Registered User
Dec 5, 2003
Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you, as I can't think of a better place to get an answer from people who understand.

At the moment, my sister and I are at University - we live at home with our parents and Nan (who has dementia as I'm sure you're aware). Both of us work over twenty hours a week around our studies so that we don't have to get greatly into debt with loans etc

Recently both of us have been feeling very frustrated and confused about the situation with our Nan. As our parents are out at work full-time we are quite often at home with our Nan on our own, which can be hard work, especially when we're trying to do our Uni work. Both of us are working/at uni/studying seven days a week and we're finding it very difficult to cope with our Nan on top of all this. I've spoken to my Mum about this but not sure whether I'm being a bit selfish as it's my Nan's house too.

My sister and I are really starting to feel quite bitter and resentful towards my Nan and obviously we feel bad about this. I'm really not sure what the solution is, and I know it's our choice to go to Uni - if we'd gone out to work maybe we wouldn't have to be living at home and would have our own lives, but I'm not sure what to do. I really do feel like screaming and I'm not sure how much longer things can go on like this. I feel angry about it but then guilty that my parents are just trying to do the right thing (and are allowing us to stay in their house), and that we are reacting selfishly.

Has anyone got any thoughts or suggestions? Please be honest! I'm so confused I don't know whether I'm being reasonable or not!



Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Studying at university is hard enough when that's all you are doing.

Caring for a dementia patient [and that includes being there when they are]present, let alone active care is extremely difficult and draining when that is your main focus.

Trying to do both is a major challenge, and I'd say it is going to be pretty difficult.

I tried unsuccessfully to keep working while looking after my wife, and when you weigh the two things, the patient in care must come first. If they ask a question, want food, or fall, you can't simply say "I'll see you later when I have finished...whatever.... you have to break into whatever you are doing and sort it.

By all means feel bad and bitter - but you shouldn't blame your Nan. It is not her choice. Blame circumstance, luck, destiny - but not your Nan.

Selfish? No, I don't think so. The sheer responsibility of caring for a child is big enough, but at least you know they will grow and have a life of their own. With an adult with dementia, you know there's no good end, or even an end that is identifiable in terms of time [could be weeks or years]- there's only the option of making the patient's life as good as it can be, while not trashing yourself in the process.

You are being quite reasonable, and you may learn from the Selfish Pig book mentioned elsewhere. It puts things into context.

How far down the road is your Nan? What are the symptoms, what can she - and can't she -do? What things bother you most about being there with her when you want to study?


Registered User
Mar 9, 2004

You aren't being selfish, you're going through the normal range of emotions that arise from these situations. I helped care for my grandmother while I was still living at home and studying for A levels (a long time ago), and I had very "dark" thoughts and emotions about the situation. It's hard to reconcile these emotions especially when they are directed towards someone that you used to be close to. I'm sure your parents are going through exactly the same turmoil and also feeling guilty about the effect it is having on you and your sister.

At that stage in my life I got quite "into" meditation and relaxation techniques. It can't stop you feeling the negative emotions but it does help you put them to one side for a while, examine them and work out that they are directed at the situation and not at particular people. It may not work for everyone but I found it helped. I don't know if the books I read are still available but I'm sure there are loads of sites on the web around relaxation and meditation, or there might be a yoga class locally that covers that as well as the exercise.


Registered User
Dec 5, 2003
Thanks Brucie and Mufan for your replies,

In reply to your question Bruce, we're not sure how bad my Nan is classed as being. She's never been diagnosed with anything, although she is seeing a psychiatrist later this month to hopefully get things moving. My Nan is totally dependent on my parents. She can't go out unless she is taken out and can only walk a few yards without problems. She is able to talk and can make quite a convincing case to people (only for a little while mind) that she is fine. She can still make herself a cup of tea but can no longer do it for others without severe confusion. it's so hard work having someone in the house who is unable to adapt to you - I think there's only so much you can give!

I do feel a bit brighter today actually, although I think my sister's still feeling bad - she's on a placement at school all day today and then working tonight until 11.30.

Luckily we're going away on holiday (my sister and I and our partners) in three weeks, which we can't wait for!

Must get back to my essay..



Registered User
Mar 11, 2004

dont think you are selfish, im a student too and doing a full time curse i live with my grandad and look after him and care for him as he has alzhiemers and demntia too. it is very hard and therer are times when you feel like screaming. my mam lives with us too and she has left work to care for him and somtimes me and her just get on top of each other and fight which ismt good for anybody but just remember you are only human and im sure there are a plenty more people who scream and shout i bet.

take care ejoy ya hols