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Upset as Really cant cope any longer!! - Carers UK Forum

Upset as Really cant cope any longer!!

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OMG this has taken so so much for me to actually sit and write this. It is breaking my heart as I am typing each word but I am on the brink of a breakdown I think.

Ok so the background. My gran (mother's mother) has been living with me my husband and since then my daughter (now 12) since 2000 so all in all over 18 years. Over the past 5 years she has deteriorated to the point of now she is unable to control her bodily functions, she has a heart condition, breast cancer, lymphedema and really bad mobility issues (sorry forgot to say she is 87). She has also become really ungrateful, hurtful and aggressive towards me.

I am now doing everything for my gran (except showering her)and it has now put a massive strain on my relationship with my husband and daughter, I am not able to go and do anything with them as I have to be around for my gran. I don't sleep as she is up and about all through the night so have to put her back to bed, she is unable to cook for herself so all her food prep is done by me ( I also work full time) so she literally has nothing to do during the day. I take care of the cooking, cleaning changing her sheets clothes and cleaning up any mess left by the inability to hold herself on a daily basis.

I am struggling massively with the task at hand, am always exhausted and feel to tired to even talk sometimes. This has now driven a huge wedge between me and my family and I am now on the brink of losing everything I have. I really don't know where to turn anymore. I really do feel that my gran needs full time care but feel like it is my responsibility to take care of her but obviously at the expense of my family.

Anyone with any advice it would be greatly received as am at a loss of what to do for the best!!! :(
I was in a similar dilemma a few years ago, and counselling was hugely helpful. I was recently disabled after a car crash, barely able to walk, but had a business to run, a son with learning difficulties, and a seriously disabled mum who "saved" jobs for me when she had carers 3 times a day, a gardener, and someone else to shop and iron for her!!

Your child has to come first. She needs a happy energetic mum. Don't leave her with bad memories of a lost childhood.
Your husband deserves a wife. Gran comes last I'm afraid.
Her NEEDS are now too great for you.

If she has under £23,000 then Social Services will pay for her care, fully or partly.
If she has over £23,000 in savings, then why are you working?! She should be paying you not just to live in your house, but also for all the care you provide.
Start by asking Social Services to do a Needs Assessment for Gran, a Carers Assessment for you, and ask them to arrange for counselling as part of your Carers Assessment.
bowlingbun ; Thank you so much for the reply, it means so much to me that someone has taken the time to reply.

I understand that my family comes first and I really do feel that I have missed out on so much already of my daughters and family life.

She doesn't have any money at all just a little saved and I mean a little, she literally lives off her pension but with nothing to pay etc she doesn't really use that either.

Thank you for the advice on the next step as I am totally at a loss with it all. I will contact social services and see what they suggest. My gran is already on what they call a virual ward with the hospital as she is constantly having falls and having to have the doctors and nurses out on a regular basis. Hopefully this will help when it comes to the assessment process.

I just feel like my life is tumbling down around me and there is nothing I can do about it.

It is so nice to know that there are people out there in the same situation and willing to give their advice and help !!! THANK YOU SO SO MUCH ! YOU DONT KNOW HOW MUCH IT MEANS !!!!
Hi Anne-Marie, You have been a marvellous granddaughter caring for your gran for 18 years. The first thing that springs to mind is where is your mum? Is she still around?
Your gran has lots of serious health problems and it sounds like she needs full time care. The answer is simple - check out the local care homes in your area and arrange a visit. Contact Social Services and get the help you need.
I agree with BB - your husband and daughter are the most important. Give your attention to them not your nan.
Please do not feel guilty or think that you have let your gran down. You have provided a fabulous retirement for her sharing your home and family with her for all these years. It does sound as though in your circumstances the best thing for her would be full time care or care provided by social services. You will not be able ot go on indefinitely with such a heavy load of responsibility so preserve your health and energy to find a way forward where she will receive the increased level of care that she needs.
This now seems like the best way you can help her so shake off those guilt feelings.
Hi. I have just seen your post and totally understand what you are going through, as my situation is very similar. Today, my sister and I have had no choice but to arrange for temporary outside carers to intervene, as we, like you simply cannot cope. I totally sympathise with you-it is NOT good having to get up several times in the night to help a relative when you are absolutely knackered! I would suggest that you get in touch with your GP immediately and explain your situation as this is a genuine emergency and you are at breaking point. As much as you love your relative and want the best for them, it is also VERY important to look out for yourself. I know that you may think this is selfish, but it is NOT. You must look after your health and try to get the ball rolling on getting some help.Your GP would be your first point of contact, and will be able to help with liaising with other healthcare sectors. I hope this helps.
"This has now driven a huge wedge between me and my family and I am now on the brink of losing everything I have. "

Hi, can I just check that when you say 'family' you mean your husband and daughter? I do hope so - as in, I do HOPE that by 'family' you do not mean, for example, other children your grandmother may have.....

OK, assuming you DO mean your husband and daughter, why do you say you are on the brink of losing 'everything I have'? Can it be that your husband wants to leave the marriage, and take your daughter with him, if you go on having your grandmother living in the house??

I'm asking this because, quite frankly, it is VERY unusual for a married woman and mother to have her grandmother live with her in the matrimonial home for eighteen years! It would be unusual if she moved in AT ALL!

So, how did this very odd situation arise in the first place? Your post begs so many questions! Where is your mum in all this - is she still alive, and was she an only child? I assume your gran is widowed, but is there ANYONE ELSE that could have looked after her?

Or maybe she gave you money to buy your home, or some financial arrangement? But that is unlikely, isn't it, if you say your gran has no money?

The reason I'm asking all this because to be honest, I can't think of a single reason, other than love and sacrifice, why this situation should have arisen in the first place! However, it has, and you have coped with it brilliantly - and, to be even more honest, so has your husband! Sharing his marriage with his wife's gran must deserve a prize! (However lovely she was, she's still a 'third person' in a marriage!!!)(And yes, maybe she was your daughter's baby-sitter, co-carer and so on). (Did she ever have her own 'living quarters' where she could escape from you, and you all from her??)

But all that is by the by. That time is over now, and the next period of your grandmother's life has arrived - she has, sadly, lived beyond the 'good years' and had she died peacefully say a year or two ago, then you would have fond memories. Now, sadly, it would seem that a deadly combination of old age, infirmity and very probably dementia (to explain the personality change - so common alas in dementia, turning 'sweet old ladies' into 'unappreciative tyrants') (sometimes old age and infirmity alone can do that), has arrived.

So, time for your gran to go into residential care. It's sad it's come to that, but she has, as I say, 'outlived her life' and this really is the only option now. Other than your marriage breaking down and your life being smashed to pieces.

Your gran has had a brilliant 'run' with you and your husband and daughter, and now it's time to say 'I can't cope any more' as her needs increase beyond the ability of anyone to look after her in a domestic environment.

Sit down with your husband, accept that she now NEEDS residential care - with all the nursing care and multiple carers etc etc that that will provide - and start looking for a good care home. Liaise with her GP and Social Services (the latter for the financial aspect - not all care homes accept non-self-funders)(YOU DO NOT PAY by the way!!!!!!), and short list the most likely homes. Go and visit them, and then book her in.

I can promise you that so many of us have found that once our elderly parents/grandparents are safely in residential care, and we no longer have the 'burden' of looking after them (all the cooking/cleaning/showering/toileting etc etc - the constant 'on call' that you describe, not even being able to get out of the house!), then we actually GET THEM BACK! Because 'someone else' (ie, the care home staff) are doing all the 'chores' of caring, WE can go back to enjoying their company when we visit.

When my MIL went into a care home, when I visited, I took her out for drives and cream teas and lunch - then drove her back and 'handed her over' for 'someone else' to do all the business of getting her to bed, etc etc etc. It was SUCH a relief all round.

It will be for you, too.
Omg thank you all so much for your responses they have all helped me more than you will ever know.

And just to clarify the situation my gran had two daughters my mum and my aunt. My aunt tragically dies when she was 37 from cancer and my mum has not reallly wanted to take care of my gran. She moved in with us to save her paying rent and bills etc and at first as you can imagine it was all fine. My mum is still around lives 5 mins away but doesn't do anything for her other than pop in for a chat. It has always been the same.

By saying my family yes I meant my husband and daughter. My husband was on the brink of leaving as i was not the person I was as i am so washed out stressed and never had even 5 mins to devote to him. I can understand it totally.

Due to all your comments and support you will be pleased to know i made the call on Wednesday to social services and they have made the referral for her to be assessed for residential placement. Unfortunately they did tell me that if my gran even mentions she doesn't want to go there is nothing i can do. They wont move her and will leave her with me.

I am now going to have to have the conversation with her that maybe the Drs think it would be best as she is now not eating at all not drinking and i she cant take her medication without food which she is doing and then that is causing her stomach to be upset and losing functions again. Aaagjhhhhh deep breaths.

But again thank you all so much for your support. I will myself to to the gp next week to put my stress and worry across to them as well. Surely that can't hurt either right . ? X
Hi Anne-Marie, so pleased you are seeking help. From your last post it does sound as though perhaps Gran is nearing the end of her life now. I wonder if she would qualify for CHC funding as she has complex health needs. You could ask Social Services to do the initial check list.
Gran has NO RIGHT to live with you.
Your mum is a disgrace!
From what you have now described, she first needs to be admitted to hospital if she is not eating or drinking properly. Talk to her GP, and if he/she is not helpful, dial 999, and say she needs 24/7 care.
Once in hospital, you can insist that she moves into residential care.

Henrietta may well be right, that gran is now reaching the end. I know it's hard, but Google "Signs of Dying" and you will find some really helpful information about how the body gradually shuts down, and therefore cannot cope with much food or drink, and therefore should not be made to drink or eat more than they want. Please read the articles, I wish I'd done this when the first of our four parents was dying.