I am 58 y/o married woman with 2 adult sons & 5 Grandkids. I have been a nurse for 38 years. I must be 59 1/2 to retire. My Grandmother is 104 years old and living at her home. She had three children, 2 daughters and a son, and we have been sharing caregiving responsibilities for 5 1/2 years. Her older daughter is 82 and drives an hour away to stay for 72 hours. (I am my aunt’s medical POA, too). My mom is 76 and just had hip replacement surgery (which she put off for far too long). Her son only stays about 10 hours a week, split up over 2 days. I work 40 hours M-F (and usually overtime). I usually stay 24 hours every weekend. Her two daughters have asked me to stay all weekend, every weekend, but I said no. I need some time with my husband and to rest. My mom knew in advance that she would be having surgery but made no attempt to find help as everyone just expects me to do it. Well, I made it 3 nights, 2 days, got sick & tested positive for COVID. I’m praying my grandmother doesn’t get it. I spent an entire day calling for help to be sure my grandmother was taken care of so I could isolate from her. I wanted to ask her son’s grandkids who are nurses to help, but my uncle said “No, they’re too busy because they work.” Hello! I work full time too! And I’m currently expected to care for his mother 75 hours a week! I was only asking for few hours of their time. I texted them anyway, but they weren’t available. My son worked a midnight shift 2 1/2 hours away & drove home, then drove his daughter to a Dr. appt. an hour away and was still willing to help a few hours as we were in crisis mode. My uncle also likes to remind me that he needs time to go on vacations with his wife & spend time with his Grandkids and Great Grandkids. Well, I’m missing out on my grandkids' lives. I can feel my relationship with my husband suffering. My Grandma’s farm & home are still in her name, so we can’t get government funded help. I was lucky that a neighbor who is also an LPN & works at the hospital with me, agreed to stay 12 hours overnight while I was sick. I paid her $15.00 an hour to do so. Mom said she will pay me back. My mom keeps telling me she feels bad that I must cover so many hours for her, but I think she should have arranged some extra paid help before her surgery rolled around. Instead, I feel like everything to do with Grandma’s care is left up to me. I used to pay for Life Alert myself when Grandma started needing it. She has 24-hour care now & it’s been stopped. My mom had her other hip replaced a few years ago & I had to take an unexpected vacation at work because her son went on vacation & her older daughter went to stay with her daughter-in-law who had only a minor surgery. I told my uncle that he should send me for a week’s stay in his timeshare since I had to take vacation so he could go on a vacation, but that never happened. Also, her son, his wife & kids are resentful because he wanted her to sign over the farm to him years ago, but she didn’t want to. (I think my mother is to blame for that). She wants everything divided equally. She has a farm of her own with my dad, & their sister doesn’t want it. Most of us live all around Grandma’s farm & it is “Home.” I’ve been trying to convince my parents to put their farm in my brother’s name, so we don’t have this problem when they need help, but they say no. Now, my husband wants to sell our house and move after Grandma passes. I know I’ll grieve for our home. We spent 10 years building it ourselves. So much blood, sweat, tears & sacrifice. But I can see his point. He’s been picking up the slack at home cause I’m not there or I’m too exhausted to do it. Does anyone else out there identify with my situation? My health is also being affected by the stress. I’m taking 3 blood pressure meds and recently had a scare with my heart. My EKG said I had a heart attack, but the cardiologist doesn’t think I did.

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Your "family's" continued comfort is dependent upon NOT understanding your needs.

Forget understanding.

Start saying "no, I can't possible do that. You'll have to make other arrangements."

Not easy. But you must. Your life, my friend, depends upon it.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
RosyJean Aug 4, 2022
I know that you are right
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If your Aunt is competent, I would ask her to assign someone else as POA because ur stepping down. There is a lot involved with being a POA especially if the person has a lot of assets. It can get complicated. Also, people tend to think that the person they assigned means that person has to care physically for them and be at their beck and call. Not how it works.

Your EKG says there was a heart attack. Could have been very slight but it was a heart attack and I would use that information. Tell everyone you are taking some time for yourself. Tell them you have had heart attack and your job is suffering. You need a break and its up to grandmoms children to pick up the slack. That with working 40plus hours you don't have time for yourself. And you do not spend your money. The farm can be sold for Grandmoms care. Or, a family member buy it. HER children have options.

I see your future, because your a Nurse certain things will expected of you. You need to set boundries now. Your husband is wise and sees the writing on the wall.

My daughter has worked as a LPN/RN for almost 26 years, 20 of them working in Rehab/NH settings. Its great to have an RN in the family. But she has told me not to expect me to be her caregiver. After 20 yrs in NHs, she has had enough with what goes along with caring for someone. And to be honest, I have never thought that either of my girls should have to physically care for me. You may need to think on the lines of my daughter. You deal with the care of people every day, you have a stressful job. Your weekends should be for you to de-pressurize . Time for you and husband to be together. It really isn't fair that Uncle thinks his 82 yr old sister should be caring for her Mom.

You may not have to give up your home if you learn to say No. We all need Boundries in our lives or we get sucked into things we don't want to do. As much as GMa did for you, your husband and your family come first. Don't wreck your marriage for a woman who has lived too long. If Gma is on Medicaid for in home help, she should be able to get Medicaid for LTC.

I have a mantra: I am here to help people find a way, not be the way.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Are you accepting (and ignoring) the two facts that jump out of this?

1). The treatment you are willing to accept from your family is patently unfair, potentially dangerous, perhaps life threatening to you, and ridiculously out of balance?

and -

2). There is NO WAY out of this tangle without irreparable damage to whatever any of you think is your family.

Your grandmother needs to be in the best residential care setting available, you need to decide which relatives are people with whom you care to continue a relationship, and you need to tell the current crew that you’ve put in your time and won’t do this any more.

THE GROUP needs to know that when you walk away, this whole spider web of excuses and selfishness falls apart when you push your way out of it, and that you plan to do, after giving six weeks notice, EXACTLY THAT.

Are you worth saving yourself? Sounds like it to me. If you are, DO IT.
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Reply to AnnReid
RosyJean Aug 4, 2022
Yes, I can feel that the treatment is blatantly unfair. It does help to hear a neutral person’s perspective. It reinforces to me that I am being used by my family.
Moving away is an excellent idea. The nerve of aunt and uncle asking you to be their caregivers too. Please dont even be moms caregiver at this point. Enough is enough. I would tell mom and thecredt if them they need to start making plans for their own care because you are not doing any hands on and you are not their old age savings account. It's harsh but what your mother and the rest of the family did to you is just as harsh.
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Reply to sp19690

I am going to teach you a new word that you are going to have a hard time saying. The word is "NO". Just say NO. They figured it out when they asked you to help, they will figure it out when they ask someone else. Everyone has the right to make decisions for themselves that are in their best interest. This includes you.

Your health (mental and physical) have to be your #1 priority because without it, you have nothing. Your next priority is your husband....then your children and grandchildren and so on.

Just say NO.
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Reply to Jamesj
Beatty Aug 11, 2022

Saying No can be a foreign concept.

'Yes I can help' is a message that many 'good daughters' have taught from birth. Another is never to appear selfish.
My read on this is that you are a helper, and your family knows that. They ask for help, and you give it until it literally hurts, and so they don't look for any other help. Just because they ask you (and perhaps guilt you about saying no) doesn't mean they are right to do so. They are obviously putting their needs and wants above yours. Your grandmother has a lot of family around - THEY have all arbitrarily delegated these jobs to you, rather than taking them on themselves. That's not fair at all.

Step back. Say no to any new responsibilities and no to any responsibilities that you don't want to do anymore. Give them a separation date the same as if you're quitting a job (because you are: an unpaid job). Then stop showing up. Establish boundaries, and consider seeing a therapist about all of this, if you're comfortable with that. Focus on you, your marriage, and your family.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to WanderingAster

You already know what the right answer is here, you're just not willing to take that step.

Your EKG told you what to do, yet your 'Cardiologist' is questioning a test which does not have the ability to lie or to misinterpret information coming from your body.

That EKG was your wake up call, did you hear it? I hope so.

"For now, I plan to continue to pay the neighbor to help when she can & I’m gonna talk to my Uncle about stepping up, or that the three of them must make some decisions."

Why are YOU paying the neighbor for providing care for someone who should be paying for their OWN care?

Why are you 'talking to your Uncle about stepping up' or 'that the three of them must make some decisions' when NONE of them have done ANYTHING to date? Only YOU can make decisions for YOURSELF. Yet you aren't.

Go back to the EKG now, and hear the message it is trying to send you.

Life is short and your life is in danger now.

Forget about what others want from you, and focus on what your body needs from you.

Then get busy making the necessary changes and using the word NO with your entitled family who's been taking serious advantage of you for a very long time now.

Open your eyes wide now and see things for what they are.

Before it's too late and your 104 y/o grandmother outlives you. God forbid.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to lealonnie1

To be transactional about this, it is unlikely you will inherit anything as a grandchild. Your parents have a financial motivation you do not, so let them handle grandma.

Your dh sounds like he’s scared that if you two don’t leave, he will have his medically fragile wife attempting to care for the next elder in line until you’re about 80. Could you say no to your parents, uncle, whomever if you remained where you are? If not, moving might be the best way out regardless of when this 104 year old dies.
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Reply to PeggySue2020
RosyJean Aug 4, 2022
I know there will be no “inheritence”, and I really don’t want anything. I’m in this mess because I really do care about my Grandma. And , yes I believe you’re right about moving. I don’t think think I want to stay here after Grandma is gone. My parents & in-laws are all expecting me to stick around & take care of them too. I see no light at the end of the tunnel. When my mom was awaiting her first hip surgery, my mother-in/law asked me if I’d take care if her & her husband too when they couldn’t take care of thenselves. I just couldn’t even answer her & I just got up and left the room. I just can’t
As long as you already did more than anyone else (weekends w/Grandma), why do you think people will not continue to try and take advantage of you? 3 blood pressure meds and a heart scare? You're a nurse; what do you think is going to continue to happen if you continue on this way?

Stop any helping immediately.

And then move away when you retire, as your H wants. Your relatives are a bunch of leaches. Especially your uncle -- he takes fewer hours than anyone, yet wants the farm signed over to him?
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to CTTN55
RosyJean Aug 4, 2022
Yes, I believe you’re right. My husband and I need to make a new start
It isn't family memberS, is it. It's mainly just the one, viz Uncle FatFace.

Your mother did what a lot of caregivers do, and didn't give sufficient thought to her own care needs. With all love and respect, you're not really in a position to criticize her for that ((hugs)).

Hence it's all got a bit out of hand.

I had a telephone call from my manager yesterday, which I missed. I thought "oo good, she's ringing to tell me what to do about E's bed calls and social care assessment" so I called her straight back.

"I wanted to know why you're ringing the office and using the computer on your day off," she said. Gulp.

I did try to explain that I had tried to relax during the morning and couldn't until I'd caught up on outstanding admin and followed up on -

She wasn't having it. She has booked "a supervision" (heartsink) to discuss time management and using rest days properly.

And I haven't even reported my chest pains and insomnia.

What would your manager (if she's anything like mine) say to you about your workload?

Your family is under stress and they are not going to prioritize your wellbeing (to be fair, it sounds like they're not taking great care of their own, either). So you have to. Forget seeking their approval or additional support, the only other person whose agreement you need is your husband. Look at your timetable with him and work out new boundaries and a plan you're both comfortable with.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Countrymouse
RosyJean Aug 4, 2022
Actually, my boss and co-workers have sat me down and “had a talk with me” . My boss went through a similar situation with his Dad. He finally relented and paid for the hired caregivers. I’ve found 2 caregivers in the past. My Aunt said she would pay for one if I found someone. Well, when it came down to it. She only wanted the caregiver 8 hours a day at the most because of cost and the caregiver said she needed more hours than that. (Which I totally understand). If I end up paying for help, I’m afraid my husband (will have had enough).
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