My grandmother has been recently diagnosed with dementia, it was no surprise for us since we've seen how her memory has been deteriorating, she's now 85 and it's only getting worse. I live far from home and try to visit as much as possible (work and covid makes it impossible sometimes). My mom is now on her own taking care of my grandmother, whom she's never had a good relationship with, and they live in separate homes as basically neighbors.
My mom has never accepted help from anyone, even myself (her own son), and since she dislikes her mother, she doesn't want to put money out of her pocket, so everything related to medications and doctors is paid with my grandma's retirement money.
I constantly talk to both of them, but it's taking a toll on me. I cannot longer stand a conversation with them mainly focused on how much my mother is tired of my grandma, and having my grandmother asking for every dead relative. I no longer want to talk or visit them and my anxiety is over the roof whenever I offer help to my mom.
I have spoken to 3 or 4 nursing services and my mother doesn't even want to hear me out, she just uses money as an excuse to not pay for the service. I by myself, can't even afford half the pay of the nurse, and my mother's siblings pretend that the situation does not involve them and just complain about how bad of a job my mom is doing.
I can honestly say that I'm exhausted of not being able to have a relationship with my mom, that I can't help my grandma live peacefully and comfortably, and I always feel guilty of not reaching out anymore for my own mental health.
And the thought of my mother aging the same way as hers, makes me wonder how will I be able to handle that type of situation, especially since I'm an only child, my father passed away not long ago, and I feel so alone and sad that I will probably be by myself taking care of her.
I'm just... exhausted of feeling guilty

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Take care of yourself and get help for your anxiety. There is nothing you can do to change your mother’s decisions and actions. They are hers to deal with. Let her know you’re available to help. Maybe offer to help with errands—groceries, etc. Put thoughts of your future with her asides and don’t dwell on it. Getting help for your anxiety will go a long way towards dealing with that situation.
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Alex get help for yourself! I am 48 and for 45 years of my life, 2 wives had beaten into my dads head what a junkie, white trash, good for nothing person I was. The only one who didn't say these things he despised! His 1st wife, my mother. Anyways, 2 yrs ago his wife of 30 years left him. He was turning 82. Beginning stages of dementia, took everything, put him $75,000 in debt. Well one of my sisters and I are picking up the pieces. The other just judges my 'wrong doings" from 2000 miles away. Point is thank God for my therapist, my case worker, and psychologist!! I am bipolar, with anxiety and panic disorder with psychotic episodes. My dad has always been a negative person, taken other families before us and believed in their calculated lies about me so I'd be nobody to him. I am the eggshells not the one walking on them!! Don't go there!! Get help! Get God ! stay informed and keep blogging wherever you know someone is giving good advice! Like here!!! God Bless and Godspeed!
You are not alone!!
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Your grandma's care and medications should be properly paid out of her funds. Is your mother financial POA? Then she should be able to pay with grandma's funds. Same for the nursing home. (Unless your mom is trying to hold onto grandma's funds as an inheritance, which is wrong.) Grandma's stay in AL of NH is paid for out of grandma's funds, not your mom's. So the question would be: who has POA? Financial and/or health? Is grandma willing to accept help from anyone? What is her living situation? Is she still competent? Safe? I don't see how you can control the situation between mom and grandma. They have to do that, if they even can. I believe you are wise in protecting your mental health - I don't see how you can accomplish your hopes for them since you cannot control them. I'd suggest stepping back. The only contra consideration is if grandma's situation is not safe and then you could report her to APS as a vulnerable adult.
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In reality, you have nothing to feel guilty ABOUT! Your mother made this bed, let her lie in it. When she can't take any more, she'll make other arrangements for her mother.

I am an only child too who grew up in a house with a mother and grandmother who fought constantly. I had a terrible childhood as a result and vowed to never take an elderly parent into my home. And I haven't. My almost 94 year old mother lives in a Memory Care Assisted living place and has since 2014. When her money runs out, I'll apply for Medicaid to place her in Skilled Nursing. I call her daily, see her weekly, and manage her entire life from 4 miles away. I did the same for my father since I moved them out here in 2011. He passed in 2015 and my mother has gotten harder to deal with since.

I suggest you form a plan of action in your mind for the care of your mother down the road. We're on our own, us only children, and it's a lot.

Wishing you the best of luck.
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alex9512 Nov 2020
Thank you so much for your advice, I will certainly start making plans for the future involving my mother's care.
Hi Alex,

Sorry you are having such a tough time. One thing I learned as I became older is that I can't change anyone, only myself and how I react to others.

Your Mom sounds stubborn so if I were in your shoes I would stop trying to talk to her. Keep visiting your grandmother when you can and when you are relaxed. You need to take care of you before you can be of any help to anyone else.

I know it's hard to accept people we care about as they are but maybe in time you can learn since you are not going to change your mother. As we get older we get set in our ways. When I started taking care of my Mom (who will be 95 soon) my life was turned upside down for awhile. This forum helped me so much!

We are here for you okay? Take a deep breath and know that we care.

Hugs, Jenna
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alex9512 Nov 2020
Thank you for your answer JennaRose

I for sure will keep visiting her, she basically raised me and I love her, I wouldn't want her to think I have forgotten about her.

I do think I need to take care of myself and specially my mental health.
Of course everything related to your grandmother, medications, doctor's etc should be paid from grandma's funds. It is not your mother's responsibility to cover those costs.

If Grandma needs more care, then she is the one who should be paying for it. Not you, not your Mum, not her siblings nor your cousins.

Were POA documents prepared prior to Grandma getting dementia? If not that ship has likely sailed. The next option is guardianship.

If Mum has POA, she will know how much money grandma has and whether or not it is enough to cover home care.

Are the two homes on the same property? If yes, then selling grandma's to pay for a facility may not be an option and your mother maybe feeling trapped.

Instead of making suggestions have you asked Mum, what can I do to help you out? Her answer may surprise you. Perhaps she would like a weekend of respite care, so she can get away, maybe it will be not being questioned about her mother for one phone call. You do not know if you do not ask. Or she may just need a person to whom she can vent.
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alex9512 Nov 2020
I agree, and the expenses should be paid with my grandma's money.

I have asked my mom specifically what she needs and haven't received a straight answer, I always ask what she needs whenever she brings it out. I have tried to be the person who she can vent with, but it's honestly exhausting and end up not being able to function for a good day (I have an anxiety disorder, so it definitely triggers my mental illness), I unfortunately can't be that person.

I wish I could do more, but I think my own health is on the line. And I can't risk that.

Welcome to the forum!

Unfortunately, I have seen similar situations such as yours many times over.

I took care of my mom. I did not want my children to be caught in the middle of it like you are, which is sad and definitely stressful for you.

I never interfered in my daughters relationship with their grandmother.

They loved my mom and she loved them. I did not expect them to fix anything in my relationship with my mom.

Like most people mom and I certainly had our ups and downs.

I allowed my mom and children to have a separate relationship of their own.

I didn’t want my mom to be robbed of her grandchildren, nor them of their grandmother.

I adored my grandmother and wanted my children to have a relationship with their grandmother.

You’re in a tough spot. I feel for you. You’re not going to change either of them. This is their pattern.

I am very sorry that you are struggling with being caught in the middle of their dilemma.

If I were in your situation I would take myself out of your uncomfortable position with the two of them.

Allow them to work it out. It is not your responsibility to fix their issues.

Even when you made suggestions, they didn’t appreciate your effort to help.

Perhaps your mom needs some time to process her feelings.

So from now on, for your own sanity, remain neutral and just be a son and grandson.

Be empathetic to each of them but remain neutral.

If your mom has a specific question she can ask you, then you can address it.

It is your grandmother’s responsibility to pay for her own care. If she doesn’t have funding a solution will have to be found.

A social worker could help your mom plan your grandmother’s future care.

Wishing you all the best in life. Your mom and grandmother are fortunate to have someone as caring as you are.

Keeping you in my thoughts. Take care.
Helpful Answer (3)
alex9512 Nov 2020
That's certainly true, it is not my responsibility. I have tried so many times to reach out and offer whatever options I have available, but I am never heard.

I will try to put myself out of the situation, because it is affecting me more than it should.

Thank you for you kind words, I appreciate it so much.
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