Hi there everyone. I am in need of some advice. My grandmother is in her mid-seventies, fairly active and lives at home. She has a myriad of health issues, the main ones being a faulty heart which she had open heart surgery for a few years back to replace a valve, blood pressure issues, recurring diverticulitis, and cataracts.
Although she doesn't need "care" so to speak, she is becoming increasingly hostile and senile as time goes on, making it impossible to help her. The kind of care she needs at this point is upkeep around the house (she has a small ranch with just under an acre of property). My mother deals with the brunt of this as she lives next door to her. She tells everyone she "receives no help", but denies help when it is offered to her. For example, if she needs her lawn mowed, she expects it to be done on the same day every week. My mother and father both work full time and even though they faithfully mowed her lawn once a week, she decided to hire a company to come mow her lawn because it wasn't the same day every week. That turns into others asking "Well why did you have to hire someone if your daughter lives next door?" She then will throw my parents under the bus to illicit sympathy from others. But when WE ask her why she hired someone, she will say, "Oh, you have enough on your plate. Don't worry about me." Another example is my mother will offer to take time off from work to bring her to a doctor's appointment (she is right on the border of whether or not she should still be driving due to cataracts which, might I mention, she refuses to get surgery for). She will say, "No thanks, I don't need a ride." and then turn around and complain that nobody offers to go with her to appointments. Other times she will take on physically laborious tasks that don't need to be done. For example, she has a gravel driveway. She will go outside on a 90 degree day and decide, "Well, I guess now is a good time to rake the driveway." She will work until she is drenched in sweat, ready to pass out, and then say nobody will help her. She won't even wait until it cools off, or maybe think to herself, "Gee, maybe the driveway doesn't really need to be raked, especially at the price of my physical health." It's almost like she does all of these things for attention and she thinks everyone is out to get her.
She recently lost my grandfather after being married for 50 years. She also has a special needs, albeit high functioning son, who still lives with her (he is in his mid fifties). When my grandfather passed away, some legal action was taken to ensure that, should something happen to her, she wouldn't lose the house. The house is in my mother's name, however my grandmother has life use of it. She is still required to pay taxes and pay to upkeep the house. She is on a fixed income and refuses to take money out of the 401K to fix the house, so now my mother is starting to feel financially obligated to do it out of pocket (my grandmother isn't well off, but certainly has access to enough funds to be able to take care of what needs to be done). I've told my mother this is unacceptable. She shouldn't drain her savings because my grandmother is being unreasonable.
As much as we have tried to help her, she is, as some say, "happy in misery". She refuses to go to any support groups, she refuses to see a therapist, and her emotional abuse and manipulation is really starting to take a toll on all of us, especially my mother. We have tried sitting her down and talking to her about things, but she claims she has no idea what we are talking about, gets upset, and then the conversation can't continue because of her heart ailment. We are all at a breaking point. Let me backtrack and say that, prior to the last 6 or 7 years, our relationships were all healthy with your average dose of family turmoil, so there's no "bad blood" or backstory that would incite this kind of behavior on her end.
I know the obvious - she's scared of aging, she's scared for what the future holds for my special needs uncle, she's scared to leave the home she built with her own two hands, she's scared to navigate the world alone without her husband of 50 years by her side. I know there is a desperate need for her to have control, which makes even the smallest things in life that shouldn't matter into a big deal, like the lawn mowing example above. Her having control over a few simple things gives her the allusion that everything is okay, and she's still "with it". We have tried to love her and be there for her, to no avail.
I love her dearly. I idolized her growing up. But at what point is enough enough? She obviously needs the support, but where do you draw the line? When are you no longer obligated to try to help a toxic, emotionally abusive family member who insists on remaining a permanent victim? How do we navigate this situation? We need advice :(