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I graduated from college in 2007, and as soon as I was done, my great-grandmother was told that she must have full time care. They said either a nursing home, which she begged and pleaded against, or someone to be there all the time. I am single, no children and the only one in the family able to do this. Along with my degree in Behavioral Science I understood the care she needed. She passed away in April of 2011 and almost as soon as she passed my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia along with her severe diabetes. I live with my grandparents and have since I started college. So here I am almost forced to step into a role of caregiver again, since my grandfather is very abusive toward her. Mostly verbal and emotional, but here recently he has become physically abusive. I am a man, and I tell him to stop and when he starts cussing me, I always say, "that coming from a coward who hits his sick wife" which may not be the right thing to say. I am constantly threatened that I will be kicked out or that I am worthless etc. I asked repeatedly for them to make a phone call to an agency helping with my great-grandmother to set me up as caregiver and also receive some financial pay. I have done all this caregiving for free which totally ruined my social life, which is null and void. Now I seem stuck in this rut, having to take care of grandparents and being broke and now having a huge 5 year gap on my resume since college that has no proof of me being a caregiver except for my word. I am beginning to feel as if my life is being wasted. I haven't been on a date in what seems like forever, simply because I cannot afford it and women do not want a man without a "job". I am the only single person I know, the only single at church and I am beginning to feel both lonely and depressed. If I stop taking care of my grandparents, I will not only have the entire family mad at me (I am expected to do this) but I may also end up homeless. . . I really wish I knew what to do. I wish I could atleast have a little income but no clue where to get that, and all my grandparents SS goes toward bills and meds. Can anyone help?

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Joecephus, as others have pointed out, you have gained some valuable experience that can be applied to your career, if you ever get your career off the ground. So you are not "wasting" your life.

BUT there are certain things you should be accomplishing in your twenties, and you are behind schedule. You can do them later, of course, but you can never really get back the years you are giving up now. You need to building a social network and be looking for a potential life partner (if you are so inclined). You need to be laying a foundation for your life work. You certainly need the experience of supportng yourself, and not being dependent on family for the roof over your head. (Yes, you are more than earning it ... but you are constantly being threatened that you will be kicked out. Not good. Not healthy.)

Your entire family expects you to do this. Well, why wouldn't they? It is certainly to their advantage to have the elders so neatly crossed off their lists of things to worry about. Has the entire family gotten together and pitched in to pay you for your services? Ha! I didn't think so. You are supposed to do this in exchange for room and board? What?!! So the family will be mad if they don't have someone to conveniently relieve them of any responsibility. Tough. You can survive the family being mad.

You were "almost forced to step into a role of caregiver again." Almost. But it was your choice to make. And it still is. I think it is time to make different choices.

Grandfather is abusive. It is not surprising the abuse is escalating. It is difficult to deal with someone who has dementia. Unfortunately the dementia is only going to get worse, and I suspect the abuse will, too. How old are your grandparents? How many more decades might they reasonably be expected to be around? Are you willing to give up that many years to babysitting GF to make sure he doesn't hurt GM? Maybe a better solution is to remove GM from the source of the abuse. Maybe a nice safe, clean, comfortable, caring Memory Care unit is just what she needs to live out the rest of her life in peace. I can't know that, of course, from the little you've supplied, but I think it is an option you need to explore.

Your grandparents can't afford the care they need. They certainly are NOT going to find someone else who will do what you do in exchange for room and board. So it is time for them to apply for financial aid -- probably in the form of Medicaid and Elderly Waiver. This can be a very difficult task and you could do them the very great service of helping them get this ball rolling.

Something has to give here. It really does. You need to get a job and make some friends and start your life as an independent adult. This isn't going to happen overnight, but I suggest you set a goal and a target date. Obviously you are not going to walk out on your grandparents without other good care in place. Start working tomorrow (or tonight, via internet searches) on a plan. You have a college degree. You know how to do research. Get going!
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Joe, there is a thread here called, Medicaids 'Cash and Counseling' Allows Pay for Family Caregivers.... to the left of the page where the topics are, under it is says, 'go to discussions', click on that, and you can find the thread.... hope this helps...and you get some information to change your situation.....
You deserve compensation and some respite..... others may have more information for you.... let us know how you are..... hugs across the miles to you....
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Jeanne gave excellent advice. I am going to be honest. As I read what you wrote, I wondered if you were avoiding putting yourself on the line to compete for a job. You need to take control of your own life and not leave it to chance, hoping all will turn out okay. You need to first be a caregiver to yourself.

Since you have been out of school for a while, I would suggest registering for a couple of classes at a university. This will put you back into the professional flow of things. Perhaps you might even look at working for your graduate degree. And look for work in your field to pay your tuition and bills. If you are avoiding putting yourself out there, well, just feel the fear and do it anyway. As you are taking charge of your life, you may be surprised that others step up to take responsibility. Why it should be the responsibility of a great-grandson or a grandson to be a caregiver when he is in the most critical years of his life is beyond my comprehension.

So map out a course in your chosen field and build your own life. You can still help with your grandparents, but you don't have to donate your entire life to them.
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Bloody hell, stop being a door mat. You have been crushed....instead of appreciating you they take it out on you, likely because you are the willing horse. Tell them all in a
family meeting you have had enough!!
They share the duties and allow you back into a social life or they can step in total.
You can get a good live in job as a carer or not, you certainly have the experience but I would suggest you get a loan, get a plane, and work far away.
My dear, you are only young once and 5 years is enough to give no matter how you may feel indebted or emotionally torn. YES, YOU ARE WASTING GREAT YEARS, GO FIND YOUR LOVE OF YOUR LIFE.
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I thought of one other thing - is your grandmother mobile? Could you look into volunteering at an adult day care program on the condition they take your grandmother in at no cost? Maybe even one day a week. This would get you out of the house, give your grandfather some time alone and you would be meeting people in the working world who could give you references when you are ready to start job seeking. I'm sure they must have a formal volunteer program at some of these centers.
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Dear Joecephus,
Soon after my mother passed my father needed to have a triple bypass. He was in bad shape and didn't want to be alone. Since his home is larger and his hobby is classic cars, needing a big garage, I sold my home and moved in with him. BIG mistake for me personally. My father was also abusive emotional and at times physically with my mother. I should have know better. After he recovered from his surgery and emotionally healed. He became beligerent and insulting, always in anger telling me to get out it's his house. I looked at houses and each time I did he would cry and say he didn't want me to move out. Like others, with family, I've become the main caregiver with no support or help. Guess what? They all let me do it and don't seem to feel they have any responsibility. I am divorced and retired. I have wonderful friends who invite me to functions. It's actually like a shot in the arm to be with them and just get silly and laugh. For you, so young, you need to be with UP type people. I bought a Life Line device for my father. When I'm out and he needs any kind of emergency help he just has to press a button. I always make sure he has food to eat and prepare something for him before I go out. If money is an issue then contact THE FAMILY and tell them to chip in on one plus the monthy fee. The one I bought cost $51.00 with a $15.00 monthy fee. When I told my brother about getting one all he said was "he won't use it" That's the support I got. My father has always been very controlling and will play games for attention. He will be fine poking around in the garage, polishing his cars until I tell him I'm going out. Then he will sit in his chair, head back, glasses off looking so forlorn and sad. Once I know I've done everything to make him comfortable I go and enjoy myself. It's not that I don't worry but I have to be true to myself. It's easy for others to tell you what you should do, but it's really up to us to act on it. Good Luck!
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Hey Jocephus: I would suggest that the first thing you do is look into what your options are with regard to elderly care in your state. Many states have programs that can get you home health aides (which would give you a much-needed break). Not sure about where you are with regard to a nursing home, but is that an option? Is it in the immediate future? You sound like you're feeling like you have a life sentence hanging over your head. Unfortunately, until you figure out some alternates, you have to live with this. If you don't, everyone (including your grandparents) will suffer from your burning out (it sounds harsh, but its true ... try not to let that happen). I have to care for my grandmother (from a distance of about 150 miles ... so its REALLY tough). The reason I have to do it is because my father, who is her only child, threw me out of the house when i was 16 (for whatever his reasons were). Because she took me in, he wrote her off as well (go figure). So compounded with the complexities of being caregiver in my 40s, I have the added complaint gnawing at the back of my brain saying to me "why the h*ll isn't HE (her son, my father) doing any of this?" Its REALLY hard reconciling it all ... but what's important is not me, but my grandmother's comfort and ability to die with some dignity (at least from my perspective that's how it is). The important thing for you, it sounds, is that you somehow manage to carve out some time for yourself. I would suggest learning what your state offers for assistance and elderly services. Perhaps a home aide to give you some time would be the break you need ...

I'm not the best person for advice on meeting girls ... BUT if there's one thing I know is that women have a real soft spot for a guy who knows how to look beyond himself to help someone else (I know, its a generalization, but its true!).

There aren't a lot of rewards or commendations for the work you're doing. That has to come from inside you. You have to know that you're doing the best that you can in a situation that may require you to be the sole person doing the work. If you have any other family members that you feel should help, by all means, pile on the guilt. Don't take excuses of "kids" or "work" or anything else. If you have a responsibility, so do they. As a trade off, suggest that they pay off your student loans (if applicable) in exchange for their share of the work you're doing.

When it comes to getting help for the job you're doing, everything is fair. Good luck dude.
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Joe, don't get bogged down in the Cash and Compensation. I am in a similar situation and thought that program was a viable thing. In my state, the waiting list is (steady yourself) 18,000 long. That is to say, it ain't ever gonna happen for me.

You're a man and should be recognized, regarded, and respected as such. You worked hard and earned a college degree. You get to have a life. Your grandparents got live their lives, right? Even if they resent every decision they ever made, they still had the opportunity to live their lives as they saw fit. You have that same right.

Every now and again, I have to remind my father (for whom I'm providing a lot care) that we are navigating uncharted territories. He certainly never did the same for his father, so he doesn't understand what it feels like to push the Pause button on the Life player. I also remind him that 99% of everyone we know would simply have him put in the VA home for the aged and, outside of me, he MIGHT get a few visitors around Thanksgiving and his birthday.

But when he's reminded of what the alternative could be, he straightens right up and it lasts for a long time.

If you absolutely (ABSOLUTELY) have to, get your grandfather in the car (so that he HAS to hear you out) and explain in no uncertain terms that 1) because of you, he and his wife have things pretty good, 2) a RESPONSIBLE grandparent and parent would want, no, INSIST that his/her kin have every opportunity to pursue the very best life he can--your grandparents should want you out in the world, making a wonderful future for yourself, and finally 3) if he continues to be a pain in the a$$, one morning they'll wake up and notice you've simply gathered your things and moved on to live the life you deserve--explain that you're all smart people and only stupid people fight and get negative.
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You have a degree and I don't know if your choice of employment would have been a social worker, but don't look at what you have been doing as a waste, You helped your greatgrandmother and you applied your degree and you did get work experience, although unpaid. You can put this on your resume.

To try to get some time back to yourself to get your career and social life back on track, can you make that call to the social service agency that worked with your great great grandmother yourself to see if they can call your grandfather and offer their assistance again? Did you have a contact that visited (maybe a nurse, social worker etc) your greatgrandmother while you were caring for her who you could call and ask for help? And these nurses, social workers, doctors or anyone who observed your care of your family member could also be used as references for employment.
If you still live in the town of your college, do they have a placement service or resume writing assistance guidance service you can tell you how to translate those skills you have been using into the jargon of the employment world?
I'm sure there are young people out there like you in a very similar situation but caregiving is very isolating and it's hard to find them.

Until you can get some help, start thinking of your grandparents as your clients and don't take anything grandfather says personally. I know it is easier to say this than practice this in the moment. Use this situation to learn as much as you can so you can translate your knowledge into a job interview in a similar field or any field that uses comparable skills. If I was hiring someone, I would appreciate someone who had actual life and not just book learned experience, whether specific to the job at hand or not. And try to get away to do any job, whether paid or volunteer in your field so you can meet others and make contacts.
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Wonderful answers and advice! I could not have made it if it weren't for this site, and the people who could relate to me, and I to them.
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