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I'm am 18 years old and have been taking care of my 80 year old grandmother for about 2 months now. Her husband has been deceased for 14 years now. My grandmothers daughter (aka my mother), passed away in 2008 and her son (my "uncle") doesn't want to have anything to do with my grandmother or my family and is just waiting for her to die. My father and grandmother have never gotten along, so it isn't a choice for my dad to help me take charge. I am alone on my own with this situation I about about to speak about so any help is appreciated. Two years ago, my grandmother had a very bad leg infection that cause her to fall and had to be rushed to the ER. My father, my younger sister, and I have been left to take care of her dog on top of our own cat and dog, which wasn't a big ordeal for a few months. She was then transferred to a nursing home/rehab center for care while she got surgeries on her leg. She was then diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and had to go through tons of chemo. She beat the Cancer and the leg infection, and was then told she needed surgery for cataracts is her eyes (that hasn't happened yet). I did not know about any of these things, because my uncle did not keep my updated because he himself could careless about her and wasn't there to support her. After many calls and pleas for me to help her get out and back home, the nursing home finally was able to get her discharged and healthy enough after a year and a half. I drove her home, went grocery shopping, cleaned her house, cared for her until the home care nurses and aids were able to start visiting her a few times a week. She got weaker and weaker, was barely able to go to the bathroom alone, refused to eat food that she asked me to get for her, and couldn't make it to the phone in time when the aids called to let them know they were coming, so they didn't show up. Multiple times I let the home care know the door was unlocked and they were able to get in. She would always end up on the ground because she was too weak to walk, and I would always have to throw out my muscles trying to help her up (I don't want to admit it but I'm a frail, 110lb female and she weighs 175lb, and cannot lift her like that on my own). One fall last month I needed to call an ambulance, and they admitted her to the hospital. She was discharged and sent home and was fine, but things started to progressively get worse. She wasn't taking her medicine on her own, she wasn't washing herself, and refused help from the aids when the call but insisted I came over to do everything for her. I did when she needed it, but its honestly starting to wear me out a lot. Just this week, she fell again and called an ambulance, but apparently refused to go to the hospital when they came. I haven't heard from her all week, she usually calls me every day, so I decided to stop at her house. I found her on the floor, again, crying for me to help her up. I refused, propped her head up, and called an ambulance, and she was takes to the hospital. The house was a complete wreck, nothing like I had seen from her before, feces were covering the bathroom, and trails of it were on the floor from her crawling. She hasn't been taking her important medication, or antipsychotics. She is a threat to herself but refuses to go to a nursing home. She is not in the right state of mind, and says and does irrational things half of the time. I am afraid for her and her health. I don't want her to live the way she is living. It is also starting to kill me. I lost my job, I can't go back to college, I'm getting physically sick, I'm getting panic attacks, and I am developing extreme insomnia. I have issues of my own such as severe clinical depression and have been trying to battle it for 5 years and finally got to work with a psyciatrist last October. This situation is hindering my ability to get better mentally and is making me hurt mentally and physically. She is in the hospital right now and I believe this is the best chance for me to talk to someone there about this whole mess of a situation. I wish I would have never taken her out of the home. I cannot provide adequate care for her, and I feel bad about that. I want her to be well cared for 24hrs like she needs. I am basically her primary caregiver other than help from her aids/nurse/physical therapist that she sees a few times a week. I am alone, and have no advice from any one else. Any input would be highly appreciated. I'm just worried I wont be able to get her into a nursing home because she continuously screams about the "misery" at the last one and how she will never go back. That is the best option for her, she cannot care for herself even with the help of us, and she needs 24hr care. I need all of the help I can get.

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Hi Jessica, if she's in the hospital now, do NOT take her back. Explain to everyone (doctor, discharge person, everyone) that no one is able to provide the care she needs, end of story. They will need to find a place for her.
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Jessica, ask to speak to the Social Worker at the hospital and the Discharge Coordinator. Make it very clear to them that you can no longer take care of her. They will get her to a good facility.
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You are a wonderful granddaughter. Hopefully the social worker can help you. You could try your local Department of Aging also. My prayers are with you. Remember to take care of yourself or you won't be any good to your grandmother. You impress me so much.
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Jessica, if it helps you unload any guilt you might still be feeling, think of this: it is not safe for your grandmother to be dependent for her care on an eighteen year old with health issues of her own. Your grandmother needs more help than one person can provide; but unfortunately while you are there she is refusing help from other sources and that leaves you no option: for her sake, as well as your own, you must step aside and hand over to the professionals.

It will get better. And then once her situation is sorted out, you'll be able to visit her as a family member, rather than a carer, and there'll be no question of your abandoning her. But for now you need to back away, simply to ensure that she starts getting the substantial amounts of care that she really needs.

Meanwhile, how are you? You and your sister are very young to have lost your mother. I hope you're both finding your way through.
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Thank you very much Nancy and CountryMouse for you kind words. This is a tough situation to go through alone, and I was also hoping for some moral support while posting this. So thank you very much for your kind input. As for myself and my sister, we are both seeing therapists/psychiatrists for different reasons. I am doing fine, I know I could be better, and I am working on that. My mother passed away when I was 12 and had dealt with severe alcohol and drug abuse after me grandfather died. I was home alone with my mother when I was 12, when she went into cardiac arrest, which caused her to go into a coma, and pass away 4 days later at the hospital. For a while I struggled with PTSD of the images and experience of that, but I am almost completely free from that. I was then in a mentally, emotionally, and sexually abusive relationship for a 2 1/2 years (from the ages 14-17) , which initially caused my severe depression. Luckily, I have been out of the relationship for two years now, and although I have no more pain towards the things I went through, my mind is still stuck in that depressed rut and I'm slowly but surly making my way out of it. I'm sorry, I kind of went into my life story there. I am doing decent right now, and I am recovering from everything. I am always searching for ways to help others, because I know what it's like to be alone. This is why I feel the need to help my grandmother get the proper care that she needs. But again, thank you for you kind thoughts and prayers.
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Jessica, I'm sorry if my remark seemed cruel to you. I'm glad that you are a loving granddaughter, but you have no legal obligation to care for your grandma, which is what I meant by "not your monkey". I was not comparing your grandma to a monkey.

Often, we hear on this board that discharge folks at hospitals try to make it out to families that they have a legal obligation to take elderly relatives into their home, or move into the elder ' s home themselves where no such obligation exists. You need to protect yourself and your future. Best of luck to you, and again, I'm sorry to have caused you pain.
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Jessica I have a grand daughter who is your age I would never in my most desperate situation consider expecting her to take care of me. She is a big strong girl and could physically handle it where as you are not even strong enough to do that. would you be able to take care of the physical needs? the bathing, cleaning up incontinence issues, getting up multiple times in the night to change soiled bedding, not to mention the endless laundry. ther will also be changes in the way your loving grandmother treats you as her illness progresses. if she has dementia she may go through a phase of being hateful towards you.
I think you have all these things worked out for yourself already so it is just the difficult part to get through of getting her placed in a nice facility. When you see the social worker at the hospital give them your uncles contact information. Whether he likes it or not he is the closest relative and needs to take responsibility. best of luck to you. your have been through a lot already and need a new start. this does not mean abandoning your grandma but doing the responsible thing and getting her the care she needs.
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Again thank you for all of your feedback. When I posted this question, it was my goal to place my grandmother in a place when she could be cared for 24/7. I already understand this is not healthy for me or for her. I know this is not my responsibility to do, and I need to move on with my life. So thank you all for the tough love, and advice, but I am far past that mentally and I know she needs to go get placed somewhere where she is taken care of. I was just posting to see how and what I could do to get that process started, and I thank you all for your answers. I visitors my grandmother today at the hospital, and the more and more I talked to her the more guilty I felt about what I was going to do. I know I shouldn't feel guilty, because I know it is what she needs to stay safe and healthy. I didn't let that stop me, and I asked her nurse if there was a social worker or discharge coordinator I could speak to in private regarding my grandmother. Again, I know none of this is my responsibility, but I feel better knowing that I can help her get the help she needs, instead of my uncle doing it. Contacting him is not an option. I have my had a relationship with him my entire life, and my grandmother has many legal problems with him. I would feel better knowing I got her a good place instead of my uncle abandoning her somewhere. Anyways, even the nurse knew that she didn't seem able to live alone. But I got to speak with one of the social workers there and I talked to her about everything that was going on. It's not something I want to do, but it's something that needs to be done in order to keep her safe. The social worker was very helpful and went to speak with my grandmother and to her doctor after we spoke. I left and didn't go to speak with her, I did not want my grandmother to try to tell the social worker that I could live with her, because I can not and will not do that. Needless to say, the social worker is working things out. I got a call from my grandmother an hour later, and she was telling me about what was going on. I tried to talk to her calmly, but she was just too worked up to understand. She kept asking me to live with her, I said I can't, im going to be leaving for college eventually. She is not happy about this, and that's understandable. A planner is going to speak with her tomorrow to go over everything with her and help her consider her options. I'm praying all of this falls through, I want the best for her. Thank you all again, I'm mostly just looking for moral support from here on out if anyone decides to put their input in. This site has helped me a lot with my situation, since I am completely on my own. I highly appreciate all of the answers.
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Freqflyer had a great point - an elderly family friend just resisted going into assisted living. "I'll die there!" Well, long story short, she finally just had no choice, and you know what Jessica, she has improved so much in physical health and is making friends, etc. The thing is, no one likes getting old, but there it is, it is gonna happen if you live long enough, so like it or not, you do the best you can with what you have to work with. In a sense, preferences are irrelevant, unless of course you are ultrarich and can buy any kind of assistance you want.
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Jessica, so far so good, it sounds like. If grandma asks when she's going home, you tell her it's up to her doctors, and not in your hands at all. I'm so glad it's close by.

Jessica, the important thing now is for you to get strong enough to go back to school. You don't want to abandon your grandma, for sure, but she's in a good, safe place. Look ahead to your own life.
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