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I am 25 years old. That year both my dad and grandfather passed away. So I took on this responsibility to care for my grandmother. Throughout the years she's been fine, no big health problems. But this past April she did slip and fall and broke her ankle. She was in a rehabilitation center for about a month. She's back home and she was doing good in her recovery process. But she recently fell again not as bad as before but she did get hurt. I've felt overwhelmed at times. And I don't know what to do. She has children but they aren't very much help. She's 88 years old and I love my grandmother to death. But I don't feel comfortable with the idea of her going into an elderly home. She has her own home that she worked very hard for and it's not fair for her to be put there. Well I guess I'm just asking do some advice.

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You sound like an amazing young woman!
I hope sometime in the future you will consider
getting education as pt, ot, nursing. Arriving only
gets more difficult. Please don't feel guilty or
remorseful. But remember taking care of a child
is easier than taking care of an elderly or disabled
person. Best wishes to you and your grandma.
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AyyJayy, here is one thing you need to ask yourself, do you want to be Grandmother's "Grand-daughter" or her "Caregiver" as in the future it will be impossible to do both.

Already you are feel the anxiety and here you are only 25 years old. The title of your post you mention you are "overwhelmed at times". When you think about it, we are thrown into a job that we have had no training. This is our first rodeo and we keep getting bucked off the horse. Too many times off, we will crash and burn. I know I did.

I bet if you had asked Grandmother 10 years ago if you should give up an education, and give up starting a life with your special someone, to take care of her.... I bet she would have said "heavens no".

If Grandmother can budget to have caregivers come into the house couple days a week, and she allows it, that will be your saving grace to exhale and do things that most people your age do. I realize you said that only you know your Grandmother.... well, my Dad had two wonderful caregivers that knew more about my Dad then I did. It was just easier for Dad to talk to the caregivers then to his daughter, which is understandable, about personal things.

Just food for thought.
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AJ--
Thanks for the clarifications!
I'm sorry about your dad. That must have been hard....but...if you were my granddaughter, I would want the absolute BEST LIFE for you. So, I hate to say this, and I am not being judgy about you--but your comment about someone saying your life and g'mas being very intertwined--that's true, and it's really not very healthy. Your grandma has done a lot for you-wonderful!! BUT, she no doubt would want you to have a life for yourself too. You don't have to live your life for her.

I am glad you have one uncle who can be there. USE HIM for help. TALK to him, and let him know you are kind of in over your head. I imagine that since things have run along smoothly, the rest of the family is more than happy to let you run the show...and it's time for them to step up. If they cannot actually help with caregiving so you can go to school (that's really a MUST for you!!) the ask them for funds so gma can have aides a few days a week. You really need to break free from the burden you've placed yourself under.

Grandma will die one day, and you will have nothing to "fall back" on. I have 4 daughters and I practically forced everyone of them to be educated to the point they had marketable skills and would not have to rely on anyone but themselves, if needs be. I didn't get that opportunity, I was forced to drop almost completely out of college to stay home and take care of my mother. I resent her so much for this. At the time, not so much, but I married kind of young, had a large family and when the time came for me to "work FT" my skills were negligible. Luckily, my hubby has always worked, and worked hard, but there is a part of me that resents that I did not get the chance for my higher education.

Of course you can still live with grandma and be her primary caregiver, but your story resonates with me too much for me to sit here and think "Oh, poor kid". I think you can easily have the best of caring for your lucky and beloved gma AND have a life that is your own.

Call Aging Services in your area. Get your family on board. You may be surprised at how much they will help, if you have never asked before. I can't help but think somebody is available to help. Keep us updated--we care!
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Just wanted to second GA's advice to contact your local social services. Your grandmother is entitled their support, and as her primary caregiver so are you. They're not going to force anything on her that you're not both happy with, but they may well be able to give you some really useful ideas about where you can find more help. Best of luck to you, and what a lucky lady your grandmother is to have you.
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Dear AyyJayy,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your father and grandfather. I admire your love and devotion to your grandmother. And it sounds like you are doing everything in your power to care for her. But I do feel the situation is unfair to you. The bulk of the responsibility should be on your aunts and uncles.

I was also a caregiver to my parents from a young age. And default caregiver to my grandmother as well. All I can is say be careful because time can get away from you. If you want to go back to school, I would do it. I tried to be the good daughter and granddaughter but over a long period of time the anger and resentment might creep in. The daily care might escalate and it might be too much to take on. Always try to keep your options open. Truly think about your own future and your own wants and needs as well.
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Ayy, I have great respect for you stepping up to the plate to care for your GM.
I am sure, however, that she doesn't want you to give up your life and career for her.
If you were in college, can you continue via Online classes at a community college? Classes at night? ( ask the Uncle to keep an eye on GM).
I encourage you to pursue some education even if you take 3-6 credits (2 courses) a semester. You will benefit from learning, help you to feel like you are accomplishing something for your future and doing what you love, which is taking care of GM.
Maybe become a CNA? That may be doable as it appears caregiving is an interest of yours. You can start with a CNA and move upwards - maybe even nursing. You can get your prequisites done online and then only have to do clinicals for a couple of years.
Seriously education is the key. It doesn't matter if it takes longer, you still have plenty of years ahead.
Good luck to you!
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Research "transfer benches." I think we got ours from a Medicare DME supplier, but we may have bought it outright as I don't believe Medicare paid for it. Stepping up to get into a tub is a risky situation, especially after a shower when feet and the tub are wet. Being chilled is an additional risk factor - shivering when getting out of a tub can affect balance is someone is huddled over to conserve warmth.

You might want to research your local Area Agency on Aging to find out if it sponsors annual Caregiver Expos. Ours does, alternating between East and West side locations. They're held in October and provide a wealth of information and access to contractors (for rehab, retrofit, assistive devices), agencies that extend advice, private duty and home health care agencies, point to point public transit, bathroom devices, and more.

At ours, there are typically 3 or 4 elder law firms which also offer either seminars, free literature and some basic guidelines and advice, and sometimes a free consult. The first few hours are usually devoted to 3 different series of lectures on aspects of caregiving.

One I attended was a lecture on balance, presented by a physician (I think he was a neurologist). I wrote frantically, taking notes, and collected some very, very professional and helpful information.

One of the sponsoring law firms donates bagels, OJ and coffee - it's a great way to start off a few hour journey through the vendor booths. If you go, take a small rolling luggage carrier for all the literature you'll pick up.


HUD grants can cover a range of services for elders. The one for household repair was a municipal grant to cities/governmental agencies, specifically for emergency repairs for people in need. I don't recall the qualifications but I think they were income based, so it would probably be your GM's income and the emergency need as the enabling criteria. I'm not sure though whether your household income would be factored in.

HUD grants are somewhat in theory akin to other federal grants, such as transportation grants for capital projects. The federal grants are specific as to general purpose (i.e., emergency repairs), but some flexibility is left to the administering agency. Grant documents establish criteria for the recipients.

Another grant applies to Meals on Wheels; it provides for inclusion of Ensure Plus to seniors, at 1/2 the cost of grocery store prices. One of the conditions is that a doctor has to script for it, every 3 months as I understand it.

But it provides supplemental nutrition, and is delivered weekly. So it's a good program, and a good federal grant, as are others which extend services to people in need or provide limited support to agencies which serve a specific population.


I think your thoughts and self queries are normal. Anxiety and "should I" or "shouldn't I" type thoughts come with caregiving. These are uncharted areas in many ways, and what's workable for one family might not be for another family with different family dynamics.

It's hard to find the right path; quiet times are helpful. So is soothing music.

I think that it must be very difficult to arrive at a decision and feel comfortable about it. If it's any comfort, many caregivers evaluate, question, re-evaluate and requestion their decisions. Some, like me, wake up in the middle of the night worrying about what could happen. Anxiety is often an unwelcome poltergeist.
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@gardenartisit oh I'm definitely going to need a bench. It's not a bathtub it's a shower but there is a somewhat high step for her to get into the shower.

What is HUD grants?
I'm so new to things I'm just trying to learn as much as possible as I go.
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@gardenartisit thank you for the feedback. I'm really trying so hard at this. Sometimes I feel a little anxiety if something bad happens to her because I don't want anyone to blame me for what has happened. But then I tell myself I can't be thinking like that. Just sitting in my room in the quiet has helped me calm down. I'm really trying to figure things out as I go on. I think I she were to go into a home I would regret it. And that's what I don't want. I don't want to feel regret I've already felt that with my dads passing away that I feel like I have to do all in my power for my grandma so I won't fell that regret. It's a battle within myself I guess. Because there is a thought in my head that in need to do for myself and my future. But then i go back to thinking with out her taking care of me when I was younger i don't know where would I be now. How am I going to turn my back on her. When she could have done the same to me but she didn't.
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Could you elaborate on the shower situation? Is GM still taking showers, getting in and out of the tub? If so, there's a remedy to that. Transfer benches are much, much safer. There are benches for sitting inside the tub and benches which extend outside the tub.

GM would sit down on the bench outside the tub, scoot over while holding onto either the bench or a grab bar (if one is available). She would be seated while lifting her legs so falling wouldn't be an issue. She can also keep a towel around her for warmth, removing it only to be washed.

She doesn't have to stand, balance and step over into the tub. These benches are much, much safer.

There are also no rinse shampoos and bath washes. Hospitals use these. Apply as you would soap, and dry. No rinsing necessary, no immersion in bathtubs or under showers.

If it's grab bars, that's a different story, but you might be able to get help outside the family. But ABSOLUTELY document the requests you've made and their refusal or failure to respond. And send e-mails; don't call. Keep a record for your own protection.

There is also help available through some communities. I'm not current on the source, but it used to be emergency help through HUD grants.

Habitat for Humanity and other agencies (of which I don't remember the names right now) also provide free home repair services for in-need people. A grandmother probably would be a good candidate.

I'm P'Ming you with another suggestion.
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@gardenartist you say to protect the house. Which I totally agree on. And I've been trying to do different things around the house to protect her. And what gets me mad it's the shower situation because I have asked my family members to fix it! It was a great time to do it while she was in the rehabilitation center for that month. But did you think he kids would think about doing it no. I couldn't be at the rehab place and try to fix the bathroom at the same time. I feel that's the only place in the whole house where she can get hurt. The whole time she was at the rehab center I was there every day learning from the nurses how to change her how to move her around so she wouldn't be in so much pain I learned the physical therapy exercises that she had to do. I was there every day that the people there started thinking I worked there. And when she came home everything was fine I did everything that I was taught to do. But this little accident happened with her falling again that has brought a set back in her healing process.

Thank you for the advice about my family and I am going to try to document as much as possible of our conversations.
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Ayy, you've just posted while I was typing, adding more insight into your approach and situation. If you're committed to caring for her at home, then focus on that rather than considering placements right now.

There are different fields of thought on these issues. You have to go with what you feel is best for both of you. If you did place her in a facility, you'd probably regret it for years. You're a home care person, so work on that approach and find the best mix for the both of you.

It's easy for us to recommend one plan or another, but this really is an individual decision. Accept that with insight, as you seem to have, and move forward on making the home as safe as you can, and embrace the help of the uncle living close by.

But one thing you absolutely need to have is down time for yourself. It can even be together with GM - just quiet time talking about life, your interests, listening to music, playing board games if you enjoy them, and things like that. It's a different way of helping her while also helping yourself.
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You could take a two-pronged approach.

First, find out what you can do to make the home safer for her so that (a) she doesn't fall, or trip, as much, and (b) if/she she does fall, she's safer and less likely to injure herself.

So learn as much as you can about falling factors, about balance, about properly getting out of chairs, about hand holds, eliminating trip and fall hazards such as throw rugs, and make your home safer. Add grab bars, get a medical pendant alert service so that if she does fall she gets immediate attention.

Buy a lock box so that a key is available if EMS has to come while you're away from home. Prepare a list of meds and contact numbers (yours first) for EMS personnel. My father's is on an index card which he keeps in his shirt pocket next to his Med Alert pendant. Some people put similar type cards in plastic Med Info bags and tape them to the frig.

When my parents traveled, I sent a medical history with them. It included not only the medication information, but info on allergies, surgeries, hospitalizations, current and past medical issues, family medical histories, and contact information not only for family and close friends but also all treating physicians.

Ask her doctor(s) about PT and OT, either at home or at therapy facilities. Stay with her, learn the exercises, and do them with her at home.

People fall, from the time we're babies, through our adult years and into our senior years. The difference is that we're so much more vulnerable as we age, so we worry more about it.

After my father's second leg fracture, we did some research and decided to wrap the legs of his walker with protective foam. If he fell and landed on his walker, his legs would hit thick foam rather than the metal walker legs.

We also investigated getting padding like football players wear. The padding would protect vulnerable areas, such as the leg bones.

2. Try to get the rest of the family on board with help, although sometimes that's just wishful thinking. Since you've been the caregiver, they may not feel the need to help.

Send them an e-mail (document your contact), explain the situation and ask not if, but WHAT and HOW they can help. But don't expect them to volunteer; many families are content to let someone else do the heavy work.

The reason I suggest documenting your contact with them is that, based on a lot of stories I've read here and of which I'm aware from my own contacts, nonparticipatory family members often develop fixations that a caregiver is going to benefit financially or otherwise from caring from someone. Then the accusations start - they want detail on your activities, any funds to which the caregiver has had access, how the funds have been spent, etc. So protect yourself from unknown, potential, future negative actions from the family.
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I'm new to this. So if I'm not answering this in the right way I'm sorry I wish I can reply to you all individually. @fregflyer she's not really up for the senior living thing. She's soo attached to me as well as I am with her. She basically raised me since I was 3 years old. So I feel that I have to take care of her and protect her as much as possible. I've been doing this for years already. And I've become accustomed to taking on this caregiver role. She basically the only thing I have in my life. @Evermore99 I do have an uncle that does live in the back house of ours. And when ever I need him to help he does help. It's my other aunts and uncles that don't really come around as much or even check up on her. I was going to school but I couldn't finish because at that time I was going I was really depressed because of my dads passing away. And I did have a job but I just feel like taking care of my grandma is the best thing to do at this moment. I feel like no one else knows her like I know her and she won't let anyone take care of her than me. She always tells me that if she was put into a home that she'll die of depression because she won't see me as much as she's used to. I don't trust her kids with her. How sad is that to say but it's true because they aren't Very good kids i say kids but they are adults in their 50's and 60's but I feel like I'm the one that has to be stern because all they do is take advantage of her. I do not have POA my oldest aunt and oldest uncle do. But I've been trying to get that changed.
@joann29 it's so hard to say that I can't do everything for her because I have I've managed to take care of her 24/7 and keep up with the house and stuff. I do manage to get out with some friends from time to time. But I get what you say eventually it going to get worse but why not fight and try to do what I can for her.
@MidKid58 well my grandmother is my dads mom. Which unfortunately he passed away when I was 18. That's one of the reasons why I took on this role of taking care of her. My heart just says keep on taking care of her. I know realistically in this society I'm pretty much fucking my self over because I don't have much work or school experience to try to get into the working world whenever that time is when i do have to stop with her. And that gives me so much anxiety. I know I'm young and I'm suppose to be selfish with my time and make myself grow. But how can I be selfish to the only person I have left. The only person that's taken care of me other than my dad. People tell me I'm very selfless with her that I've intertwined my identity with hers and basically we are one person. Is that such a bad thing that I've done?
I hope you all got to read this I don't know if I'm doing all this right but I really appreciate you all responding to me.
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AJ--
Goodness, bless your HEART!! How long has you been caring for Grandma? Have you had to put off College and career to do this? She could live a lot longer--and these are golden years for you.
She is going to keep falling, that's a known. Each fall puts her in worse shape than previously. You do need to get her kids (your mom or dad??) on board and you shouldn't be the one making the decisions, unless she has made you her POA.

It sounds like you need in home aides or some kind of help. You're young and strong and no doubt, no one in the family is just going to jump up and take this from you unless you make a little noise.

I'd like to know more about your situation before I say any more--but this is a huge burden you've been carrying and it's going to get harder.

Come back and tell us more--please!
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This really boggles my mind that the grandchildren take care of grandparents when there are children who should be handling it.

If Gma is having falling problems, you may need to consider placing her in an Assisted living. They are very nice. Hope she is using a walker. Who has POA. At 88 you need to realize you can't do everything for her. Staying in a home she worked for may not be an option.
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Why can't your aunts and uncles take care of her? They have you taking care of her. Do you have a job, even part time? Are you going to school to get an education? If you have enough money to move out and have the ability to pay rent, you can and should move. Let your family members know that you will be moving by a certain date and are no longer able to care for your grandmother. You would be making them step up to the plate. And I take it that you don't have POA. If you don't have POA or guardianship, you won't be held liable for what would happen.
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Ayylayy, what does Grandmother think about moving into senior living? Has she been able to preview the places? These places are a far cry to what they were like back when her parents or other older relatives were place into State Hospitals. Today's Independent Living and Assisted Living [different from a nursing home] are more like hotels with a large main dining room, large common living room, sun porches, ect.

If Grandmother moved, she would be around people from her own generation. She can make new friends. Her meals will be prepared restaurant style usually with a menu to choose a meal. There is housekeeping services, and linen services. Plus there is a nurse on-site 24 hours a day, and Aides to help the residents. If your Grandmother needs help showering, her assigned Aide will help her. It all depends on if Grandmother can budget to pay the monthly fee. Maybe from the equity in her home.

My parents had a house they they also had worked very hard for, and after my Mom passed, Dad needed around the clock caregivers as he was a fall risk. Dad decided the house was just too much for him with paying property taxes, homeowner's insurance, utilities, and there was always something that needed fixing, not to mention yard work and snow shoveling.

As soon as my Dad walked into Independent Living, he was so impressed he said "where do I sign?" before evening seeing what the apartment looked like. After setting in, where downsizing was easy with him, he was happy as a clam.

Grandmother could easily live for another 10 years, can you picture yourself doing the caregiving for the next decade? Let her enjoy herself at senior living :)
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