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When I will stop feeling exhausted from taking care of my grandmother?


I have been taking care of my grandmother together with my parents for about 2 years now. She has difficulties walking and is using a wheelchair and my parts cover bringing her out of bed in the morning, preparing breakfast, bringing her to bed at night and from time to time helping her eat. My parents take care of the household (Groceries etc.) Although I only spend about five hours a day with her I still feel quite exhausted at the end of the day.

My parents feel similar: Will it get easier after time? How many hours do you do caregiving? Do you have tips on how to cope with the workload or are you not overwhelmed at all?

Status: Open    Feb 23, 2016 - 11:19 AM


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Expert Answers

Mar 01, 2016 - 08:22 AM

First, you are not alone and your feelings are validated. It is exhausting. And, you shouldn't feel guilty about that. Studies show that the vast majority of caregivers report negative consequences to their own health and the relationships with others in their lives.

I'll be frank: it isn't going to get easier, only more difficult as their needs for care will increase. You may want to consider bringing in more help - either to offload some of your non-caregiving responsibilities or to help with caregiving itself. If it is a financial impossibility, you may be able to find volunteers through non-profit and/or religious organizations.

Your parents and grandmother may be resistant at first; however, deep down they know how hard you work and love them. Find the right solution and gracefully introduce it to them.


Feb 27, 2016 - 08:39 AM

, it will not get better, if anyting it will get worse, My husband and I have been taking care of my father with dementia for 10 years now. My brothers have abandoned me and have no contact with us. We tried placing him in a nursing home when my mother was diagnosed with Alzeheimer's but he wouldn't eat, would stay up all night and cry, refused to take a bath and was abusive to the staff. We took him out and he has thrived at home. But we have no help with him. We are confined to home with him until the end. His doctor didn't think he would last a year after my mother died, but it has been 8 years now and he said physically, he is healthy as a horse. Mentally, he is about a 4 year old. But he is our responsibility now and we will see it through.

Feb 27, 2016 - 09:03 AM


I found your questions to be very perceptive. Unfortunately, the answers are probably not what you are hoping for right now. I can only reply from my own experience, but I hope it might help.

First, no, things will probably not get easier. In fact, it will most likely become more difficult and time-consuming and exhausting as time goes on. There will be routines established and ways to streamline the caregiving that may help make things a bit less complicated, but there are no magic answers.

My personal beliefs are that caring for someone you love is very rewarding in the long run, but that it doesn’t make it any easier while you are going through it on a daily basis. You don’t say how old you are or give your parents’ ages, but my view is that you are wonderful and generous to be helping out as much as you are right now. Five hours a day is a lot. I understand that your parents have the primary responsibility of your grandmother's care at this time, and I'm sure that your help is very much appreciated. But at some point in the future you may have full responsibility for one or both of your own parents, and then it will be your turn to devote more time. So don't completely sacrifice your own life right now -- continue to help them and help your grandmother as much as you would like to do, but also help everyone in the family by trying to ease the burden on each of you.

I am a full-time 24/7 caregiver for my 97-yr old father, who had a major stroke a year ago. I’ve actually been caring for him for almost 10 years now. Until a few weeks ago, I had no help at all and yes, I was exhausted and completely overwhelmed. I always felt that I could do it alone, but I finally made a serious effort to check on resources that might be available. I now have 2 therapists and a home aide who come for a total of 10 hours per week. It’s not a lot of time, but even that amount of time is helping both my Dad and me. It gives me time to take short breaks and it’s giving him a chance to be with other people. The home aide is now getting my Dad out of bed in the morning, getting his breakfast and getting him dressed (part of what you are doing for your grandmother) and I was told that we could get another aide to do the same thing at bedtime. I've decided to continue on my own for now at night, but might reconsider that option for the future.

I know how I've personally struggled and worn myself down, especially this last (very difficult) year. So my best recommendation for you and your parents right now is to contact every agency that you can think of in order to see what sort of help might be available. In our case, paying for private care was not an option. If your family can afford it, that is the quickest way to get help. But there are many other options through insurance, civic, and social resources depending on where you live and your specific circumstances.

I hope you will check on caregiving assistance -- sooner rather than later. The resources are out there and they really can help.

Good luck to you and your family.

Feb 28, 2016 - 01:40 PM

In most states Medicaid pays for in-home care services. Only her income will be considered as financial criteria, not the family's income or resources. If Mom has assets, she will have to spend them first. Talk to your county social services department for information. Doesn;t matter if family are theoretically available to give care. Private care is also an option if she can afford it. Caregiver health is a financial as well as an emotional prority. Try to get some help and relief.
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