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As a preface, I have been asked by my father to consider becoming a caregiver of my grandmother, which would also mean helping out with my 58 year old uncle who has had 2 strokes and lives with her. They live in Hawaii and I live in Texas.


After a few visits to the hospital for various problems, my grandmother's mental and physical health seems to be declining. According to my father, she repeats herself often and forgets about simple things like how her door locks work. I know that she has serious paranoia about gaining weight and has issues sleeping. In addition to this, she has a history of being abusive to caregivers that my dad has tried to hire or people who knew her and offered to help on their own. She refuses any kind of professional help, including the idea of going to an assisted living facility or in-home care.


None of this information includes my uncle, who cannot move half of his body has a speech impediment, OCD, hoards, and is verbally abusive.


I feel selfish for not wanting to do this, but I also feel like this responsibility shouldn't be placed on me. I don't know what to do or even what kind of solutions to offer my dad.

You are 22. You have been asked to uproot your fledgling life and take on the responsibility for two tragically damaged people whom you have not seen in quite some time (almost 10% of your entire life span?).

By your writing, you appear to be a bright, kind, intelligent young person.

”Selfish” at the age of 22 is part of the process of growing into maturity, like blowing too much of your salary on a great, frivolous jacket and deciding not to let a friend borrow it.

”Selfish” is NOT taking on the management of a situation that is already desperate and can quickly descend to worse.

“Caregivers” for a woman in your grandmother’s condition require firm, structured handling by trained professionals who are fairly compensated for their difficult work, offered managed respite, and have the wherewithal to ignoreand/or channel
her I appropriate social interaction.

Then add the comparable but different management of her son.

I cannot begin to imagine what has possessed your father to even suggest that you might consider taking this on, much less actually assume responsibility for it, but as a parent who has raised two wonderful children, I cannot state strongly enough that you have NO REASON to consider your desire to refuse this burden a “selfish” act, and EVERY REASON to continue YOUR progress to maturity where you are.

If your father is in the position of serving as some sort of manager or overseer of the situation in Hawaii, it is HIS responsibility to find qualified, trained, appropriate help for the household you describe.

You are not selfish or bad. Instead, by assessing the negatives in this situation and correctly observing that it exceeds your capacity to successfully undertake it, you are assuming responsibility for your own welfare, independence, and self growth.

Do not take this on. DO NOT TAKE THIS ON.
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Reply to AnnReid
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Please don’t feel guilty for saying “no”, if that’s what you decide. Your father has “asked (you) to consider” becoming a caregiver. Here are some things to also consider:

1. Can they pay enough? You will need to purchase health insurance which will be over $100 or more a month. Also, will you make enough to put money aside for your retirement? Will you be able to afford a dinner out occasionally? Or will you be asked to do this gratis or for “room and board”? Will whatever job skills you have be outdated when (and if) you ever get back into the workforce? Uncle’s not that old. He could live for decades. Not to be unkind, but Grandma is rapidly losing her right to chose. She can stamp her feet and carry on all she wants, but if you don’t make sure she’s got the care she needs, as her next of kin, you could be charged with neglect at some point.

2. Scenario: both Grandma and Uncle have anger and verbal abuse issues. At any point and perhaps often, you could be subjected to meltdowns in stereo. You try to get to one of them and you take a flyer over some pile of dirty junk and rotten food Uncle has piled up. He screams at you for being so clumsy and disrupting his “treasures”. Uncle poops himself. Then, Grandma starts. Grandma screams that she’s hungry and where is her food. She doesn’t like what you made and throws it on the floor. Then it’s time for bed, but Grandma’s not cooperating. And Uncle needs washed but can’t do it himself. Both want immediate attention. This is a very real scenario. What’s wrong with Dad? If you can be expected to bathe your uncle, for sure he can bathe his mother.

Say no, dear. Don’t let him guilt you into it unless you are REALLY desperate. Tell Dad you will be more than happy to help him find placement for both or them. Home Caregivers obviously won’t work. If he hems and haws, go your own way and let him deal with it.
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Shell38314 Oct 27, 2018
Well said....
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Hi. You are my daughters age. I’m a little younger than your dad. Wow. I would never in a million years ask of her what’s being asked of you. It’s just wrong. Very wrong. Don’t feel guilty. I can’t believe a parent would put this on their 22 year old child. It’s not your responsibility.
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Reply to Erinm60
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No.
I hope I can overcome the screaming in my head long enough to answer you.
No,
You have absolutely no idea how hard this is. None of us did.
No.
Whatever the situation is now, it will get worse, by an unimaginable amount.
No.
I'm 9 years into caring for my dad with dementia and I know what I'm talking about. Everyone here does. Please believe all of us who are trying to save you from this situation and don't agree to this. Not even for a trial period because I fear no one will come to relieve you.
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Reply to Portmarly
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Now that my head has stopped exploding and I've stopped hyperventilating from the predicament you've been placed in, I feel I can offer a straight-forward solution.

This situation screams out for a geriatric care manager. They'll do a needs assessment of each person and set up a care plan. Care managers are usually former nurses or social workers who specialize in addressing the changing care needs of people for the families who are no longer equipped to respond. They may work independently or with a broader-based care agency. Importantly, they have experience and connections to of all the resources to respond to each situation. Care situations can change overnight with an illness, fall, or hospitalization rendering everything already in place invalid. These experienced individuals can respond quickly to meet the new needs.

These individuals might be tracked down through the internet for local resources, a senior center, the local council on aging, perhaps the AARP site, through universities who offer degree programs in these areas, through hospitals who employ them to assemble a discharge plan, through Home Health providers, local clergy may keep a list, and perhaps through support organizations like Alzheimer and stroke care, for starters.

Dad will pay for the assessments for each of his relatives and retain these qualified experts to respond as future needs arise.

There are other problems here beyond just Gram's and Uncle's needs. There is a flashing caution sign that says "Boundries Work Ahead." Many of us on this forum are caring for people who are abusive, narcissistic, mentally ill, cognitively challenged, and physically impaired. Some of us are caring for people who didn't care well for us. Your dad's instinct to treat your life, time, and energy as a disposable extension of his own as a matter of convenience to himself set off a lot of alarm bells for some of us. I'm sorry to tell you that people who are abusive, manipulative, or exploitive don't have your best interests at heart, even when they're called mom or dad. The advice to you to initiate and engage your own life at your early stage of adulthood is spot on.

Finally, I want to recognize you for having the wisdom to seek advice from the knowledgeable and experienced people on this forum. You are well-meaning and tenderhearted concerning your family but most of us have learned that it takes so much more than that in this situation.

Best to you.
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BettyB00p Oct 30, 2018
Amen!
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YurchenkoTwist,
Please do NOT do this! You could end up spending way too much of your life as a caregiver. Your uncle is 58 and could live another 20 or 30 years. Who would be expected to care for him after grandma passes or becomes too ill to care for him? Right. You!!
It sounds as if your grandmother has some dementia going on. Your dad should get her diagnosed, get POA for her and his brother, and have them both placed in a facility where they could be properly cared for.
This is the time for you to enjoy your life, and shame on dad for asking you to give up your youth to care for two people who need more help than one person could even provide!!
You are NOT selfish. In fact, that you are even considering it shows what an amazing young lady you are!!
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Reply to katydid1
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Run away immediately. You dad should never have asked you. At 22, you should be having fun and thinking about building a life for yourself. Dad will have to find another solution.
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Whyarewe Oct 30, 2018
Don't even get trapped into visiting Hawaii. Stay in Texas, no matter what.
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I agree with Riverdale! This is a big decision that can affect your life for the next five to 20 yrs if not more. Most of us didn't have a choice or we thought we can do this!

Your dad had no right to ask you or except you to take care of your grandmother and what are you to do with your uncle? It is hard enough to take care of one person, but two would be horrific on your overall health. If you want a life than say no to this.
Prehaps grandmother and uncle need to be in a facility like it or not. In life we don't always have a choice what happens to us or where we live.
You should not have to pick up your life and put it on hold, because that is what will happen.
Like Riverdale, I think there might be more to the story, but don't be quilt into doing something you don't want to do.

Good Luck
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Reply to Shell38314
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With a 58 year uncle I would guess you are in your 30's?

You are rightfully scared. Do NOT do this. Is living in Hawaii enticing you to think about it? What is going on in your life that dad would even ask you to do this. Remind him that you have a life and you enjoy it. Your dad is in Hawaii, he needs to do what grandma needs for care. It may not be pleasant for him, but he has to do something about it that does not include you.

Heck! Grandma may not know you either. When is the last time you saw her?
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Reply to gladimhere
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YurchenkoTwist Oct 28, 2018
I saw her a few years ago. Hawaii is just where my family is. And I'm 22
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" She refuses any kind of professional help, including the idea of going to an assisted living facility or in-home care.

None of this information includes my uncle, who cannot move half of his body has a speech impediment, OCD, hoards, and is verbally abusive."

PLEASE listen to the wise advice from previous posters. Do NOT do this.

You are NOT selfish! Your father is wrong to try to put their care on you. He is putting them above you. It is obvious that you will be placing yourself into an abusive situation if you do this. People on these boards have ruined their lives doing elder caregiving.

Please stay in Texas and go on with your life. You deserve it, you are worth it, and know we are all rooting for you to keep your life.
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Reply to CTTN55
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MelanieC Oct 30, 2018
Great advice!
Just a little something to add...seems to me that her dad is the selfish one, unless he has medical issues himself..
It's not her turn.
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