First off let me tell you about mom she has stage 4 cancer, a colostomy and a tube in her kidneys which requires daily bandage care. When she first needed home care my 23 yr old daughter and I shared this responsibility. However recently I had to have knee surgery and all the burden of caring for us both fell upon my daughter(God Bless her). I am now able to help with my Mom but Mom only wants my daughter. If my daughter isn't available my mom will refuse my help then call my daughter incessantly telling her she needs her. This happens 24/7! I have tried explaining to mom that her granddaughter has a life outside of this and that I am more than willing to help her with anything she needs. To this I get "I need Jenny!". She won't let me change her bandage, although I have in the past, then cries that it hurt and needs changing. When my daughter is here she lays on the guilt. This has caused rifts between my daughter and I as well as causing my daughter and I both to feel resentment towards my mom. She throws these fits if she doesn't get her way. She will lock her door and refuse to answer the phone for days. This causes me panic cause I wonder if shes still alive as well as make me angry cause shes acting like a spoiled brat. Any advice on how to proceed?

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I think that you need to get your mother more help and set your daughter free. She's only going to be 23 once in her life and it is time for her to be laying the foundation for the rest of her adult life.
Helpful Answer (12)

I don't know why we are all assuming this very sick woman is in her right mind. Her behavior would indicate otherwise. I don't know if that makes any practical difference -- you still can only do what she will allow you to do. And your daughter must still be able to live her own life.

What is your mother's prognosis with stage 4 cancer? Would hospice be appropriate at this time?
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We have often said that there comes a time in almost every caregiver's life when we become the parent and our parent becomes the child. You hit upon that exactly when you said Mom is "acting like a spoiled brat". She can only use you if you let her and the same with Jenny. When she is of a mood, be respectful, get what has to be done accomplished and go about your own business. Don't fall for her baiting you or your daughter with whining and accusations. Don't make excuses for yourself or Jenny. Bandages need to be changed so unless she is physically combative, change them, make sure she is comfortable and has what she needs and then go. If it were me, I would caution her that if she is not satisfied with her care, you will hire a visiting nurse or home health aid for her.
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I go with the hospice. Get a doctor's order and have them come in and evaluated.
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If she is a competent adult - she can make decisions to lock you out and refuse to have her bandages changed. She can make her own bad decisions. You can only do what she will let you do - but you do not have to be manipulated. Remain calm and if she won't let you in - let her know the next time you will be available or come over. Be gentle, be firm, do not let her manipulate you and the situation might gradually work itself out.

Jenny should not be burdened with feeling responsible due to a manipulative grandmother. If she has time and wants to help - great. If not - grandmother will eventually have to understand. perhaps she also just enjoys seeing her granddaughter.
Helpful Answer (7)

cmekarin, time for you and your daughter to sit down and figure out how to manage this situation. Having your daughter constantly running over to her grandmother's is unnecessary since you are available to help your Mom.

Try just showing up in your daughter's place. What would Mom do if she needs help, send you away? Be firm, because right now your Mom knows she can get her way. There is no harm to start using "theraputic fibs" to get our elders to do what is best for them and for the family caregivers. Does Jenny work? Tell Mom Jenny got called back into work.

If Mom complains about how her bandages hurt when being changed, just agree with her. And just agree with all of the other complaints. Then Mom will hopefully get tired of complaining because you aren't giving her something to fight about.

Since Mom doesn't have dementia, we really do need to put ourselves into her shoes. She lives by herself, alone all day. That probably isn't how she had planned her retirement. She can't hop in the car and drive herself to the mall, or to meet friends for lunch. She is dealing with age decline plus cancer. I wouldn't be user friendly, either. Does Mom have anyone else she can talk to, siblings or close friends?
Helpful Answer (3)

Dear cmakarin,

Your daughter is an angel for helping as long as she did, because many grandchildren wouldn't. I sympathize with you, because we all want to make our parents happy. And especially during this difficult time I'm sure its not easy on your mom either. Maybe she thinks this is the only way she can get her granddaughter to visit her.

It is time to be firm and compassionate. Better to be upfront and explore alternate care arrangements. I can see the anger and resentment escalating and its just not worth it. Like the others said maybe its time for hospice care.
Helpful Answer (2)

You have received good advice here. All I would say is that you and Jenny need to sit down together and discuss this in-depth. She is young, hear out her concerns. She needs more freedom from this responsibility, but does not wAnt to hurt grandmothers feelings, nor appreciates being manipulated. Help her work on pat responses she can use repeatedly, that convey respect but also firmness of her unavailability. Pick language and inflection of voice that is intended to avoid escallation. If your mother escalates to demanding, unkind language, respond with the moderate humor of a well-centered, compassionate nun who has absolutely no intention of changing her position but always treats others with grace. Become an actor if it helps. In the worst moments I found it helped if I said a quick prayer in my mind asking God to please give me grace to react with grace.

Go into seeing her with a plan of what the tenor of your interactions will be like and refuse to be pushed into anger or guilt. If she becomes demanding for Jenny tell her you love her, it is impossible for Jenny to come right now and your all she's got. If she becomes abusive tell her you can tell it is a bad time and you will be back in two hours to change the bandage. Be sure to text Jenny that you are with grandma and that she should expect calls. Grandmas calls should have their own ring tone so Jenny can ignore them without looking at her phone.

If her conduct continues explain you are committed to her care, but that if she feels you are not meeting her needs, she can hire help or arrange to go to assisted living. Point out that this is her life and that she must make these decisions for her care. You will do your best and expect your efforts to be appreciated, if she is unable to appreciate your love and care it is probably best for her to hire a professional. Say it gently, constructively with no apologies - ball is in her court.
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Be so grateful your daughter is so sweet. Someday that may be you needing her, and she will be there. I have 4 daughters and while they wouldn't dance attendance to either grandmother, I know they'll lovingly choose a nice home to put me in. And they'll come visit. Compassionate daughters are a great blessing!

Now, seriously. Jenny is going to quickly find herself in a mess of her own making, due to her kindness. I assume she has her own life to live and while she certainly can visit gma and do what she'd like, for your mother to be throwing tantrums is beyond OK.
Just show up, do what you need. Ignore the whining, your mom is just being a child again and then leave. If she will not let you in, time for hired aides. It may take a while, but she needs to realize that granddaughter is not her caregiver.

I agree with changing ring tones for gma. Jenny was obviously OK with helping out, but gma is now being abusive with that goodness.
Helpful Answer (1)

Seems to me you are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. You've been given a lot of support and good ideas here.
To me the primary issue is the same as a previous writer, and that is what is your mother's mental status.
If she has stage 4 cancer then she has metastatic site other than her bowel. This could likely be in her brain or in an area that affects her brain function. If this is the reason for unreasonable behavior than no amount of planning, explaining, or getting a plan togethr with daughter os going to be effective. If this has been her behavior/personality all her life then it is also very unlikely to change.
So maybe it gets down to safety. Is she competent and does she have the judgement to participate and manage her care?
Doesn't sound like it.
If she will not allow you to be there and assist her, and your daughter can not anawer her every demand she need supervised care. Hospice can assess and perhaps add enough services to manage her care. If she is not ready for this then you need to talk frankly about your concerns to her MD. She does not sound safe from herself and her decisions to beliving alone.
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