Starting from when I was about 14 I’ve been paid $20 to take care of my grandma on my father’s side. Since my father bought the house next door to let her move closer to us, my workload has increased from once a month, to once a week, to twice a week and twice a day while the pay has stayed the same. My sister (15) and my mom, who isn’t blood-related, and I each do two days a week while my dad (the main bread winner to be fair) only does one. This means that on top of college classes full time (I’m dual-enrolled in high school), sports, a part-time job, clubs, applying to scholarships, and maintaining a social life, I have go take care of her. My grandma is incontinent. This means I clean poop off of her sheets, floors, toilet, off of her person, in all of her laundry, and basically anything she touches. She has dementia and will often refuse to bathe and yell at me. The smell is so bad most days that I can’t help gagging. I also have to drive her to the occasional appointment and bring her food even though she is capable of walking. I’m tired of taking care of her, but my dad says she won’t go to a nursing home and if I want to hire a nurse to pay for it myself. I haven’t brought up quitting, but is it really my responsibility to take care of her so often at the expense of my free time?

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Please don't apply only to local schools. In fact, go as far from home as you can to make returning for the weekend to be a big deal.

Talk to the admissions counselors at universities about your situation. You'd be amazed at what schools will do for financial aid if you're in a tough situation, but Dad does have to fill out the FAFSA for you to qualify. (He should have done that already.) If he refuses, schools won't give you any financial aid, so if that's the case, you need to become emancipated.

My daughter is an admissions counselor for a state university, and she's dealt with these scenarios a fair amount. At this point in your life, those admissions counselors are your best friends. They're there to help you, so make appointments with them and TALK to them. They want you to talk to them, because they don't have crystal balls to tell them what's going on in your life.

I have a significantly lower opinion of high school counselors, so since you're in the process of applying to schools, the admissions counselors are a better choice IMO.
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ZippyZee Nov 2021
MVP response here!
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RUN, don't WALK to the University's Housing Dept and see what's available. Almost time for the semester to end, lots of move outs. Find employment at the U if you can or do not have access to a car. Student loans, if necessary. GET YOUR EDUCATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your dad is 120% wrong and reading his pompous statements turned my stomach.

My dad asked me to drop 10 hrs a week of my college classes to be able to stay home and care for my 3 younger sibs when I was 19 and he paid me $200 a month (that was a lot in 1975!) I did so and regretted it to this day. My mom was in a depressive funk and did not leave her room for almost a year.

Looking back, she should have been hospitalized--this lasted for almost a year and I was never able to go 'back' and get my degree or have the normal life an 18+ kids deserves and NEEDS in order to grow.

Dad was not a bully--far from it--and it was a different time. I do have some sense of sadness 47 years later--I gave up so much and nobody helped me or stood up for me. (And my mom was abusive all the time I was raising HER kids).

This hits too close to home for me--please, get away!!
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Willimia Nov 2021
Yes—I’m still in high school but I will try to get housing when I apply to college if possible. Thank you for your advice I wish I could move out sooner
Absolutely, irrevocably, 110% NOT your responsibilty.

Dont let anyone use the old ''in our culture the women care for elderly relatives'' BS either.

It sounds like youre quite intelligent and have a great life ahead of you. Don't let it get derailed by this.
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Your father's mother is his responsibility, not yours. Your grandmother needs to be in a facility - the fact that "she won't go" is not really the basis for deciding that. Unfortunately, the women taking care of grandmother are only enabling a bad situation. She is dad's mom and his responsibility.
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I know I already posted here, but have been thinking about you today.

When you apply for housing, loans, grants, everything, make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that you do not have subsidized ANYTHING from your parents. That makes you basically indigent, but this is one time in life when that's GOOD.

Do you have a friend from whom you can rent just a room and get away? At the colleges, they always have 'roommates wanted' signs up in the Student Union. My daughter bought out one girl's contract for a fraction of what it would have cost.

You don't have to 'go far away' if you don't want to. You simply don't talk to these people anymore. You could live 100 yards away from them and still never be in contact with them.

I also found school counselors to be typically the worst when it came to helping out with loans and grants. My 5 kids all graduated college--and although we made it so they could live at home and covered their books and car insurance (as long as they were enrolled in school) I cannot say we 'put them through college.'

Actually, I did most of the legwork for them to help them get scholarships and grants. A couple took out student loans, but they were small and used frugally.

My SIL was disinherited when he married my daughter--he had just begun Medical School--his parents thought my daughter was not quality enough for their perfect son, so they pulled all financial help. He had no idea how to navigate the financial stuff, he'd been too busy getting a 5 year degree in engineering in 2-1/2 years. My daughter and I worked HARD to get him financing, she put a down payment on a small condo and worked and went to school to support him. He finished 14 years of medical training last year and came back home and is now making upwards of $500,000 a year. ALL w/o his parents. And boy, do they feel stupid now.

You can do this!!

Even if this is a troll, the info we've all shared could be of use to someone.
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Willimia Nov 2021
Yes, I will definitely do my best to earn scholarships and grants. My dad does have money saved up for college but I don’t want to use it because he always nags me about scholarships and affording college. I don’t really know how this works so I’ll talk to the college and career center. Thank you for the advice I hope things get better
I’m so sorry you’re in this horrible position.

To me, it reads like ‘house rules: you live here, you help out.’ I may be wrong, but to me I can’t help but suspect that in over to vacate yourself from helping out, you move out.

If this is so, I know how hard it would be on you, working a job as well as going to college. Hard decisions lie in wait for you, I’m afraid.

In all of my years on this planet, there is one thing I know. “There is nothing good in this life that is gotten without sacrifice.” You want to be unburdened? It’s not going to come without sacrifice.

I’m sorry, and I wish life was easier for you. For all of us, really. But at 18, you still deserve to be young and have fun, and not caring for an elderly, incontinent grandmother.

Best of luck. I hope whichever sacrifice you make, makes you happy. You deserve to be happy.
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I'm so angry at your father for you.

At 18, you have opportunities you may never have again. You mention sports--even a partial scholarship would help. Academics or vocational, you need to be in school to accomplish that and right now is when people are most likely to help you!

Whatever "sacrifices" aren't equivalent. You were born in 2003? Your parents had choices, but you weren't born to be a slave.

Stop this, OP. This is serious financial abuse that could ruin your life. If you have to live with six roommates in a crap 2BR house, then do it while you're going to school and making something of yourself. Don't sacrifice yourself for someone who can't wipe their a.

If anything, that is your father's job, and if he doesn't want to do it, it is his money to enable someone that will come into the house and do that personally, as well as the disgusting cleanup.
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Willimia; I'd like to recommend that you go to a website:

This will give you an education in how to manage your finances, live below your means and make good financial decisions down the road.
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"Dad, I have cared for Grandma a very long time now but the time has come that her needs require more than I can give. I am an adult now & need to plan my future studies. No-one else can study for me but there are many other solutions for care for Grandma.

You will need to replace my help by (insert date) ie 2 weeks notice. It is not my responsibility to pay for this. The responsibility lays with Grandma's adult children. My help was a GIFT. But my gift must now cease.

I suggest it is time to reassess the whole care plan for Grandma. Her needs have grown & changed, so the care plan must grow & change too. (Dementia is a degenerative disease - will continue to get worse).

The new plan should suit EVERYONE in the plan. Not just Grandma. And also not just YOU" (meaning Dad)
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NO - your father is using you as a skivvy. He won't get help at the rate you are receiving as pocket money for even one hour a day. Obviously he would rather hold onto his or grandmas money (which will presumably come to him when she dies) and is not considering you or your sister at all. Mom is old enough to stand up for herself but you and sister need someone to talk to and to stand up for you. Your father sounds like a completely selfish and entitled person (just going on what you have said), the longer you do for him/his mother the more he will expect. It is not at all unreasonable to expect you to run errands or make your grandma a meal, or a bit of housework SOMETIMES. It is totally unreasonable to expect you to be her carer 7 days a week. Obviously you are out at school, and you do do social activities you enjoy so someone is caring for her during this time you are not caring for her 24/7, and your father does do "one day a week" but to expect a teenager to be dealing with incontinence and clearing up is not acceptable. If she needs that level of care then she should go into a home or pay for it in her own home - although I suspect she would need to sell the house to pay for it. As you don't work and therefore have no income to tell you to pay to hire a nurse is ridiculous. If this is how your father is over grandma how do you think he will be when he gets to her age? Only you know the best way to stand up to your father, whether this is simply to refuse to do any more or to talk to someone in charge of "pastoral care" at your school, or to seek out a juvenile lawayer, move in with a friend and work to pay them to house you - I don't know what you would feel able to do, but expecting you to do what you are is unreasonable. Help yes, skivvy and nurse NO. What happens if grandma has a fall when you are looking after her, washing her? You aren't qualified for this.
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PeggySue2020 Nov 2021
Where is OP's mother in all this? A mother's first job is to protect their children, why isn't mama bear rearing up to ensure OP gets an education? Is Mama afraid? Complicit?

OP noted "not blood related" for the mom. Is this a stepmom/gf situation? One in which biological ties are not part of the equation and so everyone expects less? Or is the mom/mom figure just not being an adult?

OP, has your dad filled out the FAFSA yet or is he refusing so you stay as slave labor? If so, you must push for emancipation right now rather than have it be seen that you're still under Dad's largesse some years later. Get admissions counselors involved to get emancipated. Do you have a state college nearby? Get them involved, and then go to a state university farther away.

OP also has to think about the sister, especially as she is leaving. Have a talk with your sister, OP. If you're both agreeing that her situation is abusive, all she'd need to do is sit down with a counselor and talk about the poo, the dementia yelling, and feeling trapped because she's only 15 for this to be mandatorily reported. CPS will come out. APS might show up. You know, take pictures of the crap, the actual, because no one thinks it's ok for a 9th or 10th grader to be tasked with handling that for free, except dad. This will show him it's not ok.

It is unfortunate that we're expecting someone who's barely an adult to be the adult, but she appears to be the only one in the room.
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