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I am a 24 year old college student who cares for her grandparents,ages 81(mobility issues,deafness,diabetes) and 84(3x a week dialysis) with my mother.(Mother is the baby of 5 children,I am the only one of 3 grandchildren to help. Her siblings all live within the area.) I do not live with them, rather my aunt who is a registered nurse does. My aunt works W TR,F, and Sat with Su,M,T, days off. My mother and I are trying to manage our house, while I attend school full time and my mother works 40 hours a week. On Sunday, my mom and I went to a movie for the first time in months,knowing that my aunt was off. We left out ingredients to make their dinner. Just as the movie ends,our phones ring and it is my grandfather demanding dinner claiming my aunt had to work. We were confused and upset with my aunt,but left to make dinner. We get there and my mom has spoken to my aunt who said she had to work overtime and we could make dinner as usual. Neither of us liked how she spoke but made dinner anyway. My aunt calls my grandfather and tattles on us.My grandfather sided with my aunt and did not even hear our side. My grandfather, in return,tells us both to go,that we are tired and if he needs us,he'll call. We were both told to just go and get out.Today, my mother was told by both of her parents to get out and do not come back. I was told by my grandmother and aunt that they were fine and to go on and get it,before I could even get out of my truck to check on my grandfather as my mom had asked me to. My mother's gone without pay 5 times, I've lost paying jobs as a childcare provider,both of us have been depressed and suicidal(we're on medication now and are better),my mother and stepfather are on the brink of divorce because of the infidelity that arose because of the caregiving,and now after almost 6 years when we have been with both of them(my grandfather more so) at the brink of death,we're told get out because of my aunt's lies and not wanting to do her part. We are so upset, yet we know that my aunt will feed my grandfather everything he should not have and will kill him. What can I do? How do I help? I cannot call the state aging commission where we live unless there is neglect or abuse.

I feel horrible watching my mother cry. My whole family is torn apart and I don't know what to do other than be angry and cry.

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I think u have enough on your plate. It was good what u did for your grandparents but you need to take care of you. Hopefully your GPs will realize what u and ur Mom did for them when they see what your Aunt doesn't do for them. Your Aunt is being unreasonable and you and Mom need to realize your not at anyones beck and call. Sometimes we are too nice and because of that we r taken advantage of. Believe me, it takes years to realize this. My husband partially lost his hearing at about 3 or 4. Like u, he already had his speach down and learned to read lips. He did well with his life. We live comfortably and have money put away. So, good luck with what you do with ur life.

One more thing, your city may not have any resources but your state should. There should be a Dept of Disabilities. There may be something u r entitled to.
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I applaud you. You are doing so much. I wish you well and I hope you can spend your free time with your friends and not be so resonsible for your family's dance. Hariet Lerner wrote a book called The Dance of Anger. It shows how one person can change the patterns in the family by refusing to participate in the negativity. Maybe it will help you.
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There aren't any resources in my city for deaf individuals. At my college,I am allowed accomodations for classes and that's it. I am not eligible for SSD or SSI,or vocational rehab. I taught myself how to lipread when I lost my hearing at 9 and I speak,so although I am legally deaf,the state and my city do not consider me eligible for any type of services.
As to being less dependent on my family, I go to school full time,work part time,buy my own food,go to my own doctor's appointments,pay my bills,etc. I have friends I can talk to and I throw myself into my studies when things get difficult to keep occupied.
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Yes, as s deaf person you maybe entitled to SSD.
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I read for the first time about your deafness, which possibly makes you more dependent on your family than is good for you. What resources are there in the community for deaf people? At your college? What benefits are you personally entitled to? I don't need the answers to these questions, but you need to look into ways in which you can receive emotional support from the community so that you can become less dependent on your family. How about accepting this challenge?
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You have been depressed and siicidal because of this caregiving? Mom has about lost her marriage because of this caregiving? Mom has been depressed and suicidal, too, because of this caregiving??

Send your grandparents a thank-you note.

Seriously, take a much needed break. Get some perspective and distance from the situation. Chances are fair to middlin' they're going to need you again. In the meantime, go visit with them a time or two a week, and be ready to lend a hand occasionally without being paid. That's what family does.
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Caregiver1234, concentrate on developing your own life and give your mother as much love and approval as you can while you're about it. Your grandparents, your stepfather, your mother's family? Two words: f*ck 'em. What have they ever done for anyone you care about that merits your spending time or mental space on them?

Set the example, and just possibly the message will begin to filter through to your mother that she does not have to take this either. She could do with individual therapy that will explain to her that she has spent her life to date trying to rescue hopeless cases, but that again is not something you can accomplish so don't bother trying. She'll get there or she won't; you hope she will, but you can't make it happen; and meanwhile you have your own life to lead. Good luck in school, and may your future be a fulfilling one.

PS - if you're looking for explanations of why things are as they are, find out more about borderline families. But don't let it distract you. You have the blessing of a mother who is a loving, caring and deserving woman: appreciate that without following her lead.
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it just happened to me ... I have put my life on hole to be the caregiver because I wanted to ...the prodigal daughter has returned and now our mother says I never did anything for her, I only upset her when I talk to her, has made accusations of abusing her and wants me to step aside because she favours the other daughter....this other daughter has been in contact with the neighbor who wants her out of there...so I know what is going to happen the prodigal one has tried it before but now I am shoved out of the way the neighbor and this other daughter will get together and they will force her out of her home and take everything out from underneath her....I was in process of getting some needed services in place she needs to stay in her home and she is refusing them as shes afraid the prodigal one will blow a gasket...talk about a kick in the teeth
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Here's a bit more information-

Even if my aunt is there,we are there doing what she won't,such as cleaning,making sure they have food,etc.
My aunt does get time to herself,she takes multiple vacations a year to see her internet boyfriend out of state,leaving my mom and I with my grandparents while she is going for 2-3 weeks at a time,in addition to the days we already have my grandparents.

All my aunt does is begrudgingly take them to their doctors appointments(while complaining the entire time) and says she can't be bothered with the old people.
My aunt will not clean their house,my mom and I do.
She does not buy the proper food for either of my grandparents,but is perfectly okay taking my grandfather's money and buying what she wants without batting an eye.

Out of the 5 siblings,my mom,the aunt who is a nurse,their brother,and their sister,all work 40 hours a week. One aunt comes out when her husband allows it to clean their house. The other uncle has a drug problem and my grandmother enables him and does not have him work. My grandmother has a mental illness(bipolar I suspect) and has never liked my mother at all. In the family,if you are not Richard,the drug addicted uncle,or Ricki,the nurse,you get treated with some decency for a time,and then like a switch,you do not matter.

Apparently,my stepfather has done this before,with his first wife and has been cheating on my mother throughout their marriage(my mom was diagnosed with cancer just before they married almost 11 years ago.) Imagine my shock when my stepfather claims that it is my mom's fault because she went one way(to care for them) and he fell to the side.

Mom and stepdad are in therapy,but the problems are still there because my stepfather won't talk. Therapist claims my stepfather has an addiction problem. (Mental problem or no, you do not do something like that to your partner!) Mom has been married 3 times,my father could not deal with my being born at 25 weeks and the potential problems I would face. They divorced,she married on the rebound when I was 6 maybe and he began cheating with some 20 something. Marriage did not even last a year before they divorced. Mom raised me on her own till I was 12. I thought "Hey she can be happy,she finally got a happy ever after after all these years." Now although my mom is telling me not to turn against my stepfather and to not change my attitude,all I can think is 'How many times has this happened? Will it happen again? I'm never getting married,I hate cheaters,I hate men,etc."

I come across as naive due to my age and my deafness,but I hear the arguing and cussing and see the tension in both households.



Mom currently has POA for my grandfather but only for medical decisions and my grandparents did not renew it so it is expired,claiming my aunt could take care of them. Aunt sees no point in a POA for either of my grandparents. Grandfather did 7 tours in 'Nam,2 in Korea,and gets 100% disability from VA.

Where I am located,caregiving services eligibility is income based. My grandfather's income,as well as my aunt's ,is too high for services,such as respite care.

I am afraid I am not familiar with guardianship. I don't believe we have anything of that nature here in TN.

All dialysis patients are supposed to be on fluid restrictions. My aunt knew this but refused to challenge a doctor. In turn,my grandfather has been on a vent 3 times,two of which were because of her and the other because of my drug addicted uncle,who my grandmother let take over care because she wanted it that way(for a period of time).

Mom and I are both going back to school. Mom spoke to my grandfather and told hime she has been suffering from depression and all he said was "Your sister is handling it and taking care of everything. What do you have to be depressed about? I have stuff to be depressed about but I get over it. Get over it." He then hung up the phone without even saying I love you to my mom.

Neither of us have been back to their house ,my mom is not allowed in (even though we both have keys and could get in) and my mom has barred me from going over for my own safety.
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Seems your Aunt works and days off cares for parents. Does she get time to herself? Maybe u going to the movies (nothing wrong with that) hit a sore spot. At this point, just step back. If there are other siblings, maybe its time for your Aunt to get help from them. Seems since Mom works fulltime and you go to school fulltime, you are only there for meals. Aunt can hire someone to do this if she has to.
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If you been one of the caregivers and you're doing a better job, have you ever thought of going for guardianship? Having a guardian would definitely level the playing field where caregiving is involved. If you're in a position to go for guardianship, then this would be something for you to consider. That way, you can be sure that your loved one will have a proper diet of stuff that's good for them. Being a guardian will give you all control over your love one's affairs. If you're in a position to be able to take on such a responsibility, then perhaps you can at very least consider it. If you feel that guardianship responsibilities are right for you, then definitely go for it.
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Neither you or your mom live there and your care-giving nurse/aunt only wants you there when she can't be there? Give the aunt the phone number of someone else in the family to act as her 'back-up' last minute calls and go live your lives.

The statement about your aunt/nurse concerns me:
"my aunt will feed my grandfather everything he should not have and will kill him". That's hard to hear about a nurse. I suggest weekly visits to be kept aware of any health changes.
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I'm in agreement with the above posts. Also, my son (a recent grad) took advantage of free counseling that was offered at his college. It really helped him!
So, please check with your college to see what they offer. It sounds like you need your own support system, outside of the family. At 24, your focus needs to be on your own life, and future. You don't have to carry any unhealthy family dynamics into your future. You can be the game changer!
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I have two issues to inform you about. One is that your aunt lives with them, you and your mom do not, right? Two, your mom is the baby of 5 siblings. Your mom has been getting the brunt of family assignments all her life. She will have to choose whether to accept them or not. You can't. Your aunt and grandfather seem to be in charge. Let them be. Pay attention to your schooling first. Arrange with your mom how the 2 of you(if stepdad is gone)can manage your home with time left over for an outing each week for each of you that you can choose to do together or singly. Then figure out if there is time left over for your grandparents, just to visit, once a week. If anyone complains, reduce your visits.Don't complain about or to the others. Live your lives honorably. Your aunt can hire help as she needs it or ask your other aunts or uncles to pitch in once a week. It's her headache, not yours.
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Good points CM, infidelity is just that infidelity. Very upsetting for Mom but she is the one who has to deal with it. Is this a regular habit with stepdad and does he always come home looking like a lost puppy? And Mom falls for the sob story.?
Time for Mom to grow a pair of you know whats and kick the bastard to the curb.
Both of you see this as a blessing in disguise and leave Aunty to her own devices. She will be the one facing neglect and possibly loss of her licence if she does not take proper care. Who has POA? You and mom get on with your lives. It is important for you to finish school and Mom must work because once again she needs to be self supporting. it is a harsh world out there honey and you need to take care of yourself. I am also going to guess grandparents have some money or other assets that interest Aunty.
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On reflection, I think I ought to say a little more about that infidelity bit that you so casually dropped into the conversation.

Arose because of the caregiving, eh? Oh it did, did it? And that's the way your mother tells it, is it? I admit that I am making the assumption that it was your stepfather who was unfaithful, and I am further, rather judgementally, assuming that his excuse was that he was feeling lost and neglected and it just happened… somehow… not his fault...

Snort. Excuse me. He was unfaithful because he felt like getting laid. End of. Not the crime of the century, or not in my view anyway, but infidelity is not a cri de coeur and you do not have to buy this eyewash.

That your mother seems to have done - bought it and is now distributing it, that is - is further indication to me that she has been trodden on too much and too often and it has become a habit. Any spouse who assumes responsibility for his or her other half's itchy knickers is not seeing straight.
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There is a silver lining to this, you know. Which is that, if it leads to your mother creating some distance between herself and her family, her life could improve quite radically.

You account creates an immediate impression, you see, of a person who is being treated like the family skivvy; and that tends to hint at all sorts of other unhealthy dynamics and regrettably low self-esteem going on with your poor mother. You can look on it as their kicking her out, but to the outside observer this could be a lucky escape.

I'm afraid that I found the detail of your post a little hard to follow; and there were a couple of points that made me want to stop the tape and rewind. E.g. : "… the infidelity that arose because of the caregiving…" - come again???

I would like to know about two things:

1. What do you think would help your mother's life to improve?
2. How are you, and how much of your time is spent on trying to protect your mother?
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This is a really hard situation and I am sure stressful for all of you. Since you are a grandchild, you won't have much power in this dynamic, I don't think. I would focus on offering support to your Mom since she is the one who must deal with her father and sister.

Now that's without knowing you at all, and maybe things are different, but it sounds like you have a bossy aunt and your Mom needs to stand up to her. I know from experience that it is really hard to deal with an aunt who thinks of you as a child. I'm 50 and I still get treated that way by my mother's sister.

I would just try to help your Mom as much as you can.
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It's very easy for a family to tear apart due to caregiving. I'm sorry you're having to go through this.

If your grandfather wants you and your mom out and your aunt wants you and your mom out, then leave. You don't need that kind of hassle when you and your mom are sacrificing your own lives to care for her parents. There's no reason you should be losing jobs and getting to the point where you're suicidal over caregiving. I think walking away from the situation might be the best thing for you. Relinquish control and let your aunt feed your grandfather whatever she wants and take back your lives.
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