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To think I can't be expected to take responsibility for elderly relative

123 replies

twoandahalftimesthree · 12/09/2015 10:25

My grandma is 90 and lives close to my parents who have just gone on holiday for three weeks. While they are away I look after their dog and take responsibility for my grandma too. I usually call to see her for a half hour chat 4 out of 5 weekdays while they are away.
I have a brother who lives about 20 miles away and he always comes to see her at weekends.
My parents go away for at least three weeks at a time three times a year and I always do this but this time I am feeling it is too big a responsibility.
I run my own business and September is always a really busy month (I've worked 6 days this week and have been catching up a lot at home on top). dd has just started secondary school and has been quite nervous about it and needed support. ds goes to a special school and is struggling to settle into his new class so we have had some very challenging evenings with him this week.
The upshot of this is that I have not managed to see her for three days and I feel absolutely terrible about it but also feel that I just can't fit it in. What is reasonable?

OP posts:

IfNotNowThenWhenever · 12/09/2015 10:29

Presumably your parents look after your grandma the other 43 weeks of the year? It is difficult when extended family become old an unwell, and you have to juggle to fit everyone in. But it is your responsibility, and your brothers (20 miles is nothing) to take care of her when your parents are away.
Maybe involve your dd with visiting her/running errands for her too?


IfNotNowThenWhenever · 12/09/2015 10:31

Actually, the title of your op riled me. You can't be expected to take responsibility for an elderly relative? Who should then?


TheHouseOnTheLane · 12/09/2015 10:32

It's very hard but I do think that someone should visit her. I'm not being awful when I say this but age 11 in my first year of secondary, I was the person who popped in daily to my Grandma who was very frail.

Could your DD not do it sometimes?


Bunbaker · 12/09/2015 10:33

Can you get temporary carers in to see her?


Penfold007 · 12/09/2015 10:38

Talking would be reasonable. You've agreed to this holiday and your parents are away. Talk to gran, explain the issue and offer something like alternate days with your brother doing the weekends.
When your parents return then have a family conference, explain your side and say what you are able to do and at what times of the year.
I think it is fair that your parents get breaks from caring and I think it's reasonable that your and your brother help out. That said your parents need to look into alternatives and other options such as kennels for the dog, respite or professional care for gran.


MrsLeighHalfpenny · 12/09/2015 10:38

Pay someone if you can't be bothered to do it yourself.

Or, we could all pay a few extra quid a year so that the state can do it for you.

Or, you could stop being so self centred and take care of your eldery relative your self for a few weeks.

Which option would you prefer?


twoandahalftimesthree · 12/09/2015 10:38

I want to visit her, I just can't fit it in! I always have done it for years but i'm finding it a challenge this year. Dd does often come with me but I have to drive her there, it would be a good couple of hours walk to get there. When I go i have to make sure that dh is around cos ds can't really come and visit her as he hasn't got the patience to stay longer than 5 mins!

OP posts:

ohtheholidays · 12/09/2015 10:39

YANBU,did your parents not think about the issues it could cause for your family before they go away?

We help look after my father but we have 5DC and 2 of our children have special needs and we just couldn't give that amount time even though would love to be able to see him every day and we don't run our own buisness.

Have your parents or yourselfs looked into if there's any help or support that you could access for your Nan?

I'd look up your local council page they usually have useful information on there,help the aged is a charity you could try as well.

Quite a lot of charitys that help and support people of your Nan's age offer a friending service where fully checked volunteers will pop round and see your Nan,they'll make tea and sit and chat with your nan,they'll check how she's getting on,they'll ask if there's anything she needs help with or is worried about anything.
It could be a really positive thing for your Nan to get an organization like that involved it could open a doorway to new friends,new hobbies ect.


twoandahalftimesthree · 12/09/2015 10:39

I asked her to have a local agency in (and would have gladly paid although she gets attendance allowance and has plenty of money) but she wouldn't even discuss it.

OP posts:

MidniteScribbler · 12/09/2015 10:40

YABVU. You can't spare a couple of hours over the space of three weeks to check in on an elderly relative? You're free to ignore her the other weeks of the year, but try and put yourself out for a little bit. You're not being expected to really care for her, just check in on her and make sure she is ok and give her a bit of company.


TelephoneIgnoringMachine · 12/09/2015 10:41

Did your parents not check that you would be available when they booked their holiday? Sounds like they have picked the worst time of year.


londonrach · 12/09/2015 10:45

If you cant visit can she come a stay for a couple of days with you. Any of her friends nearby who can pop in. Can dd cycle to see her.


Fairylea · 12/09/2015 10:50

Op I think people are being really harsh. You have a child with special needs who is struggling to settle in a new class and a lot on your plate at the moment. As someone who cared for my gran through terminal bowel cancer at home with me I know how all encompassing and stressful it can be caring for an elderly relative - and I did my caring when I was 19 with no dependents of my own!

Could you arrange for a carer from a well vetted agency to pop round a few times a week? To give you some balance with it all?


Kampeki · 12/09/2015 10:50

The care doesn't really sound too onerous tbh. I get that you're busy, but I find it a bit sad that you don't think you can fit her in. Imagine yourself at that age, so far down the list of your family's priorities.

It is hard to fit care for elderly relatives into a busy schedule, and it does usually fall to the ones who live the nearest, which isn't always fair. That's just life, though, isn't it. You don't want to have any regrets later on.


frenchcheeses · 12/09/2015 10:51

You agreed to do it so do it. Then when your parents get back you can tell them that you won't do it again. She is only your grandmother after all so why should you care? Perhaps she was an unpleasant bitch to you when you were a child.

If you didn't notice my sarcasm I actually think YABVU.


XCChamps · 12/09/2015 10:51

Could do go on her bike or get the bus straight from school?

I'm sorry but it's pretty unpleasant to be too busy for any of you to find a few hours a week a couple of times a year. How long have you spent on MN? Grin


twoandahalftimesthree · 12/09/2015 10:51

We have tried suggesting all the local groups and organisations but she won't get involved in them. Then she complains of being bored.

OP posts:

Fairylea · 12/09/2015 10:51

Sorry just seen she won't consider that. I think maybe you need to sell it to her as if it's a friend of yours coming round as you're very poorly yourself at the moment - brief the agency too. Would she be any more willing to accept help that way?


catfordbetty · 12/09/2015 10:52

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all - it sounds like you've been stretched pretty thin. If you can only do one or two visits a week then so be it. As others have said there are ways of compensating or lightening the load - take them. Remember if you run yourself into the ground you're no use to anyone. Good luck.


MrsTrentReznor · 12/09/2015 10:53

Please make time.
When she's gone you'll remember the times spent with her. You won't remember what happened in the office that week, or how your DD got on at school that week.


DoreenLethal · 12/09/2015 10:54

Pay someone if you can't be bothered to do it yourself.

Or, we could all pay a few extra quid a year so that the state can do it for you.

Or, you could stop being so self centred and take care of your eldery relative your self for a few weeks.

Gosh - you are so right. The OP must immediately put all her kids and give up her business in care so that she can be there 24/7. Thank goodness you came along to point it out. Well done you.

You can't spare a couple of hours over the space of three weeks to check in on an elderly relative?

Three days it has been. DAYS. HTH.


ImperialBlether · 12/09/2015 10:54

People seem to be ignoring the fact the OP has only missed seeing her gran for three days! Anyone would think she lived next door and completely ignored her.


DinosaursRoar · 12/09/2015 10:55

Sadly, if she won't allow external carers in, your parents want to go for 3 weeks and expect her to be looked after by family, htey do need to check you can do those 3 weeks, and it sounds like it's the worse possible time for you to be expected to look after her. This year, you are going to have to somehow find the time, or get her to see you've got to let agency staff in this year, or the suggestion of inviting her to yours for a few days is a good solution.

When your parents are back, sit them down and explain that september isn't possible for you, give them dates you would be able to look after grandma.


definiteissues · 12/09/2015 10:56

Hope your grandkids are kinder to you when you get old.


MudCity · 12/09/2015 11:00

You can only do what you can do. There is no shame in that.

On days you cannot visit, maybe phone her and check she is ok.

There is no point setting yourself up to fail by taking on more than you can do.

I think you need to discuss all this with your parents to ensure your grandma has appropriate support next time they go away, whether that be respite care, befriending services or a care agency. This could be introduced before they go away so she gets used to people coming in and they can develop a relationship. There are services around where older people visit other older people so it is more a friendship thing than a 'care' role. Your grandma will need more support and care as the years go by so it is worth looking at what is available now and start to introduce it gradually than wait until a crisis happens.

You have no reason to feel guilty. You have a lot of responsibilities and you cannot necessarily be expected to do this too. However, it is good to start planning for next time so this doesn't happen again.

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