Inevitable Argument

Hi All,

Well, this weekend, the inevitable explosion happened. I’ve been caring for my Gran for 9 months or so now, as she has slowly deteriorated with Foot Drop. She’s effectively been housebound and can barely take a few steps without severe distress, pain and anxiety.
I am working full-time so I am trying my best to get food for her, clean up around her house, empty her bins and take her to medical appointments, whilst also trying to maintain my relationship with her and also trying to find the best route to try and diagnose (and eventually, hopefully, treat) the underlying cause of her condition.
As many of you know, it’s absolutely exhausting trying to maintain two households, especially whilst trying to do your best at work as well.
Friday evening, my Gran told me that the latest test results came back clear (i.e. no indication as to where the problem is coming from). This news made her feel very low in herself, so I decided to go to her house to discuss our next options (i.e. walk-in centre, A&E, change of doctors (as her doctor appears to have no clue what he’s doing)).
I was met with an absolute outburst of frustration, including being told the following things “you’re rubbish at shopping for me, you’re terrible at housework, you’re a snob and all you care about is money”. Now, firstly, I am aware that this was an outburst that mainly stemmed from general frustration. However, it didn’t make this all hurt any less for me. I shop at my nearest supermarket because it’s on my way home after work (my Gran is used to going to markets and discount stores for her food shopping- these simply aren’t open by the time I finish work). The housework comment was because I don’t just wade in to her house and take over- I ask ‘do you need anything doing?’ and she says no; she really means yes, but she doesn’t tell me and I’m not a mind reader (can anyone relate to this?)
She called me a snob because I am trying to save money to buy a house with my partner (nobody on my Gran’s side of the family has owned their own home ever, so I get why I seem like a snob in comparison). The money comment, I have no idea where that’s come from, as I have been practically throwing my cash at her since her problem started- I’ve bought disabled aids like a wheelchair and a grabber etc. I’ve also repeatedly tried to get her to use my cash to go down the private medical route (as I am sure that the waiting times are much quicker and, as Drop Foot is a progressive problem, I figured that the likelihood of the condition being reversed would be higher if the cause was found quicker).
Anyway, after all the above, my Gran told me to get out of her house and don’t come back or she’d phone the police. So I left, in tears. I spoke to another family member yesterday who told me that my Gran had shown remorse for the things she said to me, so I’ve been advised by this other relative to go over to my Gran’s this evening after work.
Unfortunately, my Gran is not the type of woman to apologise when she’s in the wrong- she’s extremely stubborn, so I don’t expect an apology.
However, I am desperate to get some outside help to avoid this horrible explosion happening again. I am willing to contact the council to get a needs assessment and I’m willing to pay for the care provided, but I don’t know how to get my Gran on board with all of this. I don’t want her to feel like I’m going behind her back if I do this without her consent.

Has anyone else had a relative like this? I could really use some advice on how to proceed because I am really feeling like this is a ‘make or break’ type situation and I am at the point where I’m ready to call it a day entirely to almost ‘force her hand’ into getting the help she needs when she can’t get it from me. Obviously, this is making me feel like a terrible person, but there’s only so much one person can take and I am at my limit.

I am pretty sure by saying this , but i am also sure most will agree or say something similar.

Buying your own house , focusing on your life , focusing on settling down is and should come FIRST .
do i think you should be spending more of your own money on providing care for gran , NO simple answer .
you need that to put towards a mortgage, you need your own money for bills , fuel etc .

tell your gran because she has been ungrateful you will be going to the council for a needs assessment.

at the end of the day you have to remember YOU cannot be forced by anyone to look after gran ,
and more importantly , YOUR health is far more important …
running around like a headless chicken for your gran and maintaining your own life will eventually catch up , and a lot quicker than you think it will.

Hi James,
I know what you’re saying is right and I do agree with you on all points.
I think a big problem for me is knowing that there’s nobody (at the moment, anyway) to do the ‘daily’ things. I’ll try and get her to agree to the needs assessment (if she says no, I’ll have to try and stand my ground and state that I cannot do any more for her if she will not cooperate or even try to help herself). If she agrees, I will continue to do the daily things (i.e. shop for bread and milk etc.) until the assessment is complete and professionals can take my place.

I agree that this is now make or break. Nan clearly doesn’t care about you, and value what you do. She just wants a “someone” to run after her. It’s now up to Social Services, and either nan pays for her care, or Social Services do, but NOT YOU. (I suspect Nan has never paid you a penny for the care you provide, so think how many hours at £15 an hour you have given her free.
Feel proud for what you have done, and it would be a good idea to spend an hour or two working out the cost of it all.
Do NOT blame yourself or feel any GUILT, because you haven’t done anything wrong, but had your goodwill thrown back in your face.

Hi BowlingBun,

I do think she cares about me, but she is a very hard woman. She has also tried to give me a lot of money over the last few months (I have refused most of it when it has been offered, as, up until this point, I’ve done what I can for her because I felt it was my duty to do so and because I care about her- I didn’t want paying for it).

I think her problem is that she actually doesn’t want anyone running around after her- she has been so used to doing everything for herself that the idea of losing any independence is horrifying for her- hence, she’s lashing out.

I definitely don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, so I don’t feel any guilt or anything like that - it’s just horrid to have things thrown in your face when all you’ve tried to do is help someone :frowning:

Sorry for all this (to everyone!)- I really just needed to talk to people who actually understand what it’s like to be in this kind of position.

Stupid as it sounds, this isn’t far off dealing with someone with a substance abuse problem- can’t help them until they’re willing to admit they’ve got a problem and want to start helping themselves. Unfortunately, I’ve been in this situation before and it didn’t end well- the person that I had this problem with is now deceased because they didn’t get the help they needed and, though I tried my best to get them help, they didn’t want it from me and made my life hell. I ended up removing myself from that situation and now feel tremendous guilt that this person died in my absence. I am very afraid of history repeating itself, albeit under slightly different circumstances.

Chrissie, that’s incredibly sad, but as you say, you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.
Have you thought about having counselling to deal with your current situation?

Hi Chrissie,
How old is Gran? I’m wondering how many years you are likely to be ‘the one who does things’ as she gets more and more needy and demanding. (As most elderly people do). She was obviously hoping that the tests would show something that could be ‘fixed’ and she would be fit and well again. Doesn’t work like that. So, all that frustration boiled over and you were in the firing line. It could have been a very bad mistake on her part as you could have taken her at her word. She probably worried about that afterwards.
By the time you read this I hope she has made some amends, in her own way. Luckily for her you are a very caring person.
I would recommend that you make Social Services aware of Gran and her situation. You are entitled to a Carer’s assessment’ yourself so you can meet with them on your own behalf and tell them all about her. Perhaps you could arrange to meet them in her place so they also meet her or, somewhere else if she is very agitated about it. One person Gran might accept is the Occupational Therapist, especially if you tell her that most of the aids available to her come ‘free’ from Occupational Therapy. That grab stick for instance. I was so pleased with all the help my own mother got from the OT.
Please stop spending your own money. If Gran has money then she must spend it on her own care and needs. If she doesn’t (less than £23, 250 I think) then carers and necessities come courtesy of your LA and SS. Have you thought ahead to commodes, continence pads, grab rails, gadgets and alarms? All on your horizon.
You are going to have to be as tough as your Gran. Don’t lose your temper (not that I think you would) but don’t stand and take it either. Walk away. Make a cuppa, go outside, make a phone call in another room. Just make it clear that you won’t be treated like that. Go back and if she is still horrid then leave and go home.
Where is your partner in all this? How do they feel about your attention being on your Gran rather than your future together?
Be careful. While trying to do the ‘right thing’ you might be stacking up more and more problems for yourself and your partner and not actually getting Gran the help she needs. Needs NOT wants.


Update on the situation and very long story short: Monday evening I went to see if Gran had calmed down. She burst out crying at the door and told me she not only felt awful about her outburst, she also felt physically awful (tremors, dizziness, feeling feint, walking severely worse since I’d seen her only 2 days before). She said she didn’t feel safe being at home on her own that night so I took her to A&E. We were there for 9 and a half hours before they found her a trolley bed to lie on- I had to leave because it was 3:30am by this point and I had work the following morning. Turns out she didn’t get to see the doctor until 9am the following morning, but they admitted her to the neurology ward.

She’s being kept in whilst they’re doing tests on her and, having reviewed her previous electromyography test (which we were told had no abormalities), it turns out that there actually are abnormalities in the results.
Looks like they’ll be keeping her in until they find out exactly what is wrong with her because she’s having all sorts of difficulties swallowing, incl. a bit of dribbling, which are new symptoms over the last few days.
I’m glad the situation is finally being taken seriously by the medical staff.

I think it took her outburst at me for her to realise that the situation had become desperate enough for her to finally agree to A&E- so, in a way, I’m glad it happened.

Now the long wait to find out if she’s got something that can be ‘fixed’ or if it’s something degenerative. Fingers crossed it’s the former.

Chrissie, well done for taking her to A&E. At least they are now taking her problems seriously.

Make sure you have an early night tonight. Hospital visiting, arranging nighties, toiletries, etc. etc. can be very tiring, so once you are sure she is getting what she needs, take a step back. Don’t visit every day.

Make sure that staff have your details, and try to find out how long they think she will be kept in for. If it may be some time, think about securing the property well, if there are any valuables etc. to do something with.

Hi guys,
Just thought I’d update on the situation- unfortunately, it’s really not good news. It turns out that my Gran has Motor Neurone Disease; the doctors haven’t yet confirmed which version of the disease it is or how quickly it is progressing, but I am devastated.
She is slowly digesting the information and reading through the guide that has been provided to her to explain what’s going on and what is going to happen in future.
The good news is that, now that a diagnosis, we can get outside help- think I’m going to need this forum a lot over the coming months :frowning:

Hi Chrissie.

Given the unwelcomed diagnosis , CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare may now come into the equation.

Main thread :

Worth pondering on.

Very sorry to hear this, Chrissie, but a diagnosis can only be good and there will be a way to proceed. And your gran may find it easier to handle in some ways knowing what the cause is. Best wishes with it.