Two weeks ago my 86 yr old grandmother had a heart attack. She also has other issues regarding anxiety, digestive issues, and has limited mobility due to hip problems (wouldn’t have hip surgery—uses a walker)....she despises doctors....I understand, but it’s almost a little too dramatic because she totally denies needing any help for anxiety when it’s clearly a huge issue. It’s been a huge issue of hers for about 20+ years. Years ago when my aunt took her to a doc to address anxiety/depression, she threw the meds in the garbage when she got home. She doesn’t socialize and is almost 100% dependent on my aunt. My aunt chooses to be a caregiver for her but I can see it’s getting to her. My aunt basically serves her breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My grandmother will shower herself but my aunt will have to dry her hair and lotion her.

Since the heart attack, my mom and aunt decided it would be best to have her come back to my mom's apartment, where I also live. I am in school and work overnights. My schedule isn’t typical but the living situation is becoming impossible. She’s been w/ us for a little over a week and is basically bed bound. Clearly weakness is expected after a heart attack, and forgive me for saying this but a short stay at a rehab, as suggested by her doc, should’ve been the decision. He felt it would help her regain her strength. Instead, my grandmother absolutely refused. My aunt comes over to take care of her but has to walk through my room to get to the room my grandmother is in. It’s an all day process because she’s feeding her, changing her, etc.

Her anxiety is horrible, she says she feels fine one minute then is complaining the next. My aunt has been serving her three meals a day in bed, bathing her, and tending to her every need. Not sure how she still has patience.

I finally spoke up because I’m losing sleep and it’s affecting my school work and I was looked at like I have ten heads.

I’m just trying to get some insight on how to approach this and handle it in a mature manner. I truly believe my aunt and mom made the wrong decision.

Apparently physical therapy will begin at home next week. Not sure how well this will go.

Thank you all. I hope I do not come off as selfish.

I just want to add that I took care of my father who passed away years ago from cancer. I’m totally aware of caregiver burnout. I worry for my mom and aunt because they are both in their early 60s and it’s a lot on them. My mom works full time and that’s why most of this falls on my aunt.

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There have been several wrong decisions here, starting back maybe 20 years ago. But people have the right to make decisions -- even wrong decisions -- about their own lives. Anxious and don't want it treated? Poor decision (in my mind).

I am so sorry your life is being disrupted by other people's decisions. How old are you? I ask because you are in school, so that could be 17 to 37! And it makes a difference. In any case, you now have the right to make decisions about your life. 97yroldmom has suggested some options you could consider. A lot depends on the long-term plans for GM, so it would be good to discuss that with the decision-makers. Putting up with it for a few weeks (including a PT traipsing through your bedroom) is one choice. Sleeping on a friend's couch is another. Dropping out of school and supporting yourself on your own is another. Maybe you could move in with Aunt ... ??

Are you part owner of the house? That would make a difference in the range of options you have.

You do not sound selfish. It is reasonable for you to figure out how to protect your self-interest. I hope you can come to some decisions that won't add stress to your mother or your aunt, but you do need to do look out for you.

And you do not have 10 heads!
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Tc20988, any chance that you and Grandmother could switch bedrooms during the time being?

You are right, Grandmother should have listened to her doctor regarding rehab. I remember when my Dad had a heart attack, my Mom refused to have him live at rehab, so rehab came to him. But it's not quite the same. Dad wouldn't do any exercise on his own after after the physical therapist left. So it felt like forever before my Dad was able to move about on his own. My Mom claimed she could take care of him. Earth to Mom, you are in your 90's, how are you doing to help Dad go up and down the stairs. Well, she found out quickly she couldn't.

Next time Dad needed rehab, he voted yes for living at rehab for those 3 weeks. What a big difference as he had to move around, either by wheelchair at first, then on his own to get to the facility dining room. No feeding in the room as Dad needed the exercise. Mind you, my Dad was in his 90's when this happened. He recovered very quickly.

You are so right about caregiver burn out. Many of us here have crashed and burned. Then what would Grandmother do? Depending on Grandmother's budget, she would be happier in Assisted Living around people of her own age. Now, Assisted Living is not a nursing home, don't feel Grandmother is ready for that.
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Your grandmother is the one who is selfish, IMO.

Will Aunt call the doctor and ask if the plan for rehab can be revisited? Is aunt aware of caregiver burnout? And that 40% of caregivers die before their charges do?
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Well, no offense, but since it’s not your home (assuming it’s moms house) and you aren’t doing the care taking, it sounds like you are going to have to deal with it or move out.
You are right that she should have gone to rehab. I assume there is a problem with aunts home or she would be there.
Not getting sleep doesn’t make matters any better. Perhaps you have a friend who could put you up for a week or so?
At what stage would GM be moving back to aunts? Could you stay at Aunts while GM is at your moms house? Could you change rooms with your mom?
IF ON the other hand the apartment is yours AND mom’s then you and mom need to have a heart to heart on who can be moving in and for what period of time etc. without the other persons agreement.
Hopefully GM will respond to the PT and be better soon but that means more activity not less going on.
Communication is key. About the mature part, don’t act out. Just ask for a time line, next steps anticipated, etc.
You sound compassionate for your aunt and mom and GM.
Come back and let us know how things are going. Try deep breathing and meditation and walking to release the stress and rest your mind. Take extreme care out navigating your life without adequate rest.
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Maybe she will come around when she sees the PT
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