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Hi everyone! I have tried reading so many questions others have posted to figure things out, but I see others get excellent advice from the community based on their specific situations...


So my uncle asked me last week to move in with him and my grandmother to take care of her because she has chronic leukemia (CLL) and appears to be declining. At this point, it appears my responsibilities would be shopping, picking up prescriptions, cooking, possibly cleaning, and keeping her company.


As for specifics, I am still trying to assess the situation. I highly doubt she has a POA/DPOA or a will of any kind. She does have Medicare (possibly Medicaid?). I have been with her to the doctor, and her doctor expressed desire for me to be more involved in her healthcare when able. She was diagnosed with CLL back in 2008 and also has generalized anxiety disorder, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and hearing loss. I believe she has more than that, but I hope to know more soon. She can perform her ADLs without assistance. Her decline has thus far been increased fatigue and muscle weakness to the point she cannot stand in the kitchen long enough to cook a meal. I do not believe she has had any falls and has a walk-in shower.


However, my uncle has significant medical issues as well, and he moved in with her about 10 years ago so she could take care of him. I believe taking care of him is why she has done so well. He made it clear that he is asking for her to have help, not him, but we obviously need to have more discussions as a family. I know that helping grandma also helps him. My aunt was helping my grandma and uncle until she had her heart attack a few months ago. She had pre-existing depression and fibromyalgia, so she cannot consistently get out of bed and obviously needs to take care of herself. My dad has his own issues and cannot take care of himself, let alone someone else. Both of my sisters are out of the state and have kids. I only have 3 cousins in the state, but one is hours away and the other two are visually impaired. I know I am not obligated to do this, but it does seem I am the best candidate by far.


I am 30 and work full-time as a therapist. My ability to maintain my sanity working as a full-time caregiver and coming home to care for someone else was my main concern. However, I regularly see a therapist (and will be sharing this new development with her asap), faithfully attend church, and have an emotional support system. I am grateful that I have no children and minimal interest in dating, though I would not let taking care of grandma prevent me from pursuing a relationship. I have been divorced for 5 years now and find myself happier being single. I also bought a house last year and hope to rent it out with the help of a property mgmt company.


I cannot see any good reason not to move in with her, and I do not believe I could be dissuaded. She is the most important person in my life other than my twin who lives several states away. I see grandma every Sunday after church, but it seems that she needs more than that. I would see her after work during the week, but I work in a big town in the total opposite direction. I drive over 500 miles for work each week as it is.


This feels like so much, but I'm sure there is much more information that could be useful for you to know. I would appreciate any tips on what information I should get from my family or other sources and on things I may not have considered.

NoTryDoYoda: "If you were your own therapist, seeing yourself for this situation, what would you say?

Well, when you do tell your therapist this whole situation, I'd love to hear what she has to say. I foresee a session about boundaries."

Unfortunately, too many times the therapists that posters on here see never come right out and tell the posters to get themselves out of the caregiving situation, which in most cases is what the poster really needs to do.

Read what everyone on here has written very carefully. You will live to regret doing what you are asking us about.
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Reply to CTTN55
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NoTryDoYoda Jan 3, 2020
No, she will live to regret what she has already told us what she plans to do.
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I have read your post several times, trying to grasp it in it's entirety. In a way, I feel that you are trying to project yourself as a Super Woman who can handle anything. At one time, in my youth, I kind of mirrored your mindset...then after suffering job burnout...I realized that I was lying to myself, it was a mask, a self created façade.

A reality based analysis would benefit you the most. In home caretaking is one of the most stressful jobs that anyone can possibly do, there are no rewards for the care taker, it will consume your entire being.

IMO you have no idea what you are setting yourself up for, your job will suffer, your mental well-being will suffer, your physical health will suffer and your Super Woman bravado will not stop this from happening.

It appears that you have made your mind up and will not be dissuaded so there really isn't much more to be said...I wish you the best.
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Reply to DollyMe
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Beetle, your posts say some very brave things: “I cannot see any good reason not to move in with her, and I do not believe I could be dissuaded” and “Quitting my job will never ever be an option. It’s my career I’ve worked so hard for”. Another one “I would not let taking care of grandma prevent me from pursuing a relationship.” Someone in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ talks about the challenge of thinking three impossible things before breakfast. Think about yourself. How do you actually want to live your life? What happens to all these relatives if you fall apart? And don’t think “I will never fall apart”.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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500 miles to and from work weekly without seeing grandma more frequently because she lives in the opposite direction, so now you will be driving how much further weekly so you can live with and care for grandma and uncle?

You say you believe that you can not be dissuaded, so what exactly is your question? Obviously not the one you asked, your mind has been made up based on your post.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Beetle, if you have a flexible schedule, you can arrange for a cab or elder transport to take gma to a doctor appointment and you can meet her there.

For my mom, having someone else in the room to listen to what the doc was ACTUALLY saying was the most important thing.

There are Home Health Care agencies that gma/uncle/aunt can hire to do the caregiving that needs to be done in the home.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I'm confused. You say you are a therapist and then state that you are a fulltime caregiver and being a caregiver to gma would be on top of that job.

What sort of therapy/caregiving do you currently do?

Do not enter into this arrangement without a full understanding of the care needs of all the residents of this home.
This includes all diagnoses of both physical and mental issues.

Do not enter into this without a well drawn up caregiver contract that outlines the limits of your responsibility, payments and arrangements for respite.

Do not enter into this arrangement without understanding the financial resources of all the involved parties including their eligibility for Medicaid.

The way you are compensated can have a profound effect upon the eligibility for social services of all concerned. Do not accept the promise of the house, being named in the will or other "down the road" compensation.

Spend some time reading threads on here about caregivers who are basically trapped by their family's poor planning, dysfunction and selfishness.

I simply can't imagine a family member asking a young person to do this. Resources, both private and public shoukd be used to obtain professional care for all involved.

CLL is a long, slow, slog through Hell. My dad had it. It doesn't get better; gma's needs will only increase over time.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of where this is going so that you know when to place her in a facility, and that you have the authority to do so.

So, that's what you need to find out before you decide to take this on.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You could easily be everyone's care manager. It seems more like uncle & grand could use someone from an agency to make sure they have a meal & meds, plus meals on wheels for the other meal. Then you could coordinate all your other ill relatives' care as well. But I'd never give up my personal space for non-stop caring. You might have the best boundaries in the world, but if you are seen as a child who should obey elders, there will be friction.
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Reply to surprise
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Don’t do this. These arrangements almost always end in misery for the caretaker.
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Reply to LoopyLoo
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If you were your own therapist, seeing yourself for this situation, what would you say?

Well, when you do tell your therapist this whole situation, I'd love to hear what she has to say. I foresee a session about boundaries.

Furthermore, 30-35% of caregivers die before the person they are caring for.
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Reply to NoTryDoYoda
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Also......there is a very highly likelihood that the stress of caregiving is a contributing factor to your aunts heart attack. That’s something to think about. Your grandmother is only going to get worse and if she’s already suffering fatigue and muscle weakness and cannot cook a meal, she’s not going to be able to do her ADLs assisted much longer. How are you going to continue working while caring for your grandma? You have to realize that if you quit your own job, you are sacrificing your future and your livelihood so this isn’t a decision to make likely. While she could and should pay you, you won’t be paying in to social security or Medicare, you won’t be earning a pension. You won’t have health insurance or paid time off.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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BeetleChe13 Jan 2, 2020
Quitting my job will never ever be an option. It’s my career I’ve worked so hard for, and I know I personally would be unfulfilled not working.
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Barb expressed my thoughts exactly. I'd also speak to your Aunt about what-all was involved with her care giving duties for the two of them. Personally, I don't see how you can expect to care give to THIS degree AND work a full time job with copious amounts of driving involved.

Sounds like too much of an undertaking to me. On paper is one thing............reality is always another entirely.

Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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So, your grandma has been caregiving for your uncle and now needs a caregiver herself?

Who will be caring for Uncle?

Has a professional "needs assessment" been done to determine what level of care gma needs? And what uncle's needs are?

I would not walk into a caregiving situation without having a full understanding of the person's medical and emotional needs AND the authority to use their money for caregiving expenses.

You are planning on doing this AND work fulltime at an emotionally demanding job?

The fact that you can't figure out a "good" reason to say no doesn't make this a good idea.

Grandma has essentially already "worn out" one caregiver--your aunt. I think I would proceed very, very carefully and perhaps agree to oversee grandma's care, rather than providing it yourself.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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BeetleChe13 Jan 2, 2020
Thanks. Who will take care of my uncle is the biggest question I have, right after what their needs exactly are. I have been looking into nonprofits in the area who can help take her to doctors appointments, as driving is a struggle for her now. I have a long list of questions to ask my family and more reasonable accommodations I can make in the short-term.
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