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My mother (49) is the primary caregiver of my grandmother (74). Mom works full-time as a school teacher as well as has a husband and a house to care for on top of caring for grandma. Grandma lives in her own home in the same city as Mom. Grandma has had several strokes in the past year that have diminished her mobility and cognition. Grandma can walk with a walker, but must be supervised as she may fall. Grandma has no use of her left hand. Grandma cannot bathe, clothe, make meals, or remember to take medicine on her own. Mom has a caretaker that comes when mom is at work. Mom is burning out as it is all too much with little support outside of what I and my younger brother are able to give outside of our own responsibilities. When I bring up hiring another caretaker for Grandma, Mom refuses. Mom says that it's too much to make sure caretaker shows up, is paid on time, and she rather do it herself. It's obvious Mom is burning out. In refusing additional help, I'm not sure what else I can say or do. So I turn to you, my fellow caregivers. Is there anything more?


Thank you to everyone on this forum! When Grandma had several strokes in November 2019, and Grandpa passed away due to COVID in April 2020, reading everyone's worries, frustrations, and collaborating on ideas has made me feel not alone in all of this. I've learned so much from all of you, THANK YOU!

I think it is a matter of balance, if your mom feels she needs to continue to control these extra duties for your Grandma then she needs to let go of some of her other obligations - perhaps a cleaning service for her own house, more prepared meals and less home cooking, and her husband needs to step in to make sure everything else on the home front is taken care of because that's what partners do. And figuring out a way to include a block of respite time for her every week (time where she isn't obligated to do anything or be any where, every Sunday morning for instance) can be a huge benefit.
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Reply to cwillie
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If the reasons mom does not want to hire another caregiver because of the involvement of making sure they show up on time (or at all) and paying them on time why not suggest that 2 or 3 days a week the caregiver she does have extend her hours. 1 or 2 extra hours might make a big difference.
So rather than them working only when mom is teaching have them stay an hour or two longer.
Also make sure that the caregivers are doing what they should be doing and suggest to mom that she add another task to their schedule.
Clean bathroom, do laundry.
with the extra hour or tow that they are going to work maybe one day they can do shopping. Mom can order on line and they can go pick up the order. (that way caregivers are not going to be having to pay for the items)
One of the "problems" might be your mom's mind set. A lot of caregivers think "no one can take care of XXX the way I do". They won't do the laundry the way I want it done, they won't make dinner the way I do it. They won't do whatever..the way I do it. And no they won't, no one will do it the exact way you do things but if the job gets done it is one less thing you have to do. But it is giving up some bit of control. And it is change. As humans we WANT / NEED to be in control and we HATE change.
next time you see your mom just give her a big hug!
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Reply to Grandma1954
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outofservice Oct 17, 2020
Thank you for reading my post as well as the advice and empathy. I’m delighted that I reached out. This is a good idea. I will suggest this to Mom. Mom’s mindset is a variable in play. I’m sure it’s a combination of “no one can do it my way,” guilt (toxic or otherwise), and grief. Some days it’s more of one than others. I’ll give Mom a big hug and tell her how much I love her.
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Wow. I can so identify. I am the one who "can do it RIGHT; the ONLY one who can do it right" and have, in times of great stress, asked for help, wailed for help, then found myself standing there and critiquing the help; this isn't right and that isn't right, and fold it this way, not that, and "Oh, I had better just do it myself". I learned a great lesson with what I do. It just took me 78 years to learn it. I so identify with your Mom.
I would say sit her down, say that you and bro are doing what you can, and wish it was more, but realize your own limitations for your own lives. Tell her you are worried about her. Tell her that her being so capable can be her own worst enemy. You know now that strokes can happen in your family and can happen early. Encourage your Mom to talk with you; ask her what is the worst thing for her now. Ask her if she recognizes that Mom cannot remain alone forever and that the need for placement WILL come; that it were best Mom is still alive then to be Grandma's support in loving visits and managing what she can for her. This is the first year.
Try not to be what you see Mom attempting, a "Ms. Fix it". This can't be fixed. This has no good answer. Mom will start to use the "guilt" word when she understands she cannot go on. You need to let her know she is not an evil felon but a daughter with limitations, and with great grief that she is not a Saint. Grief understands not everything can be fixed. Guilt assumes there is an answer. And really, there IS no good answer.
Just try to help Mom understand human limitations; tell her that he ability to do so much for so many and do it RIGHT is leading herself and others to think her abilities are limitless and can go on forever.
This is all full of grief. It is WORTH MOURNING. Your Mom will have times she needs to just break down and weep. Give her little surprises. A Casserole, a take out dinner, a bottle of WINE (but not too many), a book on tape, flowers and most of all a note saying she is like the best thing ever, but you are scared for her. Just as you told US.
So sorry. What a good daughter you are. I have a couple, as well. Pat yourself on the back for your loving heart, and understand, just as Mom can't fix this all, either can you.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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outofservice Oct 17, 2020
Thank you for reading my post as well as the advice and empathy. I’m so glad I reached out. I am going to structure what I want to say to Mom with the template you wrote out for me. It’s the little things, so I will give those surprises. All great ideas for Mom. I know Mom carries grief and guilt; more on some days than others. There was way, way too much unspoken toxicity in the relationship between Mom and Parents (Grandma & Papa). I’m patting myself on the back, and then I’m getting to work with your advice. THANK YOU!
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