I don't want to do this. I am 20 and in college and feel that I am way too young for this. I have a (male) cousin (my uncle's son) who is around 40, who is also single and not tied down with a family, but has more life experience. I do not like dealing with other peoples' bodily functions. I am not close with this grandmother, she has never encouraged me, and has made put-downs in the past and told me not to aim high. Aside from the fact that I am not close with this grandmother, I just don't want to do this. Even if she were my favorite grandma, I do not want to get involved in her bathroom functions and bodily fluids and just feel grossed out. My other grandmother found out I said no to my uncle's request for the first grandmother and called me selfish and said that if a granddaughter loves her grandmother, she will help her with the bathroom. I don't want to speak to this second grandmother. It just feels like my boundaries have been violated. I have made it clear that I don't get involved in other peoples' bodily functions. Both grandparents have Medicaid, free home health aides, and other services. I am not necessary, and I will resent it if emotionally manipulated into helping them with bodily functions/bathroom stuff. I just can't look at either grandmother right now. I am okay with visiting them but not okay with helping them with personal care once they need it (they both have Medicaid, Medicare, and free Home Health Aides). The second grandmother said that I need to accept that I am a female and that caregiving is a woman's role. I feel like the second grandmother is anxious that I won't help her with bathroom functions when she gets older. And that is true. Bathroom help, bodily functions, and diapers are my non-negotiable boundary. I feel so grossed out by both grandmas right now, I can't even look at them. I feel like a parent has to get over diaper changing if he or she wants to have a baby, but I don't think a young girl in her 20s, who does not have children and has never changed a diaper, should be asked to do this for an obese and manipulative grandmother. Am I overreacting? Am I too sensitive to bodily functions? I've set this boundary, and I feel so violated along with the boundary. And I just feel like I shouldn't even be asked this question in the first place. I don't know if I should feel ashamed because I am disgusted by both grandmothers because of being asked to get involved with their bathroom functions. I just feel like I want to throw up, and I probably would, if I had to go to the bathroom with them. Is this normal? Am I being selfish? Is it okay to set a boundary of no adult diapers/bathroom/bodily functions, especially when they have free caregiving at home and at the hospital, there are trained staff to help with that sort of stuff. I am not even trained in bacteria, gloves, and pathogens. I don't want to be a caregiver.
Practice saying this line over and over until you're comfortable saying it to him. Don't offer anything further. If he keeps pressing you, keep repeating the same line. Don't give him anything to fight you on.
No, you are not selfish. The uncle wants to foist this unpleasant job on the you because you're young and a woman, and he thinks he can bully you into it.
I am APPALLED by your second grandmother. She is wrong, wrong, wrong. This makes me teary, as a grandmother. You should NOT be out in this position.
Dear sweet girl, stick to your boundaries. I am repeating it so that you repeat it to yourself.
Sending you a HUGE hug.
The hospital can and will provide a “sitter” if it is needed.
Staff aids or nurses are there over night to help patients to the bathroom or with any other help that is needed.
The fact that someone has said that it is expected that you take on this role because you are a woman is appalling.
Put on a stern face, look directly at Uncle and your grandma and say “No I am not going to be able to do that. It is not my responsibility”
Anyway, just say no. Repeatedly if need be.
I'm assuming you're in the US because you say Medicaid and Medicare... but this sounds like some 3rd World hospital if they want/allow family members to stay to care for the patients.
I would like to know more about your uncle. What makes him think that he can ask you to do this?
If my brothers would have asked my daughters to do these things with my mother, their grandmother, I would have been terribly upset. My daughters would have felt like you, even though they were close to my mom while growing up.
I had a hard enough time as my mom’s daughter to be her caregiver. I would never expect my daughters to do it.
You are a college student. These are your building years. Your job is going to school so you can support yourself in the future. That is your priority!
You said it yourself, you are not needed. Your grandmother is being cared for. If there is a shortage of staff at the hospital, your uncle can help his mom by paying for a private sitter. He has no business asking you to help!
Why would you be inclined to help a grandmother that isn’t supportive of you? As you say, even if you were close, it would still be hard to do.
Don’t do it. Don’t apologize for not wanting to. You don’t even owe an explanation.
If I am pressured. I say ‘no.’ If I am asked why, I don’t feel that I owe them an apology or an explanation so I will ignore them, close the door and never look back. I no longer waste my time with unreasonable, irrational people.
I suggest the same for you. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in my life. It’s so worth it. You will be at peace.
Do not ever give up your independence. Plus, your feelings matter every bit as much as theirs.
You are young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Make the most of it!
Your uncle does not have the right to tell you how, when, where and with whom to be charitable. That is entirely up to you and it will mean more to you because however you choose to volunteer your time, it will come from your heart.
Manipulation is not an acceptable way to solicit help. Tell your uncle to back off!
I was 65 when my Mom came to live with me. Toileting was the worst. And my Mom and I are the same size. I definitely would not help an obese woman. Actually, I don't think the hospital would have allowed you. Like said it would have been a liability. And, you could have harmed yourself.
My daughter is a Nurse and she was helping her grandfather to the bathroom. As she placed him on the toilet he started to fall away from her towards the old porcelain tub. She grabbed for him and when she did she threw her back out. She went to a Chiropractor for months because she had pulled the back muscles so bad.
You did good. Learn now how to say "NO". Its a one word sentence.
Look that Uncle in the eye. Say "No. That is not something I will be doing". If there is any pushing, say "I said No. I will not be bullied by you. I will no longer discuss it".
I loved my Grandmothers very much. I never did bathroom duty for them (it never came up actually) but I have helped other relatives - at my choice!
That comment 'If you loved me... you'd do xyz' is emotional blackmail. Silly. Ignore that.
In many less developed countries, and in many places in the "old days", families were and are expected to provide routine care in hospitals. That is no longer true in the US.
Point this out to uncle. Say no.
You have no reason to feel selfish or ashamed.
You have just used 539 words where one will do.
Or three, if you want to be polite about it:
"No thank you."
Your uncle asked you if you would assist your grandmother. You are not close to her, you haven't the least aptitude for caregiving, and you don't want to. Fine.
Too sensitive to bodily functions... I don't know, but presumably you cope with your own, don't you? - despite your lack of training in bacteria, gloves and pathogens. In time you will doubtless discover that even other people's bodily functions are not so very terrifying up close, but you are twenty. There's no rush. One day you will be your second grandmother's age and by then you too will probably think that it's all been a gigantic fuss about nothing.
Uncle can ask, you can decline. Simple.
I just prickle up when I sense that someone is expected to do certain tasks just because they are female.
This may be a really good opportinity to discuss cultural, gender & age expectations with the Uncle & other members of the family in an adult to adult way.
We all know that in the hospital (pre-covid) that sometimes call buttons can't be answered immediately because of staffing shortages. THAT is probably why your uncle really wants you there. And of course, even with someone to tell the nursing station that a relative needs help, might not get that help there any quicker.
Still, it makes no difference here, really. You cannot go without your sleep to be your grandmother's sitter.
They have their eyes on you for their future caregiver. Even with Medicaid, they don't provide 24/7/365 help. Is your grandfather still married to one of these grandmothers?
Keep saying NO.
One of the second hardest things I had to learn - and am still struggling with - is that I can say no without giving any reason or justification for my answer.
Even if you are being "oversensitive", so what? You were asked; you gave an answer. Any further discussion is, in my mind, nagging.
It always, always amazes me when I'm called "selfish" because I'm not doing something that someone else wants me to do, especially when it's the person who is asking me to do that thing calling me selfish.
Stick to your guns. Your grandparents are not your responsibility, in any way, shape or form.
That being said, as a parent of 3 sons who were asked to step up to help when both their grandma and stepgrandpa both had mental and physical health issues rather suddenly that we were struggling to solve while me and my husband were both working full-time in our business and 2 sons were in high school, college and the other working. I was careful to ask them to help in ways that they were able (like driving them to doc appointments, reprogramming their remote -- again -- taking them groceries, etc.) Their stepgrandpa had Parksinsons and was 6'5". One night he had diarrhea all over the bed and himself. My husband and eldest went over because it was a 2-man project to pick him up off the floor and clean him and the sheets, as my eldest son is very fit and strong. They both had to go to work in the morning and perform as usual. I'm sure he was completely grossed out (as was my husband), but we were so grateful for his help, as was his grandma. In this period of time of helping their grandparents my sons grew in understanding, wisdom and compassion. Life is messy and very imperfect. We don't control it (although we live as if we do). This time in our lives came very suddenly and it was all-hands-on-deck to help them, just like we'd hope others would muster to help us in emergencies until there was a more permanent and appropriate solution.
It is very possible they asked you to help because you are female and it is a cultural norm. But also maybe because you're a student and they reasoned that your schedule is more flexible. A working adult may have had to request time off, and loses money or PTO to do what you did. You have less to lose than they (although it doesn't feel like that to you).
Also, as a woman, do want a guy to help you with your toileting? I sure don't. Please remember that you're 20 now but someday you may be 80 and in need of help in a pinch. In the vast scheme of things this wasn't the boundary busting horror you are working it into. You can say "no" but consider telling your family what you ARE willing and able to contribute. You will be blessed as you bless others. May you gain much wisdom throughout this period in your young life.
While it was wonderful of your son to help out, there are some vast differences from the story you describe to the situation the OP is talking about here. Your son willingly volunteered to help. Once. It was an extremely kind thing of him to do for both grandparent and you and your husband. But did you browbeat your children into helping every day, multiple times, for something that they flat out told you they weren't willing to do? That's the situation the OP is describing here. And the fact that she should step up to help because she's a student with a possibly flexible schedule? That's the same thing as telling a DIL that she should step up and be MIL/FIL caregiver because she "only" has a part time job or she's "only" a stay at home mom with a "flexible schedule". We would jump to the defense of DIL who posted that; why do we not give the same defense to a 20 year old?
And I'm very sorry, but the "being blessed as you bless others" sounds like kind of a cheap shot to make someone feel guilty. I'm sure you didn't mean it as such, but that's kind of how it came across to me.
*Violated*? Violated??? You don't know you're born. I meet child carers - we're talking 10 to 18 year olds - whose family members have diseases like MS and motor neurone disease and alcoholism and depression and who have known nothing different in their young lives from caring responsibilities - whether that's cooking for younger children or changing their parent's continence pads. On the forum, we frequently welcome new members who have been bullied for years, decades, into believing their lives should be sacrificed to caregiving and have no idea there could be any alternative.
Your uncle made a not unreasonable request which you have been entirely free to decline, and you have declined it. I'd never call a refusal selfish but your reaction to even being asked is precious, to say the least.
Never mind, I'm sure they'll know better than to ask you another time.
Why isn't he doing this for his mother himself? Or making another plan for her care like paying an overnight sitter for his mother? Hospitals have this kind of staff too.
Could be any number of reasons offered like he has to work, he doesn't live in the area, he's got a family of his own he has to take care of, etc... there are so many reasons one could use.
The bottom line is CaregiverItis is the most convenient choice for everyone. The uncle and everyone else ganging up on a 20-year old college kid believe their lives are more important than hers and they shouldn't be disrupted. Not true.
The family who is trying to guilt, shame, and intimidate CaregiverItis into taking this on don't want to do it themselves. That is why they're trying to shake her down to do it.
Before telling her to 'get out of her ivory tower' maybe you should climb down off your Cross.
How many elderly strangers are you cleaning up in the bathroom for free out of the kindness of your heart? How many homeless mentally ill drug addicts do you have living in your house because they have nowhere to go? I'm pretty sure the answer to both is none because it's unrealistic. This girl's top priority at her age has to be college because it is what will determine her future and ability to provide for herself. The adult family members can work out grandma's care and not try to saddle it on a 20-year old college kid who doesn't want to do it.
She told the family no and they need to accept it and among themselves figure out how to get the grandmother's care done.
It is absolutely ridiculous that your family would even ask such a thing of you regardless of your age.
Don't let yourself have any guilt or shame about refusing to stay overnight in a hospital (which I'm surprised they allow with Covid going on) to be caregiver to a person you don't have a close relationship with to begin with. You've told your family 'NO' and let that be the end of it.
No one in the family wants to take on overnight bathroom duty with grandma themselves, so they're trying to guilt, shame, and intimidate you into doing it. What do your parents think and why aren't they on overnight a**-wiping duty in the hospital for grandma? She is actually the mother of one of them.
You're in college and that has to be the number one priority in your life before anything and anyone else because it's for your future. Let the older adults in your family figure out what grandma's care plan is going to be. If you want to help with her you can. There are other useful things you can help with that don't involve personal hygiene. If this isn't enough for your family then too bad. Finishing your education is more important than grandma's care.
You are her granddaughter. You aren’t your grandmother’s nurse.
You are still a kid in many ways. I know that at 20, I could NOT have changed my grandmother's diapers.
By age 40, yep, I'd have dived right in there. And did.
The difference is 5 babies and having a level of maturity that only time can bring.
Cleaned up after FIL when he'd have blowouts and DH was busy barfing his guts out in the 2nd bathroom. Yep, it was gross, but I'd glove up and do my best.
At 20, you still have a lot of growing up to do. Currently, this is not something you're capable of doing. Say "no, I can't do this" and walk away. And people will try to guilt you, but there's nothing to be guilty ABOUT.
Your boundaries were indeed violated and really, they're flat out insulting you. It implies that your time and work is much less valuable than theirs. Since you're young, single and no kids, it's assumed you have all the time in the world for whatever they want you to do. When you refuse, they respond with what a selfish, uncaring person you are!
The other grandma can say what she wants. Like you said, she's making you feel bad because she expects you to step in for her when she needs it. As for being a bad granddaughter, they should understand that a good grandmother doesn't treat her granddaughter terribly and then expect devotion and love when she's shown very little to you. She's had 20 years to be a loving grandma to you, and she chose not to be.
Could even frame it as "Well, I don't think grandma likes having me around and I'd hate to upset her."
Toileting is where I draw the line and I am 53. The last few holidays I had my father over I was shocked when he expected/needed my help in the bathroom. The problem was, it was now a two-man job. Someone had to hold/keep him steady while another person took down his pants. I felt awful asking my 25 year old son to do the steadying part while I was mortified doing what I had to do. By 2020 I realized that having my father over for the holiday may be off the table due to this. Covid delayed me having to make that choice at Easter.
Some people can do this without batting an eye...I'm not one of those people and neither are you. Nothing wrong with that.
Elderly folks don't do well in hospitals on their own, but I would never have asked my children to miss school or work to provide this sort of service. Wouldn't even occur to me
Which is why I ask if your family comes from a different culture.