeded in making you believe that too?

But you know what? Forget it. It's too late for it to matter.

Let's look ahead. The immediate, short-term looks pretty grim. I'm really sorry that there will be an ordeal ahead. Your poor grandfather has suffered a terrible loss; and in view of his age and his physical difficulties his prospects of recovery are poor.

But you have done so, so much good, and this task is nearly done. You too must be grieving your grandmother, and you must be fearful for your grandfather. Allow yourself to have these feelings even while you are carrying on, don't try to ignore them; because before long the pressure will come off you, all at once, and if you haven't given yourself a bit of a safety valve the suddenness of it will blow you off your feet.

For the practical side of caring for your grandfather on hospice, be bold in asking for all the help that can be provided. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Squeak nicely, of course! - but you are entitled to help and you should never be afraid to request it with anything you need, such as lifting, toileting, or any other jobs that, frankly, are too much for one person on her own anyway.

It is vital, too, that you get enough rest breaks and sleep. You have given tremendous commitment to caring for your grandparents, but - I'm sorry, I am finding this slightly outrageous - they were never your responsibility and it is simply not acceptable for you to be left to bear your grandfather's care alone. Hold your mother to any undertakings she has given you; but if it's not working then go round her and seek alternative support - I'd start with your grandfather's medical team.

Your situation is not quite unique, no, but your acceptance of it as normal..? I'm sorry, all I can do is shake my head. That, and think "wow. This kid has a backbone of cast iron."

Way ahead, you have a bright future. You are hard-working, you are a terrific person, you are incredibly determined, and I am certain you will succeed in any profession you choose. May you be fully rewarded for all you have done.
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This is a terrible situation for a young person to deal with and I applaud you for being so responsible. Are there other relatives that can help out? I won't start on your Mother; however, she is the one that promised no nursing home. Promises like that sound great but are meaningless when severe illness strikes.

For your own wellbeing and future, have a serious talk with his doctor or hospice coordinator about all the services available to your grandfather. This is more than one person can handle while trying to work and go to school. It is not your responsibility and do not allow it to destroy you physically or emotionally. Sometimes we just have to accept we have done all we can do! God bless!
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You are a wonderful grandchild and they are very blessed to have you. Now that your grandmother is gone and you miss her, keep that in mind as the days are hard on you while taking care of your grandfather. Every day that ends is one less day you will have him. Even though he is not the same strong person you had before, he is still the cherished person you have for only a short while longer. Cherish every day with him knowing that all things come to an end. I don't mean to be morbid, I just want you to treasure these remaining days, months, years so that you have good memories and not regrets. You are in my prayers.
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(((((((hugs)))))) and prayers. What a very difficult situation. As cmag suggested you may feel some hurt and anger against your mother. You have really too heavy a load for a person your age. Your g'pa has some serious health issues. Placement in a facility may be necessary at some point regardless of promises from the past. Sometimes it cannot be avoided. Can the medical people or a social worker tell him that he cannot live independently any more? I hope you tell the professionals how you feel and that this is too much for you. It is no good that you are an emotional wreck and dreading him coming home. Frankly, I think it would not be inappropriate for you to tell your mother that you cannot do this any more and leave it to her to make whatever arrangements she can.

More (((((hugs)))) and come back and tell us how you are and how things are going.
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Since as you say that emotionally you are a wreck, I would think meeting with a therapist and getting some meds like anti-anxiety and anti-depression might be need in your near future. When the money for the 24/7 care runs out, it will be time to apply for medicaid and have him placed in a nursing home if he lasts that long. I wish you well.
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I would also imagine that you feel some hurt and some anger toward your mother who has not helped because she had her own life while you have had to give up yours basically. This is not fair and I'm afraid too much for one person. Prayers, love and hugs. I hope you can find a way to survive this ordeal, complete your education and go back to work because you are too young not to.
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