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I'm 23,I have severe mental health problems and I live with my mother and my grandma that has dementia.I have been under a severe depression for at least 5 years,I rarely go out,I have no friends or social life,my days are spent alone,inside the house with my grandma waiting for my mother to get home,she's the only person I have to talk to.Last year my mother had a major heart attack that along with other medical conditions was also caused by the stress of having to take care of my grandma and watch my constant depressive states or my psychotic ones.I tried my best to behave so I wouldn't upset my mom but being mentally ill isn't something we can't fully control.Lately my grandma's dementia has gotten really worse.She doesn't sleep at all and spends the night roaming around the house,falling and making a lot of noise,she won't let us sleep and my mom needs to rest,she wakes up really early to go to work and her work is really hard,she shouldn't even being working considering her heart condition but we need to eat,she also has to buy a lot of expensive meds for her since she had her heart attack and my grandma is diabetic and has hypertension,which means more meds.I'm the one who has to stay at home alone with my grandma for 10 hours,I live terrified of something happening to her because I wouldn't know how to act,a while ago she fell and had a really bad cut on her knee,as soon as I saw the blood I entered in a psychotic episode,I sat on the floor crying and bouncing myself,I just pretended I wasn't there,I froze.Now it's getting even worse because she refuses to have any type of personal hygiene and the smell is terrible,we have to force her to give her a shower which is really hard because she gets really violent,I'm not even going to mention the verbal abuse,I was raised by my grandma and I never saw her swear,I get shocked listening to the things she tells us now,she also gets physical,she tries to bites us,she grabs things and runs around the house trying to beat us.There's another major problem,she can't hold her feces anymore,this means me an my mom spend our days cleaning feces all around the house,I don't know how she does it but it's everywhere,not only on the toilet seat but also on the floor,on the walls,doors and she refuses diapers,if we forced her to wear a diaper she would take it out,it's impossible to keep an eye on her 24 hours a day,this situation is worsening my mental condition,I've honestly been contemplating suicide,I spend my days with tears falling down my face,I have constant panic attacks,my psychotic attacks are getting even worse.My mother is also in really bad shape,she had surgery in her heart and she can't live like this,in constant worry and not being able to rest.My mom has a brother and a sister but they hardly show up around here,they don't care at all.I love my grandma very much but lately I've been thinking that the best thing for her would be to go to a nursing home.Not only we would get some rest but she would also be properly treated by people who are trained to do this,we're not,I suppose it isn't good for my grandma to be around all this sadness and arguments.I've been called selfish buy a jerk that didn't even knew me,only people who go through this know how hard it is,as much as I love my grandma I can't let this go on,I see the effect it's causing on my mom,I'm afraid she's going to die at any moment,I see the effect it's causing on me,I want to try to go back to normal life,go to school but this means leaving my grandma alone and that's very dangerous,she has fallen many times,she turned on the gas once and a lot of other things...I always thought that I would never want to see my grandma in a nursing home and that I would take care of her until the very end but the fact is that I can't,we can't,we're only human and we're not capable of supervising her 24 hours a day.As much as it hurts me I had to come to terms that she has this disease and that she had lived her life,there's not much we can do and I can't stop my life because of it.We took care of her while we could but now it's not possible anymore...I feel so selfish for saying this,it makes me feel like a terrible person.Is this the right decision or should we keep her here with us??

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Hannah, you are not selfish, you are not a terrible person. You may have mental illness but you are seeing this situation clearly.

You love your grandmother. She deserves the best care she can get. Through no fault of your or your mother's, the current situation is not it.

You love your mother. She is doing her best to support all of you financially. That has to be done. But the added stress of being responsible for two other people, both with health issues, puts her at high risk.

I hope that your grandmother and your mother love you. I hope that you love yourself. You deserve support as you struggle with your own health problems. The current situation is not remotely supportive.

The current situation has to change. Grandmother deserves to be in a place where there are trained people to watch over her, keep her clean and safe, and where you can visit as her granddaughter, not her caregiver. She needs care from people who only do it in shifts and who are healthy and well rested. This may be a nursing home, or perhaps a memory care facility.

How does your mother feel about grandmother going to a care center?

My approach would be to call Social Services in your county. (I am assuming you are in the US -- is that correct?) Ask for a needs assessment for Grandmother. Be there when they some out for an interview -- Grandmother may not be able to give them a true picture. They can suggest resources and placement options for her. They may even have some suggestions for programs that would help you.

Do you have a case worker yourself? That would be another approach. Call that person, make an appointment, and explain the entire situation. Ask for help in placing Grandmother.

This is not a responsibility you should have to shoulder alone. Get help from a professional.
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Your grandmother has obviously got to the stage where she needs 24 hour professional help and care. It is now time to contact the social services or whoever is the equivalent where you live, and she needs to be assessed by the people who are trained to sort this out for you and your mother.
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Hannah, the best thing you can do for yourself and your mother is go to a mental health facility and get some needed help. Secondly, no, you are not selfish in wanting a life, and you can have that life once your grandmother is in a care facility where professionals can care for her. If she has no money, then file for Medicaid. Thirdly, ask social security for a disability reason for your mother so she can stop working. At least there would be income coming in, and when you get well, you can get a job or volunteer somewhere to get experience so you can get a job or go to school. All of this is doable Hannah. Just have the strength and know there are millions of us with a mental illness who have graduated from college and had careers. Best of health!
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DEAR YOU ARE NOT SELFISH THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR YOU AND YOUR MOM.also this is not good for your grandma please call the center for aging and make arangements for your grandma to go to a home.call a social worker and I and your mom put your grandma where they can handle her..start with the first step snd tell the proper people what is going on...enough is enough. God bless. And do not do anything rash. This would destroy your mom. This too shall pass
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Dear Hanna - you and your mom have gone above and beyond the call of any normal duty in caring for your g/ma, especially with the health problems the two of you are experiencing. It's VERY difficult to take care of a dementia person in the best of circumstances. And it's hard when they've reached a point where they can no longer stay at home, even if it was always your well intentioned plan to keep them there for as long as they lived. The sad truth now is that keeping g/ma at home at this point is hazardous to the health of all three of you. You have such clarity of thought and understanding of the situation and you have expressed it with such love and kindness. I feel you already know the answer and you are looking for support and the stamina to follow through with what you must do, even though it would not be what you would want under normal circumstances. But these elder diseases and behaviors that go with them are not normal by any stretch of the imagination. It was a good suggestion to call your caseworker if you have one. If not, you can call the Department of Aging and Adult Services in your area, generally listed in the county government pages of your phone book. They have licensed clinical social workers who could come and do a home check, which would likely be followed by the recommendation of an in home or neuropsychiatric evaluation. If your g/ma were to fall, call 911 and have her taken to the hospital for follow up. It is much easier to place a patient in a nursing home directly out of the hospital rather than from home.

You have been a great daughter and granddaughter. Please keep up the good work by knowing that even the right thing to do can I feel very difficult. It's then a few days since you've written, please send us a post and let us know how you're coming along.
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Dear Hannah,
You are not selfish, your words are those of a kind and worried person. The situation you described would be difficult for someone with resources and without mental illness, so your burden is multiplied. I hope you are under treatment, please be open about your sucidal thoughts with your mental health practitioner. If writing helps you feel better, please continue to do so.
You are in my prayers.
God Bless,
L
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There are some good answers above. I would add contact all resources - your local senior center often has advocates to help you navigate the other social service agencies. Your area agency on aging. You also need respite care for yourself - that is often provided free to caregivers - contact your senior center or care agencies and ask how you can get respite care. You also need an advocate or social services person to come for an assessment and connect you with other agencies for help. I cared for my mom for the last 6 years of her life and she did all the same things your grandma is doing. Our senior center was invaluable for the care of my mom in adult day care programs and their advocacy to help me get Veterans aid and attendance, discounts on my utilities, respite care, medical care, etc.
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Hannah you are very brave to tell people what you are going through, you have done all you can now it is time for you and your mom to get your grandma the services she need so she is taken care of by professionals. You and your mom need to take care of yourself and put your grandma in a safe place where she is taken care of and you can go see her. She also is not the same person due to her illness, so please don't hold it against her. It would be best for all to get her the assistance she needs so you and your mom can get better. You are an amazing granddaugher and cudos to you for being so brave. Hope it all works out for your all.
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Hannah, you are not alone. My mother takes care of my grandmother and has her own mental issues to deal with along with her addiction issues. My grandmother made a will that states she never goes into a care facility,so we have my mother has been doing all the work. my grandmother has gotten to the wetting on everything and everywhere and my mother is so stressed that she would rather live on the street with her bum friends and their addictions. Maybe you need to conversate with my mom because she too feels alone. I agree no one knows the sadness and heartache unless they are experiencing it.
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Hannah, you are so brave and you should not have this burden placed on you...you need to work on you now! Are you seeing a doctor who can help you weed out this mess you have been put into, meds? I don't think you will get better until you are out of this situation! As soon as you are I am sure you will do excellent. As far a Gma get her assessed by her doctor sounds like she needs Long term care at this point possibly with mental health unit. Use the above suggestions from others and makes some calls .If she has funds it will be self pay if not Medicaid start now sometimes as I just found out there is a wait for beds in facilities, if she is self pay they will get her in asap I am sure....you and mom need a break and time to rebuild your bond.Good luck, god bless and keep us posted!
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