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Looking after Granny. - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Looking after Granny.

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hello Helen and thanks for the update.
I must go to the Age UK place in Bath and find out about Attendance Allowance
You can find out about Attendance Allowance here
You can also download the relevant forms - they're not difficult to complete, just use the 'worst case' scenario. The benefit is not means tested and is ignored for the purposes of Income Tax.
I work full time (38 hours a week), I don't want to start claiming anything in case I get charged with benefit fraud.
The brnefits system is a bit complicated if you are not used to it. Attendance Allowance is a bebefit for gran. It is paid to the person with disabilites NOT to you, so there's no need to worry. Social Services are xupposed to be supporting carers to continue working. Again, this is something anyone can ask for, regardless of income. You only need listen to what they can offer, which varies depending on where you live.
Hi Helen,

And welcome to the Forum :D .

I too work full-time and care for my mum (your gran's age) part-time. She does get attendance allowance. This is not fraud - this is her right. She is entitled to it. You can fill in the forms yourself from the links provided above.

What is available locally depends on where you live. You could spend the money on a cleaner, gardener, or anything else which would make your life easier. Do you have a branch of Age Concern near you? They may have ideas of what your gran could do during the day (clubs? trips out?) to make your life easier. Clearly you have access to a computer so I hope all the shopping is done online and delivered.

One thing I do know is that when you work and care, every minute of every day has to be used to its full. Do you also get time off to socialise and regular breaks? Perhaps Uncle could do that and you could go out when he arrives???

Good luck, not easy caring for the oldies,
Thank you Anne,

Uncle is "busy" but I will get in touch with Age Concern and find out what I can.

I get on the bus and go shopping (with Grans money for food) as I find it easier and can escape! I also have developed a habit of going to the pub every other evening as living at home means I can't relax and unwind without "Helen"! echoing in my ears.

I'm starting to give up on finding anyone to help who isn't "official" as they all seem to be "busy", convenient excuse if you ask me!

I have joined clubs as well, so I have lots of things to keep me semi-sane.
I'm really pleased that you have found some escape routes. Older people gradually become more and more self focussed. With lots of time, unable to do much, they have lots of time to think, and dream up jobs for others.Sadly, they have little idea about how precious our time is.
I'm sorry to sound a negative note, but I still find it hard to understand just why it is that you have ended up being the person looking after your grandmother. Is this actually something you WANT to do, or is it that you are doing what (a) your grandmother wants (because she doesn't want her own daughter) or (b) what your mother and uncle want you to do (because they don't want to) or (c) because you feel 'no one else' is going to look after your gran if you don't (ie, you feel sorry for her) or (d) something else I haven't thought of (!) ??

From the way I see it, I simply don't see why YOU have to do this very, very demanding role which is taking such a heavy toll on your own life (you talk about 'escaping'....).

Yes, if YOU get something out of this (eg, free accommodation)(ie, paid for by the care you put in for your gran), that YOU want and think worth while, then, yes, indeed, keep going - BUT if you are doing all this for your gran out of a sense of 'duty of love' (ie, you're doing something you wouldn't actually choose to do if someone else in the family were doing what you were doing, and your gran was happy with this other person), then I simply don't see why YOU should do it! Your gran is NOT your responsibility, and please please don't ever think she is. Her relationship with her daughter your mother is NOT your responsibility, and nor is your mother's relationship with her brother. It would be utterly unfair of all three of these people to be using YOU to look after her, because it suits THEM that you do it....

Yes, I may have utterly the wrong end of the stick, and you do actually want, of your own free will, to be the person looking after your gran (eg, as I say, because you get 'free' accommodation) (or because you love her so much it is no limitation on your freedom to care for her), but if you are doing it because you feel it's the only way to keep your gran happy, then you absolutely absolutely absolutely have NO 'obligation' to do this. If that were so, then you are , to be blunt, being inexcusably exploited and used by your family (including your gran). (But as I say, this may not be the case at all, I do acknowledge.)

But it does look, at first glance, as if you have drawn the short straw (or, rather, had it thrust into your hand by other people who should have drawn it....) (IF it is a 'short straw' of course!)

Kind regards, Jenny
I forgot to mention the carers who come in at breakfast and lunch, otherwise it is me giving Gran dinner (when she is hungry). I do get something out of it (free room, own bills) but the main reason I decided to come down in the first place apart from needing a new job was because Gran and I have a really good relationship and it makes a change from people not speaking for whatever reason, also my fathers side were near enough grans age than mums, so have consequently died.

I have given up trying to figure out my mum and uncle, I am concentrating on me now and ok, sometimes it gets a bit too much and I need a break for a few minutes but doesn't everyone?
I'm really pleased to hear you and Granny get on well. I had a very special grandmother too, she lived in Devon and I would stay there all my summer holiday. She was keen on walking, loved jam making and sewing and baking, and she passed all these talents on to me, and many more besides. She passed away many years ago, but whenever I think of her, I smile inside at the thought of the good times we had together. Don't feel it is wrong to want some time off, even from a good relationship. Your family sounds complicated, so was mine (most have died now). Try to think in terms of balance, balancing your needs versus Gran's. Is she able to go out at all? Does she have any friends calling? Don't be afraid to ask Social Services what is available in your area. There are probably all sorts of things you don't know about, simply because their services are not advertised like a business. Most Local Authorities do a handbook of things in their area, if you don't feel like going in personally, ring up and ask for one.
That's much more reassuring! :) I was concerned that you'd felt that, given the tensions between her children, you'd felt 'obliged' to take on her care. But if you are getting something out of it (free board, the company of someone you enjoy) then that is much more encouraging.

In which case, I would say it is a question now of (a) ensuring you and she are receiving the maximum financial and practical help that you're entitled to (if she is reluctant, remind her that she and her late husband will have paid into the state for decades, and now like any 'insurance policy' it's time to claim it back!), and (b) you set aside sufficient time for your own life, both in the house (time out from 'Helen!') and out (getting 'out and about')(It may be easier to set a 'routine', so you can say 'I'm off now Gran, it's my Tuesday night out' or whatever....).

Old people DO tend to become self-focussed, especially exacerbated if they develop short term memory loss, vagueness about time, and, perhaps above all, are 'allowed' to do so by their carers. Keep her as independent and self-sufficient as she can possibly be - do as LITTLE for her as you can, not because you are 'selfish' but because the more you do the more she will not do for herself, and then not be ABLE to do for herself. Bear in mind constantly that old age is 'reverse toddlerhood' - just as toddlers become more and MORE able to do things (eg tie shoeslaces etc), so the reverse is true with the elderly - they lose faculties and abilities all too quickly. I've seen this happen drastically with my MIL (90) who in the space of a year has gone from being super-indepdent and capable to being 'helpless' not even 'knowing' ( er 'wanting'??) to depress the lever on the toaster etc etc.

Which I think is my final point - do be 'prepared' for deterioration as time goes by. It isn't inevitable, but it is probable. Sometimes rapidly so (especially after, say, a bout of ill health). I say this because I would urge you to 'think ahead'. What might work well for you now in living with your gran is not going to stay the same inevitably. You, hopefully, at some stage will want to move out and live with a partner and make your own indepdent life with them, and your gran, unless she is blessed by 'going out like a light' will need increasing care.

So, think ahead over the next two to five years, and try and plan what will happen when the current situation 'expires'.

One warning - by living with your gran now, when it suits you to do so, you may be dangerously accustoming her to that situation continuing indefinitely, which means that when (a) you want to set up home with a partner or (b) her health needs increase so much her care becomes ' burdensome', it may become harder to leave as she will be more reluctant to 'let you go'. You may, I warn sadly, be currently creating an emotional dependency on you by her, that may become irksome and restraining. What is a joy and satisfaction to you now may become a chain restricting and confining you....

That sounds depressing, and it may not happen (as I say, she may be blessed by a swift and easy death before life becomes that difficult for her - whatever age that is!) (and many very old people are perfectly fine in that respect right till the very end!). But, and I do warn you about this from my own circumstances with my MIL, she MAY become extremely 'clingy' and you may end up being the sole focus of her emotional life, and only YOU can bring her 'happiness' and she will fret if you are absent from her. It's a form of, in a way, 'unrequited love' which is very, VERY 'irksome' (or can become so, even if, as you do, you dearly love the person who is 'clingy'.)

But, as I say, all that may not happen, she may retain all her 'adult' mental faculties, and be robust physically for her age, but do, I urge, 'think ahead' for the years to come, and see what it is you'll want then, and how your grandmother will cope if and when you want something other from life than living with her.......

Kind regards, and, as I say, it's good that you positively chose to live with your gran, rather than feeling that if you didn't, no one would.....

Jenny :)