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My grandmother who is in her early 80's had told me today that sometime in the spring that she is going to schedule her knee replacement surgery and needs someone to stay with her while doing her physical therapy. There are a few issues at play, I have my own serious health issues that I need to tend to and the other is that I really can't take time off work because of my own medical bills. One of my biggest issues is that she loves to drink and she will probably take my bank card and drain my account to fund her going out to eat, booze and whatever fun things that catch her eye (caught her once before). How can I tell my family I won't be wiping her butt and that she actually has to spend her money on having a professinal help her for a couple weeks?

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Take care of yourself and your teeth; find a more experienced therapist and stand strong with your decisions.
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Evermore99, if your Grandmother decides to have knee surgery she really needs to go live in rehab for whatever length of time she needs to get physical therapy... those therapists won't take "no" for answer if your Grandmother does the poor me bit.... they will get her out of bed and into the gym on a regular basis, and have her walking the halls.

If she tries to recover at home with a visiting physical therapist, guess what, she will probably keep cancelling the appointments thus dragging out her recovery for months on end.... and may never learn to walk with a knee replacement, then what?

I agree with cmagnum, get a new therapist. Shop around until you find one who is familiar with elder caregiving. It will be worth the effort.
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Do not, I repeat DO NOT back down from your position for any reason, The more you give in the more you will be expected to help. Find another therapist - that one is not looking after your interests. Tell the cousins that they can come and help grandma. There is no way you should get involved with an alcoholic and the games she plays. She probably doesn't want to go to rehab because she cant drink there. Well, tough! She needs to go to rehab to build up her strength, not to go straight home/ My mother has a hip replacement a few years ago and wanted to go straight home. She has a personality disorder and she would have pestered me to move in with her and look after her. She called me from the hospital to get support for her going straight home. I said I disagreed with her coming straight home and that she should go to rehab. As it was, she did go, but discharged herself early, then complained that she needed help to manage in her home My answer was that she should not have discharged herself early then. That's called tough love and refusing to be manipulated. You have to do the same.
How on earth did your g'ma get your bank card? My dear you have to look after yourself better. Your health comes first. (((((((hugs)))))) Hang in there.
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When relatives and therapists try to guilt you into taking care of grandmother, simply say, "I tried helping her before and she abused it. Done it, been there, No More. She has the money to pay for professionals.

To your cousins, add this also, " If you don't like it, why don't you help her? She's your grandmother, too. Each of you can take turns coming here to take care of her after surgery. You can take family emergency leave (federal law), stay with her to take care of her. It's Your turn."
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Get a new therapist and don't let them wear you down to where you will say you will help.

Stand your ground!

As was said earlier, a knee replacement surgery requires rehab in a facility, not at home.
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Right now, I am tearing out my hair since my therapist has retired. My new one is suggesting that maybe I should help out a little bit with my grandmother. In no shape or form do I want to. Why would I want to take care of a thief? Living with very little of my own money and starting to get my teeth fixed up is stressful enough since I am terrified of the dentist. Now my cousins are hopping on the I should be taking care of grandma bandwagon. They haven't been up to Cleveland in 20 years and don't know what it is like to deal with the constant help me, help me, I'm just a poor old woman bit. My mom can't deal with this either because my grandmother has always been much worse to her. My mother told me that when my grandfather was alive (died when my mother was 14) he never tolerated grandma's drinking copious amounts of booze and her abusive personality. This is wearing me down to where I am about to say I will help.
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I'd laugh at aunt - if she is sooo concerned, then why doesn't she help her mother? Grandma will be better off in rehab and then working on her alcohol dependency. Being single does not obligate you to anything. What a strange idea! Well I suppose any silly excuse that comes to mind for pushing something unpleasant off on another...
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My dear, knee replacement surgery requires rehab in a facility, not at home. Also yes, run from this dysfunction. Are you in therapy? Could be a good thing.
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Run. Fast, and as far away as you can get. You have a classic dysfunctional family, and in order for you to care for your own emotional and physical problems, you are going to need to separate yourself from them. You can waste more time trying to justify your position to them, but it won't make a difference -- they will continue to expect you to live in emotional, physical and financial slavery. Amazing how clueless some people are -- as a single person in the family, you have to most need to build your retirement and are least equipped to caregive! Finally, the real problems here are addiction and the behaviours associated with it, and that's where the counselling and solutions for grandma lie. It may be difficult for you, but if you want some happiness in life, get the heck away from all of them! They all sound extremely toxic.
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Evermore, you win the gold medal of standing your ground! Way to go. And, btw, I wouldn't say you got nasty. Just real. Hugs to you x
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Just a little update, yesterday my aunt from Texas calls me to yell at me about not taking care of my grandmother after her surgery. I let her know on no uncertain terms that I wasn't going to do it. I'm not up for ending up in the hospital myself due to a panic attack or I had hurt myself. Then I got it from my grandmother saying now she wasn't going to get her knee replaced. This is when I got nasty and said that she could live in pain the rest of her life because she is too cheap to spend the money on professionals who could help her better than I could. This is classic functional alcoholic behavior for her. She is going for someone who is going to spend their dime buying booze for her. But I am happy that my parents are now in my corner and won't let her stay with them. But my aunt who hasn't come back to Cleveland in at least 25 years, hasn't been around to pick up her messes and listen to the 'help me, help me, I'm an helpless, old woman' bit. My mother said that if my grand father was alive, he wouldn't have stood for what she is doing.
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Evermore, you already know how your grandmother is. She's tight with her money because it can go to better stuff than to you - her granddaughter. Anyway, isn't it quite well known that family is suppose to help out of the goodness of their hearts - because it's family. (I'm being sarcastic.) She has priorities for her money - and it sure isn't going to be wasted on a caregiver when she can get it for free from family.

It's good that you sent the email saying no. Now, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, look straight into your eyes - and repeat your refusal. The key is for you to be able to say it until it becomes natural. Looking into your eyes will help you to look at the person (mom, aunty or grandma) and say No.

I'm very timid. I used to give speeches/skits in front of an audience. I found that by practicing in front of the mirror, I had to relearn every single time - to be able to sound natural, to be able to look at the audience straight into their eyes (and not over their head - which is quite obvious as the observer). I was so stressed out before and after the speeches. I always got these major migraines afterward. But it was so worth all that practicing. Afterwards, people who knew me, were amazed how confident, flowing my speech was - and that I looke at their eyes and smiled. Hence, practice, practice and practice in front of that mirror your refusal.

And you are right. The more you give in to taking care of grandmother, the more all 3 of them will rely on you. Put on your mirrors (bathroom and bedroom) a reminder note: " Remember - MEDICAL EXPENSES. NEED JOB" and another one: "Say NO to grandma, mom and aunt". or "Grandma has Money. She can Pay for Help."

If you Do decide to help grandmother, and she Agrees to Pay you, make sure you have it in Writing! This is very important. Because when she changes her mind about wasting her money on you and stops paying, you can also quit helping her since she broke the contract.
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Evermoore, sorry I didn't catch all of the details about your other grandmother. I'm glad her ovarian cancer is in remission. My SIL's ovarian cancer has been in remission since 2001.

I'm glad to read that you sent an e-mail saying that you can't take care of the grandmother with the upcoming knee replacement. She's your mom's mom anyway. Take care.
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Evermore - there's your answer! Tell your family that only the best outcome is good enough for your knee-replacement grandmother and that professional help is therefore vital. Quite beyond you - she must hire a nurse.

Grandmothers do come in all shapes and sizes - not to mention temperaments - don't they? I'm so glad your ovarian cancer one is doing so well, well done you for finding her the right help.
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My grandmother who had ovarian cancer is in remission because I helped her find a really good cancer doctor. It's the family dynamic that seems to be twisted. I sent an e-mail saying that I can't take care of the one who needs a knee replacement and that my mother and my aunt have to take care of her. I was almost tempted to say if I was going to take care of her, I would need to be paid. My other grandmother wasn't a burden because I had family that helped out and she wasn't horribly sick from the chemo, she just needed some help and company for the 24 hours after chemo. It amazes me that my two grandmothers are so different.
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No that is not funny at all. That is a very sad, in my opinion, standard story among families where the single person with no children is viewed as the perfect person to do what you are doing for in their eyes single people don't have a life and want really miss not having one by dong the care giving.

That was very nice of you to take care of your other grandmother in her final days, but there again, it got dumped on you because you are single.

If I were you, I'd stop offering myself to be the overly available single person, get this greedy, cheap thief out of your house and tell whoever her adult children are to take their responsibility for you have your own life and health issues to tend to. You are not their little girl. You are a grown woman with a life! Live it!
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Here is what an elderly neighbor told me to say, when someone asks me something ridiculous. "Haha. Oh, I couldn't possibly do that." Repeat as many times as necessary.
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You know, the funny thing is that, I am still single at the age of 32 and that makes me the best person in my family's eyes. A couple years ago, my other grandmother was going through chemo for ovarian cancer and needed someone to take her to her chemo, sit with her and do some light house work so every one views me as the best canidate. But this grandmother has always been greedy and cheap when it comes to her own money. I'm deathly afraid of helping her out for what turns out to be the rest of her life. I'm really just upset that nobody wants to help her out.
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Knee replacement is normally followed by a stint in rehab. Is your grandmother trying to avoid that? There is no reason for you to take time off work for her to avoid rehab. If you do stay with her some after rehab, be sure to keep your bank card well out of her reach!

My 70-something year old cousin had knee replacement last year. After the operation she was in rehab for two weeks and worked on getting her legs back under her. She was discharged when she progressed enough to drive and walk on her own. She was younger than your grandmother, so your grandmother may have a bit longer in rehab. I don't know how that works. In your position, I would help, but only if she used the professional sources available to her first.

Much luck dealing with this. And leave the bank card at home! :D
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Just say no and hide the bank card from your grandmother.

Did she repay you the last time she illegally used your card. Sorry, but I'd find it very difficult to house a thief under my roof. If she can get out to eat, booze and whatever fun things that catch her eye,then maybe she should be living on her own living off of money that is her own.

Take care of your own health, protect your money for taking care of you and set up some strong boundaries.

How come her own grown children looking after her being cared for? Sounds like it's past time for them to step up to the plate..
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How about "I won't be wiping her butt and she actually has to spend her money on having a professinal help her for a couple weeks"
or more simply
"I won't be wiping her butt."
or even more to the point
"No, I couldn't possibly do that"?

Why would it be difficult to tell your family? Grandmother has apparently asked you. Just say no.
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