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I'm a 30 yr old mother of 6 children, ages 10 to 19 mo. I am also a caregiver to my 86 yr old grandmother, and I help my grandfather with bills and such. Grandpa is in a nursing home, grandma is at home. She has become very forgetful and carless with her health. Last april her A1C was 7.7, in july it had jumped to 9.5. I help her with meds, housework, meals, yardwork, I take her to all her doctors appts, get her mail.. ect... but I also have a family.. six kids to care for. My husband works out of town, and is gone most of the time, when he is home, he does offer support and help, but can't offer much when he isn't here. Taking care of my grandparents has taken on a huge emotional, financial, and even physical burden for me. I feel like I'm not fully meeting anyone's needs at all, and I've become so sleep deprived that I myself am having memory problems, and now I've caught a cold or something that just has knocked me out. I feel so unorganized and overwhelmed.. but I know I am capable of doing this.. I just don't know how. I am the only family here. Some family has come and helped here and there. I also have two of my uncles telling me what needs to be done, but they are not here to help.. they even drew up Power of Attorny forms and told me to get grandma and grandpa to sign it. I didn't, grandpa is all there mentally and he read the papers and said no, and I told grandpa that since grandma was so confused lately that I cannot in good conscience allow her to sign anything..... but here I am trapped in the middle of everyones opinions on what should be done "with" grandma and grandpa, but no help or much support. Due to the financial burden it has taken on my family, we are falling behind on bills. Due to the emotional stress it is causing, I'm clentched my jaw so much that I think I cracked a tooth (do not have insurance at the moment, will in 3 months when my husband switches to his new job), and I have been suffering from insomnia and anxiety attacks for nearly a month. And physically..... well there are days that I'm so buys and stressed that I forget to eat.. and to be honest.. I cannot remember the last time I took a shower.. judging by the growth of hair on my legs.. I think about a week...... things just feel like they are falling apart and I am desperately trying to just hang on. Things will get better when my husbands new job starts, he will be making 3x what he is making now, but money doesn't by time.. which is what I feel like I'm lacking every day.. enough time to meet my obligations, too meet everyone's emotional and physical needs... and keep my house clean at the same part...

I know people care for eldery family and manage their own lives... so what is it that they are doing.. how do I balance it all.. help!!

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I send my grandparents sudz club. I know it's a service for college students but the products work. It saves my mom time running to the store and my grandma loves getting mail haha.
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YAY!!! I think all of that sounds wonderful! I do that too with the emails. I was spending so much time updating people when I finally made a gmail account for my grandparents and told everyone whoever wants to know can email and I'll send a weekly update. I got 4 peoples emails but at least I did what I could.
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brijae,

thank you for the advice, it was helpful. I've been thinking of what i can do to help simplify and organize since i read your reply and i have been able to come up with several ideas I'm going to work on. I have some family here helping right now, so i have been able to get a ton of things done. I know that a routine and schedule will really help. I've also decided to take people up on offers to help. They may not be family, but they are people who have been here for her and are reliable. I'm going to talk to the home health nurse and ask if she can be in charge of prescriptions and sorting meds so that i just have to get the meds out for her. I have been spending way to much time talking on the phone with relatives, each who seem to have their own opinion on whats going on with grandma and grandpa and how it should be dealt with. I'm gathering everyone's emails and will send a group email with updates for grandma, i will let them all know that as far as grandma and grandpas financial situation goes that grandpa is still handling that and all their questions concerns and opinions need to be directed towards him.. i don't want to hear about it anymore. I'm going to lay down some rules and ask that they respect those rules. If they think they can do a better job, then i will gladly invite them to move down here and take over. I am going to sit down and talk to my kids and see how they are feeling about everything and what they feel they are missing from me and talk about what we can do to improve and get back some normalcy.
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You cannot do it all! Your first responsibility is to those children. You have to take care of yourself first so you can meet the responsibilities of your own family. Grandma needs to be with another family member or with Grandpa. You and the kids can visit and you can get back to being Mom. Who will take care of your children when your physical and emotional health completely fall apart?

Anyone who has told you that yes, you can do it all successfully is a big time dreamer or someone who absolutely out of touch with reality.
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First off, please take care of yourself. When I first moved in with my grandparents I was working full time, going to school full time and cooking and cleaning and trying to make sense of the mess my grandparents were living in (doctors, medications, everything was out of wack and unorganized). I got the grand idea one day at the end of my shift at work, "Hey if I could just stay up all night one night I could probably get everything done" one night turned into a few nights a week and then I was only getting a few hours of sleep a night, sleeping in my car before work, at the library before class, any where. Until one night my body literally just broke down. I left work because I could not stand any more, I went to CVS got some medicine, those heating patches for your back and went to bed. I slept for 14 hrs and woke up feeling fine. Then I decided I needed to make some changes. Now my changes will not be the same as yours. Some suggestions (I don't know if you have tried these already or if they are doable)
1. When I met with the caregiver agency we had an interview and they asked what the needs were that we expected from our caregiver. Some of these listed were taking them to the doctors, picking up prescriptions. You might give that a shot, I know there are some towns, cities, places where you can call public transportation and have a van come and pick up. *These phone calls can be delegated to out of state family members. If Grandma needs to go shopping, pick a day out of the week and designate it as shopping day, have a caregiver come on that day, have your Aunt in Arkansas (whoever, wherever) call the trip planner for you local public transportation to go and pick her up on that day. Maybe you local Senior Center can help with these resources.
2. Make a list of both of their "needs" and write the solution, if someone can do it over the phone, email, etc ask them to help PS this doesn't mean it will happen (personal experience) but at least you can say you tired. I'm a visual person so seeing things written down is a big one for me. You may also be struggling due to the fact that you haven't wrapped your head around everything you need to be doing. Once you see it you can make a strategy and get it done. With 6 kids I'm sure you have a day (mine is Saturday) when you make meal plans, write list, go over schedules, etc. I came across this awesome kinda mix between calendar and to-do list. There are 5 columns "Now" "This Week" "This Month" "Whenever" "Someday". I fill it out and cross it off every Saturday. Maybe you can get a separate calendar and keep it for just your Grandparents doctors appt, bill due dates, etc. Writing it down is what's key for me. It might take an extra 30 seconds but I know to me, it's worth it. I'm not really sure how this website works but if you can and want to contact me, I would be more than happy to share some other things that I do or if you just need to vent but please take a shower, shave your legs and climb into bed ;) YOU can't take care of anyone if you haven't taken care of YOU first! I also hope you husband's job means he will be home and offer a little more help.
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Christen: I am so sorry for all that you are going through but this should not be your responsibility. It should be on your grandparents children. I would contact them and say you cannot do it anymore and they will have to take over. You cannot ruin your health by trying to do it all. You have 6 children who need YOU to be around for a long time. I know you love your grandparents but your children HAVE to come first.
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I should mention that from time to time family comes down and helps.. right now my grandmothers sister and her husband are here... so I have tonight "off" from grandma's care..
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Grandpa is in the nursing home here in town, so they take care of everything for him... (I just bring in bills and help him write checks and take the bills to the post office, and give him updates on grandma)... grandma has a home health nurse that comes in 2 times a week, and a physical therapist (has 3 visits left before med A cuts that), she had a home health worker coming in 2 a week as well, but she refuses to allow the home health worker help her with much at all.... and I was told that since she is refusing care, they can't do much more. That's about it... She is forgetting things more and more as time goes by. we have a meeting with her doctor on Monday.. he said something about talking about an MRI.. which I assume means he suspects dementia. All her kids and grandpas kids live hours away. Her son wants to take her to his home and have her live with them (his wife's mom lives with them and his wife is her full time caregiver.).. but grandma won't even consider it as an option. I don't feel like there are resources...
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Sweetheart, 6 children under the age of 10 and you're trying to do some caregiving? Really? And you husband works a job out of town. Really? You are not Wonderwoman and Mother Teresa rolled into one, are you? For starters, your children need to be your priority. What resources do the grandparents have for their care? This should not be on your back.
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Thank you so much for the helpful advice. I'm so glad I took the time to try and reach out for help.
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( elder care )
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