I need advice

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by AussieGirl, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. AussieGirl

    AussieGirl Songster

    Nov 24, 2011
    Hi everyone,Im going through a tough ordeal with my family and could really use your advice. The thing is one year ago my grandpa passed away and my grandma has been living by herself now. I cant remember exactly how old she is upper 80's lower 90's but ever since then shes been having a hard time I believe living by herself. She has two daughters and sons,my aunt who lives in Dallas is too far to come help. However the rest of the family lives in or near San Antonio,tx. However me and my parents do live close by but its around a 40 minute drive to get to her house and one of my Uncles lives closer to her but hes always too busy (at least thats what he told everyone)to come help out. My other Uncle lives out about the same distance as us from her as well and has helped out some. (he bought her a powerd wheelchair) since she cant feel anything in her feet anymore and cant really walk anymore. My mom works loong hours at her job and along with that finds the time to go out of her way to help her by getting groceries and basic housecleaning. So my mom is sometimes not home very much and its affecting her health as well. My mom has several surguries on her knee and back. I hate seeing her like this cause she comes home exhausted and tired but no one else in the family really wants to help her.I feel partly to blame as well caused I didnt do as much either but now that I see her like this I can tell its wearing her down and my grandma refuses to go to a nursing home. So to help my mom out and my grandma I figured I would move in with my grandma. Im more than cappable of doing so (im around 22 years old)but I know it would mean a few changes and sacrifices but if it will help my mom out I would do it but dont get me wrong I do care for my grandma. Anyways if anyone has and tips or advice It would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    You are greatly to be admired for your responsible recognition of the fact that your grandmother is not capable of living alone without assistance, and your willingness to move in and help her.

    You do need to be aware that being a caregiver is both time and emotionally draining; I am not saying that it is not WORTH it, but you need to KNOW it.

    You also need to know whether you can handle the emotional impact and realization that you may have to make decisions that your grandmother will not like for her own good. Someone needs to determine her competency--having a different opinion, or choosing to go against what everyone feels is the best choice is NOT incompetence. It is a difference of opinion. Incompetency is being incapable of understanding the possible repercussions of a choice, or incapacity of making a choice. It is being unable to reason. There are probably more or better legal definitions, but those are good layman's starting points.

    There are a lot of social services available for elders, but sometimes finding them is difficult. You need to figure out WHAT help your grandmother needs and what she is still capable of doing. And what help she is willing to accept.

    Does she have a primary care physician that is familiar with all her health issues? Will she sign the paperwork to allow him/her to keep you in the loop about her health issues? Does she take her medicines properly (and is the primary care physician aware of ALL her medicines)

    Will your family (extended, not just your parents) support your care of your grandmother, or will they nit-pik at you because of your age, even though you seem to be the only one truly willing and able to step in?

    Good luck and bless you!
  3. AussieGirl

    AussieGirl Songster

    Nov 24, 2011
    Thanks for the feedback and yes she does a doctor she regulary goes too that keeps an eye on her and lets u know how shes doing. Its mostly the physical stuff thats shes having a hard time with. Like for instance Im pretty sure she doesnt cook all that much anymore and mostly gets those microwave lunchboxes and my mom also goes over to do her laundry for her as well and to help clean her house. Now she does have a neighbor that comes over almost every day I think to chat with her and see hows she doing. Also my granma does take pills every day but so far shes really good about taking them and her eye drops and the other little necessities.

    I think my best course after what all you have told me is that I will go to spend weekends to help her out and keep the place tidy and to watch her myself to see if shes doing alright. If I think she needs more than that then I will talk it over with my mom and will see what would be the best course from there. Thankyou Miss Sonoran for the great info again youve really given me quit alot to think about and I greatly appreciate it.
  4. Capvin

    Capvin Songster

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    I do not think that anyone could give as good a piece of advise as you got from Sonoran Silkies. I also think that your decision to not jump into this on a full time basis at the start is a good one. My mother is 95 and lives alone in the house that we all grew up in. My mother has reached a point where she is unable to do some things for herself and my sister, who lives nearby, does most of the things for her. Some of them are that she is available to take my mother when she needs to go to the doctor; she usually cooks all of her main meals for a week and packages them and freezes them so all Mom has to do is take them out and re heat them; she does her shopping for her and she makes sure that she is always clean and well cared for. It takes a lot of her time, of that I am sure, but she does it without having to move in with Mom. I applaud your decision to help out your grandmother.
  5. texas75563

    texas75563 Songster

    Jan 24, 2012
    Linden, Texas
    Hi AussieGirl! My grandma is 87. My cousin is about your age lives with her. With school and a boyfriend she is still by herself about half the time. She still gets around ok. She does fall evevy now and then. We have been lucky she hasn't broken any bones yet. She forgets a lot of things. Like if she has taken her meds or not. She still tries to cook some. A couple times she forgot she was cooking. Luckily people stopped by those times.My mom usually stays with her on weekends. 2 more sons and all kinds of grandkids stop by check on her. Most won't be there 5 or 10 minutes. Atleast they do drop by.

    Sonoran Silkies mentioned: you need to know whether you can handle the emotional impact. You also need to know can you stand up to the job physically? You said she was in a wheelchair and had no feelings in her feet. Can you lift her in and out of her chair, several times a day each and every day? I understand if she has been living by herslf, she can get in and out of wheelchair by herself. This may not always be the case. (Wednesday I had a best friend. Today I attended his memorial.)

    I too applaud you for wanting to help your mom by helping out your grandma.
  6. stargazingmommy

    stargazingmommy Songster

    Apr 19, 2011
    Sonoran pretty much said what all is on my mind.
    One simple thing you can do if you're worried about her eating right is make a little extra of your family dinner and freeze it. Deliver it whn you go so she has home cooked meals already to go. Its a little thing but for my grandpa it meant the world.
    If you do end up moving in with her ensure you take a couple hours a week where you can get out and shop etc, to avoid burnout. If she's not real ok to stay alone see if a neighbor can come visit for a couple hours, or someone from her church if she has one.
    if concerns come up regarding meds get a pill box, many pharmacies are willing to fill them for their clients and some will even provide them already set up.
    another thing we did with grandpa was to get a baby monitor. That way he could have some privacy in his room and call out when he needed us. You can usually find them for $30 or less.
    Another resource that many people don't like to think about is hospice. Even if she has no major medical concerns, given her age alone her doctor might be willing to certify her. They can provide an aide to help with housework, personal care, meal prep and just someone to say hi and visit. They would also send a nurse out periodically to keep up on health issues. One of the things they provided for my grandpa was a recliner that would raise up to a standing position to help him stand up. They do their best to make the clients life as easy and as comfortable as possible.
    One thing with hospice that can be panic inducing is the doc certifies the patient likely has 6mnths or less to live, they will recertify at the end of 6 months if needed. At her age yous just never know unless they have some disease process
  7. reveriereptile

    reveriereptile Songster

    Mar 17, 2008
    Northern NY
    I was in a slightly similar situation with my grandmother but she had a lot of help from her daughters. She was around 87 and her health went real bad so my mom asked if I would stay the night at her place to help her out. I was around 19 at the time.

    A couple weeks before I had to stay with her she was walking faster than me in the grocery store and complaining about people not moving out of the way fast enough. She had a thing that she would complain to me about it but loud enough that the person could hear her. It hit all at once when she got sick.

    I'd have my mom drop me off and I'd run around getting stuff for her if she needed something. It is stressful and hard to see someone sick that is a close relative. I had to help her off the toilet and get her a container to throw up in. My mom and one of her sisters would come in to help her bathe and they brought in food. She mostly stayed in her nightgown during that time so there wasn't really much laundry to do.

    After a few days I talked with my mom and said she needs to go to the hospital. I had to make the choice based on what I seen even though she didn't want to go. We took her in and we thought she was going to pass but somehow she made a come back. My uncle and other aunt traveled down to see her just incase. It shocked everyone. She was good for a month but started getting sick again. I stayed with her again and then a cousin stayed a couple of nights since he could help her up better. We all decided she was getting worse and took her back to the hospital.

    While she was at the hospital her health got worse and all of us knew at that point she wasn't going to make it. She had to be put on a breathing machine. We ended up going through her stuff and sorting the items out to whom she had written in her Will. My mother and her siblings had to make the choice to pull the plug so it was hard on the family.

    The point I'm making is the same as Sonoran did is you need to be mentally prepared. Since my situation was with my grandmother in the process of dying I had to stay strong and not break down otherwise it would put more stress on her if she seen me break down. If you can handle helping her out I'd say do it. I would help my grandmother out all over again. Consider it some bonding time with her. You might learn more about her and even your mother while staying with her. It has prepared me incase I have to help my mother or father out some day.

    One thing we did do for my grandmother is got her that life line bracelet. If she had any falls while at home or needed an ambulance she could just push the button. That might be helpful for her during the time no one is around so she feels safer.
  8. If your grandma doesn't have life alert (you can get a braclet or a neck pendent) she should have one. That way if she has a fall or has another medical emergency, she can summon help. You have gotten other good suggestions as well. Look into senior services from your city and county, also contact the senior center, they can probably offer some help understanding the service and community outreaches that may be available. Your grandma may qualify for home health aide, which is someone who comes to the home up to 5 days a week to help with bathing, light cleaning, etc. also to give respite to caretakers.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  9. AussieGirl

    AussieGirl Songster

    Nov 24, 2011
    I appreciate all the great info you guys have given me. To awnser a few questions yes she does have life alert and constantly wears it all the time. Though if i were there and she needed help getting up it wouldnt be that hard for me. I work out and she dont weigh much to me.

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