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I take care of both my grandparents-in-law my grandmother has vascular dementia and broke her LT hip my grandfather recently came home from breaking his rt hip and has balance issues. I take care of them from Sunday evening to Friday evening straight through. (We live in their basement)


I keep the house clean which isn't too hard to do. And hospice even comes in daily to help give my grandmother baths and change her bedding. But I don't understand why I'm so stressed and never have the motivation to do anything anymore. I've been taking care of them for 7 months now and I don't know how much more I can do. I never feel like I sleep enough nor have any motivation. My aunt in law (who is their POA) and is a RN doesn't understand why the weekend isn't enough time. And I can't seem to get through to anyone about this.

For financial reasons, the grandmother can't stay in a nursing home.
For financial reasons, your FIL can't provide the care.
For financial reasons (health insurance benefits), your aunt in law can't provide the care.

And you are not receiving pay for this work you're doing.

But, what, financial reasoning plays no part in your life? What are you supposed to live on? Who pays for your healthcare? Who's saving for your pension? What's happening to your chances of career development?

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but don't be a fool. This family is making a fool of you. What does your husband have to say about this pretty naked - not to mention ungrateful - exploitation of your goodwill?
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Torilinkninja Nov 27, 2018
My husband hates it too. But I guess I'm too worried about people hating me or causing a tear in my husbands family to speak up more than saying I need help.
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Your aunt in law who is an RN - where does she work?

I think, anyway, that it's unlikely that she is confined mostly on her own in a single place with two patients from Sunday night to Friday night.

Moreover, she is trained in her vocation.

Moreover, she doesn't live in her workplace.

Moreover, although I'm aware that annual vacation allowances are quite stingy in the USA, I bet she hasn't worked every week for seven months without so much as a day off.

Can't seem to get through to anyone about this...

Try this. If somebody offered you a rent-free house and a salary - are you actually being paid proper money? - in exchange for your wearing a ball and chain round one ankle, would you grow to love the ball and chain and find it not so bad, really?

Intellectually, emotionally, psychically, you're wearing a ball and chain. It's not dreadful. It won't kill you. But of course it is getting you down.

What did you do for a living before you landed here?
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Torilinkninja Nov 27, 2018
She works for the state Medicaid program I think. I'm not paid to do this. They pay the grocery bill and for someone to come in on the weekends but that's about it. Before this, I worked as a medical bill reviewer. I didn't have any medical background before they asked me to do this.
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Caring for my mom was a breeze too, after all she slept most of the time and I had people who came in twice a week to bathe her and give me respite. Except it isn't merely the physical work, the emotional burden and then dealing with the inevitable crises that go with caring for the old and frail cannot be emphasized enough.
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Torilinkninja Nov 27, 2018
Yeah, I fell like my mind is running at 100% thinking of ways to help her all the time.
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You have accepted responsibility for the welfare of two people - 5 days a week?   How often do you spend time with friends, (husband?), shopping, or doing anything that makes you happy?  God bless you.  You must be an angel.  What concerns me most is that you are primary caregiver, but someone else has POA.  You need to start thinking of yourself - now - before the stress affects your health and state of mind.  Burnout is a big red flag and a warning to reevaluate and make changes.
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Torilinkninja Nov 27, 2018
I go biweekly to grocery shop on the weekends. And we moved out into the country for them so I don't have friends I can get together with its really just me and my husband. God bless him he tries. He dedicates the weekends to what will make me happy. I appreciate your validation on how I feel. It means a lot. But other than grocery shopping and sometimes to my mother in laws house to share a drink that's about it.
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ROFL!!!!

"A simple task. A lazy bum who can't do a simple task."

Just to recap: vascular dementia, broken left hip, broken right hip, ongoing falls risk...

Well seems simple enough to me! For a skilled nursing facility, that is.

Umm, just looking back a bit there - do you have training in accounts or bookkeeping or anything like that? Wondering if there is perhaps some home-office or temporary or contract work you might be able to pick up. Getting *any* income of your own could transform both how you feel and how other people behave towards you.
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Torilinkninja Nov 28, 2018
Yea, maybe having some income of my own might help. But unfortunately, it doesn't seem like an option. My career background and what's available doesn't match. But I did talk to my aunt and someone is coming for a bit of Wednesdays for 4 hours during the day and Tuesdays for 8 hours at night. So fingers crossed it helps.
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I thought I would give an update after all the wonderful help and support. I don't the aunt that I can't do it anymore. Hospice is coming Monday to help figure something out about going to the nursing home. Although the aunt is very upset because in her own words the nursing home won't take care of her and is pushing back on it. So figures crossed.
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harryp Dec 1, 2018
GOOD FOR YOU!!! Standing up for yourself. Let us know how it goes.
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I’m not certain what you mean by “grandparents-in-law.” You are married and these are your spouse’s grandparents? If so, how did it come to pass that you where chosen as caregiver? There is no extended family but the aunt who should know better about burn out but blows you off anyway? What about your spouse? Perhaps the family feel that because there is Hospice your caregiving is a breeze. Not so, right?

You are doing the work of an entire staff at a nursing home, around the clock, 5 days a week, 24/7. You must be so exhausted by the weekend that you just collapse. In other words, while your GIL are alive, you have no life.

Theres an old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” If no one will pay attention to you, you may have to adjust your presentation. Time for niceties is over. Get together whoever you can from the family. Those you can’t, send a registered letter to. Tell them you can no longer do the work of at least a dozen people, day in and day out. You don’t want help. You want OUT. If you are living rent-free, it will take some planning to get enough finances together to get your own place. If you aren’t providing free caregiving, you can’t expect free room and board. This will not be easy for you to do, but if you want your own life back, it’s the only way. When the family sees how serious you are, things may just change.
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Torilinkninja Nov 27, 2018
It came to me to be the caregiver because their son (my father in law) runs a cattle farm which he needs the money from and their daughter (my aunt in law) has medical issues and needs the insurance that her work provides. They couldn't afford to keep my grandmother in the nursing home and for a while my grandfather was fine he didn't fall until about 3 months into me taking care of them. But that's all the family there is.
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Know that this may have been a great choice at the time you started but it is no longer working for you.

When the GPs pass, what becomes of you and hubby?
I assume he is working while you are care giving. Who keeps them on your days off?
Are you being paid?

When your husband comes in are you able to take a walk or do anything to reduce the stress?
I think you need to discuss with your husband your alternatives. If you could take a few weeks off, you might be able to recover and be willing to come back but please don’t ignore your feelings.
It doesn’t matter what the POA thinks. This isn’t her. This is you.
Believe me it’s easier for her to find someone for a few weeks rather than replace you altogether.
Come here and vent. We care and we understand. Hugs.
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Torilinkninja Nov 27, 2018
I really appreciate all the responses I've received it makes me feel like I'm really not some lazy bum who can't do a simple task. I guess just feeling validated is nice. I'm trying to get some time to breathe. Of course, the POA did come and stay over the holiday weekend so I had an about a 4 day weekend but most of that was spent getting ready for a family dinner. And I feel just as bad being back to taking care of her after a little more than 24 hours.
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I am so sorry that you are going through this. I take care of my 88yo mother, and she has had escalating medical and cognitive issues, but my situation is nothing like yours. From my perspective, you explained the root cause of your feeling burned out right here, when you wrote:

"But I guess I'm too worried about people hating me or causing a tear in my husbands family to speak up more than saying I need help."

Think about this. Your fear of what other people will think is causing you to remain in a situation that could literally kill you. Here's one thing I would suggest: the next time you have an hour or so to yourself, get a piece of paper and just write out your answer to this question: "What would I do, how would I act and what would I say if I DIDN'T CARE IF PEOPLE LIKED ME OR NOT?" And see what your mind comes up with. I used to be a people-pleasing go along to get along person who would never stand up for myself or speak up for my needs. All I got from this was illness, depression, anxiety. We teach people how to treat us. If we are passive and go along and let people treat us like crap and walk all over us, guess what? More and more people treat us that way. It's almost like we are wearing a sign that says 'bully me' on our forehead. From my perspective, the only solution to this is to realize that, as long as you are basically an ethical person (not looking to steal, lie, cheat, or hurt others) what other people think of you IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Imagine yourself 5 years from now if nothing changes. If you are feeling this way after 7 months, can you feel what it could be like five years from now, when they haven't died yet but are even more frail, feeble, demented, and sick?

Now imagine yourself 5 years from now after declaring once and for all that, no matter what other people think of you, or how much they don't like you, that YOUR LIFE MATTERS enough for you to STAND UP and SAY NO to EVERYONE who is taking advantage of your good nature. What will your life be like then?

And once you have looked honestly at these two scenarios, and decided which one you want to live out, then just make one choice. Ask yourself what ONE thing you can do today on your own behalf. It might be to have a courageous conversation with your husband. It might be to call a counseling line to talk with somebody. It might be to take a long walk so you can clear your head out. But whatever you choose, do it. And take your life one moment, one thought, one breath, one choice at a time. If you choose courage, you will find a way out of this. But if you choose to hold yourself back because you are afraid you will make somebody mad, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery. I wish you the very best.
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Riverdale Nov 30, 2018
I have a mother who is 88 also and sounds possibly like how you describe your mother? Today I felt like giving up from an emotional point of view. I take her to all her Dr. Appts. She just self sabotages her health with what she eats and lies about it to me. Her AL has a cafe and she eats what is wrong for her. She had been doing this for decades and I am so emotionally exhausted from caring. Right now I feel so fed up. I also wish I could never have more sad moments about her health because of the choices she makes
Just wondered if you have difficult issues too.
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Aunt had better not try to blackmail you into this emotionally! Honestly, some people will stop at nothing.

She would rather have her mother looked after at home? Fine. Then she can pull her weight, for a start; and she can get you proper training and pay you a proper wage and you can work a proper shift pattern - with actual time off, not including sleep - and the family can organise additional in-home care outside your working hours.

But thinking to provide top-notch one-to-one care at home by making you feel sorry for a poor little old lady and piling the whole lot on your back - FURget it.
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