I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'm just looking for support. I'm 36. I was raised by my grandparents in less than ideal conditions most of the time. My mother was schizophrenic and we lost her ten years ago. My aunt is also schizophrenic. My grandfather died five years ago (renal failure) and my own father is pretty much not in the picture.

Since my grandfather died, I've been trying to do what I can to make sure my family has groceries, necessities, etc. Some outings when we can. In October, my grandmother became very ill and was placed in a nursing facility. After what I can only describe as bullying from her and a close family friend, I explored other options for care and found what's called "Community Waiver". It's a Medicaid sponsored program with provides certain care in the home without the worry of losing income, as most people do when placed in a long term care nursing facility.
During the time I was researching options and doing the best I could to coordinate medical care, hospital visits, nursing home meetings, etc., I was also trying to find assistance for my aunt. She's schizophrenic and has increasingly relied on my grandmother's income for her day to day needs. My grandmother receives social security and a small annuity from my deceased grandfather's retirement; my aunt receives SSI.
Some of the problem is that my aunt has no concept of...anything. I have found a local program called ACT which helps people like her, but things are still very difficult. There's never an end to what she needs. I can take her to the store on a Sunday and Monday she's calling me telling me she's overdrawn her account (I've paid for whatever she needs on Sunday, by the way). Or on Tuesday she's out of cigarettes, or Wednesday she's out of ...whatever. It never ends. She can't ration money, food, or time.
My poor grandmother is quite passive aggressive and refuses to reason. Most would say, well, it's because she is elderly...but she's been like this my entire life. She raised me with the same passive-aggressive, guilt ridden mindset.
I don't know where I'm going with this entry...there's too much to describe in one entry. I guess where I'm going with all of this is selfish. Very selfish. I feel trapped. I feel isolated. I'm blessed to have my partner and his family but there are no other friends. I am the power of attorney for my grandmother, and I handle everything I can from a facilitative aspect, I guess. I don't bathe or help her with needs for toileting or whatever, but the constant stress of someone always needing something is getting to me. I can't do the things for myself that I was doing just 6 months ago. I can't devote the time I need to my work or to myself. And I'm getting resentful and very angry. Angry at my aunt for never being able to do anything right...angry with her for not helping with her mother. Angry with my grandmother for not having prepared anything for this point in her life. Angry because I'm the only one who can do anything, and people are constantly calling me - all hours of the day and night-even the people who are caring for her. I can't handle it very well anymore. Some people tell me to cut ties with them. But I can't do that. I sometimes wish I could, and more than once have felt so angry with things, or so trapped, that I have convinced myself that I have cut them off. But I know if I do, no one else will be there to help them.
Does anyone else feel like this? Is it normal to be this ravenously angry all the time? Depression and rage are consuming me. I constantly am having horrible thoughts about myself, and how terrible of a person I am. I'm even having flashbacks to remembering how I was constantly reminded of how much a burden I was when I was a kid.

More and more I find the words "I hate her" (meaning either grandmother or aunt) slipping from my lips. I don't them...I don't think. But I definitely hate something. I feel hate. I feel intense hate for something. Sometimes I think it 's for myself.

I don't know how to get these images and this rage and this depression to go away. I guess it would help to know if anyone else feels this, too. Please forgive me for this being so disjointed and ill-thought out. I don't really know much about what else to say.

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Yesterday my aunt texted me and wanted to know if I was visiting her mother today. I knew she wanted to do laundry, and she hasn't seen her mother in a while, so I said sure-I'm going. I'll take you over. Well of course, today came and she "had a bellyache" so she didn't go. She did however ask me to stop by to pick up the shoes I'd gotten her. And I get to my grandmother's and she's laying there in just her urine soaked diaper hallucinating due to the UTI.

I told my grandmother that I was done with my aunt. Done. I'm not doing (*$%! anymore. I'm not going to let her starve but I'm done with the 100 grocery store visits to stock her up. I'm done finding shoes for her. I'm done making plans. She will not meet anyone halfway and I know she knows some better than that, regardless of her illness.

I also told my grandmother that things are NOT going according to the plan. I've made a resolution. If we don't get this waiver plan set up by March 1, she absolutely cannot just lay around in bed all the time with minimal care. If we're where we are now by the beginning of next month, I cannot handle it anymore, and we will have to explore other long term care options. The church is going to help pay for sitters during the interim but it's still not fair for me to have moved her back home because it's what she wants, but is not able to care for herself, expecting others to foot the bill. It's selfish and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I voiced my concerns to the church and they said well...we want to help! She's a big part of our lives! So big that I guess they never visit but whatever.

Tomorrow...God willing...I'm taking my life back. I'm going to the gym and taking that kickboxing class I've been dying to try. If not that, I'm going to the local NAMI meeting (for families of the mentally ill) to try and get some support and encouragement, then I'm hitting my best frenemy-the elliptical. And Tuesday, by heck or high water I'm getting re-certified by NOAA for my storm chasing hobbies. I'm done with the bullcrapp. I'm done. I'm not myself anymore. And I'm sick to death of it. I've got a great man and a tolerant, stable job and I'm stronger than I've ever been. I love them but not at the detriment to myself. Not anymore.

(at least that is the plan...mouse mouse squeak squeak )
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The good captain above said the magic word: Boundaries.

Your grandmother and your aunt should not be controlling your life and I'll second the opinion that you combine grocery store outings into one trip for both of them. Tell your aunt that you will be going to store only once a week. If she's on the ball enough to know when she's out of things and then call you to go to the store yet again then she's on the ball enough to plan ahead of time for what she'll be needing for the week. Set this boundary down and don't deviate from it.

In addition, if you have taken care of your grandmother and aunt for the day, everything for that day is done, then be done. If they keep calling you don't take the calls. Be wary of "emergencies". Take the evening for yourself, not to put out fires for your grandma and aunt.

Caring for one person is demanding enough but caring for two people is next to impossible as you have discovered. You are not a horrible, selfish person. You're stretched to your limit and if you break then no one gets cared for. You must, MUST care for yourself. That suggestion is not some tootie-fruity new age greeting card philosophy, it is essential when it comes to caregiving. If you can't take care of yourself you will be of no use to anyone else. Already you're angry and resentful and depressed. That won't get any better until you take back your life from these two women. They don't have to understand and they don't have to agree but you have to have time to yourself and it's not selfish to take it. And when I say time I mean take a nap or read a book, go to lunch with a friend or watch a movie. I don't mean getting caught up on whatever it is that needs to be done for your grandmother and aunt.

You deserve a life. Can you increase your grandmother's hours with the caregivers? As for the aunt, just because she has schizophrenia doesn't mean that she doesn't understand what's going on around her and I think she's taking advantage of you based on what you wrote. But you know what they say, people can't take advantage of us without our permission. So draw the line with the aunt.

You don't have to cut them off but you do need to make it clear to them what you will and will not do, what you will and will not tolerate. Running to the store everyday should be the first thing to go.
Helpful Answer (5)

Aleece you have done an exceptional job taking care of them. Yes, get grandma back in the nursing home, and stay away for two weeks so she can settle in. If she demands to get out, tell her that you already tried this and it doesn't work. Don't see it as losing everything, see it as saving a life. Things are not important compared to a life.
Your aunt belongs in a sheltered residence and should be on Medicaid and SSI.
The county DSS should be handling her case. I agree that you should not give her money or try to solve her banking problems. She is obviously not able to handle money and should be in a group home for the mentally disabled. My sister lives in one and it works very well for her.
Helpful Answer (5)

Aleece you've gone above and beyond for these women and you must save yourself. The social agencies may well not be bothering because you are in the picture. I cared for my mother for four hellish years until she fell and ended up in hospital (again) and it was evident that she needed care 24/7. Her doctor told me "So long as you stand there and smile they're going to keep throwing her back at you" so I refused to take her back and found a lovely nursing home for her.

Since then (November 2012) she's broken a hip, had another stroke and her dementia is severe. After more than a year of almost daily screaming phone tantrums I recently changed my phone number and made it unpublished. I told her my phone had been playing up, I rarely use it, was getting rid of it and just using cell but no point in her having the number as I only have it on when I want to use it. She believed it. She's at the stage now where she believes fibs.

When you're pushed to the breaking point you have to do what you have to do.
Helpful Answer (5)

aleece, you are not disjointed at all. You are angry. And you have every right to be. You've been called upon to live life for two extra people who aren't able to function well enough to make it easier on you. It will be hard to do with schizophrenia, but the only solution I can think of is to let your aunt know you will only go to the store on one certain day. She will have to get cigarettes and snacks only on that day. You can even combine the trip with the day you shop for your grandmother. If they call, you can tell them that you will be going to the store on that day, so they will have to wait. They may argue, but your needs for a life is important.

Is your aunt in a facility for schizophrenics who are not functioning well? Some cities have "halfway houses" for schizophrenics that provide certain services, including bus rides to meet their outside needs. This seems like it would be ideal for your aunt.

About your anger -- I know it can eat you up inside like a cancer. It can push the blood pressure up and keep you awake at night. I know you know these things already. You have to find some way to manage it. Sometimes it helps to chop wood or do physical things. Sometimes it helps to have a secret stress reliever -- an action you do to defuse the stress you feel. Some people use things like a rubber band on their wrist to pop. Some people go on walks or runs. Some people use silly tricks that make them feel better. If you think on it, something may occur to you that will help you feel better.

It sounds like you could use some time away so you could get back to your own life for a while. I know that is easier said than done. People may have some idea how you can do this. Living with rage is not good and eats us up.
Helpful Answer (4)

Aleece. of course you are angry. Angry at the situation you find yourself in and the people who put you there.
You mention a good partner and his family. That is a start. Listen to what they have to say.
Why have you taken on the responsibility for your aun?. Stop enabling her behaviour. Why can't she go to the store herself? Stop paying for things she needs. She is using both you and her mother. Schophrenia is a horrible mental illness but it can be well controled with modern medications. The catch is that the patient has to take the medications. If she truly does not have enough income and I do believe she may not with only SSI comming in, focus on having her apply for everything that is available. She and your grandmother are not your dependants. Get her off your payrole. As has been said set bounderies.Tell them the rules up front ( discuss this with your partner and his parents) I bet you don't share half the demands with them. Tell your aunt, grandmother and her caregivers, that they can not call you outside of certain hours If either has a medical emergency they know how to reach 911. Have caller ID and don't answer the phone. Your grandmother's caregivers are paid to look after her you are not.
You do not owe either of these women anything so stop guilting yourself into thinking you do. You have gone way and beyond finding ways to help them and all they do in return is manipulate you and ruin your life. Grandma may have dementis now and can not help some of her actions but she has always treated you as an unwanted burden. She may truly feel that way and she is entiled to those feelings because she may not have had a choice about raising a grandchild but that does not and never has entitled her to try and extract recompence from you in your adulthood. Do not keep grandma in her current living arrangement simply because you want to keep her income available to subsidize your Aunt. Stand up to the bullies, lean on your partner and family for backup. They can see the changes in you and are probably worried. These kinds of actions are never easy but harming yourself is not a good way out. When you find yourself in a really dark place seek out a suicide prevention hot line and talk, they have heard it all and are trained to help. Think about what would happen to these two women if you did end your life. When you come up with the answers ask yourself if these should be the actions taken now for their care. You are a very good and responsible person and have more than repaid your grandmother for your crappy upbringing. Now do what's best for the people in your life who do love you. Blessings
Helpful Answer (4)

You need help. Go visit your local senior center or aging center in your community and have them help you sort thru options for grandmother. It may mean group home, NH, or other senior living that might be rent subsidized, Medicaid, etc. She needs care you can't provide and in home care as you say is a short term solution and can be more expensive and deplete her income more quickly than a facility so think about it. They can also find affordable help on grandmas income so that burden isn't on you. If you must sell her house, car, etc to get her in a place to start then do so, then Medicaid can take over from there provided its a place that accepts Medicaid. Aging resource center can help you sort all of this out.

Stop taking calls from the caregiver. I had to do that. Tell them they cannot call you unless it is a medical emergency and 911 has already been contacted -- if it is trouble handling your grandmother than they can call their supv. Grandma hopefully is paying for her care and they should be able to manage. If not, find an agency who can. Otherwise these calls will never stop. I asked them for a written care report once per wk at the end of the week and for them to email it to me.

As for the aunt. You've done what you can. She has options. If she can't afford to live on $700/mo, then she needs to move somewhere that is affordable or get a roommate. Don't enable her by lending money, covering bad checks, unpaid bills etc any longer. That does not help her be more independent. I know you are afraid she'll be homeless, but you can't manage all this care for everyone and it isn't right to give up your life unless this is what you want.

Stop the madness. Make a plan. Consult with professionals, and live the life you deserve.
Helpful Answer (4)

Aleece I think the psychological bind you are in is one that many of us are in - we were raised to be "good girls" to get love. Not unconditional love. Someone who is giving till they break and still feels like they are selfish to have a problem with it or vent about it has been brainwashed. I got brainwashed too, maybe we can go to the deprogramming center together, lol! Unfortunately for you to take back your life you will have to do things like setting boundaries, letting bad consequences happen for your grandmother and aunt that will be very hard but the other alternative is to continue holding everyone else up on your shoulders as you sink. At some point then you all sink and then what?
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"Does anyone else feel like this? Is it normal to be this ravenously angry all the time? Depression and rage are consuming me. I constantly am having horrible thoughts about myself, and how terrible of a person I am. I'm even having flashbacks to remembering how I was constantly reminded of how much a burden I was when I was a kid.

More and more I find the words "I hate her" (meaning either grandmother or aunt) slipping from my lips. I don't them...I don't think. But I definitely hate something. I feel hate. I feel intense hate for something. Sometimes I think it 's for myself.

I don't know how to get these images and this rage and this depression to go away. I guess it would help to know if anyone else feels this, too. Please forgive me for this being so disjointed and ill-thought out. I don't really know much about what else to say."

To answer your first two questions, yes and yes. I was about your age when I started to care for my mom.

Get the hell out of dodge for the reasons people have already stated. Had I known back in the day what I was setting myself up for I'd have run for the hills. If you have to, get the state involved and abandon them. No, you're not really abandoning them. It just means that you are no longer willing to be solely responsible for them. Then the state places them where they need to be, where they'll get the kind of care they need with professionals around the clock, care that's killing YOU to provide on your own. When people say you can die in the care taker roll from stress it's reality, not exaggeration.

Don't allow anyone to bully you. Do what you have to do to save yourself if you're at the breaking point. Nobody should have to live with stress and anger that's so high you feel that life has become something to be endured and looked upon with dread.

*hugs* You take care of YOU. Nobody else is going to.
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Oh Jessie belle do I remember the storm of '93. We had three feet of snow and I was running a horse farm in upstate NY. I got my tracter with the snowblower stuck and could not walk through the snow. I had to crawl on the surface to the barns to feed the horses. What a nightmare that was.
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