Follow
Share

My grandma is 92 years old and I live with her, my aunt and my mother. I work part time and I'm currently a full time college student. Within the past 2 years, I've watched my grandma slowly enter a downward climb towards the inevitable.

It started off with small gaps of memory loss, she was forgetting small things. So we started leaving her notes and calling her during the day to check on her. Shortly after, she began writing her daily routine on paper. She gave up driving 6 years ago, so the shuffling of doctors appointments fell on me. It didn't bother me.

June last year was when the slow decline started, she went into the hospital for a week for A-Fib, I was at the hospital every day, to the point the staff and security knew who I was because I was always the last family member out of her room. She was kept in ICU the whole stay. When she came home she was fine, but more forgetful then normal. So the notes increased, and we started leaving a list of things for her to do.

Fast forward to October 2013, my grandma stayed with another aunt of mine for 9 days, when she came home she said "this is my home and I'm not leaving." So we all said fine and figured out what we were going to do in January when my mom and aunt went away on vacation. Anyways, it turns out that my grandma attended 2 funerals while she was in my aunt' scare and we figured that the funerals made her depressed. Anyways, my grandma complained of chest pains and difficulty breathing so I thought it was an A-Fib episode, while at the hospital, she was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and it has been a downhill climb ever since she was released from the hospital.

Being that I am her primary care giver, I've been finding myself not wanting to take care of her, I just want her to be as comfortable as possible. I'm over trying to force her to eat, she spits everything back up but claims to be hungry. She's very weak and she sleeps all day and moans but won't tell us if she's in pain or not.

There was a nurse coming regularly when my grandma first came home and she was phenomenal, she really cared about my grandmas wellbeing and my grandma was slowly starting to do better. Then she crashed again, and in order for her to get the care she really needs, they moved her into a hospice program.

We have 2 aids for her, but they're only here until 8-12 and 12-5, they're great with my grandma, but Sunday my grandma fell and it's been even worse since.

I realize that she may not even make it to the end of the year, and I hate seeing her like this is. I guess maybe that's why I'm trying to distance myself from taking care of her. Maybe I know that this is the end and that the only way it won't hurt so bad is if I slowly step back from being her caretaker. I've often found myself frustrated and trying to contain myself from getting loud towards her. But I have no desire to go to work, or wake up for class or even do assignments and it's the final few weeks of the semester. I haven't even done anything to prepare for the spring semester because a small part of me feels like I'm not going to be able to handle a spring semester. I keep using my grandma's failing health as a reason for why assignments aren't being handed in and for why I don't think assignments will be turned in on time. If it was up to me I would have took the rest of the semester off but my mom and aunt were completely against it.

I'm just lost and I don't know what to do anymore and I don't know who to talk to.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
What I really mean to share is this....I was often very torn with spending time with my mom versus having to work, even when she was in hospice. I did what I could in both arenas and had some backup from my hubby and my son. But the big things was, my mom had said she did not want to die alone, and I had the privilege of being at her bedside and holding her hand and telling her it was OK, she had done her best, when her time came and she passed on. I may have done other things right or wrong, but being there for that, as hard as it all was, and still grieving in some ways 2 1/2 years later, that one thing means the world to me. Death and dying can really suck. You want them not to die, you can't have that, you want them not to suffer, you can't have that either, but still even if all you can do is help it suck a little bit less, that's what you want to do.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This is hard stuff to face, but the reality is that your being there with live and support for GM as she goes through it will mean a great deal to her, and someday it will mean a great deal to you that you were there. And being there should not have to mean 24-7 and give up your education, but to spend the time that you can and show her that she is loved and not alone...i wish and Im sure you wish too, that there was more help...It is hard, but you will most likely find out you are stronger than you ever thought you could be.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Grandma passed away on Tuesday. I regret nothing. I made her as comfortable as possible and gave her as much love as I possibly could have. I stopped getting frustrated but found myself crying more and more usually apologizing to my mom because I couldn't stay strong. I'll be going to grief counseling starting the week after the funeral.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You should be emotionally prepared for everything. Support and care is the most important type of treatment for your grandma..you have to be patience to her all of the time since this too is really frustrating for her too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think you might be grieving for your grandmother now that she is dying. That's natural. You don't have to wait until she actually dies. A hospice program is designed to help you with it. Give them a call.

((((((Hugs))))))
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My family is falling apart, but not between my aunt, grandma and myself. The rest of the family.... nobody wants to accept the reality... grandma is dying.... she is getting progressively worse day to day.... its a matter of time.... my focus is making her as comfortable as possible and as content as possible.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I am so proud for you and of you! I needed someone just like you when my father was ill. I became his primary advocate at his request, and my family is splintered forever although I care for my mother. I am suggesting the counseling because it allowed me to release so much. I am praying for you throughout each day and hope it does not offend you. Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Rebecca/ShadowChild, my grandma knows that caring for her has inspired me to go into the Elder Care Advocacy field and that I will stop at nothing to get into that field and be successful in it. I am almost done with school for the semester and I am going this weekend to talk about enrolling for Spring semester. I will definitely look into the counseling by calling my local health department.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

star - having taught at college and university for many years, I have seen a number of students get through despite some horrible personal circumstances. I am glad your profs are understanding and flexible. Your school should offer counselling. You could ask your student's association, the registrars office, student services, the profs you feel most comfortable with. One of those at least should know. If you have any health services at your school they are another resource who could point you to counselling either within the school or outside.

I agree with the other suggestions for seeking counselling.

You will get through this.

Big hugs and prayers. Keep coming back and letting us know how you are (((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Stargazer, try calling your county's local health department and tell them about your need for a counselor. Counseling can occur on a sliding scale fee arrangement. Since you are a student, I would think yours would be free. Also, a web search for mental health assistance usually pulls up many resources. If you have health insurance, you may be allowed a certain number of visits under the policy. You have us no matter what !! :) If you like the visiting nurses, you might want to ask them. They should have the resources on their laptops.
I found that as my father started the process of letting go of us, he did not communicate very much even though he could. I think it tired him, so I stuck to just sitting beside him and grading papers or holding his hand. Don't feel guilty if you start pulling away from your grandmother. I think it is a natural protection for you as well as those who are so weary but love us.
You are strong but lean on people, if you can. Please know you can lean on us, and this is important: Keep some goals and dreams for yourself because you have a life ahead of you. It sounds like your grandmother would not want you to give up on them. Best wishes on those exams. Rebecca/Shadowchild
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you all, my mom and aunt do pull their fair share. My mom has admitted that she can handle the logistics, but not the hands on stuff. It makes her very upset. My aunt and I usually do things such as taking my grandma to the bathroom and dressing her. I have another aunt and uncle who are useless. They try, but they're not really helping, they both have spouses who are very controlling and its forget your mother she has your sisters, focus on my parents. They visit, but not often enough. In fact, my aunt wanted to stay here, but her husband insisted they go to Florida but they will come back if she needs them.... Sure enough, my aunt is in Florida. My uncle lives a few miles away, but because of his daughter and wife, he can't do as much as it would help if he could.

ShadowChild, my professors are phenomenal with helping me, I've been given extensions on midterms and missing assignments, and they have all currently agreed to give me extensions on finals if I need them.

Sharyn, because of convince, I fell into the role of main caregiver. Both my aunt and mom work, but I have the most flexible schedule. My mom does have some health issues that she is currently dealing with but she admits to not being able to handle the hands on. My aunt does her fair share, she manages my grandma's funds and is constantly on the phone when it comes to getting nurses and aids to come out to my grandma's help.

Jessiebelle, I'm finishing my semester this week and next week starts finals. My school advised me against taking incompletes because it will "ruin my GPA."

Jinx, I don't even know where to start when it comes to looking for counseling. I also don't really have the money for counseling, so I would have to find free, or low cost. As for going to school counseling, I don't know where I would go and most people on campus don't know either.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Stargazerlily89,
I feel so bad for you. You are just a bit older than my daughter, who also had too much emotional upheaval to finish her last semester. I don't know what you should do. If you CAN power through this semester, that would be best, but can you? If not, go for incompletes.

Please get some counselling. You need it now, and Mom and Auntie may not be the most helpful right now. If you are at all religious, use that, as well. I don't think God miraculously cures people, especially not dying old ladies. I do believe that God can heal your heart and give you love and peace.

This is very hard for you, but it will change. Everything changes. You have a very long life in front of you. Please try not to panic. Please get some help. Come back and tell us how you are doing.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This is such a difficult situation, Stargazerlily. What you are feeling is not unusual at all. When our loved ones decline, they pull our moods with them when we are around them. We want so much for them to be better, but it just doesn't happen. Sometimes there are up times, but they don't last. How you feel is pretty normal, though not pleasant. You may find an antidepressant will help some.

The semester should be over now except maybe finals. My advice would be to hit the books and computer and make yourself do it, even if you don't feel like it. The one fear I have for you is if you allow yourself to fail or falter that it will be bad emotionally for you. Sometimes we have to make ourselves do things even when we don't feel like it. You can take next semester off if you need to, but it would be ashamed to lose the time you invested this semester. Some of your professors may allow you to take an incomplete if you ask. Is this your final week or do you have another? Other professors may not be open to it, since it is your grandmother -- they wouldn't understand how close you are. I don't know how that would go.

I hope you are able to take time for yourself to get back on your feet. Taking care of an elder with cardiac problems is so much for someone your age. I don't know what to advise about school this late in the semester, but I do hope you are able to pull your mood back up. Your grandmother is in God's hands now and the best you can do is keep her comfortable. Big hugs.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Stargazer~It sounds to me like you are depressed... overwhelmed with responsibility. Are you your grandmother's main caregiver? I ask because it seems you are too young to be saddled with the care instead being allowed to plan for your life by going to college. This may sound harsh because I know you love your grandmother, but what role is your mother and aunt doing in all this? You should be going to college, socializing with friends and dating. The care of your grandmother should be your mother, aunts and uncles responsibility and that includes taking her to dr. appts. I am sorry you are going through this, I know it is hard, but maybe you need to talk with your mother and aunt about getting more in home health care. You didn't mention any health issues with your mother and aunt so I assume they are very capable of caring for your grandmother.Please keep us updated on your situation sweetie and big HUGS to you!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I hope you won't mind if I add one more idea. Please, please go talk to a counselor at school if one is available. If one is not available, talk with someone you have respected as a teacher or professor. It sounds like you are the child raising the village rather than the village raising the child. Many of us have been there. Talking is the best help I have found. I am praying for you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You are in a position that was manageable when you began taking care of your grandmother. Make a list of what you can manage during finals, and tell everyone who can help that is all you can do. However, this may be the best plan. If you take information to your professors, they may allow you to take incompletes which you can finish next semester. I don't know if I could handle a Spring semester under these circumstances, if I were in your place. Let your aunt, mother, your adviser, and the health services on campus know that you are reaching a dark place. All of them should be supportive, especially the school. If this sounds like a professor is writing this, I was one for a brief period before returning to teaching high school. Your situation is much more common than you realize, and the college should want to help you.
Regarding distancing yourself from your grandmother, it sounds like she is doing the same thing. Just try to sit with her quietly and hold her hand each day for a brief period. Touch is so important to someone who is going through the journey of dying. You can't change what is happening , but you can make life more bearable. The pain you are feeling takes precedence over learning at this time. Our mind can only process so much. I hope you will stay in touch. Take care of yourself, please. Rebecca
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Finish the semester, and take the next one off. You are indeed stressed and you will need time to recover. Explain to your advisor you need a one semester leave and tell him/her why. See a doctor and get a good checkup. Women have a strong symbiotic bond in a family, yours appears stronger than most.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.