I am a caregiver for a lady, not a member of my family

I have been the only caretaker for the last 7 years or so. Ruth is 92 now with early dementia.

Her family has largely been absent, They are now micromanaging from afar. It is crazy making.

We now have 2 additional aides and about to get a 3rd. The new coordinator is her granddaughter with a phd. in physical thereapy and a year's experience in nursing home. She is mico-managing everything. She wants to find volounteers at church to give Ruth a ride. I take Ruth to church and she knows every one. She has a blast. I do not charge to take her to church, it is wonderful. She sits in a s chair and her friends come to her. I just stand back and enjoy it.

The husband of Ruth's daughter and her grand daughter made very hurtful remarks to me. They say they are not pleased with me, that i am mentally ill, that I am keeping her away from peers, and it goes on and on.

Yesterday I really blew my fuse at the husband. Everything is quiet today.
Why does a family turn on the caregiver?

Report post

9 replies. Join the discussion

This is heartbreaking to read. It sounds like you really have cared wonderfuly for Ruth and invested a lot of emotional support that Ruth needs along with caregiving for so many years. 92 with early dementia; I want to be Ruth when I grow up, bless her!!
I am so sorry for the hurtful feelings and now after so many years; being micro-managed has to be extremely difficult.
The fact that Ruth is so vibrant is testiment to how well you have looked after her, perhaps her family is not fully aware of this yet. As hard as it might be for you and for Ruth, you need to allow the extra caregiving the family has added and perhaps work out a more social situation for you and Ruth and this might serve you very well as you can give Ruth the emotional companionship; without ALL of the caregiving that is needed and would eventually consume you as she digresses. Try to look at this situation as a way you can choose places to take Ruth and since taking her to church is something you both like; perhaps the family will allow you to do that. For the sake of you not loosing touch with Ruth all together due to the families intervening; it might be better to get along with them... they will eventually see that Ruth needs your companship and if everyone can work together, as hard as that might be; it will probably work out the best for you - and for Ruth. Please let me know how things go with you. You are a kind and loving person, to be a caregiver for 7 years and give so much of yourself speaks volumes as to your kind nature. Bless you!

Report post

Thank you for your balanced views on the care for Ruth. I appreciate you defining a middle road. Together we are stronger will be my slogan.
You must have accomplished a lot to see so clearly within the message.
Thank you.
Janet

Report post

Micromanaging from afar is really frustrating for you.
You are the one with the day to day and even minute to minute details about Ruth's needs.

I would cooperate with the new caretakers, welcome them, and show them what has worked for you without cutting off input from them. They may have some ideas that might be different but that could work, especially as Ruth's needs change. Be calm, but firm if you see them doing something that you know does not work. Suggest something like, "I have found it works to do this" or "How about trying that" rather than saying. "NO, Do it my way."

Ask the granddaughter which peers Ruth is being kept away from? Where can Ruth be taken to meet these peers? Add a gentle reminder that Ruth has a peer group at church, and you have been taking her to church just about every week, at no charge to the family. Invite the granddaughter to come with you and Ruth and see what a good time Ruth has visiting with the people.
Church is also my Father's social place. Many of the people will visit with him after church. My sister or I try very hard to keep every Sunday available to take him there.

If the granddaughter or her family think there is another place that Ruth might enjoy, try taking her there. If she has a good time, then add it in to the list of outings.
Again, relating to my Father, he loves to get out of the house and see different things, go to familiar or new places. He is not so much of a 'people person', so it is places rather than people that interest him.

If they keep trying to manage things from afar, then suggest the next time that they visit that they can do the caretaking, you want to take a vacation. And do it. Take a week off for yourself.

Caretakers get burned out all too easily, and you do need a break. It is probably a good thing that there are some other care takers coming along to help out. Work out with them some reasonable rotation of scheduling so none of you are doing too much, and each get enough time off.

Report post

Thank you for your thoughtful replies. I have learned a lot and i am glad i wrote.

Report post

I would love love love for someone to send me all that help! Please take advantage of the help and the spirit in which it is given. Maybe now the family realizes that mom is needing help and since they have largely depended on you for her care since they have been absent they have decided its too much for one person. They probably have an attitute but I would not care as long as they send you help! Its going to get much harder to care for your friend and the more help you have now the less taxing it will be on your own health. At some point even relatives say I have had it but they can't go any where becasue its thieir mom, dad, spouse, ect. But you are in a position to walk away no questions asked, you are not related so in order to keep you they have sent you help. I would view it that way. You are so kind to be able to help your friend. My mom had plenty of friends but no one comes to help us. Your friends family is very fortunate to have you.

Report post

This is a way of seeing the changes in a positive light. Thank you
today Ruth called in a.m. upset about trying to all bus compny about the bus that did not arrive.
She wanted her pill presciption and some groceries before Friday when groceries arrive via peapod.

I said iwould go to pick her up and take her to senior center.
i called bus compny and reordered the bus pickups for the month.
I stayed a short while at the sen ior center. I picked up her pills a nd groceries and gave her a ride home.
Her familt wants her to go to senior center by bus daily.
I hope her family won't react negatively.

Report post

Honestly if I were in that situation and the family is not around I would think a 92 year is not able to ride the bus to the center by herself . I would continue to take her if I wanted to or ride the bus with her if I wanted to be with her. If the bus is late and she callas you I would let her fa,mily know the bus is late and if they want her to go to the center then they can come and make sure themselves!!
Hang in there and continue doing what makes you and your friend happy!

Report post

I have to agree with Southernmagnolia here, I would never in the world expect a 92 year old person; no matter how sharp, to get on a bus and take care of these things all on their own! I'm 1/2 her age (NOT) but a lot younger that Ruth and I don't know that I could do all that by myself!! The grocery delivery dealio sounds a bit obscure; is that the only way she COULD get groceries... either wait for Peapod or take a bus by herself? How would she get back with having to carry groceries then? Does the family have money to bring in "help" and Ruth have none of her own that she could call a taxi? I mean, if it not for you; where would Ruth be right now? On a non-emotional level I'd try to keep a journal of what you do, it's advice I give anyone that will listen due to issues that might come up when the caregiving becomes too much. From what you've said, I feel like you love Ruth as a great friend and you love taking care of her.
I'll tell you a true story about very good friends of mine that cared for a wonderful woman, neighbor and friend for over 30 years!! I mean, took her to hospital when things got bad. Got her all her groceries, she called them whenever anything happened. They loved Emily, she was part of their family. When she passed away.... they were after-thoughts to the family that Emily sent money to every month so her grandson could attend college; literally left out in the cold - mostly emotionally. Having to deal with the loss of Emily first off then became no-bodies. They are still not over it; they are sad about the whole ordeal. Emily always told them, she was leaving them a little something in her will for all they did. Of course, my friends always said that Emily never needed to do that; they did it out of love. Heck, I loved Emily as she was there for almost every event our friends had, from birthdays to backyard parties to holidays (the family usually couldln't come down - after all they had their own family). Now that she is gone, my friends just feel so sad and now taken advantage of by Emily's family. If it not for everything they did, Emily's daughter would have HAD to have done something when Emily was dying, but nope - they never even had to fly down cuz my friends helped and did everything. I'd hate that to happen to anyone else. It might be better for YOU if you could hang out with Ruth (I bet she is a lot of fun) on a social level and at YOUR choosing and back-off of picking up the pieces. It might also give the family a huge "heads-up" if Ruth were instructed that if she has any problems to call her family (I'd put them on Ruth's speed dial). Your there to love her and be her friend. Just a few thoughts to ponder. You are a wonderful person to do what you do, truly a careGIVER not a careTAKER.... Bless you!

Report post

Your reply left me breathlesss. I do understand about bein g left holdin g the bag. I do want to stand back and try to help support ruth on a voluntar basis/ if they allow it. I do not want to let go when she is so vulnerable. The diary is a good idea.
The lady at the senior center said they are being abusive because i know what they are like an d they want to save money.

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support AFA

Help the Alzheimer's Foundation of America reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Discussion topics

Links and resources from AFA

Community leaders

Disclaimer

Information found on the Alzheimer's Foundation of America Support Community should not be considered a replacement for consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. Any views or opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of AFA.