I have currently been taking care of my elderly grandmother for the last 7 years from the time I was 20 till now at the age of 27, and before that I helped take care of my great grandfather for a few months till he passed away at home.

My question is how can I deal with the burnout or how can I possibly come to the conclusion of when I've had enough and give up? I hate to say that, I really do, but it's affecting me mentally to the point that I don't know what to do or how to react anymore.

When I agreed to stay here, my aunt was helping by providing some financial assistance and taking my grandmother (her mom) to her doctor's appointments. After a year, she just quit and has since then not done anything to help.

I do not have a vehicle or a job (I live with my grandmother about 5-6 miles from town). So we basically have to make it month to month on $900 from my grandmother's retirement, which I don't think I have to explain how that is difficult in its own way. My dad takes me to the grocery store and to pay bills but other than that, it is the only help I receive.

The house is in need of repairs badly, we barely make it through the month as it is with just a few dollars left, if that sometimes, and it has gotten to the point that I just want to run away from it all. My grandmother adamantly reminds me she would rather die than go to a nursing home, and me being as big hearted as I am towards my family, it is hard for me to come to terms with it all.

I practically gave up everything to take care of my grandmother. I haven't had friends or left the house for anything besides grocery shopping, paying bills and the like in many years, not to mention haven't had a girlfriend or job either since moving here. And the constant reminder of how hard my life is going to be after she does end up passing away just gets worse as time passes.

Please if anyone has any kind of suggestions or advice, I desperately need it. Thanks for taking the time to read all of this if anyone does.

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Dennis, your life has gotten off track.

1. What were you doing when you were 20 and decided that taking care of your elder relatives was a good idea?

2. What kind of job would you like to have? Office work? Caring for folks work? Manual work? Think about work in broad categories for now.

3. Grandma needs care. This is grandma's problem, not yours. And if grandma no longer has the capacity to plan, then the planning falls on her children. Not you.

4. YOU need a plan for you. You start by calling a family meeting and you tell your family that you are done with caregiving as of July 1.

5. Even if it means living in a homeless shelter temporarily, you need to get OUT of this situation and ON with your life. I would start with your local social services office.
Helpful Answer (12)

I dropped out of college or 1 semester to take care of my grandparents after my grandmother had a stroke. I then went back to classes alternating care for them with my Mom. We both drove 8 hours 1 way and I was there Friday PM through Monday AM and Mom came in Monday PM and left Friday AM. My grades started to decline so I just sat everyone down and said I can't do this anymore. We moved Grandma to a nursing home until Grandpa began to decline and then my Mom moved them both to live in the town she lived in. It wasn't an easy time and it was hard on my grandparents/Mom and myself.

I would suggest you sit down with your family, including Grandma, and just explain you have put your life on hold for years. You are now going to begin taking your life back.

Have a plan in place. You obviously have internet access so contact social services in your area and see what you might qualify for, even short term. They may pay for a few months rent and some food stamps. Apply on line for jobs you are interested in/qualified for. If the town you live in has local bus service you could ride to/from work. If not, see if you could get a job working with special needs kids and you might be able to ride the school bus to/from school. You could see if you can get an apt close to where you find work at and walk to work. Once you are working you can save for a car, better housing, additional schooling, etc. You could even work a full and part-time job to get money faster. I would suggest you find a church and begin attending when you are on your own. Not only will it be pleasing to God, you will find good fellowship there and good community connections. Our church has taken money collections for families who fall on hard times to help them get by for a month or two. Church members also take food to those families and they aren't made to feel needy or bad.

Explain all of this to your family at your sit down meeting. Give them a deadline of when you will be moving example: 2 weeks (most places will allow you to give 2 weeks notice to your previous job - which is what caring for Grandma is). There will be blowback and it will most likely be very difficult with raised voices/tears/blame placed on you. It sounds as though family has been taking advantage of you for a long time. That has relieved them of the honor and burden of caring for Grandma. Leave it up to them what happens next: assisted living facility/nursing home, one of them takes over or shares the burden or Grandma tries to live on her own. Let Grandma know you still love her and when you get a vehicle you will visit her. Make sure she knows you will call when you can as well.

Leaving is going to take a tremendous amount of strength on your part. If you do get out - do not allow them to guilt you back to the same situation. Grandma lived her life fully - you have the right to do the same. Don't allow your mind to guilt yourself either.
Helpful Answer (10)
Serenityy Mar 2022
This is a great response. I would also add, look on craigslist in the free section, or freecycle or the like and see if you could get yourself a bicycle (and helmet) and a cheap bike lock from Walmart. This would give you some sort of transportation to get around locally to look for jobs, etc. There are so many opportunities out there, but you have to really WANT it. You can't just complain and expect things to change, you have to take action. Trust me, if you leave, and let everyone know, they will make arrangements. You need to enjoy your life RIGHT NOW! 27 is such a great age, and you could get out there and meet some great people, but the hardest part is STARTING!
The Longest Journey begins with a Single Step! Please have the courage to make that first step, and remove yourself from this situation.
Forgive my less polished approach to you than others have presented but hell to the no! I’m in my 50s and have been solo caretaking for my mother and it’s been a burden that’s made me angry, resentful and feeling like I was heading for a nervous breakdown at times; you are WAY too young to be going through that. Plus, my mother’s situation has now changed (she fell last week and after being in the hospital she just got to rehab today) and I can’t tell you how much better I feel. Now I know she’s in professional hands, and I can live my life. My mental health already is much better than it was. As was said to me: Take care of yourself; YOU matter too! Good luck.
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Serenityy Mar 2022
I agree with this 100% and can totally relate!
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I really feel for you. You are being used big time by your family. Maybe because you are quite vulnerable and not strong enough to stand up for yourself. But you only get one life. Your Grandma had lived most of hers, but you are still in the early years of yours. Please get help to get your Grandma looked after and start living your life. Get a job and start having some fun. If you don't you will be stuck the way you are until it's too late for you. You've done your bit so don't feel guilty. It's time for a big change!!!
Helpful Answer (8)

What happens if grandma passes and then aunt or dad needs help? Guarantee thus gravy train of you being the caregiver for all these family members will not stop once grandma dies. Unless you stop it and say no that this is it and you will not take care of anymore of your family members.

You are basically a live in slave for grandma and your dad and aunt selfishly sold you into said slavery.
Helpful Answer (8)

Grandma is way way WAY too young not to be able to be left alone, as you say. What's her disease or situation that she's been in need of a 24/7 caregiver such as you since she was 65 years old???? You don't have money, a job, or a car, so in reality, YOU are beholden to HER for food and a roof over your head, it seems to me. That's not said to be snarky......just as a statement. How can you move out if you have no job, no money & no car?

At 72, which is not 'elderly' by today's standards by the way, grandma can easily live another 2+ DECADES! Which would make you 50+ years old at the end of her life.

You can always call your aunt and tell her you're giving 2 weeks notice and quitting this job you've been given caring for grandma that you never wanted to begin with. The 'grandma' who has an awful lot of nerve telling you she'd rather 'die than go into a nursing home' making you her indentured servant, which is beyond selfish and egocentric. And your 'aunt' who 'gave up' and walked out on her mother, leaving you to care for a woman and house that's falling apart, with no homeowner's insurance to boot, on an SSI check of $700 to support 2 people.

I'd suggest you give that 2 weeks notice to your aunt and move out, but where would you go and how would you get there, and once you did, how would you support yourself? If you REALLY want to get out of this situation, you need a solid plan. Ask dad to help you get a drivers license if you don't already have one, a car, a part time job for starters, and that way, you'll know what it's like to support yourself, have your own money, your own car and a bit of your own life. Or, perhaps dad will let you move in with him? Because right now, you're sequestered in a house alone with a woman who's bamboozling you into servitude for what sounds like no good reason.
Helpful Answer (7)

Even if one of them agreed to it, I couldn't look in the mirror if I relinquished my mother's care to one of my two children who are 27 and 28 years old. What your dad and aunt are doing to you is just wrong. And honestly, your grandmother is wrong as well to allow it. Others here have offered excellent advice on how to extricate yourself from the situation and begin to make a life for yourself. Please do it for yourself and your future. Peace.
Helpful Answer (7)


I'm going to speak plainly to you so as not to be misunderstood.
Walk away. I know you love your grandmother but you're living a life that nobody your age should be living and have been doing so since you were 20 years old. Yes, you are young but you're not a child. You're a grown man and have to stand up for yourself with your family and everyone else. Otherwise the whole world will take advantage and walk all over you for the rest of your life.
If your grandmother would rather die than go to a nursing home, that's on her not you. She is manipulating you by putting this kind of guilt trip on you. By saying such a thing to you she is blaming you in advance for something that hasn't happened yet.
Is there any way you can go and live with your father? Or a relative? Or a friend? That way you could get a job and maybe get yourself into some kind of schooling.
Realistically you can't just pack your stuff and walk away today. You have no money, no skills, and basically no work history if at your age you've been unemployed for seven years. This doesn't mean that how you live now has to be the rest of your life. Start with taking just one step forward.
Let your aunt and grandmother know that you will be taking weekends off. There will have to be some alternative caregiving brought in to help grandma. Then leave for the weekend. Ask your father to pick you up. Take a weekend live-in caregiving assignment for other people. I know for a fact that weekend help is hard to come by because no one wants it. Male caregivers are hard to come by as well. You would be earning and could put a bit aside. The important part is to make sure you follow through and get out on weekends. This is the only way your aunt, grandmother, and other family will know you mean business and are serious.
Also, take grandmother to visit a lawyer. There's no reason why her adult kids should be the only heirs to whatever property and assets she has. They do not take care of her, you do. They do not pay for her care either. Why should they fully inherit whatever she has when they do nothing? You do not even need to tell anyone if you bring her to a lawyer. If she hasn't been diagnosed with dementia and declared incompetent by a doctor, she can arrange to leave her property and assets any way she sees fit.
If you want to continue being grandmother's caregiver and living with her you may be able to get paid. If her income is only $900 a month, she is low income and probably on Medicaid. Your state may have a paid family caregiver program. It would be worth finding out. Contact your state's Department of Social Services and they will direct you.
Helpful Answer (7)

Dennis, my in laws two aides make a combined 170k/year. The free room and board you are getting would be worth maybe 12k, and that’d be if you were in some coop house where you could have friends and gfs over.

Even at 20 an hour, that’s 41600 a year just for 40 hours. Over the past seven years, your forgoing that opportunity has cost you 291,200. It means that you must work that long for seven more years to even qualify for ss. It means that you now don’t have that sum for college.

Forget about her house. Your parents and aunt will get their mitts on it first. I don’t even think you’ll get thrown out for just getting a job. After all, you sleep there with her creeping, the mildew, the rot. They don’t have to pay anyone else to.

A month or two of paystubs, you will find a house share pretty easily and perhaps even an efficiency apt. Which should make your family proud. If they won’t be it’s also a blessing as it relieves you from the clutches of such damnable selfish toxic leeches.
Helpful Answer (6)

@Dennis, you asked: how do you decide when you’ve reached your limit?

The very fact that you are asking yourself that question means that you have now reached your limit. That is good news, because I bet you’re disgusted with yourself for being everyone’s whipping boy for so long. Now you can do something about that uncomfortable feeling, starting now.

No loving parent or grandparent or relative would allow you to be emotionally abused in this way, thus you must realize there is zero love coming from them to you. They consider you a useful patsy, at best, and must be contemptuous of how easy you are to manipulate. You are essentially a slave (that is a loaded word, I know, but I consider this terrible situation no better than that of a slave). The bars stopping you from leaving the situation may be only in your head rather than real bars, but you feel enslaved nonetheless. Set yourself free. Only you can do that.

Love yourself and take care of yourself by leaving this unendurable situation NOW. That is surely what you would advise a friend to do, if you had time to curry friendships. My heart hurt for you when reading that you haven’t even time to find a girlfriend. When you take control of your situation — your precious life — you will feel some self pride and will therefore attract friends. A bright smile and hope for the future will make you attractive to normal people rather than your hopeless attitude which makes you, right now, a magnet only for your abusers. Tear off the shackles.

None of us consider you a loser. We understand how you, step by generous-hearted step, got roped into this. You took steps down down down into being trapped. Now, look up. Take steps to get yourself up and out of the trap.

You do have options, I just fear you’re too beaten down to see them right now. Start trying everything and anything right now to help yourself. Let your selfish family find options for your selfish grandma. Cut the cord. Some options:

- One wise poster urges you to apply for welfare and food stamps, and the free phone and phone service available to you. Do it!

- I have only recommended to one other troubled writer to consider going to a homeless shelter. You are now the second person I recommend this to. You only feel stuck in the ramshackle house, with the emotional abuse: I think you need to flee in order to feel alive again

- Another poster suggests you consider joining the military. You are a good, honorable man, so this could be a brilliant way out for you

- Phone every single local church until you find one that can help you with a hand up in the short term

- You are the victim of abuse. Yes you are, you may not even want to admit it to yourself. Call an abuse hotline for help finding a place to stay, starting immediately

- Just a personal comment, you have fantastic “carer” experience from caring 24 hours per day for both great granddad and now grandma. When my father-in-law became ultra frail and old and unable to live alone, we had such a hard time finding male carers for him, to help with dressing, showering toileting and the like.
a. Why don’t you look, starting today, for a carer job for a man or men who need help?
b. This would give you proven income, to help you get the required 35 years of job income to pull full Social Security when you are old, yourself. If you don’t pay into the system you are going to be stuck.

There is no shame in asking for help. You’ve taken the first step by writing, here. Read everyone’s suggestions, I am sure you’ll get alot more, and put one foot in front of the other to help yourself. We are pulling for you. Come back and let us know how you are getting along. I am sending you love and good thoughts; you sound like a great young man and you deserve all good things.
Helpful Answer (6)

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