Granddaughter using Grandma
The following column was originally published in 2013.
Dear Annie: My cousin’s daughter, “Julie,” moved her family of four in with my aunt (her grandmother) after my aunt’s husband died. It was done on the pretence of helping Grandma maintain her home and large yard.
In fact, the opposite has happened. They’ve created more work for her by making a mess, not doing their laundry and not picking up after themselves. Julie has a five-year-old boy who constantly damages things in the home, and his mother does nothing to admonish him. The boy goes into Grandma’s room and takes her things, and when she confronts both Julie and her son, she’s told to lock up her possessions. This same child has hit her and cussed at her.
Grandma’s doctor has told her that she needs to move the family out of her home to reduce her stress levels. But when she tells this to Julie and Julie’s mother (my cousin), Grandma is told that she’s exaggerating or lying about the situation. I’ve been in my aunt’s home and have seen what’s going on. I am helpless to do anything but try to calm her nerves and clean up the house. Other family members also have witnessed this and commented to the same effect.
My aunt has said that she wants her granddaughter’s family to leave, but can’t handle having her daughter harass her about it. She’s also worried about the little children because she is the one who makes sure they are fed a decent meal and get a bath. Any suggestions? Worried and Helpless
Dear Worried: Your cousin and her daughter are taking advantage of Grandma. Their interest in her well-being extends only to what works to their benefit. You can report abuse of any kind — financial, emotional, physical — to Adult Protective Services in your aunt’s area. Someone will investigate the situation. You also can call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 for resources.