How can I help my mother with the stress of caring for my grandmother?

Drc'sdaughter asked...

I am the mother of five, three presently at home. My mom (72) is caring for her mom (93).  My mom still works part time and is finding it difficult to handle it all.  My grandmother has zero interest in a nursing home. Is there a happy medium for this kind of situation?  Also, my mom absoulutely dislikes the situation and has little love for her mother...which makes the whole situation strained....Any advice?

Expert Answer

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, was a pioneer in the business of providing geriatric care managed in-home care. She currently serves on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and is Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a nationally known writer and speaker on aging, elder issues, and in-home care.

One thing you might look into is finding a caregiver who might come in a few hours a week to provide some respite for your mother. Hiring someone through an agency will run about $20 an hour, depending on the location.

If you are not aware of agencies in your area, try the National Private Duty Association . If your grandmother is low-income, she may be eligible for government-funded respite programs. A good place to start looking into these is through your local Area Agency on Aging, starting with the National Administration on Aging's Eldercare Locator .

Another option some families choose is to "share the elder care" by offering to host the grandmother in each home for a period. Even a short break might make a big difference to your mother—and a change of scene could be good for your grandmother too.

If your mom really needs a break -- or wants to go on a vacation -- some assisted living facilities now offer respite care as well, taking residents on a short-term basis. Sometime, elders actually discover they like these communities much better than they expected and surprise their families by deciding to stay.